March 30, 2017

Carney Rock

Len Barry's huge hit, "1-2-3," came out a few days after this show.

Kansas City amusement parks were often the site of rock concerts in the 1960s, ’70s and ’80s.
The tradition of “School’s Out” concerts at Fairyland sponsored by Top 40 radio station WHB goes back farther than I realized in my earlier “World’s Happiest Broadcasters” post. Those events took place in the early 1970s. I have since found a newspaper ad (above) from June 1965 touting such a show with Len Barry of “1-2-3” fame as the headliner. That song came out the following month on Decca Records and went to #2 on the pop chart. I wonder if Barry sang it here? Anybody out there recall that show, or others at Fairyland?

This poster is from the second Carney Rock, circa 1974.

I have heard the Shadows of Night played there once. And of course, Chris Fritz promoted multiple Carney Rock bills there in the mid-’70s featuring bands like Spirit. (See photo, below left)
As for Worlds of Fun, I recall seeing shows by Squeeze and Ray Charles in an outdoor amphitheater there, but it must not have been in 1980, the year this ad (below right) was published. The big-name headliners that year were Rick Nelson, Hall and Oates and Kool & the Gang.

An ad for summer 1980 concerts at Worlds of Fun

I contacted the folks at Worlds of Fun earlier this year, but they have no record of what acts played there when. The park is now owned by the Cedar Fair group, and they have not promoted a concert series. The 1980s-era shows took place under WOF’s original Hunt Midwest ownership. I don’t have any WOF-concert ticket stubs, and I’ve saved almost all of mine, so I wonder if tickets were even printed for these shows. It looks like some were free with regular admission, and some carried a 99-cent surcharge.

Ed Cassidy and Spirit at the first Carney Rock in July 1973

So who out there can help? Anyone recall seeing a rock concert at Fairyland or Worlds of Fun? Got any photos or memorabilia to share? Leave a comment below or contact rick@kcrockhistory.com

Calling all shutterbugs!

Jimi posed backstage with morning DJ "Humble" Harry Miller from concert sponsor KUDL-AM.

Among the holy grails of the Kansas City Rock History Project, in terms of photos, is the Jimi Hendrix Experience concert Nov. 1, 1968, at Municipal Auditorium.
If anyone out there has photos of Jimi, Noel Redding and Mitch Mitchell on stage in Kansas City, please be in touch with me. And anyone who attended, please feel free to share your memories by commenting below.

Ad for Jimi in The KC Star

I have found some ads for the concert, whose opening act was Cat Mother and All-Night Newsboys, on the back of a KUDL Boss 30 survey and in the Kansas City Star.
My other top photo wants are, of course, the Beatles Sept. 17, 1964, at Municipal Stadium and the Who (with the Buckinghams) Nov. 17. 1967, at Shawnee Mission South High School Auditorium. I am looking for candid photos of the Who — something besides the 1968 yearbook spread.
I am also searching for snaps of such concerts as Led Zeppelin Nov. 5, 1969, at Memorial Hall, Elvis Costello and the Attractions, Feb. 1, 1978, at Pogo’s, and any of Elvis Presley’s five KC concerts: May 24, 1956, Nov. 15, 1971, and June 29, 1974, at Municipal Auditorium, and April 21, 1976, and June 18, 1977, at Kemper Arena.
If you have photos of these shows or any others you are willing to share with the Kansas City Rock History project, please write to rick@kcrockhistory.com. History will thank you.

World’s Happiest Broadcasters

 

Interviewing Phil Jay at the North Kansas City classic car cruise May 14, 2011.

I got a chance to talk to a boyhood idol this past weekend: Phil Jay, formerly the #2 on-air personality on WHB-AM, Kansas City’s dominant #1 radio station during rock’s golden era of the 1960s.

 

This event in 1965 was the fourth rock 'n' roll party sponsored by WHB at the Plaza Theatre.

As Phil and many other reference works tell it, WHB owner and Omaha, Neb., native Todd Storz was the inventor of Top 40 radio. WHB was one of the first to employ the format 24-7, starting soon after Storz bought the station in 1954.

 

Phil Jay joined top dog Johnny Dolan on air at WHB-AM 710 in 1968, at a time when it was drawing huge ratings and its announcers were local celebrities. He remained with WHB until 1993. Today he lives in Olathe and has a mobile disc jockey service.

 

This handbill is from 1970. Similar events were held in 1971 and '72 at Fairyland.

WHB played a role in promoting lots of events around town, too, including some of KC’s earliest rock concerts. A series of “Plaza Parties” were held at the Plaza Theatre in 1964 and 1965 featuring national names like Ray Stevens and locals such as Roger Calkins and the Silvertones. In the early 1970s, the station also sponsored a series of concerts and special high school days at Fairyland Park, which was at 75th and Prospect.

The 40 Star Survey for Dec. 18, 1970.