You’ve heard of banned books, but did you know an entire genre of music was once outlawed? On this date back in 1956, the city of Santa Cruz, California banned rock and roll. The night before 200 teenagers packed the Santa Cruz Civic Auditorium and shimmied and shook to the doo woppy music of Chuck Higgins and his orchestra. The provocative and rhythmic dancing shocked local authorities, who claimed rock and roll, “detrimental to both the health and morals of our youth and community.” Two weeks later, Asbury Park, New Jersey and San Antonio, Texas followed with similar bans. Keep in mind these were the days of big bands and crooners like Perry Como and Frank Sinatra, not your tush shaking type of tunes.
If you’ve learned anything from the movie Footloose (The Bacon version (1984) is better…isn’t everything better with Bacon?) you know you can’t keep those meddling kids from provocative and rhythmic dancing. A few months later, Elvis Presley appeared on the Ed Sullivan Show and the rest, as we like to say, is history.
Today, Santa Cruz, California is known for its Beach Boardwalk and free Friday concerts. Electric guitars fill the air and young and old kick up their heels in the sand. To get your toes tapping, here’s something from Joan Jett and the Blackhearts: I_Love_Rock&Roll
Fun Frank Fact: Rock and roll is the most brutal, ugly, degenerate, vicious form of expression — lewd, sly, in plain fact, dirty — a rancid-smelling aphrodisiac and the martial music of every side-burned delinquent on the face of the earth. ~ Frank Sinatra, 1957
Fun Footloose Fact: The movie Footloose was based on events in the town of Elmore City, Oklahoma. In 1980, high school students lobbied to have a 90-year ban on dancing lifted. They succeeded and under the watchful eye of parents and teachers, were allowed to have their very first prom.