October 11, 2018
While the Cleveland Indians played some of their most mediocre baseball in the 1970s, their home field at that time, Cleveland Stadium, hosted the World Series multiple times. The World Series of Rock that is.Co-produced by Belkin Productions, the area’s top entertainment promoter, and WMMS, Cleveland’s number one rock station, the World Series of Rock was a day-long, multi-act concert. A total of 15 events were held between 1974 and 1980 featuring the top rock acts of the day. The series took a year off in 1976.The first show was held on Saturday, June 23, 1974. Contrary to the hard rocking tendencies of co-sponsor WMMS, one of the headline acts was The Beach Boys. Area native Joe Walsh and his band at the time, Barnstorm, also performed. Lynyrd Skynyrd and a then-largely-unknown, and heavier sounding R.E.O. Speedwagon were also on the bill. Doors opened at 12:30 with the first act slated for 2:00 p.m. A crowd of 40,000 showed up for that inaugural show.Two more shows were held that year in August and September. Emerson, Lake, and Palmer, Climax Blues Band, and The James Gang performed at the August 4th concert, while Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young, Santana, The Band, and Jesse Colin Young were on the bill for the September 1st concert.Other acts at subsequent World Series concerts included Chicago, Yes, Blue Oyster Cult, Peter Frampton, Fleetwood Mac, AC/DC, The Cars, Pink Floyd, and many more. The Rolling Stones headlined one, pulling over 80,000 to the stadium on June 14th, 1978.By 1980, however, the shows had gotten out of hand with fights, drunkenness, and drug use increasingly more common. The mayhem often rivaled the ill-fated “Ten Cent Beer Night” which took place in June of 1974.
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