When the Beatles Came To Cleveland
Racial riots weren't the only kind of civic unrest Cleveland endured in the 1960s. There was also a good bit of unruliness over two Beatles concerts staged here, at Public Hall in 1964 and at the old Cleveland Stadium in 1966 (you can see images of the admissions tickets here and here). Given its historic appeal, I was surprised to learn that the generally comprehensive Encyclopedia of Cleveland History doesn't mention either visit. But a new self-published book by a comedian who's relocated to the region recounts the visits in some detail. The bad news: the author writes and organizes information about as well as I perform stand-up comedy. Still, the book (which I've only skimmed) is worthwhile for anyone who's really into either the Beatles or Cleveland history. If that describes you, do check it out when you next find yourself at a bookstore in the region.
For me, at least, the story has an extra layer of sadness, since it describes a time when local radio stations were so firmly entrenched in their community as to be able to almost single-handedly sponsor these concerts (WHK in '64 and WIXY 1260 in '66). Those times are long gone, with the sickening consolidation of local radio into mega-chains that exist solely to scoop up every last advertising dollar (shame on you, Bill Clinton, for allowing it on your watch). And it's just as true for local TV, as I'll describe in coming days, when I write a little about a Ghoulardifest I attended last weekend with some high school pals.