Rare "Big Rock & Roll Show" Early Poster
One of the very first rock and roll posters, circa mid-1950s, this cardboard double window card is for an ALL-BLACK R&B show capturing the essence of rock's evolution from rhythm and blues, as it crossed into the mainstream. The fascination of the poster is the diverse nature of the acts, as if black music itself didn't quite know where it was going and offered many voices in search of a single voice. For example, Chuck Berry -- in one of his earliest gigs as a "star" after "Maybelline" became a smash -- gets 2nd billing to veteran bandleader Buddy Johnson, while the rest of the bill casts R&B acts trying to branch out into rock such as the Nutmegs ("Story Untold"), the Spaniels ("Goodnight Sweetheart"), the 4 Fellows ("Soldier Boy"), Al Savage, Ella Johnson, and Art Prysock. The show was produced by New York's Gale Agency, which is listed along the bottom. The power of R&B was such that even when whites began co-opting the music, black acts still ruled these touring shows, at least for a while, then were cut out completely, leading them to play the all-black inner city circuit trailblazed by Ike Turner and James Brown. The format of the poster, too, was heavily influential, becoming boilerplate in rock for 20 years. Unfortunately, the extremely rare poster is trimmed and has had the right edge trimmed about 5” and the corners clipped. It is now about 18x26.25”. It has other tears and wear but the colors are gorgeous. Impressive wood frame with gold detailing is 26 x 34". Hail Hail, the REAL rock and roll.