Alan Freed & the Big Beat!
Starring :
Jerry Lee Lewis, Buddy Holly, The Crickets, Chuck Berry,
Frankie Lymon, The Diamonds, Danny and the Juniors,
Billy (Ford) & Lillie (Bryant), Billy Ford, The Chantels, The Pastels,
Dicky Do and the Don'ts, Larry Williams, Jo Ann Campbell
and Allen Freed!
I sent an email asking if any of you remembered this concert - at the time not knowing the date. I enjoyed ALL the replies and decided that I have been hogging them! Someone told me later that it was the biggest show ever held in Bartlesville, at least outside the Phillips Gym, and our city fathers did NOT appreciate it. Here they are in the order I got them:


I don't remember it, but back then I couldn't have afforded it anyway. It has to be before 1959 when Buddy died.

Gary Hale
March 28, 1958: Opening night of "Alan Freed’s Big Beat Show,” a two-month tour, finds Jerry Lee Lewis arguing with Chuck Berry over who will close the show. Freed decides Berry will get to go last, inciting a literally incendiary performance by Lewis, who torches his piano during his set-closing “Great Balls of Fire.”

Yes, I remember this concert. . . and from the above information it was in 1958 (I had placed it as earlier until I looked up this information).

Carla (Baker)
Yes, I do remember it. It was in the old civic center. I was not there, and the only thing I remember was that after the concert Chuck Berry and other performers were upstairs in the building and things were getting rowdy. Some of the teenagers started up the stairs to see them (of course making lots of noise, etc.) To keep them back, Chuck Berry threw a cherry bomb down the steps. It slightly injured someone from our class named Berry. All was soothed over quickly however, and nothing else was made of I remember. But do you know how long ago that was!

Bob Lawson
I remember the concert and Jerry Lee's intoxication. I also heard that Chuck Berry was constantly throwing firecrackers out into the audience. But, I didn't attend it myself. The date would match with Leon's age, I think he was attending Central High School in Tulsa at the time. Some of my fraternity brothers knew him.

Tom Singleterry
I absolutely remember the concert you are talking about. It was an Alan Freed concert and if I had a clue which box of "important" stuff it was in, I could come up with a program. This email came to me minus the EE adv so I am not sure what he is referring to. However, I do not believe there was another concert of any sort of rock 'n roll during that time in B'ville. To this day, I marvel at the fact that little old Bartlesville had that sort of a concert. I also think there was another fellow, maybe Brook Benton that was there. The only thing I did not know is that the pianist was Leon Russell.

Bette Anne Mayberry

I don't remember this at all.

However, I asked Roger if he remembered this and he said YES. His mom and dad wouldn't let him go. He remembers a story about it (somewhat) that Chuck Berry was drunk and either in his bus or behind the bus. later he did something...Roger thinks it was tossing firecrackers around either in the bus or outside. Roger thinks Ron Mason told him this.

Roger thinks Ron Mason (classmate of his) class of '59 might be one to contact. Ron was a drummer in a band and probably attended the concert. Roger said Ron used to live out in the country near Ochelata. Not sure where he is now.

Suzanne (Hobson) Shiflet
I do remember the Jerry Lee Lewis no show concert. It was in the old civic center and the crowd did get pretty restless waiting for Jerry Lee. I have the impression that Jerry Lee no showed lots of concerts but it was a disappointment not to see him.

Bob Kane
Yes I do remember this concert. Junie and I went. You did not (maybe because it was a school night). I don't remember the things about Jerry Lee getting arrested, but that doesn't mean it didn't happen. I do recall it was a very late concert. The one we went to was definitely promoted by Alan Freed. I also remember how shabby some of the performers looked (the Chantels I think) and being surprised because everyone always looked so polished on American Bandstand. Of course I didn't have a clue how little those guys were being paid or the strain of performing night after night.
What you should remember is that you met Danny and the Juniors that night. Someone else was with you (I'm pretty sure it was Karen, but might have been Rosemary or Sandra.) These guys stopped you and asked you where they could get something to eat in a hurry and close to downtown. You said you sent them to a place down from my Dad's business which I recall as "Blondies" but my Mom says was called "The Snack Shop". It would have been at 2nd & Cherokee. Anyhow I guess I remember this because I was so aggravated that I bought a ticket and you met some of the performers.
Sue Alburty

Hi again. After I sent you the previous note, I went looking for an old scrapbook, and finally found it. I knew I got some autographs at the concert but didn't remember whose. I found it, and to my great surprise, I have Buddy Holly's autograph! Didn't remember that.
My husband attended the Alan Freed concert. He said that Chuck Berry and Buddy Holly filled in for Jerry Lee Lewis' part. He doesn't remember a young boy playing songs of Jerry Lee Lewis. He does remember Larry Williams and Frankie Lymon performing also. He said there were two sessions that evening and he didn't stay for all the second session.

Sandra (Miller) Blevins
I attended the Allen Freed Rock and Roll show. It was held at what was then the community center on Johnstone Blvd. Had Chuck Berry, the coasters, Buddy Holly, Jerry Lee Lewis, and others. In fact if you look up the show on line you can find where they played Bartlesville.

John Mitchell
In my sometimes faulty memory, Jerry Lee was on the same bill as a doowop group called "DANNY AND THE JUNIORS"!! I think that Danny et al were opening for Jerry Lee, here again memory may be getting creative. At any rate, my mother would not allow me to go see Jerry Lee Lewis, nor would some of my classmates be permitted. I, and three friends, (Martha Talmage, Judy Lawver, and Rosemary Reddy) went to the library that night (just a short hop from the Civic Center Auditorium, --LIKE THE SAME BUILDING, DUH,,:: , peeked in at Jerry Lee (going crazy as usual) and walked downtown with thoughts of going to Blondie's. (Anyone out there remember where Blondie's was???!!) While standing in front of the Osage Theater, we were accosted by 4 guys wearing black suits, white shirts, narrow black ties, and tons of makeup. They tried to pick us up. Well, with well brought up Bartlesville girls, that ain't happenin', right? Right.. We turned down Danny and the Juniors. Oh yes, friends, your 1960 classmates did just that............ Remember this, Martha?? (Boy do I!!!) I think of it every time I hear "At The Hop", which was the big Danny and the Juniors hit at that time.

Karen Nordstrom
Hey Martha, I remember a concert with Chuck Berry, Larry Williams, the Platters and several other acts. The day of the concert, Chuck Berry drove his purple caddy with (lucille) on the back, through the neighborhood. Can not remember the year, but I do remember the event. Yeah I know, getting old.

Willie Brown
Heck , Yes I remember! I went! A bunch of us were killing time before the concert at a filling station downtown when Chuck Berry brought his cadillac into get it washed. He had all kinds of firecrackers and we all set them off until the owner threatened to call the law. Then we washed Chuck's car and got ALL wet - had to go home and change clothes to go to the concert.

Cecil Kimmel

Yes , I attended, and still remember the excitement. I sat in the front row of the old Civic Center balcony with my high school steady (until he went off to college), Neal Seidle (Class of '58.) I love the music of our highschool era so much that years ago I bought the 9 CD Time-Life set that captured the music from 1954-1963.

Karen Cowell