WMMS Nights Out at the Agora – April, 1980
Here’s a WMMS Nights Out at the Agora ad for the last two weeks on April, 1980. It illustrates the diversity of music being aired on the station at the time.
The first band, the Tourists played a low-price show with popular local band Rapscallion opening. Though the Tourists never caught on, a later incarnation of the band did, which in 1983 returned to Cleveland and the Allen Theater for a free WMMS Appreciation Day concert as the Eurythmics
Joe Perry quit Aerosmith following a backstage altercation at the WMMS World Series of Rock after a tension-filled performance at Cleveland Stadium on July 28, 1979. Backstage, Joe Perry’s wife Elyssa threw a glass of milk at Tom Hamilton’s wife Terry and a cat fight ensued. Perry quit Aerosmith, returned to Boston, and turned his side project band, the Joe Perry Project, into a full-time commitment. His WMMS Night Out at the Agora performance was in support of his new band’s album release, Let the Music do the Talking.
John Cale was a founding member of the Velvet Underground. He left the band in 1968 to pursue a solo career. His “Ready for War,” a blistering hard-rocking song about mercenaries, had become one of our most requested tunes (in part due to the hostage crisis in Iran), and the popularity of the song – and the chance to see a true progressive rock legend (he was also known for working with Kevin Ayers, Brian Eno, Patti Smith, the Stooges, the Modern Lovers, and Squeeze, among others) up close – made this a memorable concert performance.
Akron’s own Rachel Sweet actually broke in the U.K. before America following her appearance on an Akron music compilation that was released there by Stiff Records. Her first album Fool Around, became a WMMS staple and her cover version of Carla Thomas’ “B-A-B-Y,” was a top-requested track. This was her first concert appearance in Cleveland. Though the album, a success in Europe, failed to break nationally, it sold strongly throughout the Cleveland-Akron-Canton region.
Originally, the first U.S. date for Sex Pistols was scheduled for the Cleveland Agora but immigration problems delayed the tour – and the band broke up before they reached their rescheduled date at the club, which was to be broadcast live on WMMS and an ad-hoc network of a dozen other stations. The April 30 date for Public Image Ltd. was Johnny Lydon’s first Cleveland appearance.
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