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 touristsThe 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 AllCDCovers_the_joe_perry_project_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.

JohnCale276John 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 bb8493d0b61ef3a2_landingRecords.  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.

pil1Originally, 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.

Click images to enlarge

One Response to “WMMS Nights Out at the Agora – April, 1980”

  1. John, You seem to have a wealth of information on the Cleveland rock and roll scene during the ‘MMS years (naturally) and before and after. I enjoyed the memories from your book and I remember a lot of those radio shows. I enjoyed the book presentation at the Bay library; though you did talk kinda fast…
    Are you going to do another more extensive book on Cleveland’s rock and roll history from your perspective? Something not memoir-ish.

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