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    Description

    NINE ROCK & ROLL HALL OF FAME MEMBERS, ALL IN ONE PLACE

    Buddy Holly, Chuck Berry, Eddie Cochran, Everly Bros. 1957 Biggest Show of Stars Jumbo Concert Poster. An original large cardboard concert poster for the Biggest Show of Stars caravan tour in 1957 featuring nine eventual members of the Rock 'n' Roll Hall of Fame. This rare jumbo window card advertised the tour's stop in Troy, New York on Thursday, November 14, 1957.

    This is easily one of the best rock 'n' roll concert posters ever made, if not the best, which many collectors feel it is. The talent line-up is simply off the charts, with four certified founding fathers of rock 'n' roll under one roof (Buddy Holly, Chuck Berry, Fats Domino and the Everly Brothers). Plus five more also in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame (Eddie Cochran, The Drifters, Frankie Lymon, LaVern Baker and Clyde McPhatter). Take a look... that's the top three rows of performers advertised here who were all enshrined in the Rock Hall generations later. That is just crazy, not to mention unprecedented.

    The poster's design and colors are simply spellbinding. A five-color gem using black, red, yellow, white and blue to amazing effect. Ovals, banners, squares, circles, floating heads, scattered stars, hit song titles... it's a true masterpiece of 1950's rock 'n' roll advertising for the brand new musical genre teenagers were going nuts for.

    And rarity... nobody saved anything in the 1950's, and this poster epitomizes that. This was a three-month tour, with posters made for a large number of the tour stops (not all, by any stretch), and once again you have your "99% of them were thrown away" factor. This window card was made in two sizes, standard and jumbo, and this is one of only three known jumbos that still remain from the entire tour. (The other two are from other cities.) A very small handful of the standard ones still exist, in elite collections, but this larger size is all but extinct.

    Oh, and condition. This is by far the best-condition specimen of the three known to collectors. Its colors remain deep, rich and fresh, not faded with time in the slightest. It had a couple of tiny notches of missing board in the margins fixed, but 99% of what you see is all-original and in fabulous condition. It just blows the other known specimens away, in either size.

    As a side note, it also has not one but two tragedies attached to it, with Buddy Holly and Eddie Cochran both suffering an early death in the next three years. Sad indeed.

    It's amazing that this was so early in Buddy Holly's career that his name wasn't broken out of the band yet. Their first hit on Brunswick Records - "That'll Be the Day," given on the poster - had billed them as just The Crickets, so that's why this poster does. And Buddy isn't even wearing his trademark horn-rimmed glasses yet! Those are standard wire-rims. At least his suit is of a different color than the dark ones worn by Niki Sullivan, Jerry Allison and Joe B. Mauldin, setting him apart as the lead Cricket.

    And "That'll Be the Day"... what a fantastic song to have on a 1950's rock 'n' roll concert poster. It had been #1 on the national charts in late summer, Buddy's only chart-topper (believe it or not). And at the time of this show, Buddy's follow-up single had just entered Billboard's singles chart, and already snuck into the Top 20... a little record called "Peggy Sue." Could Holly be any hotter right now?

    And let's not forget, just a few months later, a band of Liverpool, England scruffians named the Quarry Men entered a cheap recording studio and cut an acetate of this song... the very first-ever Beatles recording.

    As for the venue box up top, have you gotten a load of those ticket prices? From $4.00 (probably the first couple of rows only) all the way down to a buck and a half. If you bought the cheapest ticket, you'd be paying like 11 cents per act to watch the show, and probably about a nickel a song. Sheesh!

    But this poster's venue box is nice and busy, which collectors love... just tons of good information in there. The three different font sizes make it interesting to the eye, and the black lettering plays nicely off the main artwork's black background.

    All in all, it's a complete masterpiece and no question, a museum piece. Remember: For this size, the jumbo... three on the planet. This one best condition. Nine hall-of-famers and below them, everyone else on the poster still had #1 hits. Goodness gracious. If you sat down to design a fantasy concert poster for rock 'n' roll's first phase, this would be it. It would knock anybody out, young or old, hanging framed on a wall.

    Measures a shade over 22" x 28 ¼" and grades to a lightly repaired Near Mint Minus condition. COA from Heritage Auctions and minor repair done by Chameleon Restoration.


    More Information: Chuck Berry's fabled hit "School Day" was made plural (and one word) for this poster, and its anthemic lyrics delivered a message to America's youth that a pop-culture tidal wave was upon them: "Hail, hail, rock and roll / Deliver me from the days of old." If there's one line from a 50's rock song that symbolized the new beginning, that one might be it.

    And to add to that, the very week of this show, Chuck's equally anthemic "Rock and Roll Music" was the #12 best-selling single in Billboard and rising fast.

    Fats Domino doesn't have a song title by his name, but that may be because the designer had too many choices. The year of 1957 began with Fats' "Blueberry Hill" in Billboard's national Top 5. He soon entered the pop charts again with a Top 5 follow-up, "Blue Monday." Then "I'm Walkin'" followed that, another Top 5 mainstream single. Fats didn't stop to catch his breath... his next 45 was a double-sided hit with both tunes landing in the national Top 10 pop charts... "It's You I Love" and "Valley of Tears."

    And that was just the first half of '57. You wanna try to pick a song for this poster?

    The Everly Brothers actually had the highest-charting current hit of anyone on this window card in mid-November '57... but no, it wasn't "Bye Bye Love," their first hit from earlier that year, and gloriously given on the poster... it was their classic follow-up, "Wake Up Little Susie." That was number two right now, and would soon ascend to number one. So like Buddy Holly, they had a killer listed on the poster and a newer sizzler currently on the charts. Yowza!

    The presence of the Everly Bros. on this poster is actually a big, big plus. They were present for only part of this tour. So on some of the very rare standard-sized posters we've seen from elsewhere on this tour, that blue stripe they're in simply says "All In Person." You can see that version on page 31 in the Art of Rock book. Wow, what a difference between having one of the 50's most successful and cool pop acts, like we do here, and... nothing at all. Everybody wants the Everly Bros. version of this poster, but of course you almost never get a shot at either.

    Eddie Cochran has a small spot and no song title down in the lower left, but he was simmering and ready to boil. He had had one Top 20 pop hit thus far with "Sittin' in the Balcony," but his true masterpiece, "Summertime Blues," would have to wait for the following summer.

    Back up top, in the front-row-center position you have R&B songstress Lavern Baker, and it's terrific that "Jim Dandy" is given as her song title. It was her biggest hit ever, her only #1 R&B record, and certainly her most recognizable hit to this day.

    Frankie Lymon had given us the evergreen "Why Do Fools Fall in Love" the year before with the Teenagers, but he was on his own now. "Goody Goody" was a standard from the 30's that Frankie turned into a Top 20 pop hit for himself, so that's yet another winning song title on this poster. Have we hit a clunker yet?

    Certainly not with ex-Drifter Clyde McPhatter and "Long Lonely Nights." That was nothing less than a #1 R&B hit for the Durham, North Carolina native, who turned 25 the day after this show.

    Speaking of The Drifters, they get neither a photo nor a song title in the lower right, but it wasn't for a lack of hits. The group had amassed 13 Top 10 R&B hits up to this point, granted with varying lead singers (including McPhatter). It would be a couple of more years before they started to mess up the pop charts with Ben E. King at the mic, giving us "Up on the Roof," "On Broadway" and "Under the Boardwalk" in the 60's.

    Time to hit the bottom row, but a warning: There are no slouchers. This poster is so stuffed with talent that even a #1 pop hit earlier this year, "Party Doll," couldn't get Buddy Knox further up the board. Jimmy Bowen and the Rhythm Orchids were basically his backing group, so they share that #1 credit, too. Bowen himself would soon become a record producer for Sinatra, Sammy and Dean, and then become a successful record-company president in Nashville in later years.

    The Diamonds had a Top 20 pop hit with "Zip Zip," given on the poster, but the song that defined their career was a hit that came a few months earlier... "Little Darlin'."

    Paul Anka could relate to Buddy Knox... he, too, had a #1 pop hit earlier this year, but still got bottom-billing... there was just no room above him. But the Canadian native was only 16 years old at this show, so he had time to get over the slight, and would soon be headlining himself.

    You probably assume that's it, but what about the blue stripe at the bottom? Paul Williams... hmmm... well, in 1949 he had one hit that spent more time at #1 than all of the #1 hits listed above, combined... "The Huckle-Buck," which spent a head-spinning 14 weeks at Numero Uno R&B. We're telling you, the only way to find a clunker on this poster is to turn it over.

    Condition details: Poster once had damage to the upper two corners which required repairing and a small notch missing in the bottom center margin, also expertly repaired. Remarkably, there is barely any surface creasing, only from Buddy Holly's jacket down into one of the Everly's hair, and another very very light one over the front Cricket's face and center Cricket's chin. There's another in the black area to the right of "S" in "Drifters." The black ink you see in the right white margin is a printer's anomaly, same with the tiny amount of blue in the extreme lower right corner. In that bottom blue stripe, there are staple holes by the "W" in "Williams" and in the middle of "Big." Basically, immaculate condition for a poster of this vintage.

    Literature: See Grushkin, Paul, The Art of Rock - Posters from Presley to Punk, Abbeville Press, New York, 1987, p.31 (illus.) (AOR-1.21).




    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    November, 2020
    14th Saturday
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