Tuesday, June 23, 2015

B.B. King Visits Lorain – 1961

Famed blues guitarist, singer and songwriter B.B. King passed away last month at the age of 89 after a career that began on radio in the early 1940s.

But did you know that he brought his orchestra to Lorain back in late 1961?

The above ad appeared in the Lorain Journal on October 26, 1961, announcing the appearance of B.B. King and his 10-piece Orchestra on the 29th of that month at the Lorain Arena. The bill also featured the Royal Jokers, the Young Magnolias and Irma Holsey, and a 65-year-old exotic dancer named Estalla Caledonia. Comedian Jim Danny was the emcee.

The smaller ad at left had appeared in the paper a few days earlier.

The Wiki page on B.B. King explains that while working as a singer and disk jockey, he received the nickname "Beale Street Blues Boy." It was later shortened to "Blues Boy," and finally to just "B.B."

The Royal Jokers were a Detroit group that had enjoyed much regional success in the 1950s, 60s and 70s despite personnel and managerial changes. Click here to learn more about them.

Here's a recording of B.B. King performing "Someday Baby" in 1961, just to give you an idea of what the crowd at the Lorain Arena enjoyed that day 54 years ago this fall. (It sure would be nice today if Lorain had a huge facility to host major musical acts.)

And here's the Royal Jokers performing "Red Hot" from that same time period of 1961.


Anonymous said...

Nobody Loves me by my Mother and she may be jiving too!

Anonymous said...


Anonymous said...

Can't wait until Brady posts his follow-up om the 65-year-old exotic dancer named Estalla Caledonia. Maybe she inspired this...

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V2gz2_atBgE BILL

Dan Brady said...

That's an interesting theory! I did try and find out something about her but to no avail.

Dan Brady said...

Bill – you are not that far off! It turns out that she was named after the song! Her real name was Estelle Young and she was a contortion dancer. You can read a little about her here if you scroll down a bit to the section entitled "Beginnings."


Dan Brady said...

Much more about Estelle Young here, including a few photos:


Anonymous said...

I found this while I was researching on internet. I was wondering if you have heard of or blogged about: Wood's Social Inn, 1759 Broadway, Lorain, Ohio. (referred to as, one of the most popular night spots west of Cleveland). It was a post about THE FIVE STARS, January 1, 1955. ?


I enjoy reading your blog, thanks,

Dan Brady said...

Hi Jo,
Glad you like the blog and thanks for the link. Although I'd not heard of it before, it sounds like Wood's Social Inn was a pretty popular place. The building is still there, just two doors down from the shuttered Lorain Novelty Company. I'll look it up next time I'm at the library.