Odes to the Kingdom of Clevelandia

Or, rather, it could be alternately titled, “Odes to and against…” Cleveland is often the butt of jokes as is known too well, but surrounding the Cuyahoga River Fire debacle of the late 1960s, a handful of bands deemed us worthy of their vocalizations, and songs have trickled forward ever since. Here I share with you several of my picks for best songs about /mentioning Cleveland, Ohio.

First up, Cactus, a Long Island “supergroup” declared the “American Led Zeppelin” by Creem Magazine back in the 70s. While short on words, its smooth bluesy sound qualifies”Mean Night in Cleveland City”  as a great makeout song. (I mean, after you play side one of Led Zeppelin IV.)

If you saw The Band as young men of the 1970s transported to 2012, walking down the street today, you’d likely not give a second look…because the guys today look just like them! Beards, corduroy coats, and vests.  “Look out Cleveland” is again fairly simplistic lyrically, but pretty enjoyable, as is most of the music by The Band. Especially on vinyl, for me anyway, childhood, etc.etc. Just listen to the song, ok!

The Band ca. 1967, when they were The Hawks. image from http://www.robbie-robertson.com

Oh, poor Granicus, according to my friend Beth (aka Cuyahoga Jones with the trespassing tickets to prove it) of the super secret history of Clevelandia, they never made it out of Cleveland. But, the legacy remains and you shall listen. Also bonus points for arty cemetery rock band photo. They mention having gone to California and hating coming back to Cleveland. I had the opposite experience. I’ve spent time in Cali and I’m just fine with living in Cleveland. The California part of my life is over. But, I guess Clevo life in the 70s was pretty stinky.

Obviously, this is a gimme and everyone knows it thanks to the Drew Carey Show. Cleveland Rocks by Ian Hunter marks an upswing in the appreciation of our fair city. (and an upswing in permanent wave technology, ugh.) This video is from the famous Agora Ballroom on Euclid Avenue in 1979. Euclid Ave. has certainly changed, but the Agora remains.

Lastly (still with me?), a recent positive appreciation of Cleveland (2011), including mentions of a lot of my favorite spots, and my shop neighbors, Joy Machines bike shop! I Love Cleveland by Seth Hrbek, and Krissie Wells of Krissie Means Business. She knows what is UP.

This song pretty much sums up what is awesome about neighborhood life here, but locals, what are YOUR favorite things about Cleveland, Ohio?

 

 

 

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