On June 3, 1956, just south of San Francisco in the quiet beach side city of Santa Cruz, city authorities announced a city wide ban on rock and roll, calling the music “Detrimental to both the health and morals of our youth and community.”
It began the night before with more than 200 teenagers, gathered at the Santa Cruz Civic Auditorium, listening and dancing to the music of Chuck Higgins and his Orchestra. Just past midnight, as the authorities entered the auditorium to check on the event, Lieutenant Richard Overton became outraged as he noticed the youths “engaged in suggestive, stimulating and tantalizing motions induced by provocative rhythms.”
The ban sparked outrage among the youth with many penning their opinions to the authorities.
“I’m sorry your paper has taken this view of rock-and-roll,” said Arlene Freitas, a local teen who attended the dance. “I disagree with you about the destruction of health and morals of our youth; if anything it helps by eliminating prejudice between the races.”
The ban of rock and roll in Santa Cruz may not have lasted long, but it sparked similar bans that hit Ashbury Park, NJ, and San Antonio, Texas on this day in 1956.
Other Notable Events in Rock History for June 3, 1956:
1964 the Rolling Stones made their U.S. TV debut on “Hollywood Palace” hosted by Dean Martin.
1967 The Doors release ‘Light My Fire’ in the US.
1970 Ray Davies of the Kinks traveled from New York to London to change one word in the song “Lola.” He changed “Coca-Cola” to “cherry cola” because the BBC banned commercial references in songs.
1972 the Rolling Stones began their “Exile on Main Street” tour with Stevie Wonder as the opening act.
1972 Jethro Tull hits #1 in the US with “Thick as a Brick.”
1976 Grateful Dead kick off their first tour in over than a year and a half at the Paramount Theater in Portland, Oregon.
1989 Guns N’ Roses hits #4 with “Patience.”
1995 Bryan Adams started a five week run at No. 1 on the US singles chart with ‘Have You Ever Really Loved A Woman’ from the film ‘Don Juan De Marco’.
2006 Red Hot Chili Peppers were at No. 1 on the UK and US album charts with Stadium Arcadium.