Wildwood: The Birthplace of Rock 'n Roll?
From '50s legend Bill Haley launching his hit single "Rock Around the Clock" from the stage of the Hof Brau Hotel in 1954 and Chubby Checker introducing his hit "The Twist" at the Rainbow Club in 1960, the five-mile island of the Wildwoods has a rich history of rock 'n roll. American Bandstand also made summertime appearances in Wildwood, first in 1956 by its founder, Philadelphia radio disc jockey, Bob Horn and in 1957 by the man who turned the show into a nationwide craze, Dick Clark, as it aired live from the Wildwood's Starlight Ballroom on national television.
Although the Starlight Ballroom and others are now legends of the past, the Wildwoods have several restaurants, bars and pubs that still host live rock n' roll entertainment weekly like Blue Water Grille, Boardwalk Bar and Grill or Casey's on 3rd to name a few. The Wildwoods are well-known for two fantastic Rock n' Roll musical events during the year - the Fabulous '50s Celebration and the Sensational Spring Concert Weekend. Each event features free festivals throughout the day with live music, food and entertainment. Past headliners include Chubby Checker; The Golden Boys - Frankie Avalon, Fabian and Bobby Rydell to name a few.
The tradition of hit music continues in the Wildwoods today with free live music and entertainment almost every night of the week throughout the summer season at three outdoor amphitheaters with performances by '50s and '60s music legends like The Dovells The Platters, Billy Joel, Jimmy Buffet and Beatles tribute bands,country, doo-wop and Motown performers.
While Wildwood certainly established its reputation for hosting headline rock and roll performers, other venues around the state have also been successful including the world-renowned Stone Pony in Asbury Park, which opened in 1974. Among the dozens of top performers to play at the Stone Pony were Bruce Springsteen, Southside Johnny, Asbury Juke, Ronnie Spector, Clarence Clemons and more.