Janis Joplin, Electric Flag, Sweetwater Concert Poster 1968 Santa Barbara, CA

A very unusual 1968 concert poster for Janis Joplin with Big Brother And The Holding Company in Santa Barbara, CA, that ignores Janis and instead shows the poster artist’s girlfriend prominently at the top.

This was a Jim Salzer Presentation, as it says along the bottom of the poster… he was the primary concert promoter for this area north of Los Angeles in the late 1960s.

So not only do you have some random chick adorning this poster, you have the Electric Flag pictured prominently in the middle, with no other mention anywhere of BBHC and future superstar Joplin.

Frank Bettencourt was the graphic artist who created this poster; he was a Salzer regular who did many late-60s concert poster designs for this promoter.

Big Brother was right on the verge of getting national attention, with a Columbia Records showcase two weeks later in New York that garnered rave reviews. The following month, they began recording their masterpiece, Cheap Thrills.

But it’s easy to overlook the headliners and just consider this a 1960’s Electric Flag concert poster, with Barry Goldberg, Michael Bloomfield, Nick Gravenites, Harvey Brooks and Buddy Miles included in the group photo. Even further to this point is the fact that the poster has American flag colors… red, white & blue.

It’s also odd that this poster doesn’t give you a lot of information. The show took place, as usual, at Santa Barbara’s Earl Warren Showgrounds, but all it says is “Earl Warren” below the Electric Flag’s name… how many people must’ve thought that was just another opening act?

And what about tickets? They aren’t mentioned anywhere, including pricing and where you can buy them. Heck, the poster doesn’t even say “In Concert” or “Live” on it anywhere… man, this was one odd duck of a concert poster!

Sweetwater has a nice footnote in rock history… they were the first group to take the stage at Woodstock, 18 months after this concert. They were supposed to open the festival, period, but got delayed, so Ritchie Havens did the honors with just his acoustic guitar. Then Sweetwater followed him.

This vintage item of 1960’s rock music memorabilia is discussed by collector Peter Howard, a resident of the Central California coast. That would be ME – smile – and I can be contacted thru pete@postercentral.com or [805] 540-0020. Please remember that I pay the BEST PRICES, PERIOD for vintage ’60s rock & roll memorabilia.

To see a few more of these nice posters, just head over to this page, also here on my Web site: http://www.postercentral.com/psychedelic.htm

Posted in **All Posters, **Psychedelic Posters Only, *Janis Joplin | Tagged , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Gene Vincent & His Blue Caps Concert Poster 1950s Rock ’n’ Roll

A genuine, original Gene Vincent window card used to promote his concert in Coquille, OR on June 6, 1958.

This “tour blank” poster was designed to be used at many different shows on the tour, with each stop along the way getting their own unique information up in the white area at the top.

Tilghman (pronounced “TILL-man”) designed and printed this Gene Vincent poster board.

Its dimensions are 14 by 22 inches, very much the standard size of the day for these, and it was manufactured on cardboard.

Notice how this Gene Vincent appearance poster promotes only the star, and not any opening acts… zero are mentioned. On tours like this, local groups usually provided the support, changing from city to city.

Tilghman liked this “stand-alone” concept with its concert posters… just the headliner, nobody else listed. Probably very effective, because only the stars sell tickets, not the warm-up groups.

Tilghman used a bright, florescent red color on their Gene Vincent tour poster, very much an attention-grabber.

All they needed to do was add a big splash of that color, and their otherwise B&W presentation became a very colorful affair.

My favorite part of this Gene Vincent billboard is the half-a-dozen song titles given in various willy-nilly fashion… it’s just extremely eye-catching.

Those songs are surrounding Gene’s happy face, presented right smack in the center in “floating-head” style… together, it makes for a fabulous presentation.

And it’s no coincidence that his most famous song, “Be-Bop-A-Lula,” gets the most prominent position on this Gene Vincent window poster – in the upper left, right by his pompadour.

And then Vincent’s only other national Top 20 hit, “Lotta Loving,” is listed directly below that… so the Tilghman lay-out person really had a handle on his biggest hits when designing this.

Another one of the song titles on this Gene Vincent concert placard has quite a misrepresentation… see the title “Bi Bickey Bi”? It’s supposed to be, ““Bee-I-Bickey-Bye, Bo-Bo-Go.” No wonder they shortened it! But they also messed it up in the process.

Directly above that is “Blue Jean Bop,” which was a Top 20 hit over in England two years earlier, but missed the charts altogether in the U.S., surprisingly.

Let’s examine the venue info printed at the top of this Gene Vincent tour placard. I’m talking about the white area that is blank when the poster is first struck, and then filled in with a second, small press run for every date on the tour.

First it starts by saying, “Community Hall – Coquille.” Most people in the world don’t know how Coquille is even pronounced, let alone where it’s located. (It’s “co-KEEL.”) Which really underscores the point that this was a local advertising piece, distributed only within a certain distance from the town. So it would’ve been silly for them to put “Oregon” on there.

Likewise for the date given… “Friday night, June 6.” Remember, this Gene Vincent ticket poster was designed to exist for just a few weeks… so putting the year on there would’ve been asking people to react, “Well, DUH!”

And then it proclaims, “Show and Dance” – not “Concert.” Back in the 1950s, teenagers loved to dance to the early rock ’n’ roll acts, interacting with the opposite sex. It would be another 10 years before most rock show-dances morphed into sit-down concerts, as patrons began listening and studying their rock heroes rather than dance to them.

Finishing off the venue information on this Gene Vincent concert announcement is the simply stated “From 9 p.m. to 1 a.m.” Hey, at least they got the “PM” and “AM” correct… I can’t tell you how many old concert posters I’ve seen that carelessly state things like “from 9 to 1 PM.”

It amounts to a very simple, uncluttered presentation of all the important info that customers needed to know, and nothing more. Trust me, this was very deliberate by Tilghman – you only have people’s attention for a minute.

That being said, it’s a little surprising that this Gene Vincent boxing-style concert poster doesn’t give the ticket price. That’s always a big factor for teenagers, when deciding whether or not to attend something.

Since there was no reserved seating at a dance-oriented show like this, usually there were just two price levels… in advance, and at the door (or day of show). Those price options are given on a million old concert posters like this.

A subtle but fun element of this Gene Vincent street sign is the multitude of musical notes and little stars spread throughout the red area. They’re not what you focus on, but they greatly enhance the piece’s overall visual impact.

This poster design template was used by Tilghman for many other touring acts of the mid-to-late-’50s, and I show you photos of a couple right here in my video. Or, to see a Jerry Lee Lewis specimen using this exact same template, just take a peek at this page right here on my Web site: http://www.postercentral.com/rocknroll.htm

ERRATA: in my video, I accidentally state that Vincent was in the Navy from 1952 to ’58. I should have said from ’52 only until ’55.

This Gene Vincent concert poster is delightfully shown off by Pete Howard of San Luis Obispo, Calif. That’s me, and feel free to email me at pete@postercentral.com or give me a ring at 805.540-0020. And please remember that I will pay TOP DOLLAR IN THE HOBBY for this Vincent poster from any stop along the tour, or any other vintage rock & roll window card. Thank you!

Posted in **All Posters, 1950s Rock ’N' Roll, Boxing-Style Concert Posters | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Acid Test Handbill 1966 Watts / Southern California by Wes Wilson

A fun, collectible Watts Acid Test event flyer for a public LSD party that took place on Feb. 12, 1966.

This particular Acid Test had great notoriety surrounding it, and contributed significantly to the downfall of the series.

This Watts Acid Test handout was printed on bright Day-Glo red paper, surely grabbing everyone’s attention that came within eyeshot of it.

There was also a salmon, or pink, version of this item printed, which I show you in my video blog entry which ran just before this one. Those two are blank in the oval area, whereas this one is filled in.

The first thing about the Watts Acid Test event handbill that jumps out at you is its crazy psychedelic patterns. Credit San Francisco poster artist Wes Wilson with creating that design.

Wilson’s very first Family Dog concert-poster design was only one week behind this event, on February 19. He would go on to design a whole slew of important S.F. concert posters throughout ’66.

This particular Watts Acid Test flier has been cut down to size, probably to fit into a window box or frame. You can see its original size in that separate video blog that I just referred to.

The details for this event are supplied down in the venue-information oval in the lower-left area. Interestingly, they just cut the four lines out of a publication, most likely the L.A. Free Press.

For many collectors, especially rock fans, the strong point of the Watts Acid Test slinger is the presence of the Grateful Dead. That makes this a nice, early Dead concert piece.

Among the other entertainers listed are The Merry Pranksters (naturally), the esteemed Neal Cassady, Acid Test veteran Roy’s Audioptics, “The Bus” (the Pranksters’ Further bus), “many noted outlaws” and “the unexpectable.” Sounds intriguing!

Historically, this event is sometimes known as the “Who Cares Test,” because the LSD was extra strong, one woman in particular freaked out, and “Who cares?” was repetitively chanted over the PA system for much of the night.

The little informational paragraph in the lower left corner of this Watts Acid Test herald states, “ACID TEST (to integrate Watts).

“Ken Kesey’s bunch (without Kesey) at 13331 South Alameda, 8 PM. $1 admission.”

And then, weirdly, “(See article on Page 10 this issue).” Obviously meaning that it’s source was a publication of some kind.

What’s weird is that this Acid Test event didn’t take place in Watts at all… it was held at the Youth Opportunities Center in Compton, right next to Watts.

This Watts Acid Test showbill is examined and lectured upon in this video by veteran collector Pete Howard, who can be reached by either 805-540.0020 or pete@postercentral.com. That’s me, and I will pay the BEST PRICES, PERIOD for any early Acid Test advertising materials like this. Thanks very much.

Posted in **Psychedelic Posters Only, *Grateful Dead, Handbills & Flyers | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Can You Pass The Acid Test? Flyer 1966 So. California – Merry Pranksters etc.

An original, genuine Can You Pass the Acid Test? leaflet produced in early 1966 to advertise LSD-themed events around Southern California in February and March of 1966.

I show you both the pink & blue and the blinding fluorescent red versions of this handbill, the only two colors known to exist.

The information given at the top of the Can You Pass the Acid Test? herald reads like this:

The Merry Pranksters and their Psychedelic Symphony,

Neal Cassady vs. Ann Murphy vaudeville,

the Grateful Dead rock ’n roll,

Roy’s Audioptics,


Ron Boise and his Electric Thunder Sculpture,


ecstatic dress,

many noted outlaws,

and the unexpectable.

Legendary psychedelic poster artist Wes Wilson drew up this Can You Pass the Acid Test? show bill. Wilson’s best known for designing 45 out of the first 50 Bill Graham concert posters in San Francisco.

Its mesmerizing, trance-inducing design was obviously meant to convey some of the visual effects created by LSD, which was still largely unheard of by the general public, and still very legal.

You might have noticed the blank rectangular oval in the bottom left of this Can You Pass the Acid Test? slinger. That’s where each event’s specific information would be written in; this advertising “blank” was intended to be used for several different happenings.

There were about five or six Acid Tests in Southern California in Feb.-Mar. 1966, so theoretically, at least one of these small Acid Test posters was filled in and distributed for all of them. Theoretically.

So there may very well be a Unitarian Church Acid Test flyer dated Feb. 6, 1966, from Paul Sawyer’s Unitarian-Universalist church in Northridge, CA. It could be either the florescent red or the pink, both of which I show you in this vid.

That was the very first L.A.-area Acid Test, and was pretty far out of the way – Northridge was clear out in the San Fernando Valley, a significant distance from the hip parts of town.

For the second L.A. Acid Test – in Compton but called the Watts Acid Test – the Day-Glo version of this beauty was definitely used. My friend has one, and I will be posting that video blog within days of this one.

A little bit more of a challenge would be a Unicorn Theater – La Jolla Acid Test handbill with this design, because they’ve been seen before. The Day-Glo red ones were used; I don’t know about the pink ones.

In fact, there’s very little known about the La Jolla Acid Test at all; it was very low-key and undocumented. If you know anyone who happened to attend, please let me know!

This Wes Wilson creation could have also been turned into a La Cinema Theater / Hollywood Acid Test flyer-poster, carrying a date of February 25, 1966. But just like with La Jolla, very little is known about this gathering… can anyone shed some light for me?

I often cover “tour blank” concert posters here in my video blog, but this is an interesting spin on that… it’s like a “tour blank handbill.” But it appears the oblong oval box was always filled in by hand, not by a printing machine. Which means this item was probably meant for posting only… who’s gonna sit down and hand-fill-out hundreds of these?

Then there’s the possibility that this item wound up as a Carthay Studios Acid Test handbill, except other, very different handwritten flyers for this event have landed in peoples’ collections.

This (Carthay) is the Acid Test notorious for being moved at the last minute from the UCLA campus. College officials there were worried after hearing crazy stories about the Watts Acid Test.

And last but not least, there’s a good chance that a Los Angeles Trouper’s Hall-Harmonica Store Acid Test flyer, with the date of March 25, 1966, exists carrying this crazy Wes Wilson design.

The Grateful Dead played at all of these Southern California Acid Tests, and on this occasion, there’s a great photo of them on stage in one of the coffee-table books.

This Can You Pass the Acid Test? flyer is enthusiastically delved into by Peter Howard, and yes, that’s me writing this, too. I can be emailed at pete@postercentral.com or called up on (805) 540-0020. And please be aware that I pay the VERY BEST PRICES, ANYWHERE for any of this original Acid Test advertising.

I don’t have any other psychedelic flyers & handbills to show you, but to see a few very nice psych posters from the same era, please just switch over to this page right here on my site: http://www.postercentral.com/psychedelic.htm

Posted in **Psychedelic Posters Only, *Grateful Dead, Handbills & Flyers | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Led Zeppelin Concert Handbill 1969 Tour – First Use of Zeppelin Image?

A fun, original Led Zeppelin concert flier advertising the group’s shows on May 2 and 3, 1969, at The Rose Palace in Pasadena, CA.

As I emphasize in my video, to the best of my knowledge, this is the first Zeppelin concert posting piece (poster, handbill or flyer) which played off the band’s name by actually using a dirigible in the graphics.

That’s quite a feather in the cap for this particular Led Zeppelin leaflet. But it only holds true for the U.S. I did not survey all of their posters and flyers from territories outside of North America to see if a flying airship was used overseas before May 1969.

All through 1969, the band would usually use a standard publicity photo in most of their advertising. That’s what sets this Led Zeppelin herald apart… it was bold enough to play off the group’s funny name.

For the rest of the year, you’d see occasional posters and such that weakly tried to show off zeppelins and dirigibles, but it wasn’t until 1970 that the theme really got rolling.

Opening for Zep was Julie Driscoll, Brian Auger and the Trinity, getting placement here almost as prominent as the headliner. Their first LP, Jools & Brian, entered Billboard magazine’s album chart the very next week.

I love the appearance of this Led Zeppelin flyer, with its autumn colors of brown and orange. That really sets it apart from all the typical black & red lettering that was more typically used.

Its dimensions are 5 5/8” wide by 8 3/4” tall, and it was printed on thin paper stock. No larger poster was made to advertise these shows; this is it.

The promoter of these two shows, Scenic Sounds, is listed right across the top of this Led Zeppelin handout. I don’t know if they were the Rose Palace’s in-house promoter, or an independent firm.

These shows took place during Zeppelin’s spring 1969 American tour, their second trek of the States. At this point, their debut LP had been out for nearly four months.

This small Led Zeppelin show bill was used to sell tickets for a rather lengthy event… five hours worth! Under the date it states, “8:00 [PM} to 1:00 [AM}.” Perhaps both acts delivered two full sets.

And there was still another hour of entertainment in store for those who wanted to show up early and catch a movie, as proclaimed here in the upper left area.

That dirigible you see in the middle of this Led Zeppelin concert slinger was a rigid British airship circa 1919, from England’s Royal Air Force.

It looks nothing like the dirigibles Zeppelin would start using in their marketing and advertising going forward… they preferred shorter, fatter blimps.

This piece of collectible Led Zeppelin concert memorabilia is chatted up by collector Pete Howard. ’Tis me, and I can be phoned at (805) 540-0020, or e-mailed at pete@postercentral.com. Please remember that I pay the VERY BEST PRICES, PERIOD, for really early Led Zeppelin concert collectables… posters, handbills, flyers and tickets.

To see some other fun concert flyers from throughout music history, just click over to this adjoining page here on my Web site: http://www.postercentral.com/handbillsandflyers.htm

Posted in *Led Zeppelin, Handbills & Flyers | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment