Alan Freed Big Beat Window Card 1950’s Buddy Holly, Chuck Berry

An authentic, vintage Alan Freed Big Beat concert poster from April 25, 1958 at the Minneapolis Municipal Auditorium.

This piece of vintage rock ’n’ roll memorabilia is highly collectable due to the fact that it features several members of the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame.

The overall look of this Alan Freed Big Beat poster board is quite popular with music fans and collectors, with its many rows of musicians overwhelming you with the amount of talent on this tour.

Including Freed, this tour featured at least five members of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

Other than the standard black & white colors, this Alan Freed Big Beat show poster uses just two other colors, yellow and red, to create its strong eye appeal.

As I point out in my video, however, some versions were run with dark blue as the background color, not black. They look equally as good.

Most collectors point out that this Alan Freed Big Beat in-person poster has just about everything you’d want in a concert advertisement, with the one exception possibly being several musicians down at the bottom who had very short careers.

If a rock ’n’ roll collector is seeking a Buddy Holly poster, this is one of the few examples they have to seek out; whereas with many more years of performing, it’s much easier to locate old Jerry Lee Lewis or Chuck Berry concert handbills.

One of this item’s strongest designs is that every single musician on this Alan Freed Big Beat billboard has both a picture and at least one song title listed by their name.

That’s not common with such a busy field of acts on a finite amount of space like this, but I’m sure glad they went to that effort. The resulting design is mesmerizing.

It’s interesting to note how this Alan Freed Big Beat concert placard depicts Buddy Holly & The Crickets as two different acts, with a pair of song titles apiece and even separate photographs – with Buddy not part of the Crickets picture!

That’s partly due to the way Coral Records released their 45s in the 1950s. (“That’ll Be the Day,” for example, was credited on the label simply to “The Crickets.”)

Although this Alan Freed Big Beat window poster was manufactured on rigid cardboard, the smaller flyer version – which I’ve also blogged in this space – was just printed on paper.

Remember, both the poster and the flyer were probably printed up for literally every stop along the way on this tour. In the day, it was the best way to get word out about a show.

With such a strong, compelling appearance, it’s too bad that the designer for this Alan Freed Big Beat telephone-pole poster is not known. He or she has never been identified publicly, as best as I know.

But that was common with these so-called “boxing-style concert posters”… the typesetters and design aces never received a modicum of credit, sadly.

This Alan Freed Big Beat tour placard looks pretty big compared to its little sister, the paper handbill, which had dimensions of just 6 by 9 inches.

Thanks to the printer’s credit down in the lower right, we know that this was printed by the Murray Poster Printing Company in New York.

If you were curious about the number of musicians taking part in this show, this Alan Freed Big Beat street poster does the counting for you. That’s because it states, “17 Top Attractions, 4 Great Bands, Cast of 60,” and then on the opposite side, “60 Stars.” All of that entertainment for just $1.75, if you bought the cheapest tickets… wow!

Speaking of ticket prices, did you see their range at the top? They were priced from $1.75 to $3.75. At the least expensive ticket price, with “60 stars” in the show, it came to just 2.5 cents for each musical star! (Of course, many of those “musical stars” were just sidemen & band members.)

This Alan Freed Big Beat cardboard poster is often referred to as a “tour blank”… the primary, colored part of it was used for the whole tour. The white strip up on the top with the concert date, venue and city is what would change from city to city. Everything from Alan Freed Presents the Big Beat All In Person Show on down was the permanent part that never changed.

As a music historian, I can say with confidence that there were six primary “founding fathers” of rock & roll in the ’50s… and it’s wonderful that this features three of them: Chuck Berry, Buddy Holly & the Crickets and “the Killer,” Jerry Lee Lewis. (The other three being Fats Domino, Elvis Presley of course, and Little Richard.)

I just love the way this Alan Freed Big Beat street sign says at the bottom, “Direct from Record Smashing N.Y. Paramount Engagement.” What marketing!

Alan Freed’s term “Big Beat” was used in England by the early ’60s rock groups over there… in fact, there’s even a well-known series of Beatles Big Beat concert posters from 1961-62 that used that very term in big letters on each poster. Wouldn’t it be nice to have a Beatles Operation Big Beat concert poster on your wall right alongside an Alan Freed American Big Beat one?!

This Alan Freed Big Beat concert advertisement is shown off, discussed and appraised by collector Pete Howard (805-540-0020 cell phone or pete@postercentral.com by E). As a big collector of vintage rock ’n’ roll, I pay absolute TOP DOLLAR for 1950s concert memorabilia like this.

If you’d like to see a few other 1950s multi-act tour posters with equally nice colors and layout, just bop onto this page of my internet Web site: http://www.postercentral.com/multi-act_1950s.htm

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