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Rock & Roll at Staples High: About

Rock & Roll at Staples

Photos and Artifacts

Image of Concert Ticket for Cream at Staples High (1968)

Concert Ticket for Cream at Staples High (1968): Back in the day, Jimmy Page played at Staples High School. He had just replaced Eric Clapton, when the Yardbirds made their first-ever American appearance in Westport. Clapton made it to the Staples stage a few months later, playing with Cream. It was one more in the now-legendary late-1960s series of concerts here in town. (Woog's 06880)

Photograph of Yardbirds' Guitar Line-up (1966)

Yardbirds' Guitar Line-up (1966) - Photo taken at Staples High School Auditorium on 22 October 1966. (Jimmy Page Official)

Staples High School Auditorium: Hottest Venue in Town

Thanks to the initiative of a couple of students, the Staples High School auditorium was the site of concerts by some of the biggest names in 1960s rock music. Amazingly, in roughly a two-year period – the spring of 1966 to the spring of 1968 – six famous bands later inducted into the Rock Hall of Fame all played at Staples: the Doors, Cream, Sly and the Family Stone, The Young Rascals, The Yardbirds, and The Animals.

It was a unique place and time. Not long thereafter, these immensely popular rock groups were playing to sell-out crowds of approximately 20,000 at Madison Square Garden. The Staples performances left a lasting impression on those students lucky enough to attend, including many inspired to become professional musicians themselves.

In 1965 Staples students Dick Sandhaus and Paul Gambaccini wanted to make their high school days special. And they had a subscription to Billboard magazine. So with the audacity of kids, they pitched the idea of bringing the new cutting edge of popular music to Staples with emerging rock-groups eager to acquire more fans. The Board Of Education and the principal bought it! As long as they could keep the stars to an initial down payment of 750 bucks and ticket prices below $3.

And with that they were off, bringing the Beau Brummels, a California band then climbing the US charts with a single entitled "Laugh Laugh" for the first event. The Staples auditorium was filled to capacity with screaming fans, kicking off what would be a long tradition of big name rock bands appearing there, forty three different bands in all. The British invasion was coming on strong in 1966! The Yardbirds featuring the not yet super-famous rock-guitar gun-slingers Jimmy Page and Jeff Beck landed in Westport, Connecticut, for the group's first appearance in the United States! Continue reading from Concerts Wiki

From the Collection

Link to Connecticut Rock'N'Roll: A History by Tony Renzoni in the catalog
Link to Staples High School: 120 Years of A+ Education by Dan Woog in the catalog
Link to Westport News Database
Link to Stapelite: Staples High School Yearbook (1937 - Present)
Link to Joel Davis Local History Center Resource Guide
Link to Microfilm Collection Resource Guide