ROCK 'N' ROLL IN THE PARK By Jeanne Andersen, From the Re-Echo,
The 1960s saw a proliferation of local bands in the
Minneapolis area, and St. Louis Park was definitely part of
the action. Prominent Park musician David Rivkin played in
several bands, including the Chancellors and Stillroven. He
was also a member of the High Spirits, which had five
members from the Park. (Rivkin’s brother, known as Bobby Z,
was Prince’s drummer in the eighties.)
One of the biggest rock ‘n’ roll events took place in the
Park on Halloween night, 1963. WDGY DJ Bill Diehl promoted a
dance at the Roller Rink featuring the Trashmen. The
Trashmen were a tremendously popular surf band and would
soon release the national hit “Surfin’ Bird.” They were one
of the top bands in the area, and when word got out that
they were playing at the Roller Rink, 2,100 kids showed. The
enthusiastic crowd shattered the building’s glass front, and
the police had to be called to control the crowd. Even at $2
a head, the promoters made buckets of money. It was an
The Beatles came to Minneapolis in 1965, and St. Louis
Park’s Westside VW dealership had a part of the ensuing
Beatlemania. The dealership had a spinning Volkswagen bus on
top of its building, and the owner, Archie Walker, decided
that the bus should have a Beatle wig. The task was given to
Hoigaard’s, which made the oversize wig out of dyed mop
heads. St. Louis Park had its own mop top.
Elvis came to town in 1956, and (almost) nobody showed up.
Mother’s Day, a tornado watch, and probably the fishing
opener were to blame. Similarly, the Rolling Stones played
Danceland at Excelsior Amusement Park in 1964, and the crowd
was sparse and unimpressed, to the point where items from
the farmer’s market were hurled at the surly Brits.
Twin Cities teens were fiercely loyal to their hometown
bands, but national acts apparently left them cold, at least
in that era.
This information comes from a variety of sources: newspapers, books, yearbooks, phone directories, interviews, etc. Given the varied sources, we cannot guarantee that all of this information is correct, and welcome any additions and corrections. Please contact us with your contributions and comments.