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Minneapolis Music History Project

Report

Music History Report Image 

After a public engagement process and guidance from a prominent steering committee, the Minneapolis Music History, 1850-2000 report is now complete! Learn about the places, musical genres, and musicians that help to tell the story of music in Minneapolis. From underground bands to internationally known artists, music has been a critical part of the city’s history and culture. The report is intended to be a starting point and may be amended as more information is discovered. In addition, the report will help to guide which Minneapolis properties might eventually achieve designation as historic landmarks for their role related to music history. 

Map of Known Music Related Sites

 

Artist of the Week Archive

During the course of the project, the project web page featured Minneapolis artists and links to a song from each artist. The following is an archive of featured artists.



Uptown by Prince was recorded on his third album, Dirty Mind. The song includes lyrics describing the neighborhood where he would later open a store called New Power Generation.  



Vocal Essence is a choral organization founded in Minneapolis in 1969. The group engages people of all ages and cultures through innovative, enticing choral music programming. Read more and see upcoming concerts.



The Suicide Commandos are a punk rock trio from Minneapolis who formed in 1975 and are still rocking music venues in the city to this day. They are considered the pioneering punk rock band in the Twin Cities, predating groups such as the Suburbs, Husker Du, The Replacements, and Soul Asylum. The music video to their 1977 song “Burn it Down” was shot in front of their former rehearsal space, the Utopia House, in Minnetonka. Watch the video and read more in a 2015 Star Tribune article
 



Koerner, Ray & Glover were instrumental folk and blues artists who helped shape the West Bank music scene. Spider John Koerner, Dave Ray, and Tony Glover each had successful solo careers, but came together on occasion to perform and record albums such as Blues, Rags and Hollers



The Valdons were one of the most popular Twin Cities funk and soul bands of the late 1960s and early 1970s. The group was instrumental in developing the musical environment that would lead to the Minneapolis Sound. They changed their name to the Philadelphia Story when they moved to New York in the mid-1970s.


 



Ipso Facto is a Minneapolis-based reggae/funk/jazz band that has played for audiences around the world. The rock-style reggae band was formed in 1986 by three brothers: Wain, Juju, and Greg McFarlane.

The Trashmen were a local garage rock band formed in 1962. They released their biggest hit “Surfin’ Bird” in 1963 which reached number 4 on the Billboard Hot 100. The song was recorded at Kay Bank studio on Nicollet Avenue.

The Jets are a family band from Minneapolis who started performing together in 1977. The original band consisted of the 8 oldest children of Maikeli and Vake Wolfgramm. They had several Billboard Hot 100 hits and 8 top 10 singles including “Crush on You” in 1986 which peaked at number 3.

While its common knowledge Bob Dylan got his musical start in Minneapolis while attending the University of Minnesota, many do not know that he returned to the city to re-record several songs for his Blood on the Tracks album at Sound 80 in 1974.

Babes in Toyland is a punk rock band formed in Minneapolis in 1987. They sharpened their abrasive, angry sound and released their first album in 1990 on local Twin/Tone Records. The group disbanded in 2001 after releasing three full-length albums and a number of singles and EPs, but reunited in 2014. You can still find them playing shows at local venues including First Avenue.

The Minnesota Orchestra has been playing in Minneapolis since November 1903, back when they were the Minneapolis Symphony Orchestra. Their first conductor was Emil Oberhoffer who fine-tuned the group into the 8th major orchestra in the United States at the time. They performed at The Auditorium at their inception and the Northrup Auditorium beginning in 1930, but their first permanent home was and continues to be Orchestra Hall, dedicated on October 21, 1974.

The Castaways, a rock band from the Twin Cities, recorded their famous hit “Liar, Liar” at the Kay Banks studio located at 2541 Nicollet Avenue. The song reached number 12 on the Billboard Hot 100 in 1965. The song was used in several movies including Good Morning Vietnam.

Hϋsker Dϋ got their start in St. Paul in 1979 with members Bob Mould, Greg Norton, and Grant Hart. By the 1980s they were performing regularly in Minneapolis, with frequent gigs at Jay’s Longhorn and the 7th Street Entry. They are among the most influential bands to emerge from ‘80s underground punk scene.

Tetes Noires was one of the first all-female rock bands in the country when they were formed in Minneapolis in 1982. Their first show was in 1983 at the Pride Festival in Loring Park. They also played at the Walker Art Center, First Avenue, and other notable venues around the country such as CBGB.

 Rapper Slug (Sean Daley) and DJ/producer Ant (Anthony Davis) make up Atmosphere, an American hip hop duo from Minneapolis formed in 1989. Over the years they have released eight studio albums and ten extended plays, most produced by Ant himself. In 1995, the two along with Sab (Musab Saad) and Saddiq (Brent Sayers) formed Rhymesayers Entertainment, an independent hip hop record label in Minneapolis. In 2008 the label began hosting the Soundset Music Festival in Minneapolis which takes place over Memorial Day weekend every year.

The activity that is the subject of this Minneapolis Music History project has been financed in part with Federal funds from the National Park Service, U.S. Department of the Interior. However, the contents and opinions do not necessarily reflect the views or policies of the Department of the Interior, not does the mention of trade names or commercial products constitute endorsement or recommendation by the Department of the Interior.    

Images

Various images from the City’s music history.

Artists Quarters
Artists Quarters

Band At Wheatley Center
Band At Wheatley Center

Foster and Waldo's Pianos
Foster and Waldo's Pianos

 Gateway Park
Gateway Park

 Guthrie Theater
Guthrie Theater

 Marigold Ballroom
Marigold Ballroom

 Minneapolis Auditorium
Minneapolis Auditorium

 New Riverside Cafe
New Riverside Cafe

 Orchestra
Orchestra

 Orpheum Theater
Orpheum Theater

 Sound 80 Construction
Sound 80 Construction

 Terminal Bar
Terminal Bar

Dahl Violin Shop
Dahl Violin Shop

Minneapolis Story
Minneapolis Story

 

Twin Cities PBS in conjunction with The Lowertown Line produced several short videos related to music in Minnesota. Check out some of the videos related to Minneapolis below:

Process

 The following events were held to inform people of the project and solicit input:
  • February 18, 2018: VocalEssence WITNESS: Of Such I Dream Concert (2:30 pm to 4:30 pm at Orchestra Hall 1111 Nicollet Mall)
  • March 20, 2018: Capri Theater Tour and Engagement Event (6 pm to 8 pm at Capri Theater 2027 West Broadway)
  • March 29, 2018: Happy Hour at Inbound Brewery (4:30 pm to 6:30pm at Inbound Brewery 701 N 5th Street)
  • September 18, 2018: (4 pm to 8 pm at the Mill City Farmers Market at the Commons-425 Portland Avenue South)
      

 

Last updated Jan 4, 2019

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