“Jerry Blavat is as ‘Philadelphia’ as the cheesesteak,” said Governor Edward G. Rendell. “He has been the heart and soul of the Philadelphia music scene for five decades.”
A venerable Philadelphia institution better known as “Boss with the Hot Sauce” and “Geator with the Heater,” Jerry Blavat presents a star-studded line-up showcasing the best of Rock & Roll from the late 50s through the 70s on Saturday, January 28, 2012 at 8pm in Verizon Hall. Special guests return to the stage to perform feel-good hits including the venerable Rock and Roll Hall of Fame alumnus Ben E. King, Shirley Alston Reeves of the famed Shirelles, “Time After Time” chart-topping crooner Chris Montez, internationally renowned balladeer Lenny Welch, Philadelphia native and 2011 Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductee Darlene Love & The Honeycombs, and Philly-based disco group The Trammps.
Tickets for Jerry Blavat are available at $41 to $81, and can be purchased by calling 215-893-1999 on Broad and Spruce streets, Philadelphia, Pa. (open daily from 10am to 6pm, later on performance evenings).
South Philly-bred Jerry Blavat influenced a generation of doo wop fans with his on air DJ talents in the 1950’s and 60s. He was the first DJ to play hits such as “Sherry” by the Four Seasons and “Twist and Shout” by the Isley Brothers on airin Philadelphia. Beginning in March 1965, Blavat produced and hosted the “Discophonic Scene” on WCAU-TV 10, featuring only live performances, including the Supremes’ only Philadelphia television appearance.
Blavat’s iconic TV personality continued to charge the social scene with live performances in 1967 with WIFL-TV 6 daily show “Jerry’s Place” eventually syndicated coast-to-coast in 42 markets, as well as “On the Air with the Geator” in 1992, and “Backstage with Jerry Blavat” in 1997. In 1998, he was one of the radio greats inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame. Since then, Blavat has appeared on the PBS fundraising events “Doo Wop 50” and “Doo Wop 51.”
Today Geator Gold Radio is heard over WVLT 92.1 FM. On Saturdays, you can hear the Geator’s Rock & Roll, Rhythm & Blues Express on public radio WXPN 88.5 FM in Philadelphia & South Jersey. The show is simulcast over 104.9 in the Lehigh Valley, 88.1 WXPH in Harrisburg and 90.5 in Baltimore. The wildest aspects of his patter and performance have mellowed since the early days of the Chez Vous and Wagners, but they retain the distinctive Geator character. Jerry Blavat was one of the radio greats honored by the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in April, 1998. The year 2009 marked his 50th Anniversary in show business and Blavat was recognized by Congress and the Mayor of Philadelphia.
American soul-singer-songwriter-producer Ben E. King possesses one of the most elegant baritone voices ever. The Rock & Roll Hall of Fame alumnus’ imprint on the musical landscape is so indelible that an optimum barometer has been set for countless aspiring performers. From a youngster in Harlem to an embraceable solo artist, Ben E. King’s contributions to the pop music spectrum are incalculable as he is known for numerous Billboard hits, including the classic “Stand By Me” produced in 1961.
Philadelphia-based supergroup The Trammps are one of the first disco bands. Their Grammy-Award winning “Disco Inferno” single in 1976 was featured on the Saturday Night Fever movie soundtrack in 1977, and reached number 11 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart in 1978. “Disco Inferno” has been popularly canonized by artists such as Tina Turner and Cyndi Lauper. Their first major successful album was Zing! Went the Strings of My Heart in 1972. Other hits include “Hold Back the Night” (1975) and “That’s Where the Happy People Go” (1976).
Chris Montez was born in Los Angeles and was influenced by his Hispanic culture and the rock ‘n roll success of Richie Valens, pioneering the Chicano rhythm & blues in the 1950s and 60s. In 1962, Montez’s single, “Let’s Dance” hit the top 10 and his career skyrocketed. He toured with Clyde McPhatter, Sam Cooke, The Platters, and Smokey Robinson. In 1963, while in Liverpool with Tommy Roe, his opening act was a new English group, The Beatles; and in 1965, Montez released a string of hits “The More I See You,” “There Will Never Be Another You,” “Call Me,” and “Time After Time,” cementing his hold as part of America’s musical heritage.
Darlene Love recently joined Neil Diamond, the Alice Cooper Band, and Tom Waits as part of the 2011 class of Rock And Roll Hall of Fame inductees. Darlene Love and The Honeycombs, the signature 1960s all-female vocal group, could be heard with Through The Blossoms, The Crystals, Bob B. Soxx & The Blue Jeans, and as background for the likes of Sam Cooke, Cher, Aretha Franklin, and countless other lead singers. Over the years, Darlene Love also appeared as back-up vocalist with Nancy Sinatra, Elvis Presley, Bobby Darin, Bill Medley, and Dionne Warwick. After receiving a well-deserved nod from the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, Love recently performed at Madison Square Garden with Bruce Springsteen and is now performing abroad as the lead in FAME while a movie is going to be made about her incredible life.
Lenny Welch’s recording of “Since I Fell For You” on the Cadence Label in 1964 became one of the nation’s biggest records, selling over one million copies, and has been featured in several motion picture and television shows. His other hits include “You Don’t Know Me,” “Ebb Tide,” “Breaking Up Is Hard To Do” and “Two Different Worlds.” Performing throughout Europe, South America, the Virgin Islands, and the United States, Welch’s unique style and sound have made him one of the nation’s most respected singers.
Co-founder of The Shirelles in high school, lead vocalist Shirley Alston Reeves and The Shirelles were discovered and recorded after performing in an auditorium program. Their very first single, “I Met Him on A Sunday,” which the group also wrote, was an instant success. Bridging doo wop and uptown New York pop-soul, the group projected a beguiling mixture of tenderness and innocence that was grounded in R&B as much as pop and rock.
The Shirelles soon became known throughout the world when they placed six singles in the Billboard Top 10 including classics, “Sha La La” covered by Manfred Mann, “Baby, It’s You” and “Boys,” both covered by The Beatles, and “Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow,” featured in the colossal hit movie Dirty Dancing.