Music in San Francisco (History)
Created by city officials in the 1880s to alleviate downtown overcrowding, The Fillmore was changed forever by the earthquake and fire of April 1906 . Spared the damage that hit San Francisco’s areas of commerce, the neighborhood was quickly remade into the city’s civic and retail center.
As political life returned to the Civic Center once the area was rebuilt, The Fillmore filled the void by increasing its notoriety as the place to go for entertainment in San Francisco. It was during this time that many of the theaters, dance halls and buildings that housed nightclubs were built, including The Fillmore Auditorium (known at that time as the Majestic Ballroom) in 1911. The National, built at Steiner and Post, regularly featured the young Al Jolson, who sang there for $60 a week. The neighborhood even got its own amusement park – The Fillmore Chutes – as well as Acme Brewery , the area’s source for beer on Fulton Street, which today houses the African American Cultural Center.
In the early 1940's the Fillmore began to develop a reputation for being home to some of the world’s best jazz musicians as well as some of the most popular jazz clubs in San Francisco. The Black Hawk, the Bird Cage, Wesley Johnson’s Texas Playhouse, the Blue Mirror, Jack’s of Sutter, and Jimbo’s Bop City were home to or frequently hosted a variety of notable, top-notch, greatly celebrated jazz musicians of the day. Ella Fitzgerald , Louis Armstrong , Billie Holiday , Miles Davis , John Coltrane – all of these artists could be found at one time or another working at or just visiting these exciting venues.
San Francisco is most well known for being the epicenter of the counter culture movement in the 60's. During this time, musical influences came in from not only London and Liverpool, but also the bi-coastal American folk music revival of the 1950s and 1960s, the Chicago electric blues scene, the soul music scenes in Detroit,Memphis, and Muscle Shoals, jazz styles of various eras and regions, and more.
San Francisco in Music
San Francisco is referenced in a huge number of popular songs. The most famous is probably the Tony Bennet cover of I Left my Heart in San Francisco. That is not the only mention though, check out SF_in_Song.
Here's the San Franisco Examiner's view of the Top 10 songs about San Francisco.
San Francisco and Bay Area Bands
San Francisco and the Bay Area is home to thousands of artists, musicians and bands. Here are links to a number of sites that have catogorized San-Francisco-based music in many interesting fashions:
- San Francisco Sound (Wikipedia)j San Francisco Sound refers to rock music performed live and recorded by San Francisco-based rock groups of the mid 1960s to early 1970s. It was associated with the counterculture community in San Francisco during these years.
- Local San Francisco Bands (SFstation) Alphabetical listing of hundreds of local bands.
- Top 100 Bands of All Time (San Francisco Chronical) Chosen by the San Francisco Chronical's Pop Music Staff in 1999).
- Best San Francisco Bands of 2011 (CBS) List of the best bands of 2011 from local CBS channel 5 in San Francisco).
San Francisco and Bay Area Music Venues
San Francisco and the Bay Area is home to hundreds of great music venues. Here are a number of lists to the best: