419. Johnny's Bandstand

This Sculpture entitled “Johnny’s Bandstand” depicts musicians performing and couples dancing to the music.

 

Johnny Urban started Johnny’s Bandstand with up-and-coming artists in the mid 1950’s. Crystal Gayle was a great example of Johnny’s foresight. She was booked before her first big hit was released so when her scheduled performance came, she was well known and drew a huge crowd to our little Village.

 

Knowing that his programming would particularly appeal to both young adults – rock and roll music and older adults - country music, he brought in many big-name performers.

 

Rock and roll music was a much newer craze and a number of his guest artists were future Hall of Fame members - Bill Haley, Del Shannon, the Everly Brothers, the Drifters and Buddy Holly and included other star performers the likes of Jack Scott and Chubby Checker.

 

His list of country music stars was equally impressive and featured more Hall of Farmers – Porter Waggoner, Jim Ed Brown and Little Jimmy Dickens. Also in this music genre, were two notable female stars; Crystal Gale who was honored four times as female vocalist of the year and Louise Mandrell who along with her sister Irene, sang with their older sister, “Barbara and the Mandrell Sisters.”

 

 Johnny Urban established a unique relationship link with the producers of American Bandstand. They gave Johnny the names of new talent slated to perform for the first time, to come to Johnny’s first. After their performance at the Bandstands Teen Dance, Johnny would report back to the producers giving them specific crowd reaction as direct feedback.

 

Johnny also successfully invited performers scheduled to be in Idlewild, a music gem for Black artists, to add a stop in Custer while in the area.

 

This amazing venue was the largest in the state and brought top performers to the small Village of Custer and rural people from many miles away. Johnny’s Bandstand put the Village of Custer on the map!