The Nebraska Rock and Roll Hall of

Fame was formed in 1995 to honor Nebraska

based Rock and Roll musicians that have

made a contribution and impact, through

recordings and personal appearances...as

their part of midwest, national and

international Rock and Roll history.

Early induction ceramonies and

concerts featuring members of the original

bands were and continue to be held in

Norfolk, Nebraska (USA). Norfolk, a town

of 22,000 population was the early "hot-bed"

of not only Nebraska Rock and Roll but the

entire midwest. As early as 1956, there

were several organized and active Rock

and Roll bands calling Norfolk their home

base. There was as much or more live rock

activity generated out of Norfolk and

Northeast Nebraska than found in

Nebraska's metro areas, Omaha and Lincoln,

located over 100 miles to the south.

Early bands included Don Sohl and

the Roadrunners, Ron Thompson and the

Broughams (with Dick Allison), Little Joe

and the Ramrods, The Classics, The

Strollers and The Drifters.

These Norfolk bands called the

legendary "Kings Ballroom" their home base

and played to sell-out crowds of over 1000

weekly at teen dances. Kings Ballroom

previously featured touring Big Bands like

Lawrence Welk (from nearby South Dakota

originally), Tommy and Jimmy Dorsey, Glen

Miller, Artie Shaw, Woody Herman and the

Thundering Herd, The Six Fat Dutchmen,

Frankie Yankovic and many others.

However, with the birth of Rock and

Roll in the mid-1950's and the decline of the

big bands...local and national rock groups

took over the ballroom circuit. In addition

to Kings Ballroom in Norfolk, other major

ballrooms in the area included Pla-Mor

(Lincoln),The Val-Aire (Des Moines), The Surf

(Clear Lake), and The Roof Garden (Lake Okoboji)

all in Iowa, The Oak Ballroom (Schuyler),

Howells Ballroom (Howells), The Starlite

(Wahoo) and the Arlington Ballroom (Arlington)

all in Nebraska.

In addition to the popular Norfolk bands,

Kings Ballroom and many others throughout the

midwest regularly featured national recording

groups such as Johnny & The Hurricanes, Buddy

Knox and the Rhythm Orchids, Bobby Vee and the

Shadows, Bill Blacks Combo, Del Shannon, Tommy

Roe, Rufus Thomas, Dickie Lee and many others.

About the same time...Omaha rock

bands were forming. Some of the early groups

and individual acts included The Rock-A-Bops,

Carl Cherry and the Cherry Flips, Lou and

Red Berry and the Bel-Raves, Vince Emmannuel

and the Premiers, Luther and the Night

Riders, Sparkle Moore ("a female Elvis"),

and Bobby Williams and the Royal Flairs.

In Norfolk, Don Sohl and the

Roadrunners, Ron Thompson and the Broughams,

and Little Joe and the Ramrods all released

now classic and hard to find 45's on the

Soma Record label and Studio City Record

lable both from Minnesota. Sohl and

Thompson also released singles on the Dreem

Record label from Norfolk and later from Omaha.

Dennis Volk, a "Jerry Lee Lewis

clone" released a fine rock-a-billy 45 on

Flame Records from New York. Flame was a

subsidiary of Fury Records best known for

Wilbert Harrison's "Kansas City". Volk

was a flashy entertainer, proficient at both

vocals and keyboard..and played in both

the Roadrunners and Broughams.

The Flame 45 "Dennis Boogie/You

Are The One" is one of the finest early

rock records to come out of the midwest.

Lou Berry and the Bel-Raves released

their legendary "Hot Rod/What A Dolly"

initially on Dreem Records and later on

20th Century Fox.

Sparkle Moore, dressed in leathers,

short Presley-like greased back hair and all..

released several 45's, including "Skull

and Crossbones" on Fraturnity Records..

before leaving the rock scene to

become a housewife.

Sohl took his Roadrunners,

including Dennis Volk's still in high

school younger brother Roger Volk on drums,

to New York in the early 1960's. They

performed at the Metropol and Peppermint

Lounge on Broadway, trading sets with

Mitch Ryder (in his pre-Detroit Wheels

days) and jazz legend Gene Krupa.

In the mid 1960's, Norfolk

band, Little Joe and the Ramrods united

with The Strollers to form The Smoke

Ring. This brought together brothers

Little Joe Hupp, Nick "Red" Hupp, and

Bob "Tunda" Hupp...for the first time

in a band. This group evolved from

a pure guitar/bass/keys/drums format

to an 8-piece Rhythm and Blues Horn

Show Band...ala The Fabulous

Flippers and The Red Dogs from Kansas

to the south and The Magnificent Men

from Pennsylvania.

The Smoke Ring increased

their midwest following by hiring 60's

pop and blues stars and backing them

at the ballrooms in a 5-state area.

These included Dickie Lee and Rufus

Thomas (both from Memphis, TN and Sun

Records veterans), Bobby Vee, Tommy Roe,

The Everly Brothers and The Shangri-Las.

Their performances with Dickie

Lee took them to Memphis at Sam Phillips

Recording Studio (Sun Records) to record

"That Girl Was My Girl One Time" released

on MALA Records. The record sold well

regionally but failed to chart nationally.

Going back to Memphis in 1968,

The Smoke Ring recorded again with Dickie

Lee producing, assisted by Allen Reynolds,

Knox Phillips, and Sam Kesler. Dickie

Lee had charted on Smash Records with

"Patches" and "I Saw Linda Yesterday"

and knew his way around the studio along

with Knox Phillips. Knox's father, Sam

Phillips founded Sun Records in the

early 1950's, initially recording blues

and country music..but of course, is best

known for his discovery and recordings

of Elvis Presley, Roy Orbison, Carl

Perkins, Johnny Cash, Charlie Rich,

Billy Justice, and other founding

fathers of Rock and Roll.

Allen Reynolds (then a banker)

later perfomed with Lee as "The Jones

Boys", had several releases on RCA and

is now a well known producer in

Nashville, TN..presently handling the

recordings of Garth Brooks.

Sam Kesler was an early Sun

Records session player (steel guitar and

bass) who also wrote several early Sun

Records tunes for Elvis Presley. He

also discovered "Sam the Sham" of

"Wooley Bully" fame.

Playing on the Smoke Ring

sessions were Bobby Wood ("J. Frank

Wilson and the Cavaliers"), Grammy Award

winning song-writer Bob McDill and Stax

Horn players, Andrew Love and Wayne


The producers moved The Smoke

Ring away from their RB roots and

recorded an album of "Easy Listening"

covers and originals. The first single

release, a remake of an early 50's

Four Lads tune "No Not Much" was

released initially on Goldust Records,

and later leased to Buddah Records.

"No Not Much" climbed the charts and

eventually hit #1 in a number of

regional markets, and charted on

Billboard, Record World and Cash Box.

They appeared on Dick Clark's

American Bandstand in Los Angeles in 1969,

sharing the bill with Tommy Roe. Also

present at the taping were The Ventures,

Soloman Burke, Dee-Dee Warwick, Sajid

Khan, The Grassroots and The Guess Who.

A second Buddah release "Portrait

of My Love" sold reasonably well but did

not chart.

The bands listed above have all

appeared at "Nebraska Rocks" shows in

Norfolk, NE annually for sold out

crowds since 1995.

The Nebraska Rock and Roll Hall

of Fame founder is Jim Casey from

Nashville, TN. Casey, originally from

Norfolk, Ne has played in midwest bands

such as The Classics, The Strollers,

Little Joe and the Ramrods and The Smoke

Ring. A proficient song writer, Casey

has penned tunes released by The Oak

Ridge Boys, Bluesman Albert Collins,

Bobby Bare and many others.

The "Nebraska Rocks" Shows were

expanded to Lincoln, Nebraska in 1997

featuring The Coachmen ("Professor

Morrison's Lollipop), The Chancellors and

The Smoke Ring..again to an over capacity


The Coachmen..possibly the most

popular pure rock band to come out of

Nebraska in the 1960's...along with The

Rumbles..were originally from Lincoln,

moving later to Omaha. They released "Mr

Moon" on both MMC Records and Bear

Records. They toured the country to sold

out crowds and shared the stage with

major rock artists. Later changing their

name to Professor Morrison's Lollipop,

they charted on White Whale Records with

"You Got the Love" and "Angela" in 1968-69.

The Chancellors were a premier

midwest soul band originally from David

City Nebraska later moving to the

University of Nebraska in Lincoln. One of

their lead singers, Max Carl Gronenthal

later played in the Fabulous Flippers, with

Sioux City, Iowa's Tommy Bolin in Colorado,

LA's Jack Mack and the Heart Attack and

38-Special. Gronenthal penned and sang

38-Specials only #1 Hit..."Second Chance".

Now known as Max Carl he performs with

his "Big Dance" out of Nashville. Max

Carl Gronenthal started his music career

playing with another Nebraska Rock and

Roll Hall of Fame Band, The New Breed

from Norfolk.

The Drifters, also from

Norfolk (and Hall of Fame inductees)

are best known for their on stage

antics and their scarce and highly

collectible 45 "40 Days/Let's Have

a Party" and it's two picture

sleeves showing the band.

The Nebraska Rock and Roll

Hall of Fame shows on July 17-18, 1998

were complete successes. Both sold out,

crowds of 600-700 fans rocked to the

sounds of Don Sohl and the

Roadrunners, The Smoke Ring,

The Dynamic Drifters, The Strollers,

New Hall of Fame inductees, The Classics,

and special guest, Jerry Phillips, son

of legendary founder of Sun Records, Sam

Phillips. From Memphis Tennessee, Phillips

will perform in Nebraska for the first time,

performing his hit record, "Cadillac Man"

("The Jesters" - Sun Records #400 - 1966)

and other rockers.

The second series of "Nebraska Rocks"

shows for 1998 will be held on August 28,

1998 at Ak-Sar-Ben in Omaha, Ne, and on

August 29, 1998 at the Royal Grove in

Lincoln, Ne

Appearing at both the Lincoln and

Omaha shows will be The Smoke Ring, Preston

Love and his band (Omaha only), The Chevrons, and the Modds.

Also to be honored by induction into the Hall

of Fame will be the late Wynonie Harris,

the late Ron Tuccitto, Sandy Jackson (KOIL

Radio), Sandy's Escape Teen Club, Roger

W. Morgan (KOIL Radio) and The Royal Grove

Night Club.

Seating is limited for all shows.

Advance tickets or early arrival is strongly

recommended. All shows begin at 7:00 PM.

For advance tickets or further

information, contact Bob or Judy Letheby

at (402)-435-7345, or write, "Nebraska

Rocks" - 817 W. Burt Drive, Lincoln, Ne

68521. Or contact the E-mail Addresses

at the bottom of this page.

As the Nebraska Rock and Roll

Hall of Fame Shows ("Nebraska Rocks")

moves ahead...future inductees and

possible performers may include:

The Rumbles, Ltd (Capital/Mercury

Records), Zager & Evans (RCA), Steve

Farris (Mr. Mister, Eddie Money, Rod

Stewart, Edgar Winter Group,

Whitesnake), Buddy Miles (Phillies

Records Sessions, Jimi Hendrix Band

of Gypsies, Santana and The Electric

Flag), Preston Love (Count Basie,

Johnny Otis, Motown Sessions), Sparkle

Moore, Red Berry of the Bel-Raves,

Randy Meisner (The Poor, Rick Nelson

Stone Canyon Band, Poco and The

Eagles), Rocke Grace (Joe Walsh), Max

Carl Gronenthal (38-Special and Big

Dance), Chip Davis ("Mannheim

Steamroller"), Herbie Rich-Stemsie

Hunter and Buddy Miles from The

Electric Flag, Neil Hefti ("Batman"),

Paul Williams (singer, writer, actor),

"Bugsy" Maugh (Paul Butterfield Blues

Band), Carl Cherry ("The Itch"),

Bobby Lowell ("Um Baby Baby"),

and many many others.

Current Nebraska rockers on

the charts include "311" and Matthew

Sweet who certainly will deserve a

place in the Nebraska Rock and Roll

Hall of Fame in the future.

Visit our bands currently in

the Hall of Fame for group picures

and some sound clips.

For more information on

"Nebraska Rocks" and "The Nebraska Rock

and Roll Hall of Fame" contact the

EMail addresses below.

Mike "Pinky" Semrad

Board Member

Nebraska Rock and Roll Hall of Fame

E-mail us for more information!!!!

best viewed with