The Cleveland Agora

Following a stint distributing records for jukeboxes, Henry LoConti Sr. opened the first Agora in 1966 near Case Western Reserve University. After two more location changes the club ended up at its present location in 1984. Originally seen as a dance club for college students, the Agora quickly evolved into a nationally prominent venue in the music industry, developing a reputation for breaking major new talent.

While the Agora became a national chain of clubs for a time, its flagship remained in Cleveland. In 1968 the venue opened the nation's first in-house recording studio, producing many live albums. "Onstage at the Agora" became an internationally syndicated television show before MTV. The Agora seats an impressive 2,700 people in its theater and ballroom.

Images

Pere Ubu at the Agora, ca. 1977

Pere Ubu at the Agora, ca. 1977

Despite being one of Cleveland's - and America's - most unique and influential bands, Pere Ubu have never achieved great mainstream success. Image courtesy of the Agora Theater View File Details Page

Devo onstage at the Agora, ca. 1978

Devo onstage at the Agora, ca. 1978

During the late 1970s, Akron, Ohio became a hotbed for new rock and roll bands. Devo's 1980 song "Whip It!" became an international hit. Image courtesy of the Agora Theater View File Details Page

Meatloaf and Ian Hunter at the Agora, ca. 1979

Meatloaf and Ian Hunter at the Agora, ca. 1979

Meatloaf's seminal Bat Out of Hell album was released on Cleveland International Records in 1977. Hunter is best know for penning the local favorite "Cleveland Rocks" in 1979. Image courtesy of the Agora Theater View File Details Page

Crowds line up at the Agora

Crowds line up at the Agora

Crowds line up at the Agora near Euclid Avenue and East 24th Street, 1970s. Image courtesy of the Agora Theater View File Details Page

Audio

Henry LoConti on Iggy Pop

Henry LoConti recalls an infamous moment at the Agora View File Details Page

Video

Hank LoConti, Sr. and the Cleveland Agora, Pt. 1

Building a Cleveland Rock n' Roll Institution View File Details Page

Hank LoConti, Sr. and the Cleveland Agora, Pt. 2

Instant Success: The Agora Outgrows its Original Location View File Details Page

Hank LoConti, Sr. and the Cleveland Agora, Pt. 3

Teaming Up with WMMS for the Coffee Break Concert Series View File Details Page

Cite this Page:

“The Cleveland Agora,” Cleveland Historical, accessed April 28, 2015, http://clevelandhistorical.org/items/show/1.
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