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Sounds Good to Me exhibit logo

Minnesota's early rock 'n' roll star

Augie Garcia

In the late 1950s, a new sound shook, rattled, and rolled the swing-music scene that had sustained Minnesota ballrooms. Rock 'n' roll brought centerstage a teen culture with new dance steps, clothing styles and attitudes. Suddenly, the ballrooms' house swing bands, dress codes and sit-down dining seemed, well, square. Within a decade, ballrooms either went out of business or began showcasing rock groups.

Augie Garcia, from St. Paul's West Side, was known as the "godfather of Minnesota rock 'n' roll." In 1956, he opened for Elvis Presley in the St. Paul Auditorium, but his high-energy show in his trademark Bermuda shorts was too much for Presley's manager, Col. Tom Parker. The crowd became frenzied, Garcia later recalled, and Parker pulled him from the stage, citing a clause in Garcia's contract that barred competition with the headliner. The shorts were a Garcia trademark. He recalled that he had 38 pair of them that he wore in both summer and winter.

[Sounds Good to Me home page]
[Night at the ballroom]
[Mix your own "Funkytown"]
[Encounter some famous Minnesota musicians]
[Return to Museums and Historic Places]