Wildwood: The Birthplace of Rock 'n Roll?

The Wildwoods has a rich history of rock 'n roll that dates back to the days of Bill Haley and Chubby Checker. Experience all the musical traditions at this New Jersey destination.

From '50s legend Bill Haley launching his hit single "Rock Around the Clock" from the stage of the Hof Brau Hotel in 1954 and Chubby Checker introducing his hit "The Twist" at the Rainbow Club in 1960, the 5-mile stretch of The Wildwoods has a rich history of rock 'n roll. American Bandstand also made summertime appearances in Wildwood, first in 1956 by its founder, Philadelphia radio disc jockey, Bob Horn and in 1957 by the man who turned the show into a nationwide craze, Dick Clark, as it aired live from the Wildwood's Starlight Ballroom on national television.


Although the Starlight Ballroom and others are now legends of the past, the Wildwoods have several restaurants, bars and pubs that still host live rock n' roll entertainment weekly such as Blue Water Grille inside The Bolero Resort. The Wildwoods are also well-known for a fantastic rock 'n' roll musical event known as the Fabulous '50s & Beyond Weekend, featuring free live music, a street fair, classic car show and more. Or stop by Cool Scoops Ice Cream Parlor in North Wildwood to have an old fashioned milkshake, listen to classic music on the jukebox and to see black-and-white photographs and autographs of world-renowned musicians. 


The tradition of hit music continues in the Wildwoods today with free live music and entertainment almost every night of the week throughout the summer season at three outdoor amphitheaters with performances by music legends. Watch live music during North Wildwood Concerts Under the Stars Series at Lou Booth Amphitheater, the Wildwood Crest Summer Music Series at Centennial Park, and the Fox Park Amphitheater Series.


While Wildwood certainly established its reputation for hosting headline rock and roll performers, other venues around the state have also been successful including The Stone Pony in Asbury Park, which opened in 1974. Among the dozens of top performers to play at the Stone Pony were Bruce Springsteen, Southside Johnny, Asbury Juke, Ronnie Spector, Clarence Clemons and more. Today, this iconic music venue continues to host both emerging and notable music acts.