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Coordinates: 41°58′10.03″N 87°39′29.28″W / 41.9694528°N 87.6581333°W / 41.9694528; -87.6581333

Aragon Ballroom is a ballroom located at West Lawrence Avenue in Chicago, Illinois, approximately 5 miles (8 km) north of downtown, in the Uptown neighborhood.

Aragon Ballroom
Aragon Ballroom.jpg
Former namesAragon Ballroom
Address1106 W. Lawrence Ave.
LocationChicago, Illinois
OwnerLuis Rossi,
Ivan Fernandez,
Live Nation
TypeBallroom
Capacity5,000
Opened1926 (1926)
Website
www.aragon.com

Contents

HistoryEdit

Construction was completed in 1926. The Aragon was designed in the Moorish architectural style, with the interior resembling a Spanish village. Named for a region of Spain, the Aragon was an immediate success and remained a popular Chicago attraction throughout the 1940s. The Aragon's proximity to the Chicago 'L' (elevated railway) train provided patrons with easy access, and often crowds in excess of 18,000 would attend during each six-day business week. Each night, powerhouse radio station WGN broadcast an hour-long program from the hall to audiences throughout the Midwestern United States and Canada.

The ceiling looked like the sky, the clouds moved across the stars.

According to legend, the secret tunnels under the nearby Green Mill bar, a Prohibition-era hangout of Al Capone, lead to the Aragon's basement.

A fire at an adjacent cocktail lounge in 1958 forced the Aragon to close for several months. After the reopening, crowds declined significantly, to the point that regular dancing ended in 1964. A succession of new owners used the Aragon as a roller skating rink, a boxing venue, and a discothèque, (the Cheetah, a spin-off of the New York disco)[1][2] among other uses. There were also occasional efforts to revive it as a traditional ballroom.

 
Ballroom interior in 2009

The Aragon hosted nearly all of the top names of the big band era. During the 1970s, the Aragon was home to so-called "monster rock" shows; which were marathons of rock and roll acts often lasting six hours or more. The shows gained a reputation for attracting a tough crowd, leading to the nickname, "the Aragon Brawlroom."

In 1973, Latin promoters Willy Miranda and Jose Palomar, who had promoted Hispanic dances and concerts in Chicago for years, became owners of the Aragon. They soon teamed up with rock promoters Arny Granat and Jerry Mickelson (owners of Chicago-based Jam Productions, which by 2017 claimed to be the "largest independent producer of live entertainment in the United States"), who used the hall for their rock concerts.[3][4][5]

World championship boxing made its way to the Aragon Ballroom on December 15, 1982, when the World Boxing Association's world Cruiserweight champion, Puerto Rican Ossie Ocasio successfully defended his title by beating challenger Eddie Taylor by a 15 rounds decision.[6]

In the late 1990s, Luis Rossi (former owner of La Raza newspaper), Ivan Fernandez, and Mercedes Fernandez purchased the Aragon. In September 2014, Mercedes Fernandez sold all her interests in the Aragon. Under the name Aragon Entertainment Center, the hall continued to host a variety of Spanish language and Vietnamese language shows as well as English language rock concerts. It still hosts occasional boxing events.

In 2015, the theatre was used in the filming of Zack Snyder's Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, doubling as the theatre where Thomas (Jeffrey Dean Morgan) and Martha Wayne (Lauren Cohan) get shot.[7] The sign for the venue and the marquee was temporarily reconstructed, and removed once the filming had been completed.[8]

As of late 2017, Live Nation owns the Aragon Ballroom, and produces a variety of English language and Spanish language pop and rock concerts there.[9][10]

The Aragon has hosted the following Chicago bands: In '68, it had Shadows of Knight. In 1969, it separately hosted Howlin' Wolf, Buddy Guy, The Buckinghams, and The Five Stairsteps. In '73, it hosted Muddy Waters, in '75 it had Styx, and in '76 it had REO Speedwagon (from Champaign). In '83, it had Cheap Trick (from Rockford), and in '84 it had Ministry. In '97, it had Smashing Pumpkins and Local H (from Zion) separately. In '04 it had Chevelle. In '05 it had Twista with Ludacris (raised in IL), (and separately) Fall Out Boy (from Wilmette), Plain White T's (from DuPage County), Disturbed (from the Southwest Side), and Wilco. In '07, it had OK Go. In '09, it had jam band Umphrey's McGee (from South Bend). In 2011, it had Rise Against, and in '13 had Alkaline Trio. Rapper Lupe Fiasco performed there in '13. In '13, it had EDM group Krewella (from Northbrook), and DJ Kaskade (also from Northbrook) in '17. In '15, K. Flay (from Wilmette) performed there. It's hosted the following bands from Wisconsin: Steve Miller Band in '69, BoDeans in '94, and Garbage in '98. Tommy James & the Shondells from Niles, MI played there in '68.

https://www.setlist.fm/search?page=2&query=Aragon+Chicago+2005

Live recordingsEdit

On May 25, 1986 thrash metal band Metallica played here for their Damage, Inc. Tour. They used the live recording in the 2018 remaster box set of their 1986 studio album Master Of Puppets.

On October 23, 1993 grunge band Nirvana played The Aragon for their final show in Chicago. They played the song "You Know You're Right" which was recorded and bootlegged for 9 years until they decided to release the studio version on October 8, 2002

On November 18, 1994 punk rock band Green Day filmed their "MTV Jaded in Chicago" concert to a sold-out crowd at the Aragon.

On August 22, 1995, a Soul Asylum concert was recorded at the Aragon for the Album Network and two songs were released on the "Promises Broken" CD single.

On June 26, 2004, funk metal band Primus filmed their first concert DVD, Hallucino-Genetics, at the Aragon.

During a performance on October 17, 2009, sludge metal band Mastodon recorded a live album and concert DVD at the venue. Live at the Aragon was released on March 15, 2011.

In June 2013, Third Man Records released a live album of The White Stripes' performance at the venue from July 2, 2003 as part of their From the Vault series.

See alsoEdit

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ Chicago Cheetah Club Opener. Jet. 3 November 1966. Retrieved 12 June 2010.
  2. ^ Behrens, Jack (2006). Big Bands and Great Ballrooms: America is Dancing Again. AuthorHouse. p. 204. ISBN 978-1425969776. Retrieved 12 June 2010.
  3. ^ Connors, Joe (April 17, 2017). "INTERVIEW: Jerry Mickelson – founder of Jam Productions". Chicago Music Magazine. Archived from the original on September 18, 2017. Retrieved September 18, 2016.
  4. ^ McGhee, Josh (October 20, 2016). "Fired Stagehands File Unfair Labor Charges Against Riviera, Jam Productions". DNAinfo. Archived from the original on 2017-09-18. Retrieved 2016-09-18.
  5. ^ "Who We Are..." Jam Productions. Retrieved 2016-09-18.
  6. ^ "Ossie Ocasio vs. Young Joe Louis". boxrec.com. Retrieved 2018-02-22.
  7. ^ "Proof Batman v Superman Will Kill Off Bruce Wayne's Parents". www.cinemablend.com. November 12, 2014. Retrieved 2016-02-28.
  8. ^ "Aragon Ballroom Sign Returns to Dilapidated Look After 'Batman' Makeover". DNAinfo Chicago. Archived from the original on 2016-05-08. Retrieved 2016-04-21.
  9. ^ "What's On". Aragon Ballroom: An Independent Guide. Retrieved 2016-09-18.
  10. ^ "Aragon Ballroom". Live Nation. Retrieved 2016-09-18.

External linksEdit