Over the course of its life, Cain’s Ballroom has been many things: A garage, a dime-a-dance joint, and a dance academy. However, it is now known to artists and patrons as one of the top venues in the world. It has hosted Metallica, Bob Dylan, The Fray, Blue’s Traveler, Hanson, and The Black Crowes, just to name a few.
Cain’s got its start many years ago. It was built in Tulsa Oklahoma by entrepreneur Tate Brady in 1924. It featured a spring-loaded maple dance floor, a four-foot neon star, and a disco ball. But in 1935, Cain’s came to life when on New Year’s Eve, Bob Wills* made his debut. Soon, Cain’s became known as “The Home of Bob Wills.”
Cain’s housed Bob Wills and The Texas Playboys for the next seven years. During that time, a new sound of music gained popularity: Western Swing. A combination of jazz, hillbilly, big band swing, mariachi, jitterbug, blues, and much more, western swing took off. Weekly dances, as well as a midnight radio show and daily programs were played by Bob Wills from within the walls of the Cain’s.
Bob Wills went on to contribute to country western music through the 1960s and is responsible for influencing artists such as Willie Nelson, Asleep at the Wheel, and Merle Haggard. But it all started in a little dance hall known as Cain’s Ballroom.*We totally love Bob Wills, by the way! He wrote fantastic music. I mean come on, “Take me back to Tulsa, I’m too young to marry. Take me back to Tulsa…”