Walk of Fame, The Music They Played on 7th Street. is a history plaque project remembering the people behind 7th Street's heyday as "the Harlem of the West Coast", a center of blues and jazz.
History of Project
In the late 1980s, the Oakland Blues Society began working towards a walk of fame. In 2011ish, the Oakland Community and Economic Development Agency got involved. The project is in honor of Bob Geddins (owner of Big Town recording studio, where Rick Darnell and Roy Hawkins wrote the 1951 song “The Thrill is Gone”. This song made B.B. King a star) and Raincoat Jones. Future honoree: “Terrible Tom” Bowden (current resident!).
The Walk of Fame project dates back further than 2011. Ishmael Reed's Blues City (published 2003) has a section from Ron Stewart of the Oakland Blues Society (and Cole School alum) talking about it.
There are markers for numerous musicians and club owners, including:
On April 3, 2012, the Oakland City Council adopted a ceremonial resolution sponsored by then-council woman Nancy Nadel commending and recognizing the "Music They Played On 7th Street, Oakland Walk Of Fame" as a permanent historical piece of 7th Street. (View full resolution).
Oakland City Council RESOLUTION NO. _____ Introduced by Councilmember Nancy Nadel CEREMONIAL RESOLUTION COMMENDING AND RECOGNIZING THE "MUSIC THEY PLAYED ON 7th STREET, OAKLAND WALK OF FAME" AS A PERMANENT HISTORICAL PIECE OF 7th STREET IN THE CITY OF OAKLAND WHEREAS, "the Music They Played on 7th Street, Oakland Walk of Fame" pays tribute to the great musicians, club owners, record companies and related independent businesses that put 7th Street on the map as a top entertainment destination; and WHEREAS, This installation is dedicated to those who created, produced, presented and played America's indigenous musical art form - blues, jazz and gospel; and WHEREAS, the Bay Area Blues Society saw the need to bring the musical history of 7th Street in West Oakland to a new light; and WHEREAS, the Bay Area Blues Society, the City of Oakland, Bay Area Rapid Transit Authority, Metropolitan Transportation Commission on Congestion Mitigation and Air Quality Improvement Program, the Department of Transportation, American Recovery and Reinvestment Act Capital Investment Program, the Alameda County Transportation Authority Measure B Bicycle and Pedestrian Program worked together to fund and install this historical treasure on 7th Street; and WHEREAS, the Music They Played on 7th Street will bring pride to the at risk youth of the community and inform the general public of how 7th Street was referred to as "the Harlem of the West Coast;" and, WHEREAS, there is a great deal of history that 7th Street has not been noted for: the music term "jazz," the first band to ever use the word jazz in its band name, and the style of music they were playing was introduced by an Oakland born musician named Sidney Le Protti and his "So Different Jazz Band" in 1915; and WHEREAS, the Music They Played on 7th Street, Oakland Walk of Fame is located on Street in front of the West Oakland Bart Station, from Center Street to Chester Street; now, therefore be it REVOLVED: The City of Oakland City hereby commends and recognizes "the Music They Played on 7th Street, Oakland Walk of Fame" as a permanent historical piece of 7th Street's long and glorious music era; and, be it FURTHER RESOLVED: "The Music They Played on 7th Street, Oakland Walk of Fame" is hereby and forever more recognized as an historical treasure in the City of Oakland and celebrated accordingly in the City of Oakland, and throughout the State of California. IN COUNCIL, OAKLAND, CALIFORNIA, PASSED BY THE FOLLOWING VOTE: AYES - BROOKS, BRUNNER, DE LA FUENTE, KAPLAN, KERNIGHAN, NADEL, SCHAAF, AND PRESIDENT REiD NOES - ABSTENTION - ATTEST: LATONDA SIMMONS City Clerk and Clerk of the Council of the City of Oakland, California
View a map of all plaques courtesy of The Bay Area Blues Society and The City of Oakland.
Links and References
- The Music They Played Bay Area Blues Society
- Oakland's legendary blues district getting walk of fame Oakland Tribune December 19, 2011
- Remembering the 'Harlem of the West': A local musician's mission to preserve Oakland's Blues culture ABC7 News February 7, 2023