Business records, scrapbooks, audio disks, videotape, audio tape, and photographs documenting the business and entertainment activities at the International Battle of the Bands.
Scope and Contents note:
The International Battle of the Bands Records, 1981 - 1998, consists of a varied compilation of business records, advertising materials, scrapbooks, photographs, original video footage, and audio recordings. The Battle of the Bands Records document all aspects related to the production, advertising, and promotion of the regional, final, and future competitions
The collection is divided into seven series.
Series 1.1: International Battle of the Bands, 1981
Series 1.2: International Battle of the Bands, 1982
Series 1.3: International Battle of the Bands, 1983
Series 1.4: International Battle of the Bands, 1984
Series 1.5: International Battle of the Bands, 1985
Series 1.6: International Battle of the Bands, 1986
Series 1.7: International Battle of the Bands, 1987-1988
Series 1.8: International Battle of the Bands, 1989
Series 2.1: International Battle of the Bands Publishing, 1981
Series 2.2: International Battle of the Bands Publishing, 1982
Series 2.3: International Battle of the Bands Publishing, 1983
Series 2.4: International Battle of the Bands Publishing, 1984
Series 2.1: International Battle of the Bands Publishing, 1985
Series 3.1: International Battle of the Bands Recording, 1981-1986
Series 3.2: International Battle of the Bands Recording, 45s,
Series 3.3: International Battle of the Bands Recording, LPs, 1982-1986
Series 3.4: International Battle of the Bands Recording, Reel to Reel, 1981-1986
Series 3.5: International Battle of the Bands Recording, Cassettes, 1981-1986
Series 4: Photographs and Negatives, 1981-1986
Series 5: Videos, 1981-1993
Series 6: Card Files, 1981-1987
Series 7: Awards and Certificates, 1982-1990
The International Battle of the Bands Corporation (IBB) was a Nashville-based promotion founded in 1975 by Mr. Jerry Free. Free, an Ohio native born in 1939, is currently Vice President and General manager of United Gunite Construction, where he began working in 1972. Before he founded the International Battle of the Bands, Free began his professional career as a door-to-door salesman for Look magazine. He remained at Look for 13 years, working his way up to a position on the board of directors in 1968.
Free's battle of the bands concept was not a new idea. Staged competitions between bands had been part of American popular music for most of the 20th century. The purpose of these competitions was to draw audiences to the theaters and music halls where bands would perform during the late afternoons and evenings. These events were a common occurrence in the swing era of the 1930s, as well as in Rhythm and Blues and Jazz in the 1940s and 50s. In the early days of Rock & Roll, fledgling music groups often achieved recognition by winning these types of contests. This local exposure sometimes led to regional and even national recognition. The idea of bringing attention to local artists served as the basis for the International Battle of the Bands. It was referred to by Free as the Agreatest search for new talent. Introducing the band competition into the age of televised coverage and corporate sponsorship enabled Free to take an old idea and transform it into a national enterprise.
With the backing of Seagram=s Seven the International Battle of the Bands Contest got its formal start in 1981. In association with the publishing and recording division of the IBB corporation, the International Battle of the Bands contest was developed with the purpose of discovering and promoting new country music talent. The contest was structured with a series of local and regional competitions, leading up to the Grand Finals held each year, with the exception of 1988, in Nashville, Tennessee. The 1988 finals that were held in Panama City Beach, Florida.
Local auditions were held in IBB affiliated clubs in 50 select cities throughout the United States. Winners of local contests moved on to regional competitions with hopes of reaching the Grand Finals and a chance of a recording contract with IBB records and a one year booking contract with Buddy Lee attractions. While remaining relatively low key in its early years, the IBB Grand Finals were broadcast to a national television audience in a 90 minute program hosted by Sammy Davis, Jr. and Louise Mandrell in 1986.
Collection donated by Jerry D. Free, December 16, 1998.
Collection is open for research. Some materials are restricted until 2050.
Collection items available for reproduction, but the Archives Center makes no guarantees concerning copyright restrictions. Other intellectual property rights may apply. Archives Center cost-recovery and use fees may apply when requesting reproductions.