Photo credit: Kelly-Mooney Photography / Corbis
Move over, Bruce Springsteen. Step aside, Jon Bon Jovi's mullet. There's more to New Jersey's musical history than that. One of the state's most significant rock 'n' roll sites is Wildwood, a beachfront resort town on the southern tip of the state. The town was famous for its clubs decades ago, and it was here that Bill Haley and the Comets first played "Rock Around the Clock" and Chubby Checker debuted "The Twist." Dick Clark hosted American Bandstand here in 1957. Most of the original rock clubs are gone, but Wildwood still has the biggest concentration of well-preserved, midcentury motels in the nation. So-called "doo-wop motels" like the Starlux, the Bel Air and the Tangiers offer garish design, funky colors and the ubiquitous plastic palm trees. Get there soon. In recent years, some of the town's classic motels have been demolished to make way for pricey condos. Hep, that ain't.