In days gone by, there was a wall of music memorabilia so impressive that it left local music legend, Paul Durenberger, “no choice but to write a song.”

Greg Duffy’s Wall of Memories

Greg Duffy’s house looked like an ordinary home from the outside. Inside, though, was a different story. More than two full rooms of framed posters, 8×10 glossy photographs, newspaper clippings, and other music memorabilia made that house one-of-a-kind.

But what made this collection so unique was that it was devoted entirely to local bands and musicians from Mankato’s great musical heyday.

Anyone at all familiar with the Mankato music scene who had the privilege of looking at the wall instinctively searched for familiar faces — friends from over the years, or local music legends whose names are remembered to this day.

But what made this collection so unique was that it was devoted entirely to local bands and musicians from Mankato’s great musical heyday.

If you frequented The Kato Ballroom or any of the bars, vet organizations, and fraternal clubs on Front and Second Streets before and slightly after the Urban Renewal of the 1970s, many of the names and faces on the wall would be familiar to you, too!

Duffy’s Wall had images of Billy Steiner, Bobby Drengler, Ron Arsenault and Al Bjerke plastered like patches on a quilt. At the foot rested a bass drum head from The Gestures, a Mankato teenage rock’n roll band that scored big in 1964 with a chart single, “Run, Run, Run.”


Advertisement


The Song

Durenberger, singer, songwriter, composer and master piano player, knew, jammed or performed with many of the musicians on Duffy’s wall. He was so moved by the collection that he wrote and recorded an original song The Wall in the early 2000s. The song appears on one of Durenberger’s 42 albums, Stone Cold.

The Wall begins with the lines, “Step right up and be dazzled. Wipe away all of your tears.”

For many of us who remember the names and faces, the words are very appropriate!

Additional Links

Mankato Music History Facebook Group
One + One + One = Zero! Passionate Promoter Introduces Band