In 2004, the band Yellowcard found themselves in a position that all bands desire. Their single “Ocean Avenue,” from the album of the same name, soared to #37 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart and became a certified double-platinum hit.
The song carried a special significance within the First Coast area. It refers to the band’s days of living in Jacksonville, attending the local Douglas Anderson School of Arts.
While Cherry Street is a real street in both Jacksonville and Neptune Beach, Ocean Avenue is not actually a street in Jacksonville or any of the beaches; the street referred to is actually Atlantic Beach’s Ocean Boulevard, but supposedly “Avenue” made for a better rhyme.
The success of the song launched Yellowcard into the mainstream, and the future looked bright. However, the band was unable to fully capitalize off of the momentum of their hit. In the aftermath of their rise to prominence, lead guitarist Ben Harper would end up leaving the band. Their next album, Lights and Sounds, focused more on their lives in Los Angeles. The album managed one top-50 hit with the titular track, but sales were not nearly as strong as they had been.
For some bands, this would probably mark the end, but Yellowcard does in fact continue to perform to this day. From the group of friends who originally started playing together in Jacksonville back in 1997, only violinist Sean Mackin and lead singer Ryan Key remain today. The band mostly tours as a side act to more prominent groups. It currently operates under the New York-based Razor & Tie label. Harper and former drummer – and fellow original Yellowcard member – Longineu Parsons III formed a new band called This Legend in 2014; they have released one album.
Many may have forgotten about the band now, but their Jacksonville-centric hit remains their claim to fame, as well as a memory for those of us who lived in the area when the song was dominating the airwaves.