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40 Years Ago: Don Kirshner's Rock Concert Debuts

“The Man with the Golden Ear,” as he was commonly known, built his legend as a maverick with his hands in music publishing as well as finding new talent. In late-1972, he embarked on a new venture, bringing live rock and roll music into living rooms across America with a show called ‘In Concert’ on ABC. 

He would soon leave for NBC and start up the now-legendary ‘Don Kirshner’s Rock Concert,’ a show that showed everyone from 60s holdovers like the Byrds and Joan Baez to 70s hitmakers like Abba and Fleetwood Mac. In and among the big names like the Rolling Stones were new bands such as the Ramones and New York Dolls, who gained entrance into middle America through this program.
The show ran from September 1973 through the end of the decade, with its final episode airing in early 1981, shortly before this thing called MTV launched. It’s easy to forget but at the time, shows like ‘Rock Concert’ were the only way to see many of these artists on television. (courtesy

Check out some of the memorable performances from this iconic show's run. 

courtesy YouTube

When Kirshner played host to the Ramones in early-1977, it was one of the first times America got a glimpse of what had been bubbling up in New York City for a couple years. The band rip through a blistering 'Loudmouth' in this clip that surely rattled more than a few TV sets along the way.

courtesy YouTube

The New York Dolls remain unsung heroes in rock and roll's back pages. They were a major influence on everyone from Guns N Roses to the Ramones, but they never scored big themselves. They are captured in this raw and exciting clip with guitarist Johnny Thunders taking the lead vocal on the classic 'Chatterbox.' A very pure and raw rock and roll television moment.

Courtesy YouTube

Fresh from the release of their classic 'Sabotage' album, Black Sabbath make a rare TV appearance. As Kirshner mentions in the intro, the appearance of Sabbath stemmed from constant requests from their fans to see them on the show, and they tore through a handful of their classics.

courtesy YouTube

The Electric Light Orchestra were arguably at their creative peak with their 1975 album 'Face The Music,' and their performance here shows off one of that album's biggest hits, 'Evil Woman.' Everything gelled for the band at this juncture and this is classic ELO.

Want to see more 'Rock Concert' performances? Click here!

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