Friday, January 25, 2013

70's Music Live!!!!!

Wolfman Jack is on the air!!!

In this post MTV era, television really doesn't provide very many places to watch live music anymore. Austin Cit Limits on PBS and Jonathon Ross on the BBC keep on plugging away, but they are the rare exception.

Ryan Adams on Austin City Limits

Now back in the 60's and 70's places shows American Bandstand would have all sorts of bands show up but the vast majority of time, it was to lipsynch to whatever hit they had currently on the radio. For actual live performances you needed to go to the talk shows, variety shows, SNL, Friday's and of course, Burt Sugarman's Midnight Special, where every week, Wolfman Jack would host the very best in popular music.

Here's a ripping version of Rhiannon by 70's monster group, Fleetwood Mac with the band almost certainly highly energized by whatever white powder just happened to be lying around, showing why they were one of the biggest bands of the era.

Another huge music group back in the 70's was the Steve Miller Band. For a time there Steve just was pumping out the hits. From a 1974 appearance on the Midnight Special, here's a really exceptional version of Fly Like an Eagle.

This performance by Gerry Rafferty of his hit Baker Street is from German TV, so not really part of this rant, but it's such a nice performance I had to throw it on anyway.

Steely Dan the jazz/rock band led by Donald Fagen and Walter Becker made a memorable 1973 appearance with this sizzling performance of their hit Reelin in the Years.

And finally for a bit more on the arty side there was the time in 1973 that the Midnight Special handed over their time slot one night and the people of the US were treated to the 1980 Floor Show, here's David Bowie and the ever lovey Marianne Faithfull, with their cover of I Got You Babe.

Interestingly, the Midnight Special was canceled in 1980, not because of low ratings, but because Dick Ebersol the man who took over Saturday Night Live for it's disastrous post Lorne Michaels era had demanded the cancellation of the Midnight Special as part of his deal for taking over SNL under the logic that it would make it easier for Ebersol to book top guests for the higher rated Saturday Night series. It is also worth noting that a year after the Midnight Special ended the Ebersol produced Friday Night Videos, a much less expensive series to produce, took over the Midnight Specials old time slot.

Ah well, that's show biz.

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