Don Kirshner's Rock Concert

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Don Kirshner's Rock Concert is a television music variety show that ran during the 1970s and early 1980s, created and produced by Don Kirshner and syndicated to television stations. It premiered on September 27, 1973, with a performance by The Rolling Stones; its last episode was in 1981.


Kirshner had been executive producer and "creative consultant" on ABC's In Concert series which debuted with two shows in November and December 1972, in the 11:30 p.m. time slot usually held by The Dick Cavett Show. The programs, taped at the Hofstra Playhouse at Hofstra University in Hempstead, N.Y., featured performances by Alice Cooper, Curtis Mayfield, Seals & Crofts, Bo Diddley, The Allman Brothers Band, Chuck Berry, Blood, Sweat & Tears, Poco, and The Steve Miller Band, and Joe Walsh. Their rating more than doubled the average rating of The Cavett Show and even topped NBC's The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson in some markets.

In Concert became a bi-weekly series in January 1973. "Right now, we have more artists than we know what to do with," Kirshner's music director Wally Gold told The Washington Post late in 1972. "We pay them scale to appear, which is way below what they usually get for a concert, but they know that the publicity is well worth it. So everyone wants to be on. We're getting hundreds of calls. At first, we had to beg the artists to appear. Now they're begging us."

In September 1973, Kirshner left In Concert -- he received producing credits for three more shows—to launch his own syndicated "Don Kirshner's Rock Concert." The premier, on September 27, 1973, featured The Rolling Stones, taped in London, in their first appearance on American TV in more than four years

The program featured many of the popular performers of the day during its run. Other notable guests included Rush, The Eagles, KISS, Foghat, The Ramones, Kansas and The Allman Brothers Band. Kirshner personally commissioned rock designer Jim Evans to create a special logo for the show.

The show was hosted by Kirshner up till the last season. His on-air delivery was described as flat by viewers; Paul Shaffer would often lampoon him in a convincing impersonation on Saturday Night Live. In its final season, the show was hosted by Kirshner's son and daughter.

The show was noted for featuring musical acts performing live, which was unique since most television appearances during the era showed performers lip-synching to prerecorded music. The series also occasionally aired vintage footage of older acts (such as Bill Haley & His Comets).

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