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Marc Bolan: T.Rex rule Don Kirshner’s ‘Rock Concert’, 1974

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Marc Bolan’s career was in decline by the time he appeared on Don Kirshner’s Rock Concert. His singles were failing to chart back in Britain, the original T.Rex line-up had split after the departure of Bill Legend, and Bolan was no longer working with his key producer Tony Visconti. There were also rumors of Bolan living an out-of-control, tax exile, lifestyle of cocaine and brandy, and his once svelte, androgynous frame, had ballooned into a debauched cherub.

The fans had changed too. A new generation had sworn allegiance to the tartan-trewed Bay City Rollers, rather than fantasies of Glam. This then was the background against which Bolan was first introduced to the American public on Don Kirshner’s Rock Concert, in 1974.

In a new line-up that included Bolan’s girlfriend Gloria Jones on keyboards and backing vocals, T.Rex kicked ass (even Bolan’s voice was occasionally flat) as they played “Jeepster”, “Zip Gun Boogie”, “Token of My Love” and “Get It On (Bang A Gong)” to an audience that seemed both literally stunned and amazed.
 

 

Posted by Paul Gallagher | Leave a comment
RIP: Don Kirshner has gone to the big rock concert in the sky

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Rock impresario, record producer with the Midas touch and the unquestionably the most boring and wooden TV presenter of all time, Don Kirshner, known to millions as the host of late-night 70s TV show, Don Kirshner’s Rock Concert has died at the age of 76 of heart failure.

In the 1950s, Don Kirshner was co-owner of Aldon Music, a New York-based music publishing company that employed or had under contract, many of the most important songwriters of the “Brill Building” school, including Barry Mann, Cynthia Weil, Carole King, Gerry Goffin, Neil Sedaka, Howard Greenfield and Jack Keller. Throughout his long career Kirshner was most closely associated with Bobby Darin, Neil Diamond, Carole King, Kansas and of course, The Monkees and “The Archies.”

In 1973, he produced and hosted Don Kirshner’s Rock Concert, a 90-minute syndicated show that featured bands that you never would have seen on American television otherwise. On Rock Concert, America first saw acts like Sparks, Queen, Marc Bolan and T-Rex, Kiss, Cheap Trick, The New York Dolls and many, many, many others. It ran until 1981. Kirshner’s notoriously uncharismatic stage presence was mercilessly lampooned on Saturday Night Live by Paul Shaffer.

Below, the Ramones on Don Kirshner’s Rock Concert in 1977. Where ELSE would you have seen this on American TV at the time?
 

Posted by Richard Metzger | Leave a comment