Don Kirschner

Okay, here’s a moldy oldie that for some reason has been occupying my thoughts lately. Does anyone remember the Old “Don Kirschner’s Rock Concert” That was on in the late 70’s and early 80’s? Is there anyplace that these old shows can be found? It’s probably just the addled memories of my childhood, but some of those concerts seemed pretty good, and I wouldn’t mind the nostalgia of seeing them again.

Wow, that’s a moldy oldy.

You’d think that with satellite TV’s 100+ channels just about everything ever filmed would be on, but it’s actually hard for me to find old stuff. Once you get past Nick at Night and TVLand, you don’t find anything old that isn’t a movie.

A great many of the performances that aired on DK’s Rock Concert show were actually what later audiences would end up calling videos. Basically, in the prehistoric days (;), a “name” band like ABBA or Jethro Tull or Queen or whomever would record a series of about 4 or 5 songs before a tour on a soundstage (sort of like a pre-tour dress rehearsal) and film it, and then use the footage for publicity. They’d lend that footage to Kirschner, who’d air it as his “rock concert”. There was little that was actually live, or not recorded live by a label and sold as a package deal to that show.

When MTV became huge in the 1980’s and still played videos, many of those labels quickly yanked back their airing rights for those performance “videos” that originally aired on Kirschner, (many of which, like Queen’s “Bohemian Rhapsody”, have become somewhat famous) and as such I’m guessing it would be a licensing nightmare for any network to air the show now.

“Midnight Special” on NBC was different–they had their own venue in New York or LA and would have artists in town perform live on their own Midnight Special stage. Love to see NBC do something with those shows someday (To be fair though, Midnight Special also aired quite a few pre-recorded performance videos, too; perhaps the way they’d have to chop up the shows to air them now as a result is why they’re not available.)

Yeah, it’s an oldie. I remember it starting off with videos, as mentioned above, but it evolved into full-blown concerts In the early '80s. I thought some of them were pretty neat. since there were a bunch of them, I thought maybe someone had stuck them on a cable channel someplace or something. Ah well.