Don Kirshner's Rock Concert

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Don Kirshner's Rock Concert
Created by Don Kirshner
Starring various
Country of origin United States
No. of episodes 230[1]
Executive producer(s) Don Kirshner
Running time 90 minutes
Original channel Syndicated
Original run September 27, 1973[2] – 1981

Don Kirshner's Rock Concert is an American 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.[3]


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, 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 and among viewers under the age of 35.

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."[4]

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.[2]

The program featured many of the popular performers of the day during its run and other notable guests included Rush, The Eagles, KISS, Foghat, The Ramones, Kansas, Van Morrison 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 often lampooned him in a convincing impersonation on Saturday Night Live, which ironically went head-to-head against "Rock Concert" in some cities between 1975 and 1981. In its final season the show was hosted by Kirshner's son and daughter.

Don Kirshner's Rock Concert was noted for featuring live performances, which was unusual for the period since most television appearances at that time used lip-synching to prerecorded music. Kirshner's show was recorded in stereo utilising simulcast to broadcast on FM Stereo radio stations and early Cable TV.

The series also occasionally aired vintage footage of older acts such as Bill Haley & His Comets, Dusty Springfield and Ritchie Valens, which due the age of the recordings were broadcast in mono.

Don Kirshner's Rock Concert library is owned by SOFA Entertainment and Historic films.

Performers who appeared on Don Kirshner's Rock Concert[edit]

See also[edit]


Specific references
  1. ^ Rock Concert is bought by Historic Films, a 2001 Historic Films Library article
  2. ^ a b O'Connor, John J. " 'In Concert' man gathers Stones for new series", The New York Times, September 27, 1973, p. 78
  3. ^ Don Kirshner's Rock Concert at
  4. ^ Zito, Tom. "Televising rock: Rocking Around the Tube", The Washington Post, December 29, 1972, p. B1
  5. ^ "Don Kishner's Rock Concert". Retrieved 2014-09-10. 
General reference
  • McNeil, Alexander M. (1980) Total Television, New York: Penguin Books, Ltd. ISBN 0-14-004911-8

External links[edit]