Atlantic Records 40th Anniversary
On May 14, 1988, the Atlantic Records label held its 40th Anniversary Celebration by staging a non-stop concert lasting almost 13 hours at Madison Square Garden, New York. The event was dubbed "It's Only Rock And Roll".
Only artists who had released material on the Atlantic label in the United States performed, with the artists spanning the 40 years of the company's existence. Lavern Baker and Ruth Brown were the longest tenured Atlantic acts to perform, while Debbie Gibson was the most recent Atlantic signing to make an appearance at the event.
Some Atlantic signings, who had either officially split up or who had not performed together for a number of years, re-formed especially to perform at the concert. These artists included The Rascals, Iron Butterfly, and the former members of Led Zeppelin. Other notable performers included Yes, Genesis, Crosby, Stills & Nash, Keith Emerson and Carl Palmer (representing Emerson, Lake & Palmer), Foreigner, Paul Rodgers, Bob Geldof, Booker T. Jones, Wilson Pickett, The Coasters, The Spinners, Peabo Bryson, The Blues Brothers (featuring Dan Aykroyd and Sam Moore), Roberta Flack, The Manhattan Transfer, Bee Gees, Ben E. King and Vanilla Fudge.
There had been plans to close the performance with a greatest hits all-star jam, but this idea was shelved. Instead, the former members of Led Zeppelin performed as the last act.
The concert was broadcast live in the US on FM radio and HBO television, commentary for the latter being provided backstage by comedian Robert Townsend. HBO commenced its live broadcast a few hours into the event and interspersed footage of the concert which had been taped earlier by the network. In so doing, some of the artists' sets were edited or omitted. An edited version aired later that year on ABC hosted by Robert Hays. Several banners heralding the reunion of Led Zeppelin band members were displayed like tapestry by excited fans, but, to their dismay, were taken down before HBO went with their live feed. The Audio was recorded by David Hewitt and Stanley Johnston on the Record Plant Black Truck.
In the United Kingdom the event was broadcast over a period of four weeks by BBC 2, presented as hour-long episodes. Atlantic Records later released this production on video under the title Atlantic Records 40th Anniversary: It's Only Rock 'n' Roll. The release intercut concert footage with highlights from earlier performances, as well as older footage from the Atlantic archives.
- "That Is Rock-N-Roll"
- "Charlie Brown"
- Introduction of Lavern Baker
- "Jim Dandy"
- Introduction of Foreigner
- Introduction of Ben E. King
Ben E. King
- Introduction of Crosby, Stills & Nash
Crosby, Stills & Nash
- "Wooden Ships"
- "Our House"
- "Suite: Judy Blues Eyes"
- "America (including Rondo, Tocata, Tank)"
- Introduction of The Rascals
- "You Keep Me Hangin' On"
- "Take Me for a Little While"
- "Pick Up the Pieces"
- Introduction of Debbie Gibson
- "Staying Together"
- "Foolish Beat"
- "Happy Birthday"
- Introduction of Robert Plant
- "Last Night"
- Introduction of Carla Thomas
Carla Thomas and the MG's
- "Gee Whiz"
- Introduction of Paul Rodgers
Paul Rodgers and the MG's
- "(Sittin' On) The Dock of the Bay"
- Introduction of Miki Howard
Miki Howard and the MG's
Carla Thomas, Paul Shaffer and the MG's
- "Everybody Needs Somebody To Love"
- "Soul Man"
- "Been Lovin' You (That Little Bit Too Long)"
Dan Aykroyd (as Elwood Blues), Sam Moore, Phil Collins, and the MG's
- "You Don't Know Like I Know"
- "Knock on Wood"
- Introduction of Bob Geldof
- "You Can't Be Too Strong"
Wilson Pickett and the MG's
Wilson Pickett, Dan Aykroyd (as Elwood Blues) and the MG's
- "Land Of 1000 Dances"
Mike Green Presentation to Ahmet Ertegun Ahmet Ertegun
- Introduction of Genesis
- Introduction of Rufus Thomas
- "Walking the Dog"
Robert Townsend, Phil Collins, and Ahmet Ertegun
- Introduction of the former members of Led Zeppelin
- "The Atlantic Records 40th Anniversary Bash" by Shawn Perry
- "20 Years Ago: Vanilla Fudge reunite at Atlantic Records 40th Anniversary!", by Shawn Perry, May 16, 2008
- "Atlantic Records Plans An 11-Hour Concert", The Associated Press, April 7, 1988