Austin City Limits

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For the music festival, see Austin City Limits Music Festival.
Austin City Limits
Austin City Limits Logo.svg
Logo
Country of origin United States
Production
Running time 60 minutes
Release
Original network PBS
Original release 1976 (1976) – present
External links
Website

Austin City Limits (ACL) is an American public television music program recorded live in Austin, Texas, by Public Broadcasting Service (PBS) member television station KLRU, and broadcast on many PBS stations around the United States. The show helped Austin to become widely known as the "Live Music Capital of the World",[1] and is the only television show to receive the National Medal of Arts, which it was awarded in 2003. It also won a rare institutional Peabody Award in 2011 "for its more than three decades of presenting and preserving eclectic American musical genres."[2] For the first 12 seasons (1976-1987), Austin City Limits was produced by the Southwest Texas Public Broadcasting Council. Beginning in Season 13 (1988), Austin City Limits moved to its current home at the Capital of Texas Public Telecommunications Council.

Initially created to celebrate the music of Texas—featuring western swing, Texas blues, Tejano music, progressive country, and rock n' roll—the series has gone on to feature regional, national and international artists performing a wide range of musical styles, including jazz, alternative country, alternative rock, folk music, and jam band.

Austin City Limits is the longest-running music program in television history.[citation needed]

Television pilot[edit]

The pilot was shot on October 14, 1974, and starred Willie Nelson. (B.W. Stevenson was actually taped the night before, but the recording was deemed unusable.) The deliberate lack of production slickness and attention to audio detail pleased even the notoriously TV-shy Nelson, and ACL creator Bill Arhos pitched the pilot to PBS as part of its 1975 pledge drive. The show’s success as a fundraiser was enough for Arhos to get ACL green-lighted as a series.[3]

Availability[edit]

The show inspired the creation of the Austin City Limits Music Festival, an annual live music festival at Zilker Park in Austin.

Some of the performances from Austin City Limits have been released as CDs and DVDs in the Live from Austin, TX series. Full episodes can also be viewed online at the show's official website. There is an Austin City Limits store[4] at the Austin Bergstrom International Airport.

On June 21, 2012, the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum in Cleveland, Ohio, announced that nearly forty years of Austin City Limits footage will be digitally archived "in perpetuity" at the Museum's new Library and Archives; recordings from more than 800 live performances will be made available to the public.[5][6][7][8]

MTV Live (formerly Palladia HD) acquired rerun rights to the series in 2016.[9]

Production[edit]

Terry Lickona - Producer of Austin City Limits (2013)

The executive producer of Austin City Limits is Terry Lickona, who joined the program in 1979 during Season 4.[10][11][12][13][14][15][16][17] The first director of Austin City Limits was Bruce Scafe, who was the director for the show's first two seasons in 1976 and 1977; Charles Vaughn took over as producer-director in Season 3 (1978); Clark Santee took over as director in Season 4 (1979); Allan Muir took over as director in Season 5 (1980), and he continued until Season 7 (1982); Gary Menotti replaced Allan Muir as the show's current director starting in Season 8 (1983).

Venue[edit]

Austin City Limits sign at ACL Live - Moody Theater in Austin, TX (2012)

For the first 36 seasons, Austin City Limits was recorded in Studio 6A in the Communications Building B on the University of Texas at Austin campus, on a stage featuring a mock skyline of Austin in the background, which was introduced in Season 7 (1982). The studio had a seating capacity of approximately 800, but due to limited access to fire exits the audience size was limited to 300. In 2010, the show and its original studio were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. A plaque near the entrance to Communications Building B commemorating the occasion proclaims Austin City Limits as the "longest running music show in the history of American television." On February 26, 2011, Austin City Limits held its first taping in its new purpose-built Austin City Limits Live at The Moody Theater (ACL Live) and studio in downtown Austin's Block 21. The additional seating capacity is used for an estimated 100 concerts and 100 private events per year at the venue.[18]

40th Season[edit]

On December 2, 2014, in celebration of Austin City Limits' 40th season, a DVD titled Austin City Limits Celebrates 40 Years will be released.[19]

Austin City Limits is the longest-running music series in American television history.[20]

Theme song[edit]

In Season 1 of Austin City Limits in 1976, each episode begins with the soundcheck that is run by producer Paul Bosner. He then used it as the audio to accompany each episode's 2 minute opening title sequence. Beginning with Season 2 in 1977, the soundcheck was replaced by Gary P. Nunn's "London Homesick Blues", which was introduced as the show's theme song. The song was written by Gary P. Nunn, and performed by The Lost Gonzo Band. So director Bruce Scafe used the song from the last episode of Season 1 in 1976 entitled "The Lost Gonzo Band followed by Jerry Jeff Walker". He then used it as the audio to accompany those landscape and nightclub shots. "London Homesick Blues" will remain in use as the show's theme song until Season 29. From Season 7 in 1982 to Season 8 in 1983, the opening theme music was composed by Austin musician John Mills. From Season 25 to Season 29, the opening theme music was arranged by Austin musician Tequila Mockingbird. From Season 30 (2004-2005) to Season 32 (2006-2007), the opening theme music was composed by Austin musician Charlie Sexton. From Season 37 to Season 39, opening theme music was "An Introduction", written and performed by Explosions in the Sky. The opening sequence was created by Jonathan Jackson. For Season 40, "Travis County Line" by Gary Clark Jr. became the theme. In Season 41, a new theme music was introduced.

Opening and closing sequences[edit]

For the first three seasons, Austin City Limits used images from around Austin, Texas during the opening and closing credits. In Season 1 (1976), the Austin City Limits logo appears over a shot of the empty stage, and the text reads "with (performer's name)", and finally, "and (performer's name)". The closing credits for Season 1 (1976) features a shot of the empty stage. In Season 2 (1977), and Season 3 (1978), the Austin City Limits logo appears over a shot of the audience, while waiting for the performer to arrive. In Season 3 (1978), the opening catchphrase "Recorded live from Austin, Texas, it's Austin City Limits". In Season 4 (1979), the images were replaced with video animation with the blue frames, and features an aerial shot of the set with the blue frames featuring closeup shots of the performers, and uses stills from the episode during the closing credits. In Season 5 (1980), the opening credits were shot on film, and the blue frames were removed, and it features outdoor scenes from around Austin, Texas, and we see the camera panning over to the Austin City Limits sign, and then it zooms forward. The closing credits for Season 5 (1980) features still shots of the Austin City Limits staff members showing us how videotaping for Austin City Limits is made. It ends with a shot of the empty control room with the Austin City Limits logo, while the credits rolled in the OPTI Formula One font.

In Season 6 (1981), the opening credits were changed to a shot of the sunset with a black ground. As the camera pans down, we see a tree on a lake with the Austin City Limits sign. The camera zooms in on the Austin City Limits sign when a truck passes by, and was also used for the opening and closing credits of Season 21 (1996). The closing credits featured still shots from the episode, which were used until Season 9 (1984). In Season 7 (1982) and Season 8 (1983), the opening credits featured outdoor scenes from around Austin, Texas, it changes from day to night. In Season 9 (1984), the opening credits were shot on videotape, rather than film. The closing credits for Season 8 (1983) featured black-and-white images of the crew members in four different sections. In Season 10 (1985), the opening credits were changed to a helicopter view of the Austin skyline at night, with the text reading "10th Anniversary", and it shows clips from the first nine seasons scrolling around in a marquee. The closing credits for Season 10 (1985) featured still shots of the Austin City Limits staff members portraying themselves outside of Austin, Texas.

In Season 11 (1986), the opening credits were changed to their show backs of the man and a woman walking into Studio 6A. The closing credits for Season 11 (1986) featured shots of the audience singing "London Homesick Blues". Beginning in Season 12 (1987), a performance of that night's episodes was previewed, followed by a shortened version of the opening sequence featuring a helicopter view of a Texas state capital at night, and the Austin City Limits logo is gray. The closing credits for Season 12 (1987) features the camera panning over a shot of the empty Austin City Limits stage. In Season 13 (1988), another opening sequence was used. This time, a footage from the Austin City Limits Season 6 intro in 1981 was used, as the camera pans down to see a tree on a lake with the Austin City Limits sign. Instead of letting the camera zoom in on the Austin City Limits sign when the truck passes by, we see the Austin City Limits sign blank with comets sparkling, and another comet flies, as the words "AUSTIN", "CITY", and "LIMITS" are flying each other, and the Austin City Limits logo is in 3D, and then, the logo disappears when it sweeps. The closing credits were the same as the opening in Season 13 (1988).

In Season 14 (1989), the performers names now started to appear onscreen in gold Souvenir font, and features nighttime scenes from around Austin, Texas, and the words "PUBLIC TELEVISION STATIONS" appears spray painted on the brick walls. For Season 15 (1990), the opening and closing sequences featured clips from past episodes during the first 14 seasons. For Season 16 (1991), the opening credits were changed slightly, beginning with Gary P. Nunn singing "I wanna go home with the armadillo", followed by Terry Lickona saying "It's Austin City Limits", and then, an instrumental version of "London Homesick Blues" plays while the audience applauds, followed by Terry Lickona saying "Austin City Limits is made possible by the financial support of viewers like you". The closing credits for Season 16 (1991) featured various black-and-white photographs. The closing credits for Season 14 (1989) shows the Austin City Limits staff members goofing around.

For Season 17 (1992), and Season 18 (1993), the opening and closing sequences featured the Austin City Limits sign on a congress bridge at night. For Season 19 (1994), the opening and closing credits were shot in sepia tone, featuring the Austin City Limits sign from past opening sequences. For Season 20 (1995), the opening credits were changed to a blue, black, and blue gradient background, with the text reading "20 years" in various fonts and animations, and features a white square with the Austin City Limits logo in 2D on the television monitors in the control room, a shot of the audience, a closeup of the guitar, a closeup of the fiddle, guy pointing to the audience, and the picture zooms in to see the Austin City Limits logo in 2D. Finally, the Austin City Limits logo fades into 1D to reveal a shot of the set, and the number 20 appears over the Austin City Limits logo, and then, the sequence fades out. The closing credits were the same as Season 16 (1991).

For Season 21 (1996), the opening and closing sequences used a footage from the Austin City Limits Season 6 intro in 1981, which features the camera zooming in on the Austin City Limits sign when the truck passes by. For Season 22 (1997), the opening and closing sequences featured the Austin City Limits sign appearing over clips from past episodes from the first 21 seasons floating around. For Season 23 (1998), the opening credits featured the Austin City Limits logo appearing with Austin skyline backdrop with spotlights, and it shows clips from various episodes floating around as the words appear. This is followed by the Austin City Limits logo appearing with the Austin skyline as a Dolby Surround logo passes by, and then, the sequence fades out. The closing credits for Season 23 (1998) features a shot of the Austin skyline backdrop, and it shows the camera panning through it, this is followed by a shot of the Austin skyline backdrop again, and then, the sequence fades out.

For Season 24 (1999), the opening and closing credits looks similar to Season 1 in 1976, which features a shot of the empty Austin City Limits stage. From Season 25 (2000) to Season 29 (2003-2004), the opening credits were shot on film, which featured the Austin City Limits logo featuring the musical note with a flame in it. For Season 25 (2000), Lickona's opening catchphrase was changed to "Recorded live from Austin, Texas, Austin City Limits celebrates 25 years of American music". From Season 25 onward, an interview of the performer was used during the closing credits.

From Season 26 (2000-01) to Season 29 (2003-04), Lickona's opening catchphrase was reverted back to "Recorded live from Austin, Texas, it's Austin City Limits". From Season 30 (2004-2005) to Season 32 (2006-2007), Lickona's opening catchphrase was changed to say, which begins with "Celebrating 30 years of great music.", and ending with "Recorded live, it's Austin City Limits". From Season 33 (2007-2008) to Season 36 (2010-2011), Lickona's opening catchphrase was changed to "Recorded live, it's Austin City Limits". From Season 37 (2011-2012) to Season 39 (2013-2014), Lickona's opening catchphrase was changed to "Recorded live from the Moody Theater, it's Austin City Limits". For Season 40 (2014-2015), Lickona's opening catchphrase was changed to say, which begins with "Celebrating 40 years", and ending with "Recorded live from the Moody Theater, it's Austin City Limits". For Season 41 (2015-2016), Lickona's opening catchphrase was changed back to say "Recorded live from the Moody Theater, it's Austin City Limits".

Performers[edit]

List of Austin City Limits episodes[edit]

Season 1 (1976)[edit]

Season 2 (1977)[edit]

Season 3 (1978)[edit]

Season 4 (1979)[edit]

Season 5 (1980)[edit]

Season 6 (1981)[edit]

Season 7 (1982)[edit]

Season 8 (1983)[edit]

Season 9 (1984)[edit]

Season 10 (1985)[edit]

Season 11 (1986)[edit]

Season 12 (1987)[edit]

Season 13 (1988)[edit]

Season 14 (1989)[edit]

Season 15 (1990)[edit]

Season 16 (1991)[edit]

Season 17 (1992)[edit]

Season 18 (1993)[edit]

Season 19 (1994)[edit]

Season 20 (1995)[edit]

Season 21 (1996)[edit]

Season 22 (1997)[edit]

Season 23 (1998)[edit]

Season 24 (1999)[edit]

Season 25 (2000)[edit]

Season 26 (2000-2001)[edit]

Season 27 (2001-2002)[edit]

Season 28 (2002-2003)[edit]

Season 29 (2003-2004)[edit]

Season 30 (2004-2005)[edit]

Season 31 (2005-2006)[edit]

Season 32 (2006-2007)[edit]

Season 33 (2007-2008)[edit]

Season 34 (2008-2009)[edit]

Season 35 (2009-2010)[edit]

Season 36 (2010-2011)[edit]

Season 37 (2011-2012)[edit]

Season 38 (2012-2013)[edit]

Season 39 (2013-2014)[edit]

Season 40 (2014-2015)[edit]

Season 41 (2015-2016)[edit]

Season 42 (2016-2017)[edit]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Austin, TX Official City Website". Retrieved 19 June 2014. 
  2. ^ 72nd Annual Peabody Awards, May 2012
  3. ^ "History of ACL | Austin City Limits". Acltv.com. 1974-10-14. Retrieved 2015-06-19. 
  4. ^ "POTD: Austin City Limits Store : TexasTripper.com Texas Travel Guide". Texastripper.com. 2008-01-18. Retrieved 2012-12-17. 
  5. ^ Hall, Rock. "Austin City Limits Performance Collection Comes to Library and Archives | The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum". Rockhall.com. Retrieved 2012-12-17. 
  6. ^ "Rock and Roll Hall of Fame gets treasure trove from 'Austin City Limits' - USATODAY.com Photos". Mediagallery.usatoday.com. Retrieved 2012-12-17. 
  7. ^ "'Austin City Limits' archives find a permanent home: the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame | Pop Culture Blog". Popcultureblog.dallasnews.com. 2012-06-21. Retrieved 2012-12-17. 
  8. ^ Maloney, Devon (2012-06-22). "'Austin City Limits' Archives Relocate to Rock Hall Museum | SPIN | Newswire". SPIN. Retrieved 2012-12-17. 
  9. ^ "Palladia will rebrand as MTV Live 2/1/16". Comcast Cable official forum posting. 20 January 2016. Retrieved 24 January 2016. 
  10. ^ Curtin, Kevin (2014-10-03). "The Poughkeepsie Kid: A night in the life of Austin City Limits ringleader Terry Lickona - Music". The Austin Chronicle. Retrieved 2015-06-19. 
  11. ^ "Terry Lickona Takes ACL Beyond the Austin City Limit | School of Journalism". Journalism.utexas.edu. 2007-04-25. Retrieved 2015-06-19. 
  12. ^ [1] Archived October 15, 2014, at the Wayback Machine.
  13. ^ "Terry Lickona". Roadtrip Nation. Retrieved 2015-06-19. 
  14. ^ "Terry Lickona". Black Fret. Retrieved 2015-06-19. 
  15. ^ "Songwriters to Soundmen - Terry Lickona and Scott Newton - April 2010 | The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum". Rockhall.com. Retrieved 2015-06-19. 
  16. ^ Cohen, Jason (2014-09-28). "Austin City Limits, Now 40, Feels Younger Than Ever". Texas Monthly. Retrieved 2015-06-19. 
  17. ^ Zipp, Fred. "Terry Lickona Reflects on 40 Years of 'Austin City Limits'". Austinway.com. Retrieved 2015-06-19. 
  18. ^ http://acl-live.com/venue
  19. ^ "Austin City Limits Celebrates 40 Years: Willie Nelson, Bonnie Raitt, Lyle Lovett, Foo Fighters, Jimmie Vaughan, Alabama Shakes and more., Bill Arhos: Movies & TV". Amazon.com. Retrieved 2015-06-19. 
  20. ^ "40-year-old TV show 'Austin City Limits' helps make Austin hip | Dallas Morning News". Dallasnews.com. 2014-10-10. Retrieved 2015-06-19. 

External links[edit]