The early 70s
. Before MTV
, before widespread cable
, there were attempts to cash in on the brand-spanking-new rock
market, with late-night TV show
had In Concert
, ninety minutes of tour footage from various bands. NBC
had The Midnight Special
, taped in a TV studio, hosted by Wolfman Jack
. Don Kirshner's Rock Concert
, and Kirshner added to his legend by choosing the untelegenic
Don Kirshner to host it.
This new attention to the youth market was a mixed blessing: the new medium of arena rock meant an explosion of touring careerists. Black Oak Arkansas' "Jim Dandy" was good, but who wanted to see their whole set? (Not me). And who wanted to see Elvin Bishop at all? (Not me).
But there might be something to stay up for: The Faces, the Mahavishnu Orchestra... Curtis Mayfield! The Ramones! David Bowie and The Cars got carte blanche on The Midnight Special. Eventually, producers became LCD-minded, resulting in dross like Solid Gold, free of Big Stay-Up Late Moments like seeing Johnny, Tommy, Joey, and Dee Dee storm the mainstream bastion of Kirshner's show, or seeing Suicide and Iggy Pop on The Midnight Special.