“The Man With the Golden Ear”

Don Kirshner passed away Monday, January 17th at the age of 76.

He helped launch the careers of Kansas, Prince and The Eagles.

He of course also managed the songwriting talent at the Brill Building which included Carole King, Gerry Goffin, Neil Sedaka , Niel Diamond,  and many others.

Through his songwriting/ publishing management  he had control over The Monkees (who had great songs, I don’t care what you say…) and The Archies with Sugar, Sugar (also a great song so shut up).

Sugar, Sugar was actually a slap in the face of  The Monkees who were trying to get more “creative control” by refusing to record the song.  Kirshner said fine, he’d do it with a “cartoon” band and have a hit with it to show who was really in control.

But to me Kirshner should be remembered even more for his “Rock concert” television show that ran from 1973 until 1981.

Before MTV changed rock music on television.

Yeah, his stiff introduction of the acts was laughable.  Who didn’t do an impression of him that was alive during those days.

But do you realize the artists that played the show?

Abba, Black Sabbath, Alice Cooper, The Ramones, Billy Joel, David Bowie, Eagles, Outlaws, Cheap Trick, Fleetwood Mac, Badfinger, Bad Company, The Rolling Stones, Kiss, The Police, ELO, James Gang, Journey, Lynyrd Skynyrd, George Harrison, The Byrds, The Sex Pistols, Todd Rundgren,  Sly and the Family Stone, War, Linda Ronstadt, Cat Stevens, Ted Nugent, and I could go on and on…..

Personally, as an adolescent I fell deeply in love with Linda Ronstadt singing “You’re no good” on the show. Completely.


I also distinctly remember being amazed by Todd Rundgren’s talent and completely baffled by his choice in attire for the evening.

But here is why Don Kirshner should be bowed down to:

He insisted that all artists play COMPLETELY LIVE.

LIVE.  No miming.  No lip synching.  LIVE.

It was truly a “Rock Concert”.  The way it was supposed to be.  Before “video killed the radio star”.

RIP Don.  You wore a bad leisure suit, but put on a great television show.


Any Memories of “Don kirshner’s Rock Concert”?



2 responses


    Used to watch the shows after SNL while I was still in the Air Force. We’d drag a stereo down to the day room, and enjoy the concerts! KLOS or KROQ (one of the LA FM stations) would simulcast the concert in stereo so the sound would be cool. I remember talking to my best friend, Tom, who was back home in Alabama, and telling him that someday there would be a TV channel that broadcast music and concerts exclusively. I didn’t envision the ‘music video’ but I did predict “MTV” back in 74!

    January 21, 2011 at 11:20 pm

  2. Kirshner was great! In Concert and Rock Concert were my faves growing up. Live music, not lip-synched, live audience, there was no other show like it.

    Here’s my tribute:



    January 22, 2011 at 6:06 pm

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