A giant of the American music industry passed away this week. Don Kirshner, known as "The Man with the Golden Ear" died on Tuesday.
Kirshner was instrumental (pardon the pun) in bringing new talent to an American market full of baby boomers. His first gig was co-writing a song with Bobby Darin. He would later create the Monkees and the Archies. In 1972 he would be hired as executive producer for the television series "In Concert", which would morph into "Don Kirshner's Rock Concert." This show was notable for its departure from the standard for televised music acts where artists lip-synched their performances to pre-recorded songs. For Rock Concert, a live performance was captured on tape in front of an audience.
You know such stars as Neil Diamond, Carol King, LaBelle, Kansas, Billy Joel, and The Police because of him.
He will be sorely missed.
I've put together a few videos for you that will give you a small sample of Kirshner's influence on American music. From bubble-gum, to ballads, from funk and soul to early death metal, his ear for new talent seemed endless. No genre was left untouched by his influence.
Here we go. Also bear in mind that television recording technology using tape was in its' infancy at that time, hence the lack of synchronization between the audio and the video in some of these clips. They're still fun to watch.
Starting at the beginning of the alphabet, here's ABBA
Here's a batless Ozzy with Black Sabbath
This is an anorexic Wizard and True Star, Todd Rundgren with the first incarnation of Utopia.
Steve Miller unplugged. By the way, Steve, what exactly is a "pompetus?"
Mark, Don, and Mel, AKA Grand Funk Railroad
Here's the man hisself introducing The Ramones
I'm not sure this hybrid of the James Gang and T-Rex was ever seen again after this performance
And lastly, success breeds imitation
Rest in Peace, Don.