Friday, November 26, 2010

Burt Sugarman's Midnight Special

Burt Sugarman's Midnight Special T. Rex
Seely Dan Doobie Brothers
Golden Earring Redbone
Clockwise, from Top right: Midnight Special, T. Rex, Doobie Brothers, Redbone, Golden Earring, and Steely Dan.

Way back in the olden days, there was a show on every Friday night called Burt Sugarman's Midnight Special. It was fantastic, as it not only featured live music, it often put the spotlight on rock bands, many of which were being overshadowed by the pop music of the day.

T. Rex was a British Glam Rock band, one of the premiere of it's kind in the 70s. Marc Bolan was the frontman, and his wild antics, great voice and strong musicianship made him on of the top rock singers of the time. In 1973, the band had a runaway hit with Get It On, which went to #1 in the UK and Ireland, and #10 on the US Hot 100 chart. In 1977, just two weeks shy of his 30th birthday, Bolan was killed in a car accident just a mile from his home, ending the reign of the band. But they did appear on the Midnight Special in 1973, performing Get It On.

American band Steely Dan ruled the charts in the 70s and 80s, the unique blend of rock and jazz playing well on radio. In 1973 they appeared on Midnight Special performing their second single, Reelin' In The Years, which hit #11 on the US Hot 100 Chart. I covered their success with the album Aja here.

The Doobie Brothers formed in 1970, playing an inseresting blend of rock and soul on the California scene. From 1970 to 1987, the band lineup change with some regularity, with anywhere between four to eight members. They were five strong when they played the Midnight Special in 1973, where they performed their #11 hit, Listen To The Music, from their platinum-selling album Toulouse Street.

Golden Earring were a Dutch rock band formed in 1961, a group of teenagers wanting to play Pop Rock music. Like many others on the rock scene, by 1968 they had moved to a more psychedelic rock sound, and they started having some international success. In 1973, the band had great success with the song Radar Love, which made it to the top of the charts across the globe. In 1974, they had their chance to play the Midnight Special.

Redbone was an American rock band who celebrated their native American ancestry often in their music. They came together in Los Angeles in 1969, combining rock, R&B, Cajun and Native American influences in their music, making for a truly unique sound. In 1974, they performed their gold-selling single Come And Get Your Love, which went to #5 on the US Hot 100 singles chart.

The show debuted on TV in 1973, and continued on for eight years until it went off the air in 1981. It gave a platform to some of the top rack acts of the day, every Friday night following Johnny Carson's The Tonight Show. The announcer for the show was Wolfman Jack, a world-famous radio disc jockey with a gravelly voice who became known for his programs with rock and pop in the 70s and 80s.


  1. Reelin' In The Years just put a big smile on my face.


  2. Mine Too! I remember being up late watching that show on Saturday nights!!

  3. I watch some the performances of youtube

  4. David, amazing, isn't it, after all these years?

    Big Mark, such a wonderful show!

    Wonder Man, such great stuff.

  5. Great Music! But, I think there is a typo in there re: Marc Bolan. He died in 1977, not 1997.

  6. Anon, thanks for catching that typo! I fixed it now!



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