City Desk

If Your Newspaper Was Late in the ’70s, Blame Don Kirshner and Uriah Heep

Sad, sad times for any child of the '70s: Don Kirshner is dead.

Kirshner, 76, died of heart failure Monday in Boca Raton, Fla.

Around here, Kirshner's show, Rock Concert, aired weekly on WRC-4 after Saturday Night Live, and for a decade was appointment television for me and all my fellow Northern Virginia ne'erdowells. I delivered the Washington Post throughout my childhood, and only the lord and my Post distributor know how many Sunday papers arrived late on local doorsteps because I'd stayed up til 2:30 a.m. watching Rock Concert. (Alas, the 90-minute TV show died long before Kirshner.)

He introduced bands from every genre and talent level to me and the masses—nobody else in music programming had the guts to showcase the songstylings of both the Ramones AND Cheryl Ladd. For better or worse, I added Uriah Heep and Van Halen LPs to my collection after hearing 'em on Kirshner's show.

The father of a friend of mine has hung out with Kirshner for a long time down in Florida, and, knowing of my affection for the guy, as a prank/treat he got Kirshner to call me out of the blue a couple years ago.

As soon as Kirshner got "Hello" out of his mouth, I started gushing about how important a figure he was to me and everybody I grew up with and how I hope he knows he's a hero to a generation of suburban dirtballs.

I meant every word.

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  • BuzzMc

    Dave, you are forgetting that you played bass on a tribute song to the Great One. It's pretty good, too.

  • JeffB

    The Kirshner show was also an icon for those of us not quite old enough to stay up so late. I'd have to spend the night at a friend's house in order to watch the show because my parents wouldn't allow such a late hour in front of the TV. The Ramones footage above is '70s rock at its absolute finest!

  • Guido

    An awesome show! Wish we had something like it now...

  • Lemonaid into Lemons

    Damn. Now I'm flashing back to Don Pardo saying, "Good night..." after SNL ended, then...

    "Hello. I'm Don Kirshner and welcome to Rock Concert." That still makes shivers go up my back.

    I mean, consider a show that had the Rolling Stones, Genesis, Ronnie Milsap, and Loverboy, on the same episode?

    To paraphrase Butthead: YESSSSS!

    Postscript: Paul Shaeffer, as Kirshner introducing "The Village Persons" was a high point of SNL.