Burbank's Ever Lovin' Light
by Wes Clark
If I told you that this nearly all-inclusive list of bands and comedians once actually appeared and performed in Burbank at various times, would you know where?
Andy Kaufman, Argent, John Denver, Cass Elliot, Harry Chapin, David Clayton-Thomas, The Everly Brothers, The Isley Brothers, Helen Reddy, War, Al Green, Albert Hammond, Albert King, Alvin Lee, Anne Murray, Aretha Franklin, The Association, Barbara Fairchild, Badfinger, The Bee Gees, Ben E. King, Bill Cosby, Billy Paul, Billy Preston, Black Oak Arkansas, Blood, Sweat & Tears, Bloodstone, Bo Diddley, Bobby Day, Bobby Darin, Bobby Womack, Bonnie Bramlett, Brewer & Shipley, Bud Brisbois, Buddy Miles, The Byrds, Canned Heat, Carol Burnett, Charlie Rich, Chi Coltrane, Chubby Checker, The Coasters, Commander Cody and His Lost Planet Airmen, The Committee, Conway Twitty, Country Joe McDonald, The Crusaders, Curtis Mayfield, Danny & the Juniors, David Bowie, David Brenner, Del Shannon, The Del-Vikings, Dionne Warwick, Dobie Gray, Doc Severinsen, The Doobie Brothers, Don Gibson, Don McLean, Doug Kershaw, Dr. John, Earl Scruggs, Edgar Winter Group, Edward Bear, Edwin Hawkins Singers, Electric Light Orchestra, Eric Weissberg, Fanny, Flash featuring Peter Banks, Fleetwood Mac, Focus, Foghat, Freddy Cannon, Gary Mule Deer, Genesis, George Burns, George Carlin, George Jones, Gladys Knight & the Pips, The Grass Roots, Gunhill Road, Henry Mancini, The Hollies, The Honey Cone, Hoyt Axton, The Incredible String Band, The Impressions, Jack Burns and Avery Schreiber, Jerry Butler, Jerry Lee Lewis, Jim Croce, Jim Weatherly, Jimmie Spheeris, Jimmy Clanton, Joan Rivers, Joe Walsh, John Kay, John Stewart, Johnny Rivers, Johnny Mathis, Johnny Nash, Johnny Paycheck, Johnny Rodriguez, Johnny Winter, Jonathan Winters, Jose Feliciano, Kenny Rankin, Kenny Rogers and The First Edition, King Crimson, King Harvest, Kris Kristofferson, Lakshmi Shankar, Leo Kottke, Leroy Hutson, Little Anthony & The Imperials, Livingston Taylor, Lloyd Price, Loggins & Messina, Loretta Lynn, Mac Davis, Marty Robbins, Malo, Melissa Manchester, Merrilee Rush, Mimi Fariņa, Monty Python, Nitty Gritty Dirt Band, The O'Jays, Paul Anka, Paul Williams, Rare Earth, The Penguins, Ramblin' Jack Elliott, The Raspberries, Ravi Shankar, Ray Charles, Richard Pryor, Rita Coolidge, Robert Klein, Ronnie Dyson, Savoy Brown, Seals & Crofts, The Searchers, Sha Na Na, Shawn Phillips, The Shirelles, Skeeter Davis, Skylark, The Skyliners, Slade, Sonny Terry and Brownie McGhee, The Spinners, Smokey Robinson, The Staple Singers, The Statler Brothers, Steely Dan, Steve Goodman, Steve Martin, Steve Miller Band, Stories, The Stylistics, Tanya Tucker, Taj Mahal, Tammy Wynette, Timmy Thomas, Todd Rundgren, Tom T. Hall, Tower of Power, T. Rex, Waylon Jennings, Wilson Pickett, Wishbone Ash, Vicki Lawrence, Aerosmith, Ann Peebles, Barry White, Bill Withers, Bonnie Tyler, Brownsville Station, Charlie Rich, Chic, Curtis Mayfield, David Brenner, David Essex, Dobie Gray, Eddie Kendricks, Edwin Starr, El Chicano, Freddie Prinze, Gladys Knight & B.B. King, Golden Earring, Gordon Lightfoot, The Guess Who, Hot Tuna, Humble Pie, Ike & Tina Turner, James Brown, Jo Jo Gunne, Jobriath, Kool And The Gang, Lynn Anderson, The Main Ingredient, Maria Muldaur, Marvin Gaye, Montrose, The New York Dolls, Ohio Players, Phil Ochs and Jim Glover, Redbone, Robert Palmer, Rufus Featuring Chaka Khan, Shirley & Lee, Sly & the Family Stone, Stories, ABBA, Barry Manilow, The Bee Gees, Captain & Tennille, David Steinberg, Dolly Parton, Frankie Valli, Glen Campbell, The Hollies, K.C. and the Sunshine Band, KISS, Labelle, Linda Ronstadt, Minnie Riperton, Natalie Cole, Neil Sedaka, Olivia Newton-John, Orleans, Peter Frampton, PFM, Rod Stewart, Roxy Music, The Whitney Family, Bill Haley & His Comets, Diana Ross, Donna Summer, Elton John, England Dan and John Ford Coley, Eric Carmen, Gary Wright, Heart, Hot Chocolate, Janis Ian, Joan Baez, LaBelle, The Miracles, Michael Murphey, Starbuck, Tom Jones, Walter Murphy and The Big Apple Band, Wild Cherry, Andrew Gold, Andy Gibb, Andy Kaufman, Bonnie Raitt, Bread, Dave Mason, Eddie Rabbitt, Emmylou Harris, Jennifer Warnes, Jesse Winchester, Leo Sayer, Little Feat, Lou Rawls, Manfred Mann's Earth Band, Marilyn McCoo & Billy Davis, Jr., Player, Sanford-Townsend Band, Thelma Houston, Van Morrison, Weather Report, AC/DC, Ambrosia, The Cars, Cheap Trick, Chic, Chuck Mangione, Crystal Gayle, Dan Hill, Donna Summer, Eddie Money, The Emotions, Evelyn Champagne King, Exile, Four Tops, George Benson, Hall & Oates, Nick Lowe, Peaches & Herb, Player, REO Speedwagon, Rick James, Robert Palmer, Ronnie Montrose, Starland Vocal Band, Sylvester, Ted Nugent, Sammy Hagar, Thin Lizzy, Todd Rundgren's Utopia, Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers, The Trammps, Village People, Yvonne Elliman, Alice Cooper, Amii Stewart, The Babys, The Beach Boys, Bonnie Pointer, Blondie, The Charlie Daniels Band, The Commodores, Gloria Gaynor, Grace Jones, Journey, Nick Gilder, Peaches & Herb, The Pointer Sisters, Randy Jones, Rick James, Rupert Holmes, The Three Degrees, The Jacksons, America, Christopher Cross, Randy Jones, Roy Orbison, Dr. Hook, Prince, 707, Andy Kaufman, Freddie Cannon, Slim Whitman, Tony Clifton.
The obvious answer is, "At the Starlight Bowl," but that's not the correct one. Perhaps you guessed it from the title of this article? From 1972 to 1981 a mostly young crowd of Burbankers and others once sat on the floor in the NBC studios - a few doors down from Studio One where the Tonight Show was shot - and enjoyed the music from all these bands and comedy acts to be broadcast later as The Midnight Special, hosted by the amazing growling and howling Wolfman Jack.
(What do you think? Do we grant honorary posthumous Burbanker status for the Wolfman? I think so.)
You can read about this fondly-remembered TV show elsewhere - start perhaps with wikipedia - and watch the various performances on YouTube. I just wanted to highlight this important Burbank musical landmark because, like many baby-boomers, I, too, was tuned in on Friday nights. I well remember the incredible feathered glam rock outfit modeled by Todd Rundgren in 1973, Linda Ronstadt singing "You're No Good" (and my father's comment that a girl performer should never have back up singers prettier than she is - we had an argument about who was prettier) and a screaming, feral, be-tailed Ted Nugent. A special performance for me was the night the Spinners sang "Could It Be I'm Falling In Love?" which, for me, became The Song of 1973. (It never fails to cheer me.) All in Burbank!
(And why on earth didn't I think of this show when I was writing "Lost Burbank" so I could have included mention of it in the musical chapter of the book? I do not know, Dear Reader, I do not know. Hindsight is 20/20. Grrrr.)