35 years ago today, on Nov 24th, 1979, Van Halen concert footage was shown on television for the very first time!
No, were not talking about the Fair Warning tour film from Oakland, (and there’s a lot of mystery behind that) —we’re talking about our OTHER favorite old Van Halen footage, which is arguably just as cool, but doesn’t seem to get talked about as much…
Back in 1979, before MTV, home video or the Internet, the band relied almost exclusively on the radio airplay for exposure. “Dance the Night Away,” with it’s catchy riff and sing-along chorus, charted well in the spring and summer, eventually climbing to US # 15. “Beautiful Girls” stalled at US #84. Hoping to further the bands recognition, Warner Brothers filmed three songs during Van Halen’s performance at the Rochester Community War Memorial in Rochester, NY on May 18th.
For a considerable investment of $61,500, the band had incredible live footage of three new songs from Van Halen II—“Dance the Night Away,” “You’re No Good,” and “Bottoms Up!” Initially, “Beautiful Girls” was supposed to be part of the package, but was never filmed for whatever reason.
On November 24th, Don Kirshner’s Rock Concert broadcast the live clips of “Dance the Night Away,” “You’re No Good.” for a national audience. “Bottoms Up!” was left out, but aired on some other program (overseas) at a later date, so video collectors have had these gems in circulation ever since, but in less than perfect quality.
All three videos can be watched below. Hopefully someday soon, the band will finally give this historic video the official release it deserves. It’s simply maddening that they have yet to release any of the priceless footage from their unrivaled early years.
Don Kirshner’s Rock Concert 11/24/79 Episode Summary:
- Rick James (lip-sync performance)- “Fire It Up,” “Love Gun” and “Fool On The Street.”
- LTD – “Holding On (When Love Is Gone)” and “Dance ‘N’ Sing ‘N’.”
- Graham Parker (music videos) – “Local Girls” and “Protection.”
- Van Halen (live music videos) – “Dance The Night Away” and “You’re No Good.”
- Kim Carnes (music videos) – “Stay Away” and “What Am I Gonna Do?”
- Journey (music videos) – “Lovin’, Touchin’, Squeezin'” and “Loving You Is Easy.”
- Disco Dance Dimensions (dance troupe, series regulars) perform to a Disco version of the “Star Wars” theme.
- Mike Binder (stand-up comedian) – topics include drugs, Disneyland.