Rock music promoter and producer Don Kirshner died last week of heart failure in Boca Raton, Florida, at the age of 76. Don was one of the people that helped put Van Halen on the map. His syndicated series,”Don Kirshner’s Rock Concert,” featured live performances of Van Halen from their 1979 and 1981 tours, which is the earliest professionally filmed live footage of Van Halen that is known to exist. Amazingly, the footage has never been officially released for home viewing, despite the fact that fans and collectors consider it to be some of the very best footage of the band that exists.
The syndicated “Don Kirshner’s Rock Concert” grew out of his involvement as a creative consultant for ABC’s “In Concert,” with Kirshner insisting that the acts play live rather than lip-synching their performances. The show launched on Sept. 27, 1973, with the Rolling Stones’ first American TV appearance in more than four years. Its 230 episodes, which ran through 1981, featuring a wide array of artists such as Van Halen, Kiss, ABBA, Sly & the Family Stone, Peter Frampton, the Ramones, the Eagles, Rush, Kansas and many others.
If it wasn’t for Don Kirshner, this classic Van Halen footage might never have been filmed. Thank you, Don!