Before They Were Famous

What artists did you see on the way up, before superstardom?
Anyone lucky enough to see the Beatles in Germany? If so, the thread should stop there. Until then, I have two. Aerosmith played at my high school Junior Prom, Stepinac High School in White Plains, N.Y., and I was lucky enough to see John Belushi do Joe Cocker in "Lemmings" at the Village Gate in N.Y.C. around 1970, just before SNL.
I did photography of Led Zeppelin on their very first US tour. During an interview at their hotel, John Paul was taking his record player apart ( KLH portable ) and holding it by the tonearm. Amazingly, he got it back together as Robert Plant brought a 45 RPM single to play. Robert turned to me and said, "This is a recording of a friend of mine, he hopes to get played in the States" The record was a promo British release of "60 years on" by Elton John. I think he got his wish.
Albert,your camera really has given you some amazing memories!
Hear,Hear, David!
Saw U2 on their very first US tour in a SMALL club (the original Lupo's Heartbreak Hotel) in Providence, RI.
Albert your's is going to be tough to top. I did however see Bonnie Raitt before she recorded in a little coffee house in Philly in the late 60's at that time she was famous for being John Raitt's daughter. Strictly Blues back then.
I remember going to a Xmas dance in Halifax at St Mary's university and the band was from Singalong Jubilee, a CBC show. I forget the lead singer but he was good. The organizer said for a few bucks more we could have had a female singer. "Who?" I asked? The other singer was an unknown Ann Murray. She had just started on the show...I've heard her live since then and I never realized how good she could be.. My brother-in-law was at the same show{he is not a fan} but he was awed by her....Cheers, Bluenose.
As an undergrad, I attended music school with two mezzos that are now of some import. Stephanie Blythe, now at the Met, and Margret Lattimore, also a rising opera world person. Renee Flemming, soprano, is an alum, and before she was really famous visited to sing at the school.
There's a Canadian rock band goes by the name of the Tragically Hip, from Kingston Ontario (roughly a 2 hour dirve from either Montreal, Ottawa, or Toronto). I've seen the Hip eight times over the last ten years, they are very well known in Canada; their eight CD's have all sold over a million copies in Canada. Big in Euroope too, but for some strange reason virtually unknown in America. Saw the Hip this past August in the Somerville theatre in Boston, one of 300 people there. Go to and check out the band, if they are touring in your city make a point of seeing them. Well written lyrics, and seen live you can't help but draw a parallel to the Australian band Midnight Oil. Jeff
I heard violinist Sarah Chang play when she was 12 years old. Not live, but I have original locally made recordings on 45RPM of the B52s and Devo I bought in College in the late 70s long before they became known.
I'm glad someone else remembers Lupo's Heartbreak. I saw Simon & Garfunkle at New Rochelle HS just as "Sounds of Silence" started to get airplay.
In 67 when I was 12 a friend of mine took me to see a guy named Jimi Hendrix at Hunter College in NYC. It was really cool. He set his guitar on fire. My parents, who were so impressed that I was going to a "concert", nearly dropped dead when I came home the next day with a copy of "Are You Experienced" They were pretty radical looking back then, especially that vest with the eyes on it that he was wearing in the picture.
Blbloom, interesting thread; While Bobby Vee never achieved "huge" stardom, he did alright for a country boy:>). He's from N.Dak, near where I grew up and he and his band "The Shadows" played locally in the late 50s early 60's (just dated myself). "Bobby Vee and the Shadows" were great performers and a great R&R dance band. Thanks for the memories. Cheers. Craig
I saw Tom Petty when his band was called Mudcrutch playing frat parties at the University of Florida. As a Jacksonville native saw all the local bands--Lynyrd Skynyrd, .38 special, etc. before they got big. A friend of mine used to mow lawns for the local promoter who was so cheap he often paid him with free tickets instead of cash.Saw lots of bands but the original Allman Brothers were far and away the best. Regarding Jacksonville bands,I refuse to go see Limp Biskit, however. A man's got to have standards.
John Hiatt with The Hounds early fame in Chicago area late 70's.
Well Exley sounds now that your on Florida and the Allman Brothers remember what the group was called before they became famous? This is during their Florida days.
I saw Ani DiFranco when she used to wear an old army jacket and play solo with just her guitar back here at the University of Buffalo. And maybe these weren't really early sightings, but I saw Billy Joel when he opened for the Doobie Brothers in a local hall. And my favorite was when Badfinger played at a local high school ('69 or '70?). And a nod to Jeffloistarca. We too discovered the Tragically Hip a few years ago, and they are fantastic. Being that Buffalo is a border town with Canada, we get a good chance the hear a lot of great Canadian music which others may not get to hear.
Don't know if this qualifies, but I saw Elton John in Sept, 1972 play solo in a small College Auditorium in the mid-west to a bunch of really tuned out WASP type preppies. He gave a GREAT!! Rocking performance, shoes on the keys, everything. I believe it was shortly after this he started attracting attention.
This may not qualify either but I saw ZZ Top in the very early 70's in a small gym at Alfred university in NY state.They didnt have a stage,just played on the floor with the crown only 3-4 feet away.I remember I was so close I got sweat splashed on me from one of the members.I hadnt heard of them at the time.I remember they were loud and great with the crowd.
Red Hot Chili Peppers in a bar called Wild Blue Yonder in Fresno, CA in the early 80's. They would play with nothing on but socks on their....... well.....
Some of the guys from Tower of Power used to stop in there too... (different nights) of course this was WAY after they were famous...
Angela, were these childrens socks, or adult?
Here are a few and though some are a stretch they are true stories. Led Zep and Steppenwolf in parking lot concerts in or around Pompano Beach, FL maybe in 1968 or 1969 (not certain of the year and it could have been well before then, but LZ only had a 45 out at the time, this I remember and it had the word "breakdown" in the title). Ted Nugent and the Amboy Dukes as an opening act in the Midwest when everyone except Ted thought that they were not famous (he was an A-hole even back then). Bonnie Raitt in a small bar in Iowa City, IA in 1973 ($4 cover and I forget the name of the bar - not Gabe & Walker's though). Split a Thai smoke with Jerry Garcia in a public restroom at the Field House auditorium in Iowa City, Ia in maybe 74 or 75 (can't remember). Of course he was already famous by then but by the time we finished he forgot who he was and I forgot that he was famous for a while. It took 45 minutes to get him to the back stage and the intermission/break lasted for about an hour, I don't think that anyone really noticed though. In 1978 my ex girl friend (who formed her own record label in England) brought an English band by to my apartment in LA to listen to some popular music that I had collected performed by "not" famous African bands and due to the fact that they (the English band) stank to high heaven from not bathing I would not allow them to enter. I am pretty sure that it was The Clash. The Dead, Quicksilver and Jimi Hendrix were all at some time or other neighbors to my wife who lived in the Bay area (Berkely) in the 60's. She gave the Dead a lift to one of their concerts as they did not have any transportation at the time, nor could they remember exactly where the concert was to take place (which had to be researched and it ended up being at a warehouse on the pier). My wife saw the Beatles performance at Carnegie Hall when she was a teen. The Beatles had already started to explode in the US, but the kicker is that they oversold the hall for the conceert and my wife ended up sitting on the side of the stage on folding chairs with her girlfriends. Her father who had driven them all down from CT, waited in the car until the concert was over.
In 75 at the Agora in Columbus, Ohio Hall and Oats were the headliners. The opening performer was a new kid who was getting some air play on the local FM station. Todd Rundgren. What a super show there was about 600 people there and you could walk right up to the stage.
ALbertporter, a little of both ;-}
Peter Gabriel, The Police, Squeeze, Joe Jackson, Dire Straits, all at the Bottom Line NYC(about 500 seats)in 1979 - my first year as an NYU undergrad. Gabriel, I guess, was famous from his years in Genisis but his solo stuff was a radical departure, and who could recogize him with his hair cut off?. Also, Talking Heads circa 1978, at a small community college, just after the release of "Talking Heads 77". The Clash a year later, but maybe they were famous by then.....
I saw REM open for Oingo Boingo a hundred years ago in Birmingham,AL. Neither were "famous". REM was booed off of the stage!!!!!! I never did like them...
oh yeah, I saw Jimi Hendrix open for The Monkeys in Charlotte NC. He threw down his guitar, said "f*%# you, Charlotte" and walked off the stage.
Angela100, don't blame Hendrix for this behavior, he had a monkey on his back.
Albertporter, Oh no I don't. I cheered him! I was there to see him! My best friend cousin was older and a hippie and turned us to on to music that was ahead of our age (I was 11).
I also saw Aerosmith on the highschool circuit, at Phillips Exeter in 1973.
Saw Kurt Cobain buy an NME, a Village Voice, and a porn magazine at a news shop in Alphabet City, NYC (Avenue A, between 8th and 9th, to be exact) in 1989. Exchanged words about the Nirvana gig the night before, and agreed to meet at a New Music Seminar event the next evening. He never showed up. Didnn't stop me from writing an (as yet unpublished) biography of Cobain (entitled "Grunge Pedal") from 1996 to 1998 while I was largely unemployed and very creative, fresh out of graduate school (Comparative Lit PhD.) and newly moved to Leipzig, Germany with beautiful new German wife. Does anyone know a publisher?
Tubegroover, were you looking for the "Allman Joys?"

I saw Elvin Bishop at my undergrad college auditorium, (actually let him in the side door to the auditorium before the show, as none of the yankees there in Kentucky recognized him.) Wait... damn, that doesn't count. He was on his way down as it had been a few years since the hits. He ain't good looking, but he sure can play. [:)]

Albert and Dekay, you are like Forrest Gump! I would really like to share a libation with you one day, sit back and listen to the stories you could tell.

Joplin and Hendrix at the Singer Pavillion of the old New York Worlds Fair in Flushing, Queens. I think it was 1968 and I was 16 at the time (went with some older kids and it was my first concert)....Unbelievable!!!
Charlie, I saw Elvin twice up here in Roch.NY in the mid 70's.He was awesome and put on a great show.He was fun to watch,rotting teeth and all!
Charlie indeed it was the Allman Joys.
Oh, just for my bit, its classical, it was Friedrich Gulda, and we both (unwittingly and later, wised up but unwillingly ) shared the same girlfriend, an up and coming pianist as well. Yes , glory days and so long gone.....Gulda died about two years ago and I wonder what has become of her.........