Rock Promoter Don Kirshner Has Died, Friend Says

January 18, 2011

Mark Memmott

Don Kirshner, who brought rock 'n' roll to those of us in "the sticks" with his Rock Concert series in the early '70s, has died.

According to the Associated Press: "a business associate says ... Kirshner has died of heart failure at a Florida hospital at age 76."

Time magazine once called Kirshner the "man with the golden ear." Rolling Stone notes that he was "the music industry impresario who established the Brill Building group of songwriters in the Sixties." That's clearly a huge accomplishment.

And, Kirshner brought us The Monkees and The Archies. Both noteworthy achievements.

But for millions of '70s-era kids in the American heartland, he'll forever be thanked for putting Don Kirshner's Rock Concert on the air. Instead of short, lip-synched songs on variety shows, we got to see the Allman Brothers, the J. Geils Band, Santana and others actually "in concert" (recorded, yes, and certainly edited; but still about as close to something "real" as you could get at the time).

As we might have said back then: Thanks, man.

Update at 2:40 p.m. ET: There's much more about Kirshner now over at The Record. Copyright 2011 National Public Radio. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.