Before the days of VH1, MTV, BET and the like; there was Sound Stage. Sound Stage came out in 1974 as a hit television show in which the stars of the day performed (on a sound stage). The original show ran for almost eleven years; ending in 1985. Yet, the show changed American pop culture forever and created a new era of the musician; the video star. Up until this point, musicians had mainly been recorded on regular stages, live, before an audience.
Sound stages provides an intimate setting; recorded at WTTW’s Grainger Studio in Chicago. One cannot help but be reminded of shows like Saturday Night Live where the musicians of the day have often made their debut and wonder if Sound stage was part of the show’s inspiration.
Since its original debut in 1974, Sound stage has been the stage for musicians a crossed the board from pop and rock to country and bluegrass. Aretha Franklin, Journey, The Doobie Brothers, B.B. King, Tom Petty, Toby Keith and Cyndi Lauper. Sound stage has also been a venue for up and comers in the industry, getting their “big break”.
The new version of Sound Stage has been on air for over a decade. Making its debut in 2003, Sound stage has, again been the host of the day’s most famous artists. The new show has recorded an amazing line up of musicians over the last ten seasons, such as; Fleetwood Mac, Tori Amos, Cheryl Crow, Alanis Morrisette, Lisa Marie Presley, Ringo Star, Jewel, Bon Jovi, OneRepublic, Tim McGraw, Lynard Skynard and George Harrison to name a few.
Season ten aired January, 2017 and wowed viewers with performances by Blondie, Tom Jones and Bad Company. Season ten also was host to the breakthrough band, Old Dominion; a twangy, old-fashioned country band with a rock and roll twist.
However; season ten mostly stood apart for its Cornerstones of Rock Special, fundraising event. The ninety minute, pledge event reunited legendary garage bands of the sixties and seventies for a performance in front of a live studio audience. The Ides of March, The Buckinghams, The McCoys, The Cryin Shames and New Colony Six. The special event was spectacular and very different from the show’s typical ambience. Blazing light shows and colorful backgrounds danced over rockers with purple hair and matching purple leather, tight pants and wild hair. The large group of rockers seemed to be transformed into their younger selves from thirty or forty years ago as soon as they began performing.
If you have not heard of Sound Stage before, it is likely because the show, namely, airs on PBS (Public Broadcasting System). The show presently boasts the best technology in the industry such as digital audio mixed with Dolby 5.1 surround sound. Sound stage has also occasionally been aired on CMT and MTV Live as well as internationally in over twenty Nations.