When ‘King Biscuit’ Was King Of Sunday NiteDecember 9, 2011
Back in the 1970’s during the throes of my rock ‘n roll obsession it was rock ‘n roll 24/7/365. I can remember attending three concerts in a week on occasion. Got all the albums, 8-tracks, posters, concert tickets, wearing apparel, just like you did. For the most part myself and friends, we worshiped at 100.7 on the dial, WMMS in Cleveland. And for most if not all of the 70’s a weekly feature that we always tuned in to (unless we were at a concert) was the Sunday evening broadcast of the King Biscuit Flower Hour, a syndicated radio program that broadcast concerts with the biggest bands in the land.
Sometimes we’d record them, I knew someone who damn near had a full library of King Biscuit broadcasts during the 70’s. I can recall recording a few, depending who the band was that night and if I was near a home based stereo. An old pal, Dave Corbett, recorded an Aerosmith King Biscuit concert on 8-track (!) and gave it to me. I wore it out.
I can remember many a Sunday evening out cruising back roads with a carload of friends getting our minds right and listening, at maximum volume of course, to whatever band(s) were on that particular week.
The King Biscuit Flower Hour debuted on February 18, 1973 with Blood, Sweat & Tears, the Mahavishnu Orchestra, and Bruce Springsteen. Bill Minkin served as the show’s host from the debut into the mid-1990s and he became a familiar voice to us rockers out there. The show eventually was carried over 300 plus radio stations across the country.
I can remember attending a couple shows at the Cleveland Agora that were recorded for King Biscuit Flower Hour broadcasts (Ian Hunter/Mick Ronson & Rockpile in 1979, for one).
The King Biscuit producers would usually show up with a mobile recording truck, record the concert, mix and edit it and then radio stations who participated would receive reel-to-reel tapes of the shows. The producers didn’t switch over to CDs until 1987. New broadcasts lasted until 1993.
I had no idea the show lasted as long as it did. I figure I probably heard my last King Biscuit broadcast on the radio circa 1980 or so, but it was a nice diversion on a Sunday night, it was also a chance to record some live gigs by favorite bands for the cost of a blank cassette (it had to have been a bootleggers money machine back in the 70’s). I also recall that King Biscuit producers would manufacture albums for radio stations to broadcast that were meant for radio stations only but I recall buying a couple of them at record shops back in the day.
In 2006, the King Biscuit tape archives were acquired by Wolfgang’s Vault that began streaming concerts online and has made some available for download.