Friday Night Concert: The Stranglers and The Specials Go To College

Travel back in time with us to the pre-cable and VCR days when rock bands could only ever be briefly glimpsed on TV on Friday nights, and if you were lucky, you might get to see a full show by a great band. Every week, I will be posting the kind of show that would have made me excited to stay up past 11, at some time between 1976 and 1984. So have a cup of coffee, eat some sugar, connect the audio output of your TV to your hi-fi system and play this Youtube video LOUD!

Rock Goes To College was one of the shows I was always thrilled to see on the rare occasions it made the late-night weekend rock broadcasts from 1978-80. It was there that I got my first look at the Police, Joe Jackson, Boomtown Rats and other young bands that you could just barely read about in Creem or Circus, but probably not hear on the radio yet. Since these shows run between twenty and forty-five minutes each, we’ll give you a double feature.

The Stranglers clip seen above was never shown at the time – with all the filthy language, that’s not a surprise, so consider that an NSFW warning. The Specials broadcast is one that I remember seeing at the time, not really understanding ska or even reggae yet, but being overwhelmed by the sheer energy of the band.


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