The King Biscuit Flower Hour

I remember this show in the late seventies and early eighties. The performers included The Who, Rolling Stones, Bruce Springsteen, David Bowie, AC/DC, Elton John, Tom Petty, and more. You could tune in on the radio and hear concerts and interviews.

It all started on Feb. 18, 1973, when the King Biscuit Flower Hour debuted on the D.I.R. Radio Network…on FM stations across the U.S. The innovative Sunday night series featured recorded concerts and interviews with rock’s biggest stars. King Biscuit would expand its reach to more than 300 stations before it ceased the weekly production of new shows in 1993. Reruns continued until 2005.

The first KBFH show was broadcast on February 18, 1973 and featured Blood, Sweat & Tears, the Mahavishnu Orchestra, and Bruce Springsteen. Columbia Records was one of the sponsors of the first shows, along with Pioneer High Fidelity and Scotch recording tape.

The concerts were usually recorded with a mobile multi-track recording truck, then mixed and edited for broadcast on the show within a few weeks. In the 1970s, the show was sent to participating radio stations on reel-to-reel tape. They soon switched from tape to album and then to CDs.

Although closely associated with classic rock in its later years, the King Biscuit Flower Hour dedicated much air time to new and emerging artists, including new wave and modern rock artists in the late 1970s and early 1980s.

In 1982, a three-alarm fire damaged the Manhattan office tower that housed D.I.R. Broadcasting. Reportedly, many of the King Biscuit Flower Hour recordings were lost in the fire.

By the end of the KBFH series and the sale of its assets to Wolfgang’s Vault, DIR had impressively amassed over 850 rock concerts, approximately 200 live interviews, and almost 400 country music concerts, which the company recorded on its separate Silver Eagle brand, along with 150 comedy shows.

In 2006, the King Biscuit tape archives were acquired by Wolfgang’s Vault which began streaming concerts online and has made some available for download.

There weren’t many options back then to see or hear rock performers…Don Kirshner Rock Concert, Midnight Special, and some on SNL..and maybe a few specials.

Author: badfinger20 (Max)

Power Pop fan, Baseball fan, old movie and tv show fan... and a songwriter, bass and guitar player.

16 thoughts on “The King Biscuit Flower Hour”

  1. I loved this show and recorded lots of them on cassette between 77 – 83. The tapes are long gone but I still remember many of those recordings: Springsteen, the Clash, the Cars, Joe Jackson, Pat Benatar, Pretenders, Almman Bros….and U2 from Boston which I was super excited for because I was at that show. I’m glad they are archived. Gonna have to check them out.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Neat! I’ve heard of it but never got to hear it – I’m hazarding a guess Toronto didn’t have a station playing it (now Buffalo might have and we could bring in the W New York stations but seldom bothered to.) I’m going to give a listen in to the Band one there. With ticket prices and now the viral fears, it might be time to think about someone re-initiating it

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  3. I remember this being on WLAV, a radio station in Grand Rapids. When I started listening to FM radio, music became more than just pulp to me. I do not remember focusing on the shows, but back in the day FM was the only way to hear a lot of good music not available on AM or TV. I marked The Band broadcast for later as I know it will be worth hearing.

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    1. I would record them with my big old hi-fi 8-track recorder lol. Somewhere in a box somewhere is a mountain full of 8-track tapes full of shows…I lost them all.

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  4. I’ve heard of this show but, never “heard” one. The radio stations in my market growing up were too small. None of them carried this. When my hometown station existed…in town…it went off the air at midnight.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. The only reason I did was because it was out of Nashville. Great show because this was one of the only links we got to major rock band concerts.
      The Who, Stones, or Zeppelin did NOT come to Nashville…maybe when they were starting out but never during their prime.

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