Some of the best artists and bands leave an indelible mark on history. As such, their work and live performances are remembered for generations after they have passed. Of course, such fond memories are made up of an entire musical career.
There are some musicians, though, that have held the world spellbound with a single live performance. Within those few minutes or hours, these individuals managed to create a legend that would live on, rippling throughout time. The list below pays reverence to some of these memorable artists.
1. Queen at the Live Aid Concert in 1985
The Live Aid Concert was the biggest of its kind people had ever seen up until that point. Anyone who was a rock legend performed here. This meant that Queen was up against some serious talent including The Who, David Bowie, Dire Straits, Led Zeppelin, Mick Jagger, Eric Clapton, and Bob Dylan.
To add to this, the band wasn’t even able to change anything on the set. They were forced to use the same drum kits, sound system, and lights as everyone else. This didn’t faze anyone, though, least of all Freddie Mercury.
Instead, he went on to enthrall and wow over two billion people watching him, holding everyone’s attention in the palm of his hand. And so, it is deemed one of the greatest live performances ever.
2. Jimi Hendrix at Woodstock in 1969
When Hendrix agreed to perform at the now-famed Woodstock, he was already a big rock and roll star. This is why he insisted on closing out the performance. However, once he took the stage, the audience wasn’t nearly as plentiful.
The weather and resulting conditions ensured that the half-million crowd had thinned out to a few hundred thousand. Still, it was one of those performances that everyone talks about, today.
Once he had finished playing his signature songs – “Voodoo Child”, and “Foxy Lady”, he started on another one: his own rendition of the “Star Spangled Banner.”
It wasn’t just that Hendrix infused America’s National Anthem with his personal brand of rock n roll that set the world on fire. It was also the fact that Woodstock was held, in part, as a protest against the Vietnam War. So, his performance took on a whole new meaning.
3. The Beatles on the Ed Sullivan Show in 1964
In 1964, the Beatles had already begun to make a name for themselves in England. Though they enjoyed an early level of fame, it wasn’t huge. Their live performance on the Ed Sullivan show, however, changed all of that.
It started with around 73 million Americans tuning in to watch this ‘new fad’ play. As soon as they started playing “All My Lovin”, the Beatles’ international fame status began to skyrocket. It was perhaps the moment their legend was truly cemented in history.
4. Johnny Cash at San Quentin Prison in 1969
San Quentin Prison wasn’t the first jail that Cash performed at. Despite this, there was certainly something momentous about the occasion. For one thing, the atmosphere of the place elevated the performance.
While he was performing, Cash wasn’t a musician – he was part of the rebellious crowd he was playing for. It was certainly an infectious feeling to all those that were watching. To add to this, it marked the first time the artist played “A Boy Named Sue”. Of course, last but not least, one of the reasons that this performance will live forever is because it was recorded live and then turned into an album.
These are some of the live performances that made an impact on the music industry and the rest of the world. They will certainly not be forgotten any time soon.
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Writer and blogger with a passion for music. Love writing about current and historical events in the music industry. I can also be found experimenting with my photography