Hollywood Bowl: History of the iconic Los Angeles concert venue (Part 2)

News 19/08/2019

We have covered the first 40 decades of Hollywood Bowl in the previous article. Rock n' roll hits Hollywood Bowl hard in their 5th decade of existence during the 'British Invasion' and America's response to that. Read about it below.

1960s

The Beatles make their first appearance at the Hollywood Bowl in August 1964. Despite the low advertisements, tickets sold out within three hours of its announcement. The Beatles later returned for two more shows in 1965. Twelve years later, Capitol Records released 'The Beatles at the Hollywood Bowl' that featured live recordings from both concerts.

Bob Dylan made his debut at the Bowl. He would later return to perform in 1993, 1999 and 2012.

Simon & Garfunkel performed in July 1967 while Jimi Hendrix opened for the Mamas and the Papas a month later. Hendrix would later return as a headliner in 1968, with live recordings released as part of the 50th anniversary box set of 'Electric Ladyland'.

The Who has made their Bowl debut in November 1967 and would later return to the same venue in 2000, 2002, 2004, 2006 and in October this 2019.

In July 1968, The Doors would perform for the first time, complete with filming for a video release. The band would later return in 1972 with Frank Zappa and Tim Buckley.

1970s

Stevie Wonder performed at this iconic venue for the first time while Deep Purple became the first rock band to perform with the orchestra at Hollywood Bowl in August 1970.

In 1972, Pink Floyd, The Grateful Dead, Jefferson Airplane, Frank Zappa and Joe Cocker headlined at the Hollywood Bowl. Even Rod Stewart made his debut in the same year. Pink Floyd performed 'Set the Controls for the Heart of the Sun' with a flammable gong and the band put on a fireworks show as a grand finale.

Elton John would also perform a TV special at the Hollywood Bowl in September 1973. He would return to the same venue in 1982, 1988 and 1995.

Pink Floyd at Hollywood Bowl 1972
Elton John at Hollywood Bowl 1073

Photo credits: Hollywood Bowl Museum Collection

1970s

Stevie Wonder performed at this iconic venue for the first time while Deep Purple became the first rock band to perform with the orchestra at Hollywood Bowl in August 1970.

In 1972, Pink Floyd, The Grateful Dead, Jefferson Airplane, Frank Zappa and Joe Cocker headlined at the Hollywood Bowl. Even Rod Stewart made his debut in the same year. Pink Floyd performed 'Set the Controls for the Heart of the Sun' with a flammable gong and the band put on a fireworks show as a grand finale.

Elton John would also perform a TV special at the Hollywood Bowl in September 1973. He would return to the same venue in 1982, 1988 and 1995.

In 1977, a Star Wars Concert complete with lasers took place at the iconic venue. The L.A. Philharmonic was the first orchestra to bring in new technology into a classical setting.

The first Playboy Jazz Festival was held here in mid-June for the first time in 1979 and was held there every year ever since.

1980s

The sonotubes were replaced with suspended hollow fiberglass spheres by Frank Gehry. This allowed musicians to better hear one another on stage while performing.

The first concert of the Jazz at the Bowl was held in July 1980. The first season's bill included Chick Corea, B.B. King, Muddy Waters, Big Joe Turner, Big Mama Thornton, Lloyd Glenn, Mel Tormé, and Carmen McRae.

In June 1980, Monty Python Live at the Hollywood Bowl brought the popular English comedy troupe across to the States. The performance was filmed for release as a motion picture.

Ray Charles debuted his first Hollywood Bowl appearance as part of Playboy Jazz Festival in 1984. He returned in 1996 and 2001.

The 23rd Summer Olympic Games was held in Los Angeles. This is the second time the Olympics are held in L.A. The Bowl produces a jazz marathon including performances by Free Flight, The Wynton Marsalis Quintet, Count Basie Orchestra, and Joe Williams. Part of the programming is the recreation of the 1784 Westminster Abbey performance of Handel’s Messiah.

1990s

The Hollywood Bowl Orchestra was founded as a separate entity to the L.A. Philharmonic.

Paul McCartney returned in April 1993 as a solo musician to host an Earth Day concert. Don Henley, Steve Miller, 10,000 Maniacs, Kenny Loggins and more were on the line up. McCartney jokingly addresses the audience saying "You look a bit different than the last time I was here." McCartney is joined by fellow ex-Beatle Ringo Starr on drums for the concert’s finale.

Prince performed at the Hollywood Bowl on 11th October 1997.

2000s

The architectural firm, Hodgetts & Fung designed a renovation of the Hollywood Bowl shell to bring the performance stage and backstage facilities up to current seismic standards. The multi-phase plan was completed by 2004.

The Who performed their first show as a band since the death of their original bassist, John Entwistle.

Radiohead made their Hollywood Bowl debut in 2001 to promote 'Hail to the Thief' album and would return in 2003 for another two shows.

The Rolling Stones did two shows in November 2005 as part of 'A Bigger Bang' Tour.

Aerosmith plays at the Bowl for the first time in November 2006 and returned in 2010 with Cheap Trick.

Genesis would perform their very last two concerts of their 'Turn it On Again: The Tour' in October 2007. Lead singer, Phil Collins said, "There was nothing else planned for Genesis after this show" during the last concert.