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Summer Jams II: California Jam 4.6.74

Posted by Artster63

Recently, on a sales call, to a good friend and client, I was given a copy of a newspaper article entitled "One day in 1974...". Thanks to Randy for his "keepin' an eye out". He said it would make a good story for my "Summer Jams" series. The article appears on the "California Jam" website and was originally written by David Allen and appeared on April 4, 2002 in the Inland Valley Daily Bulletin (CA).

Described as the first of the California Jam series and the last of the original rock festivals, that is to say, before the corporate heavyweights got involved. Funny it's described as such when this very concert was planned and sponsored by the ABC Network.

Some portions of the article that caught my eye:

- News accounts of the concert use the phrase ``sea of humanity'' to describe the audience on the grass.
Did you watch the video? A sea of people, people!!!

- Stars stayed at the local Holiday Inn and were flown to the concert by helicopter. To keep fans away, the message sign
outside the motel read: ``Welcome Western States Police Officers Assn.''
How funny is that?

- The real problem was traffic. Cars were backed up on the freeway as far as 13 miles.
Would you abandon your car and walk 13 miles to get to a concert?

- Despite gate-crashers at California Jam, ticket sales were 168,000 -- at the time the largest single-day paid attendance in U.S. rock concert history.
Estimated 25,000 - 30,000 gate-crashers. Lucky dogs.

-Supposedly there were 900,000 hot dogs sold at the festival.
If I were there, it would've been 900,500 Vienna Red Hots.

How awesome is this line-up? To have sat there all day and have a whole spectrum of sounds and styles. Baking away in the sun with 200,000 fellow rockers with two things in common, the love of music and Bain de Soliel tanning lotion. The scent of that browning oil whisping through the air, mingling with the soft sounds of EW&F and the hard hitting notes of Black Sabbath. Too much!!!

# Rare Earth
# Earth, Wind and Fire
# Eagles
# Seals & Crofts
# Black Oak Arkansas
# Black Sabbath
# Deep Purple
# Emerson, Lake and Palmer (ELP)

This show was out there people. Ritchie Blackmore tearing up his guitars like they were a-dime-a-dozen. Keith Emerson playing a raised, flipping piano. This show was totally over the top.

I'm including some of my personal favorites that don't appear in the video player below. Hope you enjoy!!!!

Rare Earth - Get Ready, (I Know) I'm Losing You

Earth, Wind and Fire - Reasons, That's The Way Of The World, Shining Star, September

The Eagles - Desperado, Hotel California, Lyin' Eyes, The Best of My Love, Take It To The Limit

Seals & Croft - Summer Breeze, Diamond Girl, We May Never Pass This Way Again

Black Oak Arkansas - Hot Rod, Rock-N-Roll, Hot and Nasty

Black Sabbath - Ironman, Snowblind, Sweet Leaf
Ozzy Bonus 1, Ozzy Bonus 2

Deep Purple - Child In Time, Speed King, The Mule, Woman From Tokyo

Emerson, Lake & Palmer - C'est la vie, Fanfare For The Common Man, The Curse of Baba Yaga, Knife Edge

This entry was posted on Saturday, August 09, 2008 and is filed under , , , , , , , , , . You can leave a response and follow any responses to this entry through the Subscribe to: Post Comments (Atom) .


I thought the record was held by the Watkins Glen jam the year before with the Band, Grateful Dead, and Allman Brothers--then "paid attendance" may be the key, there. It's amazing looking at the line-ups for festivals back then how they mixed up different styles--I mean, Seals and Crofts on the same bill as Black Sabbath? Earth Wind and Fire on the same bill as Black Oak Arkansas? Then, I guess maybe Bonnarroo going for something like that, forcing Metallica and Kanye West fans to try and get along....


Thanks for stopping by. You're absolutely correct on the shear number of attendees going to "Watkins Glen - Summer Jam" (5-600,000+). I'm thinking Allen may have been looking at paid attendance. Summer Jam had originally sold 100,000 tickets and added 25,000 by the start date.

I checked out Bonnaroo in '04. It's like the freakin' Disney World of Music Festivals. A mixed lineup and pretty much you can check out other genres or theres plenty of other things to do if not.

Have a good one.

I had a super long comment but I think I lost it! I'll do a post instead and link back here....this is a great memory! I was there!


I knew you were. I enjoyed your follow-up post. Thanks for sharing. Brought back some memories of my own.


I want the Flying Piano