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Shine Her Light: “The Midnight Special” Box Set Arrives In September with Fleetwood Mac, Bee Gees, ELO, More

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Midnight Special Box Set

Between August 1972 and May 1981, late night television was a little more rockin’.  Producer Burt Sugarman’s The Midnight Special followed Johnny Carson’s Tonight Show on Friday evenings, welcoming viewers with Johnny Rivers’ rousing rendition of the traditional tune (a Top 20 hit for Rivers in 1965).  Over the course of 450 episodes, The Midnight Special presented a staggering array of music’s top talent on network television with most songs performed live for the majority of its run.  The program, featuring announcer Wolfman Jack and a variety of guest hosts, premiered as a one-off special in August 1972 but was promoted to full-time status in February 1973.  It first arrived on DVD in 2006 with episodes available as mail order exclusives, heavily promoted via infomercials.  On September 9, however, StarVista/Time Life will make The Midnight Special more widely available for the first time with 11-DVD, 6-DVD and 1-DVD releases.  With the resurgence in many of the ‘70s’ greatest pop hits thanks to the hit Guardians of the Galaxy soundtrack the time couldn’t be better!  (Indeed, many of the Star Lord’s favorite songs were performed on The Midnight Special and will be included on these DVDs.)

The 11-disc Midnight Special Collectors’ Edition is now available to order exclusively online at MIDNIGHTSPECIALDVDS.COM for just under $100.00; while it’s expected that this set may eventually arrive to general retail (in the tradition of other StarVista sets for The Carol Burnett Show, Mama’s Family and The Dean Martin Celebrity Roasts), it will remain a website exclusive for the foreseeable future.  This edition features roughly 10 hours of musical performances plus 5 hours of newly-produced bonus material and a 32-page booklet.  The single-disc and 6-disc versions will be released on September 9 to stores everywhere. The Midnight Special played host to artists from the many genres that occupied the Top 40 slots on the Billboard Hot 100 during the 1970s, including Fleetwood Mac, The Bee Gees, Linda Ronstadt, The O’Jays, Dolly Parton, David Bowie (who broadcast his final television appearance as Ziggy Stardust on the program), Alice Cooper, Electric Light Orchestra, Neil Sedaka, Barry Manilow, Alice Cooper, frequent host Helen Reddy, and countless others who are featured on StarVista’s new sets.  The Midnight Special also gave the spotlight over to the era’s top comedians like Richard Pryor, Billy Crystal, George Carlin, Andy Kaufman, Steve Martin and Freddie Prinze.

After the jump: a look at what you can expect to find on these collections!

The Collectors’ Edition features eight discs of 130 live performances (selected from 423 complete shows), one disc of comedy performances and two discs of exclusive bonus features, including interviews with Peter Frampton, Alice Cooper, Frankie Valli, Loggins & Messina, Eddie Money, George Benson, Charlie Daniels, Todd Rundgren, Helen Reddy, Neil Sedaka, Harry Wayne Casey (the KC of KC and the Sunshine Band), creator Burt Sugarman and others.   Twelve additional featurettes are also present, including “The History of The Midnight Special,” “Wolfman at Midnight,” “Star-Studded Stage Fashion,” “No Safety Net: Live on TV,” “I Am Woman: Helen Reddy as Host,” “Benson & Frampton Talk Shop,” “The Making of The Midnight Special” “The Legacy of The Midnight Special,” a Burt Sugarman featurette, and more.

StarVista’s press release has supplied a list of some of the performances contained in the 11-disc box:

  • Aerosmith / “Dream On”
  • Alice Cooper / Medley: “Eighteen/Only Women/Billion Dollar Babies”
  • Bee Gees / “Nights on Broadway”
  • Earth, Wind & Fire / “Shining Star”
  • Electric Light Orchestra / “Evil Woman”
  • Fleetwood Mac / “Over My Head”
  • Gordon Lightfoot / “Sundown”
  • Heart / “Crazy on You”
  • Helen Reddy / “I Am Woman”
  • Jim Croce / “Bad, Bad Leroy Brown”
  • John Denver / “Take Me Home, Country Roads”
  • KC and the Sunshine Band / “That’s the Way (I Like It)”
  • LaBelle / “Lady Marmalade”
  • Linda Ronstadt / “When Will I Be Loved”
  • Marvin Gaye / “Let’s Get It On”
  • Peter Frampton / “Show Me the Way”
  • REO Speedwagon / “Keep on Loving You”
  • The Doobie Brothers / “Listen to the Music”
  • Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers / “American Girl”

The Collectors’ Edition also includes many of the show’s famous musical collaborations:

  • Aretha Franklin & Ray Charles / “Takes Two to Tango”
  • Carlos Santana & George Benson / “Breezin’ “
  • Etta James & Dr. John / “I’d Rather Go Blind”
  • Gladys Knight & B.B. King / “The Thrill Is Gone”
  • Helen Reddy & The Bee Gees / “To Love Somebody”
  • John Denver & Cass Elliot / “Leaving on a Jet Plane”
  • Neil Sedaka/Captain & Tennille / “Love Will Keep Us Together”
  • Bee Gees with Helen Reddy / “To Love Somebody”
  • George Benson, Van Morrison, Carlos Santana, Etta James, Dr. John / “Moondance”

The full list of the 130 performances in the box set can be found at the show’s website, but other highlights include:

  • Hall and Oates, “She’s Gone/Sara Smile/Rich Girl”
  • Harry Chapin, “Taxi”
  • Billy Paul, “Me and Mrs. Jones”
  • Rupert Holmes, “Escape (The Pina Colada Song)”
  • America, “Sister Golden Hair”
  • Redbone, “Come and Get Your Love”
  • Frankie Valli, “Can’t Take My Eyes Off You” and “Grease”
  • Bread, “Make It with You”
  • Barry Manilow, “Mandy” and “It’s a Miracle”
  • Glen Campbell, “Southern Nights”
  • Dolly Parton, “I Will Always Love You” and “Jolene”
  • Andrew Gold, “Lonely Boy”
  • Todd Rundgren, “Hello, It’s Me”
  • Spinners, “Could It Be I’m Falling in Love” and “I’ll Be Around”

The 6-DVD set includes 96 performances, and the single-DVD version has sixteen.  Both include some of the bonus material on the box set.   Currently, track listings do not appear to be available for the 1-DVD and 6-DVD editions.  We will update pre-order links as soon as they become available!  The box set is available for pre-order now and will ship by September 8; the other titles arrive on September 9 in stores.

Deluxe 11-DVD Box Set: StarVista

6-DVD Set: Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.

1-DVD: Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.

Written by Joe Marchese

August 13, 2014 at 13:15

9 Responses

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  1. I have all of the mail order DVDs. I assume there’s a lot of overlap. Hopefully there’s someone out there with a lot of time on their hands who could put together a list of the new material and what’s been left off. Given how long the program ran, there must be enough material out there to fill 50 DVDs, so it’s a little disappointing that the deluxe set tops out at only 11 DVDs – 9 if you exclude the bonus features. Also, while all the comedy material has been consolidated on a disc DVDs, the musical performances on the other discs seem to be thrown together pretty haphazardly. It would have made far more sense to have disc devoted to specific artists or genres (classic rock, punk/new wave, pop, country, R&B, disco, etc.).

    David Olstein

    August 13, 2014 at 13:54

    • Here’s my quick summary. No guarantee this is completely accurate just based on a quick comparison:

      Performances not on the previous 18 DVD Set:

      Tom Petty – Listen to Her Heart
      Mac Davis – Don’t Get Hooked on me
      Billy Paul – Mrs Jones
      Sly & the Family Stone – Everybody Is a Star
      Jim Croce – I Got a Name
      Jim Croce – Operator (That’s Not the Way It Feels)
      The Bee Gees – Lonely Days
      The Bee Gees – How Can You Mend a Broken Heart
      Helen Reddy – Angie Baby
      The Miracles – Love Machine
      Mandy Barry Manilow
      Electric Light Orchestra – Evil Woman
      Electric Light Orchestra – Strange Magic
      Electric Light Orchestra – Can’t Get It Out of My Head
      Gary Wright – Love Is Alive
      Alice Cooper – Inmates (We’re All Crazy)
      Aerosmith – Dream On
      The Stylistics – You Make Me Feel Brand New
      Barry White – Never Gonna Give You Up
      Village People – Y.M.C.A.
      Chic – Good Times
      Peaches & Herb – Shake Your Groove Thing
      Charlie Rich – Behind Closed Doors
      Dobie Gray – Drift Away
      Robert Palmer – Bad Case of Loving You (Doctor, Doctor)
      Bonnie Tyler – It’s a Heartache
      Aretha Franklin – Something He Can Feel
      Frankie Valli – Can’t Take My Eyes Off You
      Neil Sedaka – Breaking Up Is Hard to Do
      Earth, Wind and Fire – Devotion
      Eddie Rabbitt – Rocky Mountain Music
      Sammy Hagar – You Make Me Crazy
      Elvin Bishop – Fooled Around and Fell in Love
      Dolly Parton – Jolene
      George Benson, Van Morrison, Carlos Santana, Etta James, Dr. John – Moondance
      Etta James and Dr. John – I’d Rather Go Blind
      Seals & Crofts – Get Closer
      Albert Hammond – It Never Rains in Southern California
      Natalie Cole – I’ve Got Love on My Mind
      The Cars – My Best Friend’s Girl

      This following may be on the old set under a shortened title but can;t tell for certain:
      Alice Cooper – Medley: Eighteen/Only Women/Billion Dollar Babies
      Hall & Oates- Medley: She’s Gone/Sara Smile/Rich Girl

      However, there are many more titles on the previous 18 disc set that are not included in this new collectors edition. This new set appears to be heavily weighted toward the 73-77 period – most of the performances from 78 through 80 that are on the previous sets are not on this set. I’ll try and compile my list of these and post.

      MartyB

      MartyB

      August 13, 2014 at 19:06

      • Merrilee Rush – Start Again / Comfort and Please You, Friday, February 9th, 1973

        Zubb

        August 13, 2014 at 22:27

      • Here is my list of the Performaces on 18 Disc old set not on the new 11 disc set:

        DVD 1.) 1973
        Gladys Knight & the Pips: Neither One of Us
        T-Rex-Bang-A-Gong: Get It On
        Johnny Nash: I Can See Clearly Now
        Seals & Crofts: Summer Breeze
        Anne Murray: Danny’s Song

        DVD 2.) More 1973
        Seals & Crofts: Diamond Girl
        Jerry Lee Lewis: Chantilly Lace
        Rare Earth: I Just Want To Celebrate
        The Hollies: He Ain’t Heavy, He’s My Brother
        New York Dolls: Personality Crisis
        Eric Weissberg & Deliverance: Dueling Banjos

        DVD 3.) 1974
        Ike & Tina Turner: Proud Mary
        Sly & The Family Stone: Thank You
        David Essex: Rock On
        The O’Jays: Love Train
        Bill Withers: Ain’t No Sunshine
        James Brown: The Payback-Part 1
        Neil Sedaka: Laughter in the Rain

        DVD 4.) More 1974
        Brownsville Station: Smokin’ In The Boys Room
        Bill Withers: Lean On Me
        Steve Miller Band: Fly Like An Eagle
        Kool & The Gang: Jungle Boogie
        The Main Ingredient: Everybody Plays The Fool
        Melissa Manchester: Midnight Blue
        Gladys Knight & The Pips: The Best Thing That Ever Happened To Me
        Al Green: Tired Of Being Alone
        Paul Anka: (You’re) Having My Baby
        Billy Swan: I Can Help
        Ace: How Long

        DVD 5.) 1975
        Rod Stewart: You Wear It Well
        Natalie Cole: This Will Be (An Everlasting Love)
        Barry Manilow: Could It Be Magic
        Ohio Players: Love Rollercoaster
        Olivia Newton John: Have You Never Been Mellow
        Glen Campbell: Rhinestone Cowboy
        Kiss: Black Diamond

        DVD 6.) More 1975
        Spinners & Joni Sledge: Then came you
        Peter Frampton: Do you feel like we do
        Billy Joel: Ballad of Billy the Kid
        B.J. Thomas: Another somebody done somebody…
        Black Oak Arkansas: Jim Dandy
        Ohio Players: Fire
        Phoebe Snow: Poetry man
        Roxy Music: Out of the blue

        DVD 7.) 1976
        Elton John: Your Song
        Spinners: The Rubberband Man
        Heart: Magic Man
        Hot Chocolate: You Sexy Thing
        George Benson: The Masquerade
        Diana Ross: Love Hangover
        Eric Carmen: All by Myself
        Tom Jones: Delilah
        England Dan & JFord Coley: I’d Really Love to See You Tonight
        Janis Ian: At Seventeen
        Ray Charles: Georgia On My Mind

        DVD 8.) More 1976
        KC & the Sunshine Band: Shake your Booty
        Vicki Sue Robinson: Turn the Beat Around
        Captain & Tennille: Shop Around
        Starbuck:Moonlight Feels Right
        Keith Carradine: I’m Easy
        Eric Cramen: Never Gonna Fall in Love Again
        Barry Manilow: Tryin’ to Get the Feeling Again
        The Sylvers: Boogie Fever
        The Brothers Johnson: I’ll Be Good to You
        Brick: Dazz
        Steppenwolf: (Born to be Wild

        DVD 9.) 1977
        Manfred Mann’s Earth Band: Blinded By The Light
        Dave Mason: We Just Disagree
        Sanford & Townsend: Smoke From A Distant Fire
        Thelma Houston: Don’t Leave Me This Way
        Andy Gibb: I Just Want To Be Your Everything
        The Emotions: Best Of My Love
        Johnny Rivers: Slow Dancin’
        Bonnie Raitt: Runaway
        Leo Sayer: You Make Me Feel Like Dancing
        Van Morrison: Domino
        Lou Rawls: You’ll Never Find Another Man Like Me
        Marilyn McCoo & Billy Davis Jr.: You Don’t Have To Be A Star (To Be In My Show)

        DVD 10.) More 1977
        James Brown: Get Up Offa That Thing
        Frankie Valli: Swearin to God
        Jennifer Warnes: Right Time of the Night
        Weather Report: Birdland
        KC & the Sunshine Band: I’m Your Boogie Man
        Bonnie Raitt: Sugar Mama
        Kenny Roger: Lucille
        Reo Speedwagon: Ridin the Storm Out
        Little Feat: Dixie Chicken

        DVD 11.) 1978
        Hall & Oates: Rich Girl? (Medley including Rich Girl in new package – SAME PERFORMANCE?)
        Robert Palmer: Every Kinda People
        The Cars: Just What I Needed
        Exile: Kiss You All Over
        Chic: Le Freak
        Four Tops: Ain’t No Woman (Like The One I’ve Got)
        Reo Speedwagon: Roll With The Changes
        Ambrosia: How Much I Feel
        The Trammps: Disco Inferno

        DVD 12.) More 1978 (ENTIRE DVD NOT INCLUDED IN NEW PACKAGE)
        Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers: I Need to Know
        Shaun Cassidy: Thats Rock & Roll
        Dan Hill: Sometimes When We Touch
        Starland Vocal Band: Afternoon Delight
        Eddie Money: Two Tickets to Paradise
        Donna Summer: I Feel Love
        Teddy Pendergrass: Close the Door
        Todd Rundgren: Can We Still Be Friends?
        Nick Lowe: So It Goes
        Peter Allen: I Go to Rio
        A Taste of Honey: Boogie Oogie Oogie
        Al Jarreau: So Long Girl
        Johnny Paycheck & Mac Davis: Take This Job & Shove It
        Journey: Feeling That Way
        Cheap Trick: Surrender

        DVD 13.) 1979
        Journey: Lovin’, Touchin’. Squeezin’
        Commodores: Three Times a Lady
        The Cars: Let’s Go
        The Babys: Everytime I Think of You
        The Beach Boys: Good Vibrations
        Nick Gilder: Hot Child in the City
        Rick James: You and I
        Amii Stewart: Knock on Wood
        The Pointer Sisters: Fire

        DVD 14.) More 1979 (ENTIRE DVD NOT INCLUDED IN NEW PACKAGE excpet perhaps the Alice Cooper BDB)
        Journey:Wheel in the Sky
        Evelyn Champagne King: Shame
        Blondie: Hanging On the Telephone
        George Thorogood: Move It On Over
        Commodores: Still
        Ian Hunter: Just Another Night
        Gloria Gaynor: Never Can Say Goodbye
        Atlanta Rhythm Section: Imaginary Lover
        Little River Band: Reminiscing
        The Cars: Dangerous Type
        Rita Coolidge (Youre Love Has Lifted Me Higher & Higher
        The Byrds: So You Want to Be a Rock N Roll Star
        Captain & Tennille: Do That to Me One More Time
        Crystal Gayle: Cry Me a River
        Alice Cooper; Billion Dollar Babies? (Medley including BDB on new package – SAME PERFORMANCE?)

        DVD 15.) 1980
        Hall & Oates: Kiss on My List
        Olivia Newton-John: Magic
        Willie Nelson: Blue Eyes Crying in the Rain
        Dr. Hook & The Medicine Show: When You’re in Love with a Beautiful Woman
        Ambrosia: Biggest Part of Me
        Syreeta & Billy Preston: With You I’m Born Again
        Robbie Dupree: Steal Away
        Eddie Rabbitt: Drivin’ My Life Away
        The Brothers Johnson: Stomp!
        Leo Sayer: When I Need You
        Joan Armatrading: Me Myself I

        DVD 16.) More 1980
        Commodores: Brick House
        Christopher Cross: Ride Like the Wind
        Reo Speedwagon: Time for Me to Fly
        Donna Summer & Brooklyn Dreams: Heaven Knows
        Bonnie Pointer: Heaven Must Have Sent You
        Pointer Sisters: Hes So Shy
        Juice Newton: Angel of the Morning
        Roy Orbison: Crying
        Dolly Parton: Here You Come Again
        Brothers Johnson: Strawberry Letter 23
        Brenda Russell: So Good, So Right
        Billy Preston: Thats the Way God Planned It
        Olivia Newton-John: Dont Cry for Me Argentina
        Ted Nugent: Wango Tango

        DVD 17.)
        Roy Orbison : Oh, Pretty Woman
        Fleetwood Mac: Rhiannon
        Peter Frampton: Baby I Love Your Way
        John Denver & Cass Elliot: Leaving On A Jet Plane1
        The Bee Gees: Jive Talkin6′
        The Guess Who: American Woman
        Al Green: Let’s Stay Together
        Aretha Franklin: Respect
        David Bowie: Space Oddity
        The Steve Miller Band: The Joker
        Billy Joel: Travelin’ Prayer
        Donna Summer: Last Dance

        DVD 18.) The Comedy Special Bonus DVD:
        DID NOT DO COMPARISON

        MartyB

        August 14, 2014 at 00:24

  2. It’s too bad these aren’t on blu-ray. Hopefully that will happen in the future.

    Mark

    August 13, 2014 at 16:26

  3. No Neil Young’s “Like A Hurricane” No sale.

    Kevin Walker

    August 13, 2014 at 18:55

  4. I’ve seen a lot of this on Youtube already, although i haven’t sat through everything listed above. Some fantastic performances too. The Bee Gee’s doing Nights On Broadway is excellent, as is Andrew Gold’s Lonely Boy.
    I’d be very interested in seeing Neil Young’s appearance, and the version of Moondance mentioned too.
    What I have watched is good quality too.

    Gary C

    August 14, 2014 at 05:58

  5. Probably not much point of releasing these on Blu-Ray, at least not as far as video quality is concerned. I suppose audio could be improved, depending on the sources.

    David Olstein

    August 14, 2014 at 12:00

  6. I once tried to get access to these shows years ago for a book. The Burt Sugarman office said there was no chance. Someone finally wrote a book with all the performances (The Midnight Special, 1972-1981: Late Night’s Original Rock & Roll Show) but I doubt we’ll see the majority of them on DVD in our lifetime. Sugarman blew it all those years ago before licensing rights were so expensive.

    Thomas Greco

    August 15, 2014 at 01:41


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