"What a find!" In 1973 Humble Pie played a set at a trendy department store in London: That footage is now online

Steve Marriott singing on The Midnight Special
(Image credit: The Midnight Special)

By 1973, US music show The Midnight Special had enough clout to briefly move from its usual home at NBC Studios in Burbank, CA to London, where an episode was filmed at the uber-fashionable Biba department store in the equally fashionable district of Kensington.

Biba started life as a mail-order fashion boutique in the early 1960s, and opened a physical store after a dress they were selling was featured in the Daily Mirror. Its similarity to a garment worn by French actress Bridgot Bardot prompted 4000 immediate orders, and Biba was in its way. By 1973 it had relocated to bigger premises, where it led the glam rock revolt against hippydom with seven floors of desirable goods and attracted a million customers a week. It also attracted Humble Pie.    

Joining Steve Marriott and Co. plus backing singers the Black Berries (Motown regulars Oma Drake, Jesse Smith and Clydie King) on the show were Procol Harum, Alvin Lee and Mylon LeFevre, alongside folkies Steeleye Span. And while the whole show was uploaded to The Midnight Special's ever-glorious YouTube channel in February, it's Humble Pie's livewire cover of Ray Charles' I Don't Need No Doctor – originally released by the band two years earlier on the Performance Rockin' the Fillmore album – that's the highlight. Uploaded to YouTube this week, it features Humble Pie at full throttle, and it's been very well received.

"Wow!" exclaims commenter DavidSush1. "It's April 9, 2024 and I'm listening to this amazing performance and Steve Marriott's voice has every hair on my arms standing up and saluting one of the greatest vocalists of all time! WOW!"

"This is the best footage I’ve seen of the band," adds adamphillips6865. "Stellar."

"What?! Where did this come from?" asks the excellently named RickNBacker. "I watched every Midnight Special and have never seen this before!! I saw their In Concert and Don Kirshner's appearances but this is the best live Pie footage yet! And I've never seen it in 20 years on Youtube either! What a find!"

Humble Pie also played Oh La De Da and 30 Days In The Hole on the show. Biba, meanwhile, closed its doors just two years later. 

Fraser Lewry

Online Editor at Louder/Classic Rock magazine since 2014. 38 years in music industry, online for 25. Also bylines for: Metal Hammer, Prog Magazine, The Word Magazine, The Guardian, The New Statesman, Saga, Music365. Former Head of Music at Xfm Radio, A&R at Fiction Records, early blogger, ex-roadie, published author. Once appeared in a Cure video dressed as a cowboy, and thinks any situation can be improved by the introduction of cats. Favourite Serbian trumpeter: Dejan Petrović.