Iconic TV show The Midnight Special is now on YouTube and it promises to be a classic rock goldmine

Stevie Nicks on The Midnight Special
Stevie Nicks on The Midnight Special on February 27, 1976 (Image credit: The Midnight Special)

Iconic US TV show The Midnight Special, which ran for 450 episodes between 1973 and 1981, has launched a YouTube channel to mark its 50th anniversary. The channel promises to share many performances that haven't been officially available on the platform to date.

Among the videos available at the channel's launch are the original pilot episode from 1972 – featuring live performances from John Denver, Argent, Harry Chapin, David Clayton Thomas, Cass Elliot, The Everly Brothers, The Isley Brothers, Helen Reddy, Linda Ronstadt and War – as well as clips of Fleetwood Mac, David Bowie, Rod Stewart, Tina Turner and more. 

"The Midnight Special was a groundbreaking and revolutionary show that pushed the boundaries of what was possible on television as not one broadcaster had programming available after 1am back then," says Burt Sugarman, the show's creator. "I insisted on live performances in front of an audience, there was no lip syncing. 

"I'm thrilled that it will be available for all fans, as well as a new generation of viewers who may not be familiar with the show. Audiences can enjoy hours of classic performances and interviews from the biggest stars of that era."

Other artists who performed on the show – whose appearances will presumably become available over the coming months – include Led Zeppelin, Aerosmith, Kiss, Elton John, AC/DC, Badfinger, The Cars, Cheap Trick, Peter Frampton, Genesis, Heart, Little Feat, Prince, Roxy Music, Steely Dan, Thin Lizzy and ELO.

Highlights from the clips available at launch include Fleetwood Mac playing Rhiannon in early 1976 and Go Your Own Way just two months after the release of Rumours in 1977, David Bowie performing Space Oddity in 1974, Rod Stewart hooking up with Keith Richards for a rumble through Twistin' The Night Away in 1975, and Tina Turner delivering a feisty Nutbush City Limits in 1973.

The Midnight Special Channel on YouTube.

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.