We’re celebrating the 40th anniversary of the legendary Paradise Rock Club, and its place in Boston’s rock and roll history, by recounting 40 great performances on the Paradise stage from over the past 40 years.
Tune in to 92.5 the River EACH FRIDAY AT 4PM to hear Matt Phipps share the latest episode, with audio just as it sounded back in the day!
Todd Rundgren (1982)
Featured: June 23, 2017
Todd Rundgren hit the road in 1982 and it was a true solo tour in every sense of the word. Todd would take the stage with just his guitars, keyboards, and a ReVox reel-to-reel tape recorder, which featured backing tracks of his best known songs, on which he had played all the instruments. This allowed for a very intimate evening with the audience, and Todd is very funny with his song anecdotes. And financially, being a one man band sure cuts back on the tour expenses. Todd Rundgren fans both in Boston and all over America were able to hear this show as it was recorded for the King Biscuit Flower Hour.
So let’s go back to February 12th 1982 and hear Todd Rundgren solo on the Paradise stage with “I Saw The Light”:
Eagle Eye Cherry (1998)
Featured: June 16, 2017
For this week’s feature, we go back to 1998, when Eagle Eye Cherry took the Paradise stage. This song was an absolute smash in his native Sweden and throughout the rest of Europe, and with B.U. back in session, a large number of international students could be seen mouthing all the words. The legendary WBCN broadcasted the show and this song later turned up on one of their Naked compilation CD’s.
From August 31, 1998 here is Eagle Eye Cherry with “Save Tonight”:
Featured: June 9, 2017
July 13th 1983, when R.E.M. performed a headlining show at The Paradise, was special for many reasons. First of all, the opening band was an up-and-coming group from Minnesota called The Replacements. And R.E.M.’s performance was broadcast live on a number of stations around the country. After the original broadcast, the show was buried in an archive and not heard for may years. But recently it was unearthed and a couple of the songs from that night were included as bonus tracks on The IRS Vintage Years edition of R.E.M’s album Murmer.
From that historic night in 1983, from The Paradise stage, here’s R.E.M. with “Pretty Persuasion”:
The Strumbellas (2016)
Featured: June 2, 2017
Today we feature a band from Canada, in fact one of the biggest new bands to come out of that country, The Strumbellas, who hit the Paradise stage late last year. The show was filmed by the good people at WGBH Radio for their Front Row Boston Concert Series. The River was the first station to play The Strumbellas in Boston, and for a brand new band hearing your song on the radio is a pretty cool thing. Here them talk about that in the clip below.
From this past October at the Paradise, here’s The Strumbellas and “Spirits”:
The Pixies (2017)
Featured: May 26, 2017
This past weekend was a homecoming weekend for the Pixies, with three shows in the Boston area. On Sunday night, they played the Paradise, to celebrate the venues 40th anniversary. The River broadcast the show live, and what a great time it was! Our own Bill Abbott said he’d never seen the Paradise so crowded and so electric. It was a real Boston rock & roll moment—an instant classic.
From this past Sunday night at the Paradise, here are the Pixies, with “Monkey Gone to Heaven”:
Greg Kihn Band (1985)
Featured: May 19, 2017
Greg Kihn began his career in his hometown of Baltimore,working in the singer/songwriter mold, but switched to straightforward rock & roll when he moved to San Francisco in 1972. And when the 80’s hit, Greg and his band started having hits. His 2 biggest being “Jeopardy” and this song, which was originally released back in 1981. Greg has said that the guy in this song is both sad about his recent breakup and the fact that they don’t write good breakup songs anymore.
From the Paradise stage in 1985, here is the Greg Kihn Band with “The Break Up Song”:
Featured: May 12, 2017
Today on Forty for Forty we go back to 1980, when the legendary Pretenders took the Paradise stage. This was the original lineup of The Pretenders at their peak, thank goodness somebody was rolling tape. Sadly within a 3 year span after this performance, both original members James Honeyman Scott and Pete Farndon would both die from drug related causes.
Chrissie Hynde and Martin Chambers would keep The Pretenders going and 30 years later they are still recording new music and playing live, most recently on tour with Stevie Nicks!
From March 23rd 1980, here are The Pretenders from The Paradise in all their glory. Chrissie Hynde, take it away:
Letters to Cleo (2016)
Featured: May 5, 2017
This 40-for-40 performance took place this past November, when the Boston band Letters to Cleo hit the Paradise stage. The Boston group, formed back in 1990 by Kay Hanley and guitarist Greg Mckenna, Letters to Cleo became one of the defining local bands of that decade. Last year, the band reunited to record a new EP and play some shows. November’s Paradise show was filmed by our friends at WGBH radio for their Front Row Boston concert series (and we appreciate them letting us play it!). Backstage at The Paradise the band talked about gettin’ back together.
Let’s here the song that broke them nationwide. From Nov 19, 2016, here is Boston’s own Letters to Cleo from The Paradise with “Here And Now”:
Split Enz (1980)
Featured: April 28, 2017
Being a huge Neil Finn fan, I’m psyched to say that we’ll be featuring his first band Split Enz on today’s 40-for-40. This show took place at The Paradise on October 11th, 1980. At that point, Split Enz had achieved some success in America. But that next August, MTV launched and a number of Split Enz videos were put into heavy rotation, including “One Step Ahead”, “History Never Repeats” and the song we’re about to play right now.
From the Paradise stage in 1980, Here is a very young Neil & Tim Finn – it’s Split Enz with “I Got You”.
The Lone Bellow (2013)
Featured: April 21, 2017
Today we go back to 2013 when our good friends The Lone Bellow took the stage. A band who’s song “Bleeding Out” was pretty much the song of the year here in 2013. On November 20th, The River presented The Lone Bellow in a sold out show at The Paradise. And our friends from WGBH radio filmed the show for their “Front Row Boston Concert Series”. You can actually watch the whole concert on their You Tube page and we thank them for letting us play the audio. Backstage at The Paradise, Kanene from the band talks here about their amazing 3 part harmony.
From Nov 20, 2013, here is The Lone Bellow and “Bleeding Out”:
Lenny Kravitz (1990)
Featured: April 14, 2017
This past Friday at the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame ceremonies, Lenny Kravitz paid tribute to Prince by performing 2 of his hits “When Doves Cry” and “The Cross”. So in turn, we thought we’d honor Lenny by featuring a track from his show at The Paradise on March 28, 1990.
Lenny was touring in support of his debut album and the show that night was broadcast live on the legendary WBCN. Lenny apparently liked this performance so much, that he put it on the deluxe edition of the album “Let Love Rule”. And here it is from 1990, Lenny Kravitz live at The Paradise with “Let Love Rule”:
Hall & Oates (1979)
Featured: April 7, 2017
Today’s Forty for Forty not only celebrates the 40th Anniversary of the Paradise Rock Club, but also today we celebrate the 69th birthday of John Oates….one half of the legendary duo Hall & Oates. Back on December 7th 1979, Hall & Oates performed their last club show (to date) in Boston at The Paradise.
This was sort of the period between their initial hits and then the next batch of hits during the MTV era that rocketed them to superstardom. Just 7 months after this show, they would release the album Voices (the first record they produced on their own) which would spend a whopping 100 weeks on the Billboard album chart.
This track features co lead vocals from the birthday boy John Oates, it’s “She’s Gone”, from the Paradise stage in 1979:
The Fools (1980)
Featured: March 31, 2017
We go back to the winter of 1980 for today’s Forty For Forty. It’s only fitting with tomorrow being April Fools Day, that we play a track.. from The Fools, the legendary Boston party band. It was in 1980 that the band released their debut album “Sold Out”. Their initial success led them to being tapped as the opening band on Van Halen’s “Fair Warning” tour in 1981. The Fools are still going strong and tomorrow night you can catch them playing their annual April Fool’s Day Show at Blue Ocean Music Hall in Salisbury. So let’s go back to Feb 7, 1980 and hear the Fools from the Paradise stage with “It’s A Night For Beautiful Girls”:
Elvis Costello (1996)
Featured: March 24, 2017
Today’s Forty for Forty took place on May 2oth 1996, when Elvis Costello and his keybordist Steve Nieve did a stripped down acoustic show at The Paradise.
The concert was special for a couple of reasons. First of all Elvis thought the performance was so good, that he released it later that year on a CD called Live at The Paradise Boston 1996. You can still find it out there if you do some digging. And it’s also special for me because, I was in the audience for that show. And during this next song when the crowd sings back the line “oh why’s that”, I swear I can hear myself…kinda.
So here we go from 21 years ago, it’s Elvis Costello live from The Paradise stage and “The Angels Wanna Wear My Red Shoes”:
Joan Jett (1981)
Featured: March 17, 2017
We are featuring a true rock & roll classic on today’s 40 for 40. A performance from The Paradise on May 15th 1981 featuring Joan Jett & The Blackhearts. After spending 4 years with her former band The Runaways, Joan went solo and formed the Blackhearts. Less than a year after this show at the Paradise, “I love Rock & Roll” would become one of the biggest hits of 1982, spending seven weeks at the top of the billboard chart.
It was just announced last week that Joan Jett & The Blackhearts will play the TD Garden this summer opening up for the band Boston.
So before this even became the anthem that we know and love, here’s Joan Jett & The Blackhearts from The Paradise stage in 1981 with “I Love Rock & Roll”. Get your lighters up, this is 40-for-40 on 92.5 the River:
Ryan Montbleau (2015)
Featured: March 10, 2017
For the past few weeks here on forty for forty we’ve been going way back to bring you classic Paradise performances from The Police, Xtc, and even Glenn Frey. This week it’s just a short trip back to April 16, 2015 and one of two sold-out shows at the Paradise featuring local singer songwriter Ryan Montbleau. The show was filmed by our friends at WGBH radio for their Front Row Boston concert series. Here Ryan talks about these shows and the history he’s had at The Paradise.
One of the tunes featured during Ryan’s set was the song “75 & Sunny” which has become his trademark song:
The Police (1979)
Featured: March 3, 2017
This past November, Sting released his first rock album in 13 years. And to get back to his gritty roots, he’s embarked on a club tour around America. On March 8th he’ll be in Boston playing a show at The House of Blues.
So to celebrate this, we thought we’d go way back and hear something from when Sting and The Police first hit the clubs, a show they did at The paradise on April 9th 1979.
So here is a 27 year old Sting and The Police from The Paradise in 1979 and “Can’t Stand Losing You”
Featured: Feb 24, 2017
Today’s 40 for 40 features a band that was together for 34 years, but many of us never got a chance to see live. XTC – they played just a handful of shows in Boston in a a very small window of time, the first being on January 29th 1980 at The Paradise.
Just 2 years later, as they approached the peak of their popularity in the UK, lead singer Andy Partridge suffered a mental breakdown while onstage in Paris. The cause, a debilitating case of stage fright. That would be the last time XTC would ever perform a live concert. They would go on to have a successful recording career, in fact their biggest hits in the US would come later. Songs like “Dear God” and “The Mayor of Simpleton”.
So for those of us who never got a chance to see em, let’s go back in time to 1980, here is XTC live from The Paradise with “Making Plans for Nigel”:
Glenn Frey (1982)
Featured: Feb 17, 2017
Today we feature a music legend who left us way too soon, Glenn Frey. It’s hard to believe it’s been over a year since his death at the age of 67.
In 1982, not long after the break up of the Eagles, Glen embarked on his first solo tour. After years of playing stadiums, he did a club tour and played The Paradise on Oct 3rd. Along with performing material from his debut solo album “No Fun Aloud”, he also did some Eagles classics.
So let’s go back to 1982, here’s Glenn Frey live at the Paradise:
Featured: Feb 3, 2017
Today’s 40-for-40 concert lookback took place in 1978, when the band Blondie took the Paradise stage. Three years earlier, the band became regular performers at Max’s Kansas City and the legendary CBGB’s where they played alongside other New York City punk legends like The Ramones, Television & The Talking Heads. They were touring in support of their new album parallel lines. An album that would go on to sell over 20 million copies world wide and spawn several hit singles. In fact just 2 months after this show, “Heart of Glass” would go all the way to #1.
So let’s go back to November 4th, 1978 here is Blondie live from The Paradise and “One Way Or Another”:
Featured: Feb 3, 2017
Today’s 40-for-40 centers around a concert that took place at The Paradise on Halloween night back in 2014. A sold out show featuring Hozier in his first major concert in Boston. But even before Hozier’s show that night, he played a special pre show sound mini concert for 50 lucky River listeners. The River’s own Dana Marshall was there, and she share’s her recollections in today’s feature, as well as a clip from her pre-set chat.
Here’s a bluesy haunting version of Take Me To The Church, from that Halloween night 2014, it’s Hozier live from The Paradise stage:
The Pixies (2005)
Featured: Jan 27, 2017
Today’s 40-for-40 features one of the most important and influential bands to come out of the city of Boston – The Pixies! A band who in their heyday didn’t really play a ton of Boston area shows. The only time I ever saw them live was when they opened up for U2 at the Providence Civic Center on the Trompe Le Monde tour. Well after breaking up in 1993, the band reunited and played a show in 2005 at The Paradise. And if you haven’t heard the big news, the band is going back to play the Paradise on May 21, 2017!
So Let’s go back to that Paradise show on August 8th, 2005, and play you the song that kicked off the night. This is 40-for-40 on 92.5 the River — Black Francis, take it away:
Featured: Jan 20, 2017
So who’s your favorite band. Well for me it is and always will be R.E.M. And on July 13th 1983, just three months after the release of their breakthrough debut album, Murmur, R.E.M. played a headlining show at The Paradise in Boston. The set list featured tracks from Murmur and their Chronic Town EP…even an encore cover of “California Dreamin” by The Mamas and The Papas. There was so much buzz about this Athens georgia group that the show was broadcast live on a number of different stations around the country….and the tapes have survived. By the way opening up the concert that night was a young band from Minnesota called The Replacements.
From July 13th, 1983 here is R.E.M. recorded live at The Paradise, playing “Radio Free Europe”:
Featured: Jan 13, 2017
On today’s 40for40, we’re going back to Dec. 13, 1980 when a bunch of scruffy Irish rockers showed up to play the Paradise for the first time. The lead singer thought they were a terrible club band. But Don Law booked them anyway. That band was U2. There were about 150 people in the audience when they went on. Globe columnist Kevin Cullen said it best. “That night has become the rock ‘n’ roll equivalent of Game 6 of the ’75 World Series. The same 2 million people who claim they saw Carlton Fisk’s walk-off home run also claim they were at U2’s first gig at the Paradise.”
This concert began U2’s strong connection with the city of Boston, a “home away from home”. And this just in … the band will celebrate the 30th anniversary of “The Joshua Tree” by performing the whole album at Gillette Stadium this June.
Here’s a live version of “I Will Follow” from U2’s first album “Boy” as it might have sounded on December 13th, 1980 at the Paradise Rock Club: