Talking Heads, The Ramones, Blondie & Television: The weekend in 1977 New York’s music scene took on Glasgow

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A weekend of music in Glasgow never to be forgotten

A number of prominent names in the music industry have visited the city over the years to play in front of thousands of adoring fans but this weekend in May 1977 was really something special.

Four of the most celebrated bands from the CBGB scene in New York took the stage in Glasgow to perform across Saturday and Sunday - Talking Heads, The Ramones, Blondie and Television.

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CBGB was a music club in Manhattan’s East Village - the letters stood for Country, BlueGrass and Blues but soon became a known venue for new wave and punk bands in the seventies.

Chris Stein

The likes of Davie Bowie performing at The Barrowlands, The Beatles at the Odeon Cinema and Prince live at the SECC are all gigs that are fondly remembered by Glaswegians.

One other Glasgow venue which has a particular story to tell is the old Strathclyde University Union where a host of acts performed over the years including The Who, The Police and U2 amongst others.

Talking Heads were announced as supporting The Ramones on Saturday night at Strathclyde University whilst Television would headline the bill making their first UK appearance with Blondie supporting them the following evening at Glasgow’s Apollo.

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In that year, Talking Heads would release their debut album ‘Talking Heads 77’ which included the track Psycho Killer, Ramones released ‘Rocket to Russia’, Television had just released ‘Marquee Moon’ and Blondie were touring their debut album.

Debbie Harry watched on from the back of the hall with about 100 in attendance as Talking Heads and Ramones took to the stage at Strathclyde University with David Byrne’s band playing a tight rhythmic set while Ramones sped through songs from their debut album in around 30 minutes.

Chris Stein

The following evening at a half-full Apollo with many of the same faces in the audience from the previous night, Blondie opened for Television.

It didn’t go according to plan as Debbie Harry appeared to be angry about something that had happened off stage. Eventually, she called the band to a halt which makes their set completely fall to pieces as they finish on a bit of a whimper with guitarist Christ Stein throwing his instrument at drummer Clem Burke before storming off.

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Television appeared on stage around 9.30pm and totally blew the audience away for the next 75 minutes as they performed tracks from Marquee Moon and the album which was to follow. Their performance on the night of the title track was said to last around 20 minutes and was utterly sensational.

The band also played covers of Knockin’ on Heaven’s Door and (I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction to complete a phenomenal weekend of New York music in Glasgow.

You could say it was Once in a Lifetime!

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