For 50 years, in times of shared grief and purpose, the world’s greatest performers have come together at the newest Madison Square Garden.
Just before midnight on June 28, 1968, with a young Aretha Franklin invoking gospel and rhythm and blues, a hush fell over Madison Square Garden. Three months after the assassination of Martin Luther King Jr., she was at the center of “Soul Together.” The event gave expression to a country’s shared grief and was also a celebration of the civil rights leader’s life.
It became part of a flourishing tradition at the newest Garden, which had opened early that year. Over the decades, the Garden has often been a gathering place for the world’s greatest artists responding to events of the times.
In 1979, it was Bruce Springsteen and Tom Petty calling attention to the dangers of nuclear weapons. Six weeks after the 9/11 attacks, Paul McCartney, Mick Jagger, David Bowie and dozens of music icons joined hands with firefighters and NYPD officers at “The Concert for New York City.”
And in 2005, “From The Big Apple To The Big Easy” — concerts at both Madison Square Garden and at Radio City Music Hall — benefited victims of Hurricane Katrina. Paul Simon and Art Garfunkel harmonized once more that night on one of their signature songs.
“As tonight proves, music has a power all its own,” the actor Paul Newman said. “It could make you dance, make you sing or even think. In these our most trying times, music also has a healing power. It moves us forward like A Bridge Over Troubled Water.”
As part of a continuing celebration of the 50th anniversary of the current Garden, here is a slide show highlighting these seminal events. In their way, they are as memorable as the greatest sports moments the building has seen, a vital part of The Garden’s fabric and history.
About The Madison Square Garden Company
The Madison Square Garden Company (MSG) is a world leader in live sports and entertainment experiences. The company presents or hosts a broad array of premier events in its diverse collection of iconic venues: New York’s Madison Square Garden, Hulu Theater at Madison Square Garden, Radio City Music Hall and Beacon Theatre; the Forum in Inglewood, CA; and The Chicago Theatre. Other MSG properties include legendary sports franchises: the New York Knicks (NBA) and the New York Rangers (NHL); two development league teams – the Westchester Knicks (NBAGL) and the Hartford Wolf Pack (AHL); and esports teams through Counter Logic Gaming, a leading North American esports organization, and Knicks Gaming, MSG’s NBA 2K League franchise. In addition, the Company features the popular original production – the Christmas Spectacular Starring the Radio City Rockettes – and through Boston Calling Events, produces New England’s preeminent Boston Calling Music Festival. Also under the MSG umbrella is TAO Group, a world-class hospitality group with globally-recognized entertainment dining and nightlife brands: Tao, Marquee, Lavo, Avenue, Beauty & Essex and Vandal. More information is available at www.themadisonsquaregardencompany.com