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 Madison Square Garden Entertainment Corp.
Madison Square Garden Entertainment Corp. (MSG Entertainment) is a leader in live entertainment experiences. The Company presents or hosts a broad array of events in its diverse collection of venues: New York’s Madison Square Garden, Hulu Theater at Madison Square Garden, Radio City Music Hall and Beacon Theatre; and The Chicago Theatre. MSG Entertainment is also building a new state-of-the-art venue in Las Vegas, MSG Sphere at The Venetian, and has announced plans to build a second MSG Sphere in London, pending necessary approvals. In addition, the Company features the original production – the Christmas Spectacular Starring the Radio City Rockettes – and through Boston Calling Events, produces the Boston Calling Music Festival. Also under the MSG Entertainment umbrella is Tao Group Hospitality, with entertainment dining and nightlife brands including Tao, Marquee, Lavo, Avenue, Beauty & Essex and Cathédrale. More information is available at www.msgentertainment.com.