The June 1976 JFK Stadium concert bill topped by Yes and Peter Frampton was the first of the long-gone venue's rock-'n'-roll mega-shows, but it was neither the last nor the most historic. Other memorable musical events included:
Live Aid, July 1985
Any discussion of music at JFK has to begin with the American part of the three-city (London and Sydney, Australia) charity event held to raise money for Ethiopian famine relief.
While London's Wembley Stadium hosted Paul McCartney, David Bowie, Phil Collins, the Who, U2 and Queen, South Philly welcomed Madonna (then arguably the world's biggest pop star), Eric Clapton, Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers, the Cars and Patti LaBelle, not to mention reunions by Led Zeppelin (with Collins, who flew to New York on the Concorde, then by helicopter to JFK, filling in for Zep's late drummer, John Bonham), Ozzy Osbourne and Black Sabbath and Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young.
There were also Teddy Pendergrass' first public appearance (with Ashford & Simpson) since the Fairmount Park car crash that had rendered him a paraplegic three years earlier, an atomic-powered duet by Mick Jagger and Tina Turner, and an improvised (and disappointingly sloppy) acoustic set by Bob Dylan, joined by Rolling Stones Keith Richards and Ron Wood.
Oh, yeah, if you want to win a barroom bet, the four emcees at JFK that day were actors Jack Nicholson, Bette Midler, Chevy Chase and Joe Piscopo.
Rolling Stones, September 1981
The Stones kicked off their watershed "Tattoo You" tour with two sold-out concerts supported by Journey and George Thorogood & the Delaware Destroyers. Why mention it? The tour was sponsored by cologne-maker Jovan - the first rock road show to boast corporate sponsorship, which forever changing the metrics of the concert industry.
The Who/the Clash/Santana, September 1982
On paper, it sounds like the greatest concert of all time. In reality, the Clash's furious punk was lost in the immense space of the arena. The crowd response was loud, derisive and bordering on violent, as objects were hurled at band members Joe Strummer and Mick Jones. The Who, on what was to be the first of their "farewell" tours, were, if memory serves, simply awful.
Jackson 5, September 1984
Who knew that the sibling quintet's "Victory" tour would mark Michael Jackson's last Philly performance?
Amnesty International, September 1988
Instead of a single-day mega-event, a blue-chip roster of international rock stars did a limited fund-raising tour in 1986 for the global human rights organization. Philadelphia was passed over, but two years later, JFK hosted another fundraising tour with Bruce Springsteen & the E Street Band, Sting, Peter Gabriel and the hottest new act of the moment, Tracy Chapman.