Today is the 50th anniversary Judy at Carnegie Hall, still considered “The Greatest Night in Show Business History.” When Judy Garland took the stage at 8:40 p.m. on April 23rd, 1961 she gave the concert of her career. As fate would have it, and knowing Judy was at her peak, Capitol Records recorded the night for a concert album. In those days, concert albums were not the norm as they are today, being technically difficult and expensive to achieve. But luck was on Capitol’s side. The recording captured the electricity of the night as no album had ever done before. Released in July of 1961, the double album “Judy at Carnegie Hall” flew to the top of the charts, won five Grammy’s, and has never been out of print. It’s currently available in an expanded version that features Judy’s chatter and stories to the audience that was not a part of the original album. In 2012, JSP Records will release the CD premiere of the album version of the concert (all the songs, no chatter) to give the CD/digital download generation an idea of what the listening experience of the original album was really like. The LP, much like Judy’s other seminal work The Wizard of Oz, continues to introduce fans around the world to the incredible voice and talent of Judy Garland.
In the ensuing years, anyone who was in attendance would always refer to the night as the most amazing experience they’d ever had in the theater. Those who are still around, and still able, will no doubt will be a part of the new documentary “Stay All Night” that recently went into pre-production (www.stayallnightthemovie.com). The film will obviously be all about the concert and its legacy. Wouldn’t it be great if the docu-film added an Oscar to the concert’s (and recording’s) awards and accolades?
As great as the album is, it wouldn’t have been possible without the once-in-a-million talent of Judy Garland. In tribute to her, and to the album that has thrilled generations of listeners around the world, I’m reposting my tribute video below. So much has already been said about Judy at Carnegie Hall that rather than try to add something “new” (what can I say – I wasn’t there), I feel it’s best to let Judy’s voice (and image) tell the story.
Enjoy the video.
Here’s to another 50+ years of magic courtesy of Judy at Carnegie Hall!
I grew up on country music, finding opera when I was 11 years old. When it came time to go to college, I majored in music because I couldn’t have stood sitting in classrooms studying anything else. Upon arriving at Eastern Illinois University in June of 1979, I found a big record collection — and took Judy at Carnegie Hall off the shelf… Over the next five years, I would play those records so often the black vinyl turned gray; one night the police came to my apartment and told my friends and I to turn down the music — it was Judy again, Judy still. We had memorized the songs and the lines — loudly! I began to say, in those days, that every musician, no matter one’s taste or style, genre or preference, needed to know that concert, as it was the greatest ever. And it wasn’t the audience screaming on the record, for they merely knew the same thing: they were hearing the most complete, most honest, most generous musical personality ever to walk footlights. I knew it in my youth, and it is great, today, to hear others speak the same way about this one, single documented night in one of the most venerated venues in America’s history.
Loved the video — “especially “Some have foolishly tried to recreate the album”! Great!
Can you tell us who made the live video recording? I want to thank him (or her)!
I would really like to know is there a video available of Carnegie hall. I was only 18 when I saw Judy in Sydney at the old stadium
Drove 1500 miles to see her and enjoyed every moment.