Rock 'n Roll History

The British Invasion

Rock history is alive at the Cow Palace. With “Beatlemania” in full swing, The Beatles kicked off their first U.S. tour on August 19, 1964. On the bill with several other artists, the Beatles' performance lasted just 29 minutes, and was stopped twice due to the numbers of jelly beans being thrown at The Beatles by screaming fans. Afterwards they were transported by ambulance (their limousine was besieged by Beatles fans) to the airport and on to their next concert in Las Vegas.

On Nov. 20, 1973, The Who played a memorable show at the Cow Palace. The concert started like any other, but near the end of the show drummer Keith Moon was experiencing difficulties from a combination of horse tranquilizers and brandy, and passed out during "Won't Get Fooled Again." Pete Townshend appealed to the crowd for a good drummer, and fan Scott Halpin stepped in for the last three songs of the show.

The Rolling Stones played the Cow Palace for two nights in 1975. After the departure of Mick Taylor, this was the Rolling Stones' first tour with new guitarist Ronnie Wood. The mid-1970s were the era of extravagant stage shows and the Stones' act included theatrical stage props and gimmicks, including a giant inflatable phallus (nicknamed 'Tired Grandfather' by the band since it sometimes malfunctioned).

Elvis Presley played at the Cow Palace on November 28, 1976, the first of two sold-out shows. On Aug. 16, 1977, the day Elvis died, KISS played at the Cow Palace and performed their last song as a tribute to Presley. “We’re going to dedicate the last song to the king of rock and roll!” Gene Simmons wailed. “Elvis Presley, rock and roll all night and party every day!”

In 1985, Prince's Purple Rain tour came to the Cow Palace for six nights, with the final show stretching out to 23 songs. The Cow Palace hosted many other headliners in the mid-1980s including Van Halen, U2, Pat Benatar, and the Conspiracy of Hope tour on behalf of Amnesty International featuring artists including Sting, U2, Bryan Adams,  Peter Gabriel, Lou Reed, Joan Baez, and the Neville Brothers.

On New Year’s Eve 1991, the Cow Palace hosted a triple bill concert with Pearl Jam opening, followed by Nirvana and headliners The Red Hot Chili Peppers. Nirvana's album 'Nevermind' had hit #1 the week before the show. At the end of their set, Nirvana completely destroyed their instruments - and played no encore.

This significant Rock and Roll history is alive at the Cow Palace. Every current and future event at this amazing venue is enhanced by remembering the fantastic moments in Rock history that happened here. Learn more ~ enjoy more!

KISS rocks the Cow Palace, 1977 | Photo: Stephanie Maze, The Chronicle

Prince reigns at the Cow Palace, 1985. Copyright Ken Friedman. All rights reserved.


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