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13 Artists who Rocked THIRTEEN

Great Performances: Stevie Wonder: Live at Last

June 1, 2009

Celebrating the 50th anniversary of Motown Records, the legend (who signed with Motown at the age of 12 as "Little Stevie Wonder") performed his first-ever concert recorded for television. Viewers couldn't wait to sing along to "Signed, Sealed Delivered," "Sir Duke," and other hits.

» Stevie wows the White House
Photo: Universal Music
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Great Performances: Eric Clapton Crossroads Guitar Festival

December 1, 2004

In the summer of 2004, Eric Clapton (pictured here with legend Buddy Guy) held his first three day guitar festival to benefit the non-profit substance abuse treatment center he founded. Great Performances was there to capture Carlos Santana, B.B. King, John Mayer and the many other guitar greats who showed up.

» Step inside the nuts and bolts of guitar evolution
Photo: Dave Allocca, Starpix
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1968 - 1973

From 1968-1973, THIRTEEN was the place to be to find some SOUL! This variety/talk show played host to some of the finest musical acts of the era including Patti Labelle, Tito Puente, B.B. King, Miriam Makeba, Bill Withers and others.

» Put some SOUL! in your life - watch full episodes
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American Masters: Bob Dylan: No Direction Home

September 26, 2005

When one of the greatest filmmakers (Martin Scorsese) of our time produced a documentary on one of the best American songwriters of all time, millions tuned in and were rewarded with a rich and personal look at Bob Dylan, with previously unreleased footage and a wealth of insight from the master himself.

» Dylan on Dylan - read an excerpt of his autobiography
Photo: AP
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Live From the Artists Den: Alanis Morissette

February 5, 2009

The newest addition to the Public Television Rocks Family introduces music fans to popular performers playing in offbeat, intimate locations. In the series premiere, Alanis performed favorites like "Ironic" and "Hand in My Pocket" at the Judson Memorial Church in lower Manhattan.

» Alanis rocks the Artists Den
Photo: Taylor C. Crothers
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How the Beatles Rocked the Kremlin

November 9, 2009

Despite rumors to the contrary (and the tile of the program), the fab four never made it to the Soviet Union. The program looked at the extraordinary efforts Soviet citizens underwent to get their hands on black market Beatles records and how their music ultimately helped undermine the communist system. And they loved it da, da, da!

» Keep Beatlemania alive - watch the full program
Photo: Blakeway Productions
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Great Performances: Bruce Springsteen: The Seeger Sessions

July 5, 2006

For Proud New Jersey natives, summer officially arrives when the Boss performs one of his legendary shows. In 2006, Bruuuuce toured off his recently released an album of Pete Seeger covers, paying tribute to the folk legend.

» More on the unforgettable night of folk
Photo: AP Photo/Jessica Hill
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Great Performances: The Police: Certifiable

March 5, 2009

While fans couldn't stand losing them, it was time for these legends of rock to say goodbye and they chose THIRTEEN and WLIW21 as the beneficiaries of the proceeds to their final concert, held at Madison Square Garden on August 7, 2008. Great Performances was there to record an earlier stop of that memorable final tour.
Photo: Danny Clinch
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American Masters: Ray Charles

May 17, 2006

Jazz, country, rhythm and blues, gospel and, let's not forget, rock and roll. Ray Charles did it all - overcoming racism, blindness and a heroin addiction to emerge as one of the greatest influences on popular music. Beloved hits like "What'd I Say", "Georgia On My Mind" and "Hit the Road Jack" are forever burned into the minds of music fans.

» Read a bio of the piano master
Photo: Victor Diaz Lamich
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American Masters: Neil Young

June 10, 2009

The rare Canadian featured on (North!) American Masters, the normally private artist told his life story in this documentary, from his early days with Buffalo Springfield, through the CSNY and Crazy Horse eras. More recently, the film found Neil still doing things his way, like playing an anti-Bush song to a conservative audience in the South.

» Neil Young takes Toronto in 1971 - watch concert footage
Photo: ©1971 Joel Bernstein
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Austin City Limits: R.E.M.

June 27, 2008

They'd been playing for nearly 30 years before finally making their way to the famed ACL stage. Michael Stipe and Co. rocked their Texas "destiples" with classic hits like "Losing My Religion" and "Man on the Moon".

» Rock with the ACL crowd - watch the full episode
Photo: Scott Newton
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American Masters: Paul Simon

March 14, 1993

From his longtime collaboration with Art Garfunkel through his pioneering work with South African performers in the 1980s, songs like "Sounds of Silence" and "Mrs. Robinson" provided a soundtrack to a film (The Graduate) and the folk-loving '60s generation.

» More on the guitar-pickin' legend
Photo: AP Photo/Nancy Kaye
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American Masters: Les Paul

July 11, 2007

There have been guitar innovators and engineers and there have been masterful performers - Les Paul was both. The "Wizard of Waukesha" produced a string of hits in the early '50s, and today is best known for the Gibson guitar that bears his name. A man who lived for playing music, he ignored the pain from his arthritic hands and came out of retirement to perform weekly gigs into his '90s at New York City clubs.

» A moving tribute to Les Paul
Photo: Chris Lentz
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American Masters: the Doors: When You're Strange

May 12, 2010

They were the band that broke all the rules, from their early days through their sold-out shows. This documentary on The Doors provided an intimate look at their musical collaboration and often impulsive offstage lives in this film narrated by Johnny Depp.

Watch a preview and interviews with band members

Share your favorite THIRTEEN rock performance below.
Photo: Paul Ferrara
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  • BenInBrooklyn

    Austin City Limits on PBS is one of best, most authentic music shows on tv. Johnny Cash, Wilco, My Morning Jacket, Drive-By Truckers … there have been some amazing live performances.

  • JC

    It might be more blues or country than rock, but a Chet Atkins show earlier this year had Chet and Mark Knopfler playing Dire Straits’ “Walk of Life” – great stuff

  • David

    A Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers “In The Spotlight” Special, when the great Bo Diddley, one of the founding fathers of rock & roll, joins Tom and the band on-stage at the San Francisco Fillmore for a performance of the Bo Diddley classic “Mona”. After the song, Tom informs the audience: “Elvis is King, but Diddley is Daddy!”

  • Joanne Theodorou

    “Raphael Sadiq” at the Harvard Club in Boston (Live from the Artist’s Den) a fabulous entertainer I was not familiar with and “Pink Martini”, another outstanding sound which came to my attention only via PBS. Trust public television to present and expose a new audience to the unique, not as familiar, but certainly talented, artist!!

  • jim morresion

    well done……………………………well done

  • Louis Paul Toscano

    Willie Nelson has always been a constant on both Austin City Limits and PBS. By the way, how about showing Austin City Limits at a more godly hour instead of past midnight?

  • verna miller

    why you never had MJ (Michael Jackson) rock 13 is beyond me.

  • Rick

    The Ploice. The Eagles, Stevie… tough to choose.

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