It was 37 years ago…

On January 19, 1986, The Sports Museum mounted a benefit concert at Symphony Hall featuring rock and roll pioneers Bo Diddley and Roy Orbison as well as the Lite Beer All-Stars led by Celtics head coach KC Jones. Included in KC’s chorus were Red Auerbach, sportswriter Frank Deford, Bob Lanier, Lee Merriwether, Luis Tiant, Tommy Heinsohn, and then museum Chair Dave Cowens. The concert also included a send-off to the 1985 Patriots prior to their first-ever Super Bowl.

Snapshots from a great night.

*The concert was delayed by 15 minutes as a last-minute box office rush resulted in a sellout. In fact, people were turned away.

*Texas native Roy Orbison spent most of his time backstage in rapt football talk with Steve Grogan, John Hannah and other Patriots as nervous stagehands attempted to tell him to prepare to go onstage for his concluding set. Both he and Bo Diddley’s backing musicians were a group of Berklee College kids that performed perfectly on a night they’ll never forget.

*Bo Diddley, the man many people claim helped invent rock and roll, played his greatest hits on his trademark squared-off electric guitar. Prior to taking the stage, he requested to be paid in cash, which Dave Cowens secured from the Symphony Hall box office. You could see the bulging bankroll in his back pocket as he ripped through a killer opening set.

*The concert intermission featured Celtics head coach KC Jones singing tunes like “You Are So Beautiful” backed by a chorus of Lite Beer All-Stars that included Celtics Hall of Famers Red Auerbach, Tommy Heinsohn, and Sports Museum chair Dave Cowens. A noted tenor, KC nearly stole the show.

It was a most memorable night when the museum raised the funds needed to meet its first-ever payroll.

About the Curator’s Corner

Richard Johnson’s “Curator’s Corner” is  where you will find videos featuring Richard and Sports Museum Executive Director, Rusty Sullivan, discussing Boston sports history, as well as blog posts written by Richard himself.

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