How much of America’s rock n’ roll history lies closed within the pages of old yearbooks?
You might remember how, a year or two ago, a Texas high school’s circa-1970 photo of a young “Zee Zee Top” made the online rounds.
Kinda makes you wonder how much similar goodness is sitting on the shelves of college and high school libraries, waiting to be discovered.
Concerts are a big part of the annual social calendar at many schools, and when something big happens, there’s usually a staff photographer on hand. So who knows how many glimpses of musicians — famous and forgotten — get captured that way?
I had that thought the other day when I stumbled on the College of William & Mary’s 1974 yearbook, the Colonial Echoes, on archive.org (which has a remarkable stack of high school and college annuals available for browsing).
The school must have had a big budget and a lot of students eager to rock, because it hosted a run of concerts that year that wouldn’t have embarrassed a mid-market city — Chicago, James Brown, the Grateful Dead, and Crosby and Nash, if memory serves.
Browsing 20 years of the Colonial Echoes, you could see the state of collegiate entertainment evolve from well-trimmed vocal groups to big-name, chart-topping rock stars. I doubt anyone got that perspective at the time — most people only stay for four years, after all — but it made for an interesting historical view.
Here, then, are pix from various editions of the Colonial Echoes that trace the evolution of on-campus concerts, while also offering some cool, probably rarely seen views of artists in their prime.
– Material printed in the Colonial Echoes is, I assume, the property of the College of William & Mary. I’m presenting it here because it’s historically interesting, and because I think my small screenshots made on an ancient PC are too low in quality to be stolen, reused or abused. That said, if I get anything resembling a copyright claim, I’ll take the post down.
– The years given correspond to the year the yearbook was issued, not the year of the performance.