Every band starts from the bottom, but just a few go to the top. Before the fame and fortune, many musicians opened for bands that were not big as they would become.
Check out the list below:
Jimi Hendrix opened for The Monkees
Before becoming one of the greatest guitarists in history, Jimi Hendrix opened for the Monkees with his group, The Jimi Hendrix Experience, on six dates in the United States in 1967.
Micky Dolenz was the first Monkee to “discover” Hendrix; while visiting New York in the spring of 1967.
A friend tell him to check out this “amazing musician in the Village who played the guitar with his teeth”. Dolenz was impressed but didn’t remember the guitarist’s name until he saw The Jimi Hendrix Experience onstage at the Monterey Pop Festival several months later.
The Monkees were about to embark on a U.S. concert tour and Dolenz recommended hiring Jimi Hendrix and his band as their opening act.
Peter Tork and Michael Nesmith supported the choice; both were anxious to be accepted as serious musicians and believed that Hendrix would lend them some credibility among rock critics and older record buyers. “Besides,” Tork would later say, “it would give us the chance to watch Jimi Hendrix perform night after night!”
Black Sabbath, Queen and Deep Purple opened for YES
It seems weird nowadays, but Black Sabbath was the opening band of Yes’s “Yes Album Tour” between 1970 and 1971. Other bands such as Deep Purple, Uriah Heep, Supertramp, Wishbone Ash, Queen and Jethro Tull also opened prog group shows at the time. Curiously, Yes opened for the Sabbath years later. Prog + Metal? Who would say it would happened?
Judas Priest opened for Status Quo, Budgie, Trapeze, Thin Lizzy and Kiss
When they were still a quartet and featured Al Atkins on vocals, Judas Priest opened for Status Quo, Budgie, Trapeze and Thin Lizzy between the years of 1972 and 1973. In the late 1970s, with Rob Halford on vocals and powerful records in his discography, the group toured as Kiss opening attraction.
Stevie Wonder opened for the Rolling Stones
Stevie Wonder made a nervous funk rock before embarking on more soul and pop, and in the early 1970s was the opening attraction of the Rolling Stones’ “Exile On Main St.” tour.
Take a look:
Kiss opened for Blue Öyster Cult – who then opened for Kiss
In one of her first gigs, Kiss opened for Blue Öyster Cult, still in 1973. Rush would play first on those nights. The picture was reversed between two and three years later: when the masked quartet promoted the album “Destroyer”, BÖC ended up being the opening band of the tour.
Rush opened for Kiss
In 1975, before releasing “Alive!”, Kiss had not yet gained much fame, but was known for offering electrifying shows. And even before they devoted themselves to stardom, the masked quartet had Rush as the opening band. It is worth mentioning that the Canadian group was even less known, however, the partnership was filling up more and more concert halls.
AC/DC opened for Kiss
AC / DC was the opening attraction of Kiss in mid-1978, when the band promoted the album “Alive II”.
Watch Bon Scott talking about Rush and Kiss:
Gene Simmons talking about AC/DC:
Van Halen opened for Black Sabbath
Although they sound a bit different, Black Sabbath and Van Halen have already toured together. The band of the Van Halen brothers opened the shows on the Sabbath tour promoting “Never Say Die” in 1978.
Thin Lizzy opened for Queen
In the late 1970s, Thin Lizzy was the opening attraction of the Queen, which gained more and more fame with it’s releases. At the time, Lizzy had the legendary guitarist Gary Moore in his lineup.
Iron Maiden opened for Kiss and Judas Priest
In 1980, Iron Maiden was the opening attraction of Kiss during the “Unmasked Tour”. Then the group toured opening Judas Priest concerts.
Saxon opened for Motörhead, Black Sabbath, Blue Öyster Cult and Ozzy Osbourne
In his early years of road, Saxon opened for several legendary metal names. First, they toured with Motörhead between the late 1970s and early the other decade.
Then in 1980, they opened for Black Sabbath and Blue Öyster Cult on the “Black And Blue” tour. Shortly thereafter, the group toured with Ozzy Osbourne on a solo career.
In 2015, Saxon repeated his work as Motörhead’s opening band on one of his latest tours.
Mötley Crüe opened for Kiss, Ozzy Osbourne and Saxon
Mötley Crüe opened Ozzy Osbourne concerts in their times of potent chemical insanity. At the same time, the quartet also opened for Kiss (shortly before) and Saxon (shortly after).
Watch it below:
Bon Jovi opened for Kiss, Ratt and Scorpions
Between 1983 and 1984, Bon Jovi made a bunch’ of openings: he toured with Kiss, Ratt and Scorpions on separate tours to promote his first studio album.
Metallica opened for Raven, Venom and Ozzy Osbourne
Before becoming one of the biggest heavy metal bands in the world, Metallica spent a few years touring as an opening band. Initially, the group opened Venom during the “Seven Dates Of Hell” tour. At the same time, they also played before Raven’s shows. In 1986, after releasing “Master Of Puppets”, the quartet was back on the road as Ozzy Osbourne’s opening act.
Megadeth opened for King Diamond, Motörhead, Alice Cooper, Dio and Iron Maiden
Megadeth also started as a opening band. In 1985, after putting “Killing Is My Business …” on the square, the band animated the King Diamond pub before their performances. In 1986, after releasing “Peace Sells … But Who’s Buying?” Dave Mustaine’s group opened for Motörhead.
Then in 1987 they toured with Alice Cooper. And in 1988, they opened for Dio and Iron Maiden. And they still play as opening acts, more recently with Black Sabbath in 2013 and in 2017 with Scorpions.
Anthrax opened for Kiss, Black Sabbath, Judas Priest, Anvil and Motörhead
In a curious mix, Anthrax promoted the classic thrash “Among The Living” alongside Kiss, which released “Crazy Nights” – his most-delivered album to glam metal. In those times, the quintet of Joey Belladonna and Scott Ian also toured alongside Black Sabbath, Judas Priest, Anvil and Motörhead.
In 2016 they were the opening act for Iron Maiden in several countries.
Guns N ‘Roses opened for Iron Maiden, Aerosmith, Kiss, The Cult, Alice Cooper and Mötley Crüe
Even after a definitive blast with “Appetite For Destruction,” Guns N ‘Roses was not thrilled and continued to be the opening band throughout the entire promotional tour. At the time, the group opened for Iron Maiden, Aerosmith, Kiss, The Cult, Alice Cooper and Mötley Crüe. In 1989, they also opened for the Rolling Stones at four concerts held in Los Angeles.
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I am a 24 year-old brazilian journalist, a classic rock and heavy metal lover. Music has always been part of my life, helped me through tough moments and was with me to celebrate the good ones. When i became a journalist i knew i wanted to write about my passions. After college I did a postgraduate degree in digital communication. This has helped me to make the website better and bring the best of classic rock to the world! MTB: 0021377/MG