The fourth Manhattan building to be known as Madison Square Garden opened February 11, 1968 with a “Salute to the USO” concert starring Bing Crosby and Bob Hope. Rock and roll arrived November 27-28 when the Rolling Stones headlined two sold-out shows at the 19,000-capacity venue. Jimi Hendrix, Janis Joplin, and Elvis Presley all performed at MSG; indeed, Presley’s four shows in June 1972 were his first and only New York performances. Every former Beatle has played The Garden: George Harrison and Ringo Starr at The Concert For Bangladesh in 1971; John Lennon as the surprise guest of Elton John in 1974 (Lennon’s last live performance); and Paul McCartney as recently as 2005. The last concert ever completed by Bob Marley & the Wailers took place at The Garden on September 20, 1980.
In 2008, Billy Joel held the record for the most number of shows performed in a single MSG run (eleven, in 2006). But close behind him are Bruce Springsteen (ten shows, 2002) and the Grateful Dead (nine shows, first in 1988 and again in 1991. On March 25, 2007, Elton John celebrated his 60th birthday by playing the sixtieth MSG show of his career—and setting a new record for the most appearances by any artist or group at “The World’s Most Famous Arena.”
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