Austin City Limits: The Early 80s
Austin City Limits: 1981-1985
The onset of the 1980s brought even more diversity to the program lineup of Austin City Limits. The intimate venue saw the ACL debut of B.B. King in a full hour concert, featuring performances of "The Thrill Is Gone" and "Love Me Tender." His electrifying mix of country and blues was a perfect fit for the program, which was constantly reaching for exceptional musicians and songwriters.
In 1982, the now-familiar Austin skyline backdrop was first used, and becomes the permanent look of Austin City Limits. First time performances by Rodney Crowell, Emmylou Harris, John Anderson and George Strait highlight this landmark season.
The genre crossover continued with such diverse acts as Kris Kristofferson, Ray Charles, Stevie Ray Vaughan, the LeRoi Brothers and Neil Young. (The 80s were in full effect too, just listen to some of these cheesy songs!)
In 1985, ACL celebrated its 10th anniversary with an outdoor concert headlined by Bob Wills' Original Texas Playboys. The first episode ever taped outside the KLRU studios, a crowd of 5,000 are entertained at the huge celebration. The performance is broadcast as the premiere episode of 1985. Other highlights of that season would be The Oak Ridge Boys, Vince Gill and Glen Campbell.
Coming up: Austin City Limits 1986-1990
Previously: Austin City Limits 1975-1980