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Metallica and Van Halen kicking it backstage on the Monsters of Rock Tour in 1988.

America had long been crying out for a regular hard rock festival. Fuelled on the memories of the 1970s California Jams, the Bill Graham Presents Day On The Green stadium bashes, and a legendary heavy metal night at the US Festival in 1983 – which hosted the likes of Judas Priest, Ozzy Osbourne, The Scorpions, and Van Halen all gaining the sort of rave reviews which would become gold standards in their live careers – it was only a matter of time before someone devised a Monsters Of Rock for the US market.

The year was 1988, when word filtered through that there was, indeed, to be a Monsters Of Rock festival in the States. The hair was big, the riffs were bigger, and hard rock was enjoying enormous success in the US. In fact, it seemed that all you needed was a bit of tight denim, some scarves near yer mic stand, and some pouffy locks to immediately get platinum status, so this was a logical, and seemingly bound-to-succeed, step.

Legend has it that this 23-city US Monsters Of Rock came about first as an idea of Sharon Osbourne, but that somewhere along the line of conceiving and arranging the concept, she decided it didn’t feel right. Thus, in came Van Halen and their manager at the time, Ed Leffler… read more >

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