Rockin’ Out on Rocky Top

Before Thompson-Boling Arena opened in 1987, the university played host to big-name acts in other venues on campus. From the final concert of legendary classical pianist Sergei Rachmaninof in 1943 at Alumni Memorial Auditorium to musicians like Elvis, Elton John, James Taylor, John Denver, and Whitney Houston at Stokely Athletic Center, lots of musical memories have been made on Rocky Top.

Share your memories and photos of campus concerts and  performances on social media using #VolMemories or by e-mail at torch@utk.edu.

Elton John (1975)

Elton John (1975)

Elton John brought 12,000 screaming fans to campus. The Kiki Dee band opened for him at Stokely Athletic Center.

Bette Midler (1973)

Bette Midler (1973)

Bette Midler summed it up herself after someone shouted, "I love you, Bette." Her reply with a grin, "Naturally."

Joan Jett (1988)

Joan Jett (1988)

Joan Jett rocked a small but appreciative crowd at Alumni Gym as the featured Homecoming band.

Janis Joplin (1969)

Janis Joplin (1969)

Janis Joplin performed at UT's 1969 Homecoming celebration.

James Taylor (1971)

James Taylor (1971)

James Taylor appeared at Stokely Athletic Center and sang 41 songs.

Elvis Presley (1972)

Elvis Presley (1972)

Elvis Presley performed at Stokely Athletic Center on April 8, 1972 to a sell-out crowd.

John Denver (1975)

John Denver (1975)

The Volunteer Yearbook reported that "John Denver obviously enjoys his work and his attitude on stage helps make the concert a fine musical experience."

Sting (1984)

Sting (1984)

Sting, bass player and lead singer for The Police, plays for a packed Stokely Athletic Center.

Dionne Warwick (1972)

Dionne Warwick (1972)

Dionne Warwick appeared at Stokley Athletic Center and pleased the audience, beginning with a three-song medley of her best known hits.

Whitney Houston (1988)

Whitney Houston (1988)

Whitney Houston at Stokely Athletic Center in 1988.

 

3 Comments on “Rockin’ Out on Rocky Top

  1. I regret I missed U2 in Alumni Gym (opening for J Geils Band) while I lived on campus in the early 80s but I did get to see The Police at Stokely Athletic Center.

  2. The Police at Stokely in the early 80s was memorable, especially the party while camping out to buy tickets.