The Iowa State Fair Grandstand lineups are ranked from worst to best … according to Register music reporter Matthew Leimkuehler and Iowa columnist Kyle Munson. Wochit
In the 1950s and '60s, music in the Iowa State Fair Grandstand tended to mean a singing cowboy, or marching band tunes, or an extended run by Liberace or Lawrence Welk.
But starting in 1970 the Grandstand began to welcome fuller annual lineups of major pop music stars — yes, predominantly country artists.
Below is a chronological rundown.
And, if you're interested in how each year stacks up, Register music writer Matthew Leimkuehler and Iowa Columnist Kyle Munson ranked them.
1970: Johnny Cash with June Carter, Carter Family, Statler Brothers, Engelbert Humperdinck, Carl Perkins, Tennessee Three, Porter Wagoner, Dolly Parton, Red Skelton, Lawrence Welk, and Faron Young.
1971: The Jackson Five, Glen Campbell, Lucha Villa, the Carpenters, “Hee Haw” with Buck Owens, and Charley Pride.
1972: Sonny and Cher, Bill Cosby, Paul Anka, Conway Twitty, Blackwood Family Reunion, the Guess Who, and Bob Hope.
1973: Elton John, Pat Boone, Tammy Wynette, Osmond Brothers, and Seals and Croft.
1974: Loggins & Messina, Herb Alpert and the Tijuana Brass, Chicago, Roy Clark, Country All-Stars with Tanya Tucker and more, Charlie Rich, Redd Foxx, Harry "Sweet" Edison and the Little Steps, and Liza Minnelli.
1975: Mac Davis Show, Beach Boys, The Osmonds, Chicago, The Helen Reddy Show, Tanya Tucker Show with Ronnie Milsap, Billie "Crash" Craddock, and Olivia Newton-John.
1976: Johnny Cash, Bachman-Turner Overdrive, Frankie Valli, Neil Sedaka, Isaac Hayes, Roy Clark, Lawrence Welk, Freddie Fender, and Bobby Vinton.
1977: Dolly Parton, Merle Haggard, the Beach Boys (with Brian Wilson), Kansas, Captain and Tennille, Pat Boone Family, Bay City Rollers, Henry Mancini and Florence Henderson.
1978: Heart, Styx, Statler Brothers, Dennis Day, Anne Murray, Jim Nabors, and the Osmonds.
1979: Willie Nelson, Chic, the Beach Boys, the Statler Brothers and Barbara Mandrell, Jerry Reed and Eddie Rabbitt, Red Skelton and Bugs Bunny Summer Fair Follies.
1980: Rock 'N' Roll Reunion I (Bobby Vee, the Association, etc.), Kenny Rogers, Waylon Jennings, Anne Murray, the Marshall Tucker Band, and Bob Hope.
1981: Little River Band/the Dirt Band, Rock ‘N’ Roll Reunion II (Bobby Vee, Del Shannon, Freddie Cannon, the Drifters, the Crystals, Lou Christie), Mickey Gilley, Barbara Mandrell, Mac Davis, John Schneider, and Pat Benatar with David Johansen.
1982: Joan Jett and the Blackhearts, Dolly Parton, Oak Ridge Boys, Alabama, Rock ‘N’ Roll Reunion III, Statler Brothers, and Air Supply.
1983: Jefferson Starship, Alabama, Rock ‘N’ Roll Reunion IV, Ronnie Milsap with Juice Newton, Tennessee Ernie Ford, Wayne Newton, and the Oak Ridge Boys.
1984: Rod Stewart, the Everly Brothers, Quiet Riot, Alabama, Gospel Music Celebration, Rock ‘N’ Roll Reunion V, Country Music Hall of Fame, Wayne Newton, and Donnie and Marie Osmond.
1985: The Beach Boys, Rock ‘N’ Roll Reunion VI, the Statler Brothers, George Thorogood and the Delaware Destroyers with Johnny Winter, Tom Jones, Dave Dudley as part of the Country Music Hall of Fame show, the Oak Ridge Boys, and Alabama.
1986: George Strait, John Denver, the Beach Boys, Julio Iglesias, Alabama, the Oak Ridge Boys with Nitty Gritty Dirt Band, the Statler Brothers, Starship with the Outfield, and Rock 'N' Roll Reunion VII.
1987: Gregg Allman Band and Stevie Ray Vaughan with Double Trouble, George Strait, Miami Sound Machine with Gloria Estefan and the Jets, Rock ‘N’ Roll Reunion VIII, Crystal Gayle and Gary Morris, Alabama, and Chicago.
1988: Lisa Lisa, Rock 'N' Roll Reunion IX, Statler Brothers, Alabama, the Smothers Brothers, the Beach Boys, the Oak Ridge Boys with Nitty Gritty Dirt Band, and Randy Travis and the Judds.
1989: Wayne Newton, Reba McEntire with Ricky Van Shelton, Rock ‘N’ Roll Reunion X, Barbara Mandrell, Conway Twitty, Tiffany and New Kids on the Block, 30th Anniversary of Rock 'N' Roll (Tiny Tim, Chuck Negron, Herman's Hermits, etc.), George Strait with Kathy Mattea, and Hank Williams Jr.
1990: Bob Dylan, Willie Nelson, Garth Brooks (replaced Ricky Van Shelton), George Strait with Alan Jackson, the Judds, Rock ‘N’ Roll Reunion XI, Alabama with Clint Black, Tommy Page, and Kenny G with Michael Bolton.
1991: Garth Brooks with Trisha Yearwood, George Strait, Reba McEntire, Cheap Trick, Nelson, Alabama, Hank Williams Jr. with Little Feat, Rock ‘N’ Roll Reunion XII (Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons), and Alan Jackson with Pam Tillis and Aaron Tippin.
1992: Ringo Starr and his All-Starr Band, Tanya Tucker and Travis Tritt, Rock ‘N’ Roll Reunion XIII with The Everly Brothers, Statler Brothers with Lee Greenwood, Ricky Van Shelton, Color Me Badd, Randy Travis with Brooks & Dunn, and Clint Black with Aaron Tippin.
1993: George Strait, Rock ‘N’ Roll Reunion XIV, Vince Gill, Michael Bolton, Brooks & Dunn, Garth Brooks, Clint Black, Barry Manilow, and Chris LeDoux.
1994: Steve Miller Band, Reba McEntire, Alan Jackson, George Strait with Clay Walker, Travis Tritt with Lee Roy Parnell, Kenny G, Brooks & Dunn with Faith Hill, Rock ‘N’ Roll Reunion XV, Carman, and Kenny G.
1995: Rock ‘N’ Roll Reunion XVI (Chuck Berry, Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons, etc.), Brooks & Dunn, Alan Jackson with Faith Hill, Petra and White Heart, Vince Gill with Shelby Lynne, George Strait, John Michael Montgomery with Nitty Gritty Dirt Band, and Lorrie Morgan with the Tractors.
1996: Rock ‘N’ Roll Reunion XVII with Jerry Lee Lewis and Johnny Rivers, Hank Williams Jr. with Leon Russell and the Marshall Tucker Band, Travis Tritt and Marty Stuart, Gin Blossoms and Goo Goo Dolls, Tim McGraw with Faith Hill, Alan Jackson, George Strait, Michael Bolton, and Lynyrd Skynyrd with Bad Company.
1997: John Michael Montgomery, Rock ‘N’ Roll Reunion XVIII with Little Richard, Tim McGraw with Martina McBride, Vince Gill, 4Him, Clay Walker, The Wallflowers, The Rightous Brothers, and ZZ Top.
1998: Alabama, LeAnn Rimes, Rock ‘N’ Roll Reunion XIX (Chubby Checker), Clint Black, Sandi Patty, Wynonna, Rock Never Stops (Warrant, Quiet Riot, etc.), Alan Jackson, and Sister Hazel and Seven Mary Three.
1999: Def Leppard, Reba McEntire, Rock ‘N’ Roll Reunion XX (Little Richard), Tim McGraw, the Moody Blues, Goo Goo Dolls and Sugar Ray with Fastball, and Brooks & Dunn.
2000: Christina Aguilera, Brooks & Dunn with Lonestar, Rock ‘N’ Roll Reunion XXI, Clay Walker, REO Speedwagon and Styx, Sawyer Brown, Clint Black, and Def Leppard.
2001: Bob Dylan, Billy Ray Cyrus and Aaron Tippin, Blood, Sweat & Tears, Oak Ridge Boys, Chris LeDoux, 98 Degrees, Sawyer Brown with Montgomery Gentry, and Rock 'n' Roll Reunion XXII.
2002: Alicia Keys, Kenny Chesney, Journey, Toby Keith, REO Speedwagon and Styx, Sara Evans, Trick Pony, and Brooks & Dunn.
2003: Kenny Chesney, Crosby, Stills & Nash, Rock ‘N’ Roll Reunion XXIV, Uncle Kracker with Everclear, Goo Goo Dolls with Lisa Marie Presley, Chris LeDoux, Montgomery Gentry, Boston, and Alan Jackson.
2004: Michael W. Smith, Montgomery Gentry, Rock ‘N’ Roll Reunion XXV, Clay Aiken, Rascal Flatts, Nickelback with Puddle of Mudd and Finger 11, Josh Turner, Kid Rock with Saliva, and Brooks & Dunn.
2005: ZZ Top, Keith Urban, "A Prairie Home Companion," Brad Paisley, Switchfoot, Hoobastank, Big & Rich, and Rock 'N' Roll Reunion XXVI.
2006: Brad Paisley with Eric Church, James Taylor, Montgomery Gentry with Miranda Lambert, Trace Adkins, George Jones, Smash Mouth, Big & Rich, and Rock 'N' Roll Reunion XXVII.
2007: Gary Allan, Alice Cooper with Blue Oyster Cult, Carrie Underwood with American Idols Live!, Rock 'N' Roll Reunion XXVIII, Joe Walsh, Corbin Bleu, Dierks Bentley, and Switchfoot with Cartel, and Casting Crowns.
2008: Michael W. Smith, Josh Turner with Craig Morgan, Rick Springfield with Patty Smyth and Scandal, Foreigner, Volunteer Jam with Charlie Daniels Band, .38 Special and Shooter Jennings, Vanessa Hudgens, Tracey Lawrence with Blake Shelton, Def Leppard with Everclear, and Garrison Keillor.
2009: Steven Curtis Chapman, Gary Allen with Chuck Wicks, Peter Frampton and Gin Blossoms, Big & Rich, Brett Michaels and Jackyl, Shinedown and Rev Theory, Brooks & Dunn, Kelly Clarkson, and Journey with Heart.
2010: Sheryl Crow with Colbie Callait, Keith Urban, Shinedown with Chevelle, Pat Benatar with REO Speedwagon, Darius Rucker, Boys Like Girls, Sugarland with Little Big Town, and MercyMe with the Newsboys.
2011: Janet Jackson, Reba, Train and Maroon 5, Ronnie Dunn, Doobie Brothers with Kansas, Def Leppard with Heart, Jason Aldean, and Casting Crowns.
2012: TobyMac, the “Happy Together” tour (the Turtles, etc.), Larry The Cable Guy, Miranda Lambert, the Band Perry, Big Time Rush, Hank Williams Jr., Journey with Pat Benatar and Loverboy, and Rascal Flatts with Little Big Town and Eli Young Band.
2013: Casting Crowns with Jeremy Camp, the “Happy Together” tour (the Turtles, etc.), Dana Carvey, Dierks Bentley with Justin Moore, Victoria Justice with Pentatonix, Toby Keith, Train, Carly Rae Jepsen, and Alan Jackson.
2014: Newsboys, the “Happy Together” tour, Goo Goo Dolls with Daughtry, Florida Georgia Line, Jake Owen, Chevelle with Halestorm, Lady Antebellum, and Foreigner with Styx.
2015: Casting Crowns, Justin Moore, Tulsa and Styx with Def Leppard, Reba McEntire, Carrie Underwood, Yes and Toto, Andy Grammer, Charlie Puth and Dee Snider.
2016: Kiss, Steven Tyler, Heart with Joan Jett and the Blackhearts and Cheap Trick, Meghan Trainor, Dierks Bentley, Newsboys, Brett Eldredge, Jason Derulo, and Lady Antebellum.
2017: For King and Country, Nickelback, "I Love The '90s" featuring Salt-n-Peppa, Pentatonix, Paramore, Flo Rida, Alabama, Little Big Town, John Mellencamp, and Kid Rock.