Posts Tagged Vintage Video
Dutch pop-rock band Shocking Blue scored a major hit with “Venus” in 1969 from their second album, At Home (for the video, click here). While most of us remember Shocking Blue as a one hit wonder, they actually had nearly a dozen albums mixing country-flavored rock, mild psychedelia and almost bubblegum-pop sounds, none of which made much of a mark outside of their native Netherlands. “Venus” was covered very successfully by Bananarama in 1986 and the original, chart topping, gold-selling version has appeared in numerous TV shows, movie soundtracks and scores of compilation albums from the period. In this 1970 promo video, lead mime Mariska Veres plays the part of the disenchanted siren while her bandmates play air guitar for the caged monkeys behind them.
Sunday night, February 9, 1964 on The Ed Sullivan Show, television introduced the Beatles to 73 million Americans, or nearly 40% of the total population of the country at the time (by comparison, this past Sunday’s broadcast of the Super Bowl, the highest rated showing of that annual extravaganza, was viewed by an estimated 106 million Americans, or about 30% of the population).
The February 9 airing of Ed Sullivan’s weekly variety program (his “really big shoo”) was the first of three consecutive Sunday evenings on which the Fab Four appeared on the show. That night they performed five songs in two sets, opening with “All My Loving”, followed by “Till There Was You” and “She Loves You.” In the show’s second hour they came back with “I Saw Her Standing There” and ended with “I Want To Hold Your Hand.”
Click here for an interesting side-by-side video of two versions of “I Want To Hold Your Hand” – one taped earlier in the day for inclusion on the February 23 show, and the other filmed live on February 9. For my Beatles playlists, click here.
Bob Dylan (click here for Dr. Rock’s playlist) wrote “Mr. Tambourine Man” in 1964, recorded it in January 1965, and released it on Bringing It All Back Home in March 1965. The Byrds (click here) released their version as a single on April 12, 1965. It quickly shot to #1 on both the U.S. and U.K. singles charts and eventually settled at #79 on Rolling Stone magazine’s Top 500 songs of all-time. Click here for a Vintage Video of the Byrd’s lip-synching and fake-playing their way through “Mr. Tambourine Man” on the Ed Sullivan Show in 1965.
The Tremeloes (click here for today’s Vintage Video) had what it took to give The Beatles a run for their money in the mid-60s. Catchy tunes, good looks, respectably long hair, a supportive record label (Decca) and a growing legion of fans. But the recipe didn’t bake cake, and the Fab Four pasted the Tremeloes in the race to British Invasion superstardom. That left Brian Poole (lead singer and guitarist) and his bandmates to swallow their pride, which wasn’t hard to do with more than a dozen British #1’s and two Top 20 US hits. The Tremeloes broke up in 1970, just a few short years after they recorded this version of their hit cover of Cat Stevens’ “Here Comes My Baby” in 1967 for the BBC.
Lip-synching on music shows aired from a TV studio was an accepted practice in the 60s and early 70s. But a growing trend toward “real” live performances is evidenced by Poco’s rendition (click here) of “A Good Feelin’ To Know” on a TV/radio simulcast with album-rock station WPLJ-fm in New York in 1972. The song was the title track to the fifth studio album from one of the longest running country-rock bands. The line-up pictured here was their early 70s version. Founding member, lead vocalist and guitarist Richie Furay would leave in a year, bassist Tim Schmit went to the Eagles in 1977 and drummer George Grantham quit in 1978. Guitarists Rusty Young and Paul Cotton continued on with various replacements in the 80s and the band continues performing to this day. Poco is in the Playlist Vault at DrRock.com and A Good Feelin’ To Know is available from Amazon and iTunes.
Long before MTV, The Mamas & The Papas lip-synched through a truncated version of their signature tune, “California Dreaming” on The Ed Sullivan Show (click here) in December 1966. The single was released in 1965 and peaked at #4 in the U.S., one of 11 Top 40 charters they had in their all-too-brief, four-year career as a working folk-pop band. Had they been around 20 years later, they might have had even greater success and longevity. But John Phillips controlled things too much for certain members, and “Mama” Cass Elliott bowed out of the “family” in 1968. John’s “control” extended beyond his bandmates, as we’ve recently heard from his now-50-year-old daughter, Mackenzie. Is she waiting (at 7 years) obediently back stage for her Papa? (The Mamas & The Papas are in the Playlist Vault at DrRock.com).
Shindig. Hulabaloo. Soul Train. Kraft Music Hall. The Midnight Special. Remember them? They’re all iconic 60s and 70s TV music programs that aired on the major U.S. networks and featured the hottest bands of the day lip-synching and fake playing their way through the hits of the day. And the Dave Clark Five’s appearance (click here) on Shindig in 1965 was typical of a mid-60s British Invasion challenge to the Beatles’ dominance. “Catch Us If You Can” was the DC5’s good-time signature song and made it to #4 in the U.S. in the fall of 1965. Shindig aired on ABC for about 18 months until January 1966 when it was replaced by a new series called Batman. Holy cow!
The Midnight Special was a successful music variety show which aired on NBC at 1:00 a.m. on Saturday mornings following The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson. The program aired from 1973 until 1981 and featured “live” performances, in contrast to the often blatant lip-synching that most other, similar programs offered. The Midnight Special’s run ended when Dick Ebersol, the show’s producer, was shifted over to the ailing Saturday Night Live. Ebersol brought the notion of live rock performances to SNL. In this Vintage Video clip from 1973, the Doobie Brothers perform their #11 hit, “Listen To The Music” from the album Toulouse Street. The Doobies are in Dr. Rock’s Playlist Vault and Toulouse Street is available for download or as a CD.
At first listen, The Turtles seemed to be just another late 60s upbeat pop-rock harmony band. On closer inspection, however, they were more than that. Led by sarcastic frontmen Howard Kaylan and Mark Volman and singing tongue-in-cheek lyrics with beautiful harmonies, the Turtles vamped and camped their way to the top of the AM charts for an all-too-brief time in the late 60s. And their performance of “Elenore” on NBC’s Kraft Music Hall show in September 1968 (click here for the video) is ultimate Turtles: Kaylan in a lounge-style tuxedo; overgrown (in hair and stature) Volman overacting on back-up vocals; and the infectious sound and simple-minded lyrics of “Elenore” that Kaylan actually penned as a protest to the very notion of AM pop hits. Unfortunately, the Turtles were gone by 1970. Luckily for us, Kaylan and Volman joined Frank Zappa’s irreverent Mothers Of Invention, then recorded five FM radio-friendly albums in the late 70s before returning to the oldies circuit in the 80s. They’re still touring as The Turtles, and I recommend you see them (as I did last summer). They make for a great show. (“Elenore” appears on the excellent concept album, The Turtles Present The Battle Of The Bands, which is on Amazon and iTunes. A Turtles playlist is in Dr. Rock’s Playlist Vault.)
The New Riders Of The Purple Sage performed “Hello Mary Lou” on the German public TV program, Beat-Club, which premiered in 1965 and went off the air in December 1972, six months after this video was taped. The song was co-written by country-pop-rocker Gene Pitney and became a hit for Ricky Nelson in 1961. The New Riders included “Hello Mary Lou” on their second album, Powerglide, in 1972 and it was a staple of their live shows and albums thereafter. (For New Riders CDs and track downloads, check Amazon, iTunes and the New Riders playlist in Dr. Rock’s Playlist Vault).