Monday, November 21, 2011

A Few More Of Your Comments And Memories

So much to read on Ed Sullivan that I have not gotten through it all yet.  Just wanted to comment on the 60's Chicago scene and Ed. 
Groups like the New Colony Six got on Mike Douglas and others, the Shadows of Knight made Where the Action Is and others, the Ides made  Something Else (with John Byner host), the American Breed made it on American Bandstand and others. There are other viewings I am sure, but cannot remember now.
Certainly some made it on Lloyd Thaxton, Shebang, Hollywood A Go Go,  Shivaree, Hullaballoo, Shindig, Malibu U, Upbeat, Showcase '68, Kiddie A Go Go (local pre-teener), Hollywood Palace, Merv Griffin, Hy Lit, It's Happening and Happening '68.
The Buckinghams hold the best position for success in the TV 60's era.  They made the Smothers Brothers show in 67!  In 1968, they achieved the ultimate in getting an Ed Sullivan booking!  Their performance was quite unique.  They sang "Susan" with live vocal up until the instrumental (?) break and then cut to a film of them in their civil war uniforms (did they steal the idea from the Union Gap for some reason??) playing on a swing set!  Then, they broke into a yet to be released live vocal of "What Is Love?" from their upcoming album.  A very cool performance, I thought.  The week they were originally scheduled to appear did not work out and they were bumped to the following week's Sullivan show, but the clip made it and Chicago rock history!
It was interesting to read Carl Giammarese's Buckinghams appearance comments.  It's strange that Ed was so late getting the hottest band of 1967 on his show.  They had been on the Smothers Brothers in the summer of love 67, but this was January, 1968, when the Bucks were on Sullivan.  Unlike other acts, this appearance did NOT catapult them to higher heights.  However, I think it was the sudden change of music that led to the group's demise so quickly.  They were great, IMO, BUT the tide was switching.  In 68, teens were swept up by bubblegum music and the slightly older were finding that in order to be hip (like it or not), the Doors and Cream were the new sound and the Buckinghams' pop music followers were more likely jumping on the Union Gap bandwagon (for the time being, at least). 
The Bucks were caught up in an outgoing tide that even their more concept oriented later LPs could not conquer.  Songs like "What is Love" and the great "We Just Know" from their new LP were great, but "Love" was not a "Susan"-type 45 song and "Know" was more like the Cyrkle (also now passe' by 68) with a cool psychedelic reprise. 
It's best summed up by the year end 67 American Bandstand show.  On it, Dick Clark plays the best of the best throughout the show.  After playing "Light My Fire" and seeing the kids really digging that while dancing, Dick told them that Cashbox's top group of the year was ... THE BUCKINGHAMS!  There was this quiet collective "ohhhh" like it was a big letdown to the late teen kids dancing.  A year earlier, it would have been a big cheer, probably.  It was a fast paced music period of change for sure.
The Cryan' Shames never made it to many shows presumably because of JC Hooke's hook (at least, in Bandstand's case).  I have an aircheck where they supposedly called in to say they were on their way to tape Sullivan in January, 1968 (same time as the Bucks show aired).  I asked Tom Doody and Jim Pilster if that ever happened and they said it was the first they'd heard of this.  They never got contacted from the show to do it.  Too bad!!
One more big Chicago happening would be the first Destination Records single to hit the WLS charts.  It was the Warner Brothers' "Please, Mr. Sullivan."  The song was entirely a parody about groups that performed on the Sullivan show and even included their impersonation of Ed declining.  A great Chicago novelty in the "Louie Louie" / "Alley Oop" musical styling that sold pretty well in Chicagoland and opened the door for the NC6's "I Confess" to be the next garage record to hit from Chicago.
Clark Besch

I especially like hearing these "Please, Mr. Sullivan" lyrics after running our series ... funny how many of these instances and references were noted over the past three weeks.  Pretty cool, actually!  Thanks, Clark!  (kk)

Hi Kent,
Enjoying the great memories that have been posted at your Forgotten Hits site. We didn't get a t.v until 1966 (age 15) and two years later I was in the Marine Corp.So, I missed a lot. The music scene in So. Cal. was then and still is my constant companion in life. Living here outside of Lynchburg, Virginia, I have come to rely on my extensive cd collection of 60s and 70s music .... there is no reason to turn the radio on these days. Not a single "oldies" station remains here in central Virginia. If you want country or "headbanger" music ... well, they have plenty of that (no thanks).
I am trying to find more info as to the Ed Sullivan Rock and Roll (7, 9 and 12 dvd sets). In particular, whether these newer releases by SOFA entertainment truly contain the "full length" performances by the artists. The Sullivan site says "full length" but I have read some of the "older" reviews at other sites (they may not apply to the more recent Rock n Roll releases) and they speak to all the editing / shortening of the performances. Maybe someone will post their experience with the newer sets, or better yet, maybe we can get Mr. Andrew Solt to put this question to rest, once and for all. Just what does "full length" mean ???
I and a number of my friends are ready to shell out the bucks for these Ed Sullivan sets, but we remain hesitant until the above question is answered. Maybe Mr. Solt can include an answer to this question right at the Ed Sullivan "Rock n Roll" website ... for all to read.
Thanks and keep up the great work.  I, like others, miss my "oldies" radio and  The "Real" Don Steele, Robert W. Morgan, Dave Hull, Bob Eubanks, Bill Balance, Charlie Tuna ... oh there were so many.
Jim Slert
My experience has been that some of the clips have been shortened ... but in doing the research for this series, it also became clear that Ed Sullivan himself had "shortened" and abbreviated versions of many of these hits performed on his program.  (Hard to believe in hindsight ... in that a hit single back then typically came in at under three minutes!!!)
A bit more discouraging is the number of "repeats" spread out through some of these sets ... but again one has to remember that these originally aired as 30-minute segments on VH-1 ... and weren't typically consumed back-to-back but rather in spread-out doses.  Some of the "themes" used crossed over to so many boundaries that repeat clips were almost a necessity.  Add to this the fact (as Andrew has pointed out) all that is involved with licensing the rights to these tracks and you can see that perhaps a few corners were cut here and there.
All that being said, I have probably about 25-30 Sullivan disks in my collection and I never get tired of watching them ... there just isn't enough of this material to go around anymore so it's a real treat every time we pop one in the DVD player.  (Which, I might add, we have done quite regularly during the duration of this series ... once I'm running a lengthy spot like this, I tend to "over-compensate" but watching and listening to everything possible to truly absorb myself in the topic ... and we have watched DOZENS of hours of Ed Sullivan clips since this series began.  Attesting again to the durability of these performances, my wife has yet to complain once ... and, in fact, even our fifteen year old daughter has popped into the room from time to time catch one of HER favorite artists from this era!)
I highly recommend the 12-DVD "Rock And Roll Classics" edition ... you get a little bit of everything and it's pure entertainment start to finish.
Hopefully, future releases will be specifically made for home video rather than simply rehashing previously aired programming on stations like VH1, TVLand and PBS.  I believe that some of these "unique" disks, designed and developed specifically for home use, concentrating of the music, would make for a VERY welcome addition to ANY DVD Music Library Collection.  (kk)

While I'm personally not really interested in buying old Ed Sullivan TV shows, I have to admit that whoever did the video restoration did a nice job! I'm laying odds that The Lovin' Spoonful sounded best, live!
Jersey John
We're totally LOVIN' watching this stuff ... let's face it, you can hear most of this music all day long on end ... but to actually SEE these artists performing it ... in the prime of their careers ... makes for some pretty entertaining evenings!  (kk) 

Kent ... 
According to Ron Smith's fine book "Eight Days A Week," on 11/20/1955 = Bo Diddley sings "Bo Diddley" on the Ed Sullivan Show - after agreeing to sing "Sixteen Tons." (sparking Ed's ire).
This got me to thinking ... how many people can you think of that went 
back on their word to Ed Sullivan?  
Mick Jagger promised Ed he wouldn't sing the lyrics "Let's spend the night together."  He didn't keep his word to Ed. I think Jim Morrison sang something he said he wouldn't sing. Not much you can do about it with "Live" TV shows. Can you think any others?
Frank B.
Actually, Mick Jagger kept his word ... and sang "let's spend SOME TIME together" instead of the actual lyric ... in fact, you can see Mick roll his eyes on camera when he makes the lyric substitution.  Jim Morrison defied Sullivan (or, some speculate, simply forgot during the heat of the moment, performing live on one of the biggest shows on television) and sang about "getting higher" despite the directive to alter the lyrics to "Light My Fire".  Certainly there were others but these are probably the two most famous instances.  (I wasn't aware of Bo Diddley performing a different song ... my guess is that he was ALWAYS supposed to perform "Bo Diddley" because that was his hit at the time ... "Sixteen Tons" is a new one on me.  In fact, there's a clip of Bo Diddley singing "Bo Diddley" on the Rock And Roll Classics DVD.)
Once you betrayed Ed, you simply weren't asked back ... Ed knew the power of his program and wasn't about to have some young and rebellious rock and roller abuse it.  The Doors didn't care ... when told they wouldn't be asked back, their reply was simply "Who cares?  We've already done it!" (kk)
I believe this to be true and have heard this story many times. 
Bo sang what he wanted to sing (his great "Bo Diddley") -- not what the producers wanted him to sing -- and we are a lot better off for that. Kind of like what the Doors did -- sang what they wanted to sing since it was live and nothing could be done or said until after the performance.
Andrew Solt  

Hey Kent -
I have the 12 DVD set on Ed Sullivan and was watching the Vanilla Fudge You Keep Me Hanging On after I first wrote in.  There was a voice note before the video that said their album had been out for a year before they were on Ed and it hadn't sold well, but after their performance on Ed Sullivan the album took off.  So not only did it make me go see them on tour, but Ed also helped their album sales.
Mickey Cooksey
This is absolutely true.  Vanilla Fudge's version of "You Keep Me Hangin' On" was first released in July of 1967 ... and it went virtually nowhere on the pop charts, peaking at #67 during a five week run.  Exactly one year later, after their appearance on The Ed Sullivan Show, Atco Records released the track again as a single ... and this time it shot up to #6 ... and spent three months on the pop singles chart.  It is unreal how well so many of these records did after folks saw them performed on Ed's show Sunday Night.  And, as you can see, it doesn't really matter WHICH version of "rock and roll" you're talking about ... be it early vintage rock like ratings chart-busters like Elvis Presley and Buddy Holly, British Invasion Rockers like The Beatles, The Rolling Stones, et al, The Motown Sound of The Supremes, The Temptations and The Four Tops ... or the newer heavy metal sounds of Vanilla Fudge, Steppenwolf, The Doors and Janis Joplin.  ALL of these artists saw a HUGE increase in sales after they graced Ed's program.  All the MORE reason this guy belongs in The Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame!!!   (Who else delivered THIS kind of variety, week after week after week, to all us kids camped out in front of their parents' TV sets on Sunday nights?!?!?)  kk

I am thoroughly enjoying the Ed Sullivan run.  So much to learn.  So much to enjoy.
How can it be that we can enjoy OVER AND OVER AGAIN the performances of musical artists?  We listen to their songs, sometimes ad nauseam.  We attend their concerts and laugh at each joke; while relishing each musical piece that we have heard and seen before.  This was again my finding in Peekskill, NY, on 11/11/11.  No ... I don't think it had anything to do with the date.  I have been working seven days a week somewhere since Labor Day and could not wait to have two days off to visit Peekskill on the Hudson and see a concert starring Herman's Hermits starring Peter Noone and special guest Lou Christie.  Both of these artists have welcoming camps that surrounded me with friendship and opportunity for discussions.  There is truly no reason for me to feel special in a situation such as this (no one wants my take on current academic testing or curriculum and certainly I am not in my retail location to help them find the perfect gift), but they did.  Since we go to a concert to watch and listen to music, that was all I needed.  Well, I got plenty of that!  It was clear from the onset of each performance that Lou Christie and Peter Noone love to be performing.  They have surrounded themselves with musicians who also love performing and, in particular, love performing their lead singers' songs.  How can you beat that?!  If I start highlighting the individual songs, this paragraph will go on ad nauseam and I will lose MY audience.  Just go see them.  Check out schedules.  See concerts in your area for all performers you can.  It is fun, uplifting, magical, and it makes your life Just A Little Bit Better.
And hey -- Peter Noone is on Youtube performing with High School students at a workshop that same day??  My students would have shown up on a snow day or holiday for that!  Now comes the ad nauseam part.  Thank you Peter, Lou, Vance, Rich, Billy, Dave, Dennis, Jana, Kathy and Linda.  
Shelley J. Sweet-Tufano  

Funny ... sounds like Ed Sulllivan was the Oprah of his day!!

Hey Kent ...
I'm really enjoying the "Ed Sullivan" Tributes. I especially loved Charlie Gracie's letter. We have had the honor of being on shows with Charlie on a few occasions and I can tell you he is the real deal, a true rocker, and in my mind, and in the minds of many others that I know, a true Founding Father of Rock & Roll ... one of the greats ... and he wails on that Guild!
In the words of another founding father ... "Long Live Rock".
Mitch Schecter / The Rip Chords 

>>>Yes, at any point in time Ed might have a sports figure like Joe Louis or Joe DiMaggio stand up and take a bow ... or Lucille Ball or Diana Ross ... Stars LOVED to go to Ed's shows ... and he sometimes went to great lengths to insure that they had a ticket!  (Andrew Solt)
>>>Dino, Desi & Billy appeared on The Ed Sullivan Show in the summer of 1965. DD&B performed our hits "I'm a Fool" and "Not the Lovin' Kind" back-to-back before going over to chat with our host.  Desi's mother, Lucille Ball, sat in the studio audience and was flanked by her mother, Dede Ball, and daughter, Lucie Arnaz. We may not be in the Rock 'n' Roll Hall of Fame, but DD&B are proud to have been a part of the exclusive club of performers that appeared on The Ed Sullivan Show.  (Billy Hinsche / Dino, Desi & Billy)
You can see this on one of the Sullivan videos available.  It's pretty funny because Ed asks Lucy to stand and be recognized from the audience and then, after the performance, he brings the kids over to talk and says how nice they are and then adds something like "I hope you and your girl patch things up."  Then they leave.  I scratched my head and then realized he had been listening to the song they sang and was commenting about THE SONG!  It was so funny!  
Clark Besch

Yes, we've watched that one a couple of times now.  (Both clips are part of the Rock And Roll Classics collection, the 12-DVD Set we told you about the other day.)  As part of his intro for the trio, Ed calls out to his friend, the "eternally 39" Jack Benny ... and explains that the combined ages of the three young performers we're about to see is only 38 years old!!! After their performance, he brings the boys out center-stage and invites them to come back and then says something about being sad to hear about their broken love affair, a reference indeed to the songs they had just performed!!!  Classic Sullivan!  (kk)

I did so many music and variety shows but appearing on The Ed Sullivan Show and being able to sing my own song, Put A Little Love In Your Heart, was absolutely the most exciting I ever had on television. 
You really felt like you had reached the top when you went on Ed's show. It was also telecast live, which kept you on the edge knowing tens of millions of people were watching. Ed could also be funny. He called out to talk to me during the start of my second song, "Brighton Hill," but the band kept playing and we made it through.
Jackie DeShannon

Here are my memories of The Fleetwoods' appearance on The Ed Sullivan Show.

It was a great feather in our Fleetwood caps to do the Ed Sullivan Show, as teenagers in 1959.  Our self-penned song "Come Softly To Me" was the #1 Record on The Billboard Hot 100 for four weeks and a hit throughout the world. Top booking agencies were vying to sign The Fleetwoods, Dolphin's debut artists.  Dolphin Records President Bob Reisdorff said we would sign with MCA (a real powerhouse at the time), if they got us The Ed Sullivan Show.  They did; and we did.  

But the show was far different from the slick, fan-pleasing presentation we'd enjoyed making on The Dick Clark Show.  On Dick Clark's BeachNut Hour, we sang along with our record (lip-synched), and what TV viewers heard was the hit recording they loved and the audience clapping and cheering, as Gary opened with his famous "Dom Dom" scat line and (left to right) Gretchen and Barbara cooed "Come Softly", while descending a staircase in high heels and gowns chosen by Record Producer Reisdorff. 
Conversely, The Ed Sullivan Show, also in sophisticated New York, put us in cowboy outfits! (Why? Someone guessed, maybe because we were from the West, and they thought we were still cowboys and indians out there?)  A wood rail fence to lean on, and a bass player in the middle of the corral, completed the unlikely setting for our soft pop song in street-corner counterpoint.  
They had a live chorus singing (Gary's) "Dom Dom" background, and it nearly drowned us out, complete with a loping cowboy beat behind (Gretchen's) melody and lyrics, and (Barbara's) harmony.  
Ed Sullivan was not there for the rehearsal, nor was Bob Reisdorff; so Gretchen, official spokesperson for The Fleetwoods, asked whoever was in charge if they could quiet the chorus and add bongos, to counter (the cowboy feel) with a latin beat.  The Bongo player thought it was his big chance and "played to beat the band!"
Before the actual telecast, we Fleetwoods quietly agreed among ourselves that we never wanted to do The Ed Sullivan Show again.  We much preferred Dick Clark's production.  
But a half century later, we received this communication from someone who had been present at our Ed Sullivan dress rehearsal.  With his permission, his note also appears on our website, - where the latest of our Screen Performances ("Come Softly To Me" in the new movie, "The Green Lantern") has not yet been posted - but, at the bottom of the page, you can see a clip from our very first:  The Dick Clark Show appearance, which so contrasted with our Ed Sullivan Show experience.)
1959:  The Ed Sullivan Show
Memory of a fan:  At one time, my father sold advertising space for a "car" magazine. Because of his job, he was able to get some tickets to a Sunday-afternoon dress rehearsal of "The Ed Sullivan Show" (one of their sponsors at that time was "Lincoln" cars).  
I remember sitting in the audience, and seeing two girls and a guy take their place onstage, before being introduced by "Ed."
All of a sudden,
I realized who it was, and I said out loud, "The Fleetwoods!!!" 

To this day, I don't remember who else was on the show that day. Sincerely,
Eli Mallon  
Thank you Eli.  And thank you Ed.  Even if it wasn't our favorite way to be presented, we can look back with humor and enjoy the sentimental honor of being part of that history - the iconic Ed Sullivan Show.
Gretchen  Christopher

We've shown you LOTS of great Ed Sullivan / YouTube clips over the course of this series ... and THIS one has quickly become one of OUR favorites.  (Not officially available thru YouTube, Forgotten Hits has been allowed to "Sneak Peek" this track in today's column ... it'll go viral next week ... but you can see it here first!)

It's a ROUSING performance by The Friends Of Distinction of their #3 Smash from 1969, "Grazing In The Grass".  Watch this one ... I am willing to personally guarantee that I can dig it, he can dig it, she can dig it, we can dig it, they can dig it ... and YOU can dig it, too!

While Andrew Solt assures us that new titles are in the works, he won't divulge any details at this time for fear that if any negotiations fell through, the whole process would only leave a legion of disappointed fans.  We get that ... but our readers have their OWN ideas as to what they'd most like to see next!
Based on the responses we've received from our readers thus far, we've put together a short list of clips oldies music fans would most like to see on an Ed Sullivan DVD compilation ... call it a "Fans' Favorites" disk if you will!
Leading the pack right now:  Gary Lewis and the Playboys performing "This Diamond Ring", The Buckinghams performing "Susan" and Chubby Checker doing "The Twist".  (We're going to have to put The Fleetwoods' performance of "Come Softly To Me" right up near the top of the list now, too, after reading Gary and Gretchen's comments this week!!!  lol)
The single artist compilation we'd most like to see:  The Dave Clark Five ... BY A LANDSLIDE!!! 
(I know that's gonna be a tough order to fill ... but sooner or later this stuff HAS to come out again!!!)

Stay tuned to these pages for all the latest news regarding any new Sullivan home video releases.  (kk)