Thursday, January 17, 2013
I've been thinking about Jimmy O'Neill and Shindig all day long ... his passing is probably bothering me more now because, as I mentioned yesterday, I had hoped to convince Jimmy to take part in the up-coming "Historic Route 66" Radio Tour. Now we'll never know what might have been.
On his website, Jimmy talked about the time Shindig had to go to London to film The Beatles for an episode. (They certainly weren't going to come to him, were they?!?! lol)
Here, in Jimmy's own words, are his memories of that experience ... followed by a CLASSIC, little-seen Beatles clip from 1965.
People always want to know how we were able to get The Beatles to perform on Shindig.
Because of the popularity of Shindig! in America and because of the reverence with which they held our British producer, Jack Good, who they grew up watching on the English television program, they agreed to appear on Shindig! for scale, which was $350.00 a Beatle. They only had one condition, which we thought was quite reasonable. At the time we wanted them to appear on Shindig!, they really couldn't work a trip to America into their schedule.
So they asked us to come to them, and we did. We flew to London and spent two days rehearsing and taping the episode which starred the Beatles, and I'll never forget it as long as I live. It was an amazing experience because it was really at the peak of Beatlemania when they appeared on the show.
When we traveled to London to record our Beatles episode, some New York network “suits” accompanied us to make sure things went OK. When they found out The Beatles were going to introduce new material on the show, they complained that they wanted them to sing their old hits.
The Beatles were working for union scale ($350.00 per Beatle) as a favor to our English Producer, Jack Good. John Lennon screamed at the network exec who complained about their musical selections. “For $350.00 we’ll sing anything we want, and besides these songs will all be hits as soon as they’re released!” Then he stomped out of the studio and refused to perform. Paul McCartney and Jack Good chased after him and finally soothed his feathers, convincing him to return and tape the show. It was an intense moment, for sure!
So overall what were the Beatles like? John was surley, Paul was the perfect friendly PR guy, Ringo was extremely sociable and kept asking me where I bought my casual clothes; (Mattson’s on Sunset Blvd in Hollywood) he seemed to like my wardrobe. He was like a friendly little puppy dog. George was the quiet one, very introverted and subdued.
What were the Brit fans like? Hysterical! While entering the studio they heard my American accent and asked me if I was performing with The Beatles. When I said yes, they started to scream and rip my clothes. I had to break the glass of the locked stage entrance door to get in before they tore me apart. Very scary!
Jimmy loved The Beach Boys, who appeared on Shindig several times. (In fact, anybody who was ANYBODY appeared on the show ... all 86 episodes were jam-packed with the biggest recording artists of the day!)
The Beach Boys often appeared on TV singing their latest hit ... but they rarely were ever captured singing their Christmas Classic "Little Saint Nick". Here they are, doing exactly that, on Shindig, 1964!
Scan YouTube and you'll find hundreds of priceless clips. Producer Jack Good insisted that ALL of the acts perform live ... no lip-synching. As such, these are one-of-a-kind performances.
Here are a couple of our Forgotten Hits buddies on the program ... The Turtles, Herman's Hermits ... and more!
The Video Beat has all 86 episodes of Shindig available on DVD ... an INCREDIBLE collection to say the least!
Here's how you can order YOUR copy!