Can't Get It Outta My Head

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

                A Baby Boomer

 

       Muses on The Music

It Was a Really Big Shoo, Part 4

The past three weeks of blog posts, about the impact of “The Ed Sullivan Show” on rock and roll, took us back in time, and forward again, to the Beatles’ next-to-last appearance on the Sunday-night TV variety show, in the fall of 1965, and the Byrds’ one-and-only performance there. The hits kept comin’ in 1966. The Four Seasons (now known as Frankie Valli and) performed on the first show of the year. Two weeks later, Ricky Nelson made his “Sullivan” debut, nearly a decade after “The Ozzie and Harriet Show” had helped make him a national star. (His father, the Ozzie of the TV sitcom, had barred him from appearing on other TV shows.) The Animals, the DC5, the Four Tops, the Stones, the Supreme

It Was a Really Big Shoo, Part 3

The past two weeks’ blog posts, about the impact of “The Ed Sullivan Show” on rock and roll, took us back in time, and forward again, to the Beatles’ first appearance on the Sunday-night TV variety show. That early-February 1964 show was watched by 73 million Americans, on 60 percent of our country’s TV screens, yours truly among them. That broke the record that had been set by Elvis Presley’s first Sullivan appearance seven and a half years earlier. I had heard the Beatles the preceding spring, before their records really started selling, on WLS-AM, caught the fever that fall, and was as excited as anyone to see them on Sullivan. The Chicago station is credited with the first airplay of a F

Johnny B. Gone

Chuck Berry died Saturday, at age 90, more than six decades after he stood America on its collective ear and almost single-handedly invented rock and roll. He was one of a handful of artists who changed American popular music forever back in the 1950s: Berry, Fats Domino, the Everly Brothers, Bill Haley, Buddy Holly, Elvis Presley. Berry’s songs were probably among the first rock and roll I heard, when I started listening to WLS out of Chicago in the early 1960s. His new singles, and his earlier hits (as covers and first-time-around “oldies”) were on the air a lot back then. “Nadine,” one of three Top 25 hits he had in 1961, was certainly among those. But the balky seat belt in “No Particula

It Was a Really Big Shoo, Part 2

Last week’s blog post about the impact of “The Ed Sullivan Show” on rock and roll took us back in time, and forward again, to Elvis Presley’s final appearance on the Sunday-night TV variety show. Elvis’s first Sullivan appearance broke records for the TV audience, and that viewer bonanza no doubt had an impact on the show host’s choices in musical guests. Not that Ed went all-in on rock; musical guests in the weeks after Presley’s gig included actor Robert Mitchum (singing a medley of calypso songs?). Or that everything Sullivan touched turned to gold. Rockabilly singer Charlie Gracie appeared that March, singing his hit “Butterfly.” Oh, you don’t remember it either? But Ed brought Bill Hale

It Was a Really Big Shoo

An item in last week’s “This Week in Rock History” — if you aren’t reading it regularly, you should be — about the Dave Clark 5 appearing on “The Ed Sullivan Show” got me to thinking about that weekly TV variety show. The TWRH item, in case you missed it, was about the DC5 making its debut on Sullivan’s show, after three consecutive weeks of the Beatles headlining the program. That was, of course, the literal beginning of the British Invasion, and a watershed moment in the development of rock and roll into popular music. The Fab Four’s Feb. 9, 1964, debut was the group’s first American performance. By the end of the year, the Animals, Gerry and the Pacemakers and the Rolling Stones had also

Feats Won’t Fail Me

The most recent additions to my music library were again of the Filling in the Corners variety: adding more recordings by artists who I already have, but don’t have enough of. The inspiration in this case was watching YouTube videos of “The Last Waltz,” the Band’s farewell concert, late last year, prepping for a blog post about the same. Somehow, in the midst of enjoying tunes by Bobby D.’s former backup band and their friends, the Internet site sidetracked me into a couple Little Feat videos. Not that I complained much about the diversion. If you looked at the music library on my iPod, you’d get the impression that the Feat, if not at the top of the list, are nevertheless among my favorite

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