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TV, When It Rocked and Rolled
February 17, 2010 7:01 PM   Subscribe

In August 1990, when Spin magazine was still an edgier cousin to Rolling Stone, it published a list of the 35 Greatest Moments in Rock 'n' Roll Television.

Now, thanks to the magic of the Internet, many of these moments are only a point and click away.

1. Elvis Presley makes his network TV debut on the Dorsey Brothers Show
2. Elvis Presley performs Heartbreak Hotel and Blue Suede Shoes aboard the USS Hancock on the Milton Berle Show
3. Elvis Presley appears on Ed Sullivan, but only from the waist up
4. Jerry Lee Lewis debuts on the Steve Allen Show
5. the Ed Sullivan Show ignites Beatlemania
6. Dean Martin introduces the Rolling Stones on Hollywood Palace
7. James Brown upstages the Beach Boys and the Rolling Stones at the T.A.M.I. Show
8. the Rolling Stones bring Howlin' Wolf onto Shindig!
9. the Rolling Stones sing Let's Spend The Night Some Time Together on the Ed Sullivan Show
10. Chad & Jeremy play the Redcoats on the Dick van Dyke Show
11. The Who explode onto the Smothers Brothers Show
12. the 13th Floor Elevators sing You're Gonna Miss Me on American Bandstand
13. the Seeds perform Pushin' Too Hard on the Mothers-in-Law
14. James Brown singlehandedly stops a race riot with simulcast concert at Boston Garden
15. The Monkees psychedelicize the airwaves at 33 1/3 Revolutions per Monkee
16. The Doors freak out a PBS special
17. Tiny Tim and Miss Vicki get married on the Tonight Show
18. John & Yoko jam with Chuck Berry on the Mike Douglas Show
19. the Legendary Stardust Cowboy plays Paralyzed on Laugh-In
20. the New York Dolls appear on Don Kirshner's Rock Concert
21. The Blues Brothers, dressed as cops, cite Brian Wilson for failure to surf
22. Iggy Pop and David Bowie play Sister Midnight and Fun Time on the Dinah Shore Show
23. the Dickies guest star on the sitcom CPO Sharkey
24. David Bowie duets with Bing Crosby on the Little Drummer Boy
25. Elvis Costello plays Less Than Zero Radio Radio on Saturday Night Live
26. Patti Smith sings You Light Up My Life on Kids Are People Too
27. the Cars host Midnight Special with special guests the Records, Suicide, M, Lene Lovich, and Iggy Pop
28. John Lydon of Public Image Ltd. defiantly refuses to lip synch on American Bandstand
29. John Lydon and Keith Levene of PiL piss off Tom Snyder (part 1, part 2)
30. David Bowie sings I Got You Babe with Marianne Faithfull in a nun's habit
31. The Clash appear on the ABC late night show, Fridays (Part 1, Part 2)
32. Prince lip-synchs 1999 on Solid Gold
33. the Replacements trade clothes in between songs while guesting on Saturday Night Live
34. Annie Lennox of the Eurhythmics sings Sweet Dreams (Are Made of This) in male drag at the 1984 Grammys
35. Iggy Pop does a lounge version of Search and Destroy on the detective show, Shannon's Deal
posted by jonp72 (49 comments total) 62 users marked this as a favorite

 
I always like a list that mentions the Monkees' movie Head...
posted by Alexandra Kitty at 7:11 PM on February 17, 2010 [1 favorite]


What the hell is wrong with you, posting this when I have to go to bed in an hour?
posted by Horace Rumpole at 7:14 PM on February 17, 2010 [1 favorite]


This is really awesome, so of course I feel compelled to post some moderately related anti-awesome:

James Brown and Luciano Pavarotti sing "It's a Man's World."

Check it out, it's one of the most severely uncomfortable things you can watch that 1) was witnessed live by several thousand people, and 2) was nominally performed exactly as intended by the performers and organizers.
posted by invitapriore at 7:18 PM on February 17, 2010 [2 favorites]


33. the Replacements trade clothes in between songs while guesting on Saturday Night Live
posted by Edward L at 7:30 PM on February 17, 2010 [3 favorites]



I would have included Zappa taking on Novak on Crossfire in the list. But then I love anything that makes Novak look dumb.

Check it out, it's one of the most severely uncomfortable things you can watch that 1) was witnessed live by several thousand people, and 2) was nominally performed exactly as intended by the performers and organizers.

I actually kind of liked it, despite disliking almost everything by James Brown.
posted by Pogo_Fuzzybutt at 7:36 PM on February 17, 2010


With the common theme of bands sticking to the original lyrics when they were supposed to change to satisfy the networks, here's the Replacements singing about taking drugs on an awards show.
posted by Edward L at 7:39 PM on February 17, 2010 [1 favorite]


Also, holy crap, Iggy Pop had nineteen years and a good example (I'm guessing) to think about why doing a lounge album was a bad idea and he went through with it anyway.
posted by invitapriore at 7:40 PM on February 17, 2010


Just re-watched the Clash on Fridays. jesus Christ. At that moment, they really were the only band that mattered, weren't they? Watching the frantic energy of both those sets (barely contained during London Calling then unleashed during Clampdown) almost makes me a little afraid, like they were skating at the edge of some wierd moment of madness. I need to go to bed, but man, that was a serious hsot of adreniline...
posted by Chrischris at 7:44 PM on February 17, 2010 [2 favorites]


Good lord, I've been listening to YOU'RE GONNA MISS ME for 25 years and that just blew my head off.
posted by unSane at 7:45 PM on February 17, 2010


the sex pistols swearing at bill grundy? the moment punk broke

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p25SdQEnhHI (NSFW)
posted by marienbad at 7:49 PM on February 17, 2010 [1 favorite]


Rock and Roll defined, for me - Chuck Berry - Roll Over Beethoven. I wanna see Chuck Berry play with the Bots.
posted by cashman at 8:00 PM on February 17, 2010 [1 favorite]


This is chock full of wild stuff, like Patti Smith talking about wanting to be Anne Frank and raped by Nazis. Apparently she talks about it a lot and I just never noticed before.
posted by keli at 8:04 PM on February 17, 2010


Paul Westerberg in that striped ringer shirt on SNL is one of the raddest, most rock and roll things I've ever seen. Awesome post.
posted by porn in the woods at 8:09 PM on February 17, 2010


Great post, and right before bedtime too. Firefox just ate my comment, so I'll leave it at that.

Oh, and probably my most memorable "Blew my mind oh my god I didn't know people could do things like this with music" moment was seeing Bowie's Ashes to Ashes video on some Friday night video show.
posted by marxchivist at 8:24 PM on February 17, 2010 [2 favorites]


How is #9 in any way "rock 'n' roll?"
posted by total warfare frown at 8:38 PM on February 17, 2010


despite disliking almost everything by James Brown.

I despise all things Good, Pleasant, and True as well. I thought I was alone for a while there; good to know some of my greatness-hating comrades have found their way to MeFi!
posted by ford and the prefects at 8:56 PM on February 17, 2010 [3 favorites]


This rocks. PiL is my new fascination. Sorry, Johnny, about that.
posted by Ambrosia Voyeur at 8:57 PM on February 17, 2010


I'm not super interested in much of this, but this is such a cool idea that you deserve mad props anyway. MAD PROPS!
posted by The Devil Tesla at 9:39 PM on February 17, 2010


JAMES BROWN!! JAMES BROWN!! JAMES BROWN!!

Can't stop lovin' that man....
posted by Trochanter at 9:41 PM on February 17, 2010 [1 favorite]


In other news, the Vatican has released it's guide to the top Rock albums of all time.
posted by Jimbob at 9:43 PM on February 17, 2010 [2 favorites]


I actually hadn't seen any of that stuff upthread. That was spontaneous. Seeing Please Don't Go I had a big smile on my face the whole way through. Nobody else does that for me. Not even close.

Can I get a amen
posted by Trochanter at 9:48 PM on February 17, 2010


If nothing else, this proves that Elvis Costello invented nerdrage.
posted by Camofrog at 10:02 PM on February 17, 2010 [1 favorite]


In other news, the Vatican has released it's guide to the top Rock albums of all time.

What in the Sam Hill is Dark Side of the Moon doing on that list?

Far away, across the field,
Tolling on the iron bell
Calls the faithful to their knees
To hear the softly spoken magic spell

posted by invitapriore at 10:57 PM on February 17, 2010


Ah. American Rock 'n' Roll Television. That explains a lot.
posted by grounded at 11:06 PM on February 17, 2010 [2 favorites]


I'm having a really hard time picturing the chain of events that ends with Iggy Pop getting booked on the Dinah Shore show.
posted by Lazlo at 11:18 PM on February 17, 2010 [1 favorite]


That Jerry Lee Lewis clip makes a pretty strong case for the argument that 1957 was the year punk broke.

Also, the tonal contrast between "Whole Lotta Shakin' Goin' On" and the Johnson Stride Wax ad preceding it is like a hyper-condensed version of the core culture clash on Mad Men.

Goddamn, Jerry Lee. Goddamn.
posted by gompa at 11:19 PM on February 17, 2010 [1 favorite]


Got mesmerized reading the old edition of Spin in the first link when I found this gem
posted by hellojed at 11:50 PM on February 17, 2010 [1 favorite]


Wow. That reads really awkwardly. I should go to bed.
posted by hellojed at 11:54 PM on February 17, 2010


Thanks so much for this. Fantastic way to kill some time!
posted by PinkMoose at 12:27 AM on February 18, 2010


If we're gonna count british TV, i nominate this.
posted by empath at 12:29 AM on February 18, 2010 [1 favorite]


Somewhere on a harddrive, I've got the PiL American Bandstand bit. Aside from the music, which was pretty decent, and provoking Dick Clark into rage (a stunning achievement), the video is a profound anthropological artifact. If nothing else, I'd love for someone to explain to me the significance and or reason for the couple wearing matching Cardinals uniforms.

Mind you, they are just wearing jerseys, they've got the hats to go with the authentic stirrup pants. What. The. Hell.

There are others in the clip wearing clothes that boggle, but none that stagger the mind so savagely.
posted by Ghidorah at 12:39 AM on February 18, 2010


Ah. American Rock 'n' Roll Television. That explains a lot.

Yeah, like no Beatles on Scene at Six Thirty, no Sex Pistols with Bill Grundy, nothing at all from So It Goes, etc.
posted by PeterMcDermott at 12:43 AM on February 18, 2010


May I nominate Watch The K Foundation Burn A Million Quid?
posted by alasdair at 12:48 AM on February 18, 2010 [1 favorite]


James Brown forever... When he's good, you get the impression that he's successfully harnessed some vast, unknown source of energy that would be deadly to mere mortals.
posted by The Mouthchew at 3:02 AM on February 18, 2010 [1 favorite]


man, this quote from that Vatican rock music link -

The article by Giuseppe Fiorentino and Gaetano Vallini said that (Bob) Dylan was excluded from the list despite his “great poetic vein” because he paved the way for generations of unprofessional singer-songwriters who have “harshly tested the ears and patience of listeners” with their tormented stories.

- simultaneously annoys and entertains me in so many ways I don't know where to begin. Either way though, fuck those two guys.
posted by mannequito at 3:19 AM on February 18, 2010 [1 favorite]


Also, FEAR on Saturday Night Live, 1981.
posted by milquetoast at 3:32 AM on February 18, 2010


For some reason, At The Drive In's performance on Jools Holland in 2000 has always stuck with me - perhaps because they walk that fine line between jaw-droppingly awesome and posturing nancy-boys so well.
posted by Jofus at 3:54 AM on February 18, 2010


@Jimbob --I thought it was an Onion parody site. Nope. Wall Street Journal. This is the content that they want a paywall to protect?
posted by zerobyproxy at 4:10 AM on February 18, 2010


despite disliking almost everything by James Brown.

You do realize that about half the pop music of the last 20 years is built from james brown samples, yeah?
posted by empath at 4:24 AM on February 18, 2010 [1 favorite]


Can I just say how fucking retarded Prince's copyright policy is. He's gotta be pissing away so much money to track down shit like old Solid Gold appearances to serve take down notices.
posted by empath at 4:29 AM on February 18, 2010


I like this recent TV appearance by Morrissey lip-synching "I Have Forgiven Jesus"... dressed as a priest.
posted by punkfloyd at 5:07 AM on February 18, 2010



Can I just say how fucking retarded Prince's copyright policy is. He's gotta be pissing away so much money to track down shit like old Solid Gold appearances to serve take down notices.


Prince is a complete lunatic.
posted by Optamystic at 6:06 AM on February 18, 2010


Somehow they missed a performance that should/would have a solid place in the top five (or at least top ten): The Plasmatics on the Tomorrow Show w/ Tom Snyder.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UsD0NpL1xkg

Without a doubt a much more "rock & roll" performance then the rest of the list.
posted by senseofsurreal at 8:08 AM on February 18, 2010


"Rock 'n' Roll Television" should only include rock and roll playing in my book, so scratch Tiny Tim and Miss Vicki getting married, John and Yoko hosting the Tonight Show, and the Blues Brothers and Brian Wilson (even though it was funny).

Thanks to item #23 I recall that my family used to watch C.P.O. Sharkey when it was on 30 years ago; I don't recollect it being particularly rock 'n' roll. Chad & Jeremy should not be ranked higher than The Who in any context except suckitude.

I'd put The Beatles on Ed Sullivan at #1, and Elvis on Ed Sullivan at #2, and The Who doing "A Quick One While He's Away" on The Rolling Stones Rock and Roll Circus should be pretty high up there.
posted by kirkaracha at 9:12 AM on February 18, 2010


kirkaracha: They're ordered chronologically.
posted by argybarg at 9:16 AM on February 18, 2010


I like my way better! Plus, Michael Jackson, Motown 25.
posted by kirkaracha at 9:17 AM on February 18, 2010


Devo on Fridays in 1980 kicked my 13-year old ass. The most badass guitars I've ever seen.
posted by Cookiebastard at 10:10 AM on February 18, 2010


KD Lang singing Crying at the Songwriters Hall of Fame show, 1989.
posted by Bron at 4:51 PM on February 18, 2010


I actually donated this issue of Spin to Goodwill a few months ago along with an assload of other magazines. And now I can reread it online!
posted by cropshy at 5:45 PM on February 18, 2010


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