Tag Archives: Ed Sullivan

January 15 Music et al

January 15 Music et al

Motown Records


January 15, 1961: Motown Records signed The Supremes. Their first release will be “I Want A Guy.” (see Motown Records Begins)



see Los Angeles Whisky a Go Go for more

1960s January 15 Music


January 15, 1964: the Los Angeles Whiskey a Go Go opened. The club’s opening night featured Johnny Rivers as the headlining act. The club quickly became famous for its music (rock ‘n’ roll), dancing (the patrons on the floor and the go-go dancers inside elevated glass cages) and the Hollywood celebrities it attracted.


The Whisky played an important role in many musical careers, especially for bands based in southern California. The Byrds, Alice Cooper, Buffalo Springfield, Smokestack Lightning, and Love were regulars, and The Doors were the house band for a while – until the debut of the “Oedipal section” of “The End” got them fired. (see Whisky a Go Go for more) (see August 13, 1965)

Acid Test

1960s January 15 Music


January 15, 1966: Portland, Oregon Acid Test. From Searching for the Sound – Phil Lesh (pages 72-73) “There was one more out-of-town tryout for us, the Beaver Hall Test in Portland. The Test itself has receded into the mists of antiquity, except for the vague memory of playing in an upstairs warehouse with concrete pillars everywhere and bare lath and wiring on the walls. What mattered about the Portland Acid Test was the journey toward it.


It began as our first trip together on Further, Kesey’s fabled bus. Bobby and I had day-tripped on the bus to see the Beatles at the Cow Palace earlier that year, but for the majority of the band it was a first. Leaving Palo Alto as early as possible, by midafternoon or so, we were halfway up the Central Valley bound for Shasta and points north, and then: Catastrophe! The bus breaks down! Never let it be said that the show did not go on! What to do?


We rent a U-Haul truck; we strip the bus and cram all of us — the band, the Pranksters — and everything else into the truck. I jump into the shotgun seat up front, and we cruise off into the darkening storm of the worst blizzard in years: over the Siskiyou Mountains in the dead of night. Neal pressing ever onward, the rhythm of the falling snow sweeping through the headlights, sliding in and out of synch with the music piped into the cockpit by means of our patented two-way distort-o-phonic communication system, set up so that those in the back could also hear Neal’s multiple personalities conversing with one another. If ever the magic of the open road was distilled into a single experience, it was, for me, that night sitting next to Neal, hurtling into the dazzling play of light and shade on the whirling snow with his voice turning every sentence into a poem, all sensory input synched up (or sometimes not, and that’s good too) with the rhythm of the wipers and whatever music happened to randomly penetrate our awareness.


Upon our return from Portland, all the scuttlebutt was ablaze with the plans for the “Big One”; the Trips Festival, to take place in San Francisco’s Longshoreman’s Hall.”  (see Jan 17)  

1960s January 15 Music


And from Owsley “Bear” Stanley: Portland acid test was either on Dec 18 ’65, or Jan 15 ’66. There were two which I didn’t go to after my “initiation” at the Dec 11 Muir Beach event, one was in Palo Alto and the other one was in Portland. There were two before that also. Only one other one did I miss, the first one in LA in late Feb in Northridge. So I missed a total of five of the AT’s. The Dead were always the centerpiece of the Acid tests, the real reason for its existence, and it could not have taken place without them. The band at the time rated their participation above any other activity in importance.

The Rolling Stones

1960s January 15 Music


January 15, 1967: The Rolling Stones appeared on The Ed Sullivan Show. At Ed Sullivan’s request, the band changed the lyrics of “Let’s Spend the Night Together” to “Let’s spend some time together.” (more from ultimateclassicrock site)

Notorious Byrd Brothers


January 15, 1968: Byrds released Notorious Byrd Brothers album. 


Richie Unterberger from AllMusic dot com writes: The recording sessions for the Byrds’ fifth album, The Notorious Byrd Brothers, were conducted in the midst of internal turmoil that found them reduced to a duo by the time the record was completed. That wasn’t evident from listening to the results, which showed the group continuing to expand the parameters of their eclecticism while retaining their hallmark guitar jangle and harmonies. With assistance from producer Gary Usher, they took more chances in the studio, enhancing the spacy quality of tracks like “Natural Harmony” and Goffin & King’s “Wasn’t Born to Follow” with electronic phasing. Washes of Moog synthesizer formed the eerie backdrop for “Space Odyssey,” and the songs were craftily and unobtrusively linked with segues and fades. But the Byrds did not bury the essential strengths of their tunes in effects: “Goin’ Back” (also written by Goffin & King) was a magnificent and melodic cover with the expected tasteful 12-string guitar runs that should have been a big hit. “Tribal Gathering” has some of the band’s most effervescent harmonies; “Draft Morning” is a subtle and effective reflection of the horrors of the Vietnam War; and “Old John Robertson” looks forward to the country-rock that would soon dominate their repertoire.


January 15 Music et al



January 15, 1969: with George Harrison still not with the band, all four Beatles met to discuss their future, Harrison was in a commanding position, following a series of dismal sessions at Twickenham Film Studios, and was able to set down his terms for returning to the group. During the five-hour meeting he made it clear that he would leave the group unless the idea of a live show before an audience was dropped. (see Jan 30)

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Ed Sullivan Meets Beatles

Ed Sullivan Meets Beatles

February 9, 1964

If February 3, 1959 was the “day the music died,” then five years later, it was reborn.


From the NY Times article, February 9, 1964: Beatlemania creeps in slowly. Collar­less jackets, usually worn Saturday nights on Forty‐second Street, are turning up in the strangest places, like the safe suburbs. Teen‐agers who once considered the G.I. crew‐cut the height of adolescent fashion are letting their locks curl down their necks and over ears and across foreheads. Twenty thousand beatle wigs have been sold.




Ed Sullivan Meets Beatles
The day the music died

Everyone has milestone dates. Generations share dates. For Don McLean February 3, 1959, the day a plane crash killed Buddy Holly, the Big Bopper, and Ritchie Valens, was “The Day the Music Died.” 12 years later, McLean wrote “American Pie.” In it , a 13 year old newsboy remembers that “February made me shiver/with every paper I’d deliver”


For Boomers, shared “where we were” dates are likely: when we found out President Kennedy was killed or later Martin Luther King, Jr, or that same year, Robert Kennedy. Each, like McLean’s, a sad day.


Ed Sullivan Meets Beatles
The day the music was reborn

February 9, 1964 is at the other end of that spectrum. Rather than the music dying, the music was born.


That was the evening we sat in front of our black and white TV (the only one in our home?) and watched The Beatles inaugural performance on the Ed Sullivan Show.


Unless you are a Beatles trivia fan, you may not know that that afternoon the Beatles had recorded Twist And Shout, Please Please Me, and I Want To Hold Your Hand, in front of a different audience than the one that saw their live debut that evening. Ed Sullivan broadcast that set on 23 February on their third appearance. By the 23rd, John, Paul, George and Rich were back home in the UK.


Ed Sullivan Meets Beatles
Ed Sullivan meets the Beatles (photo: Smithsonian’s National Portrait Gallery)

Ed Sullivan Meets Beatles

On the evening of February 9, 1964, the Beatles performed “All My Loving,” “Till There Was You,” which featured the names of the group members superimposed on closeup shots, including the famous “Sorry girls, he’s married” caption on John Lennon, and “She Loves You.” The act that followed Beatles in the broadcast was pre-recorded, rather than having someone perform live on stage amidst the pandemonium that occurred in the studio after the Beatles did their first songs. They returned later in the program to perform “I Saw Her Standing There” and “I Want to Hold Your Hand.” The broadcast drew an estimated 73 million viewers, at the time a record for US television.


Ed Sullivan Meets Beatles
How Ed Sullivan Met the Beatles

How Ed Sullivan’s and the Beatles’ paths crossed is open to some guessing. The most popular story is that Ed Sullivan and his wife happened to be in London’s Heathrow Airport on October 31, 1963 when they encountered thousands of screaming teenagers. (Ironic, I suppose, as he’d have to get used to such happenings in just a few months!)


When he asked what the commotion was all about, he was told that a band called the Beatles  were arriving.


He decided that such popularity was something he’d love to bring to his American show.


Whether that is actually the sequence or not matters not.  By mid-November, Beatles manager Brian Epstein had booked the Beatles.


And like the moon landing, we all remember where we were.


I’d love to see comments about where you were!


Ed Sullivan Meets Beatles

Ed Sullivan Meets the Beatles

Ed Sullivan Meets the Beatles

Ed Sullivan Meets the Beatles

Ed Sullivan Meets the Beatles

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Bo Diddley vs Ed Sullivan

Bo Diddley vs Ed Sullivan

November 20, 1965
Bo Diddley vs Ed Sullivan
Bo Diddley vs Ed Sullivan

Diddley vs Sullivan

On November 20, 1955 in New York City there wasn’t a boxing match, but there was a Bo Diddley vs Ed Sullivan. On this date Diddley appeared on The Ed Sullivan Show. He was supposed to sing, “Sixteen Tons,” the song written and first recorded by Merle Travis in 1946. Travis himself had had a gold record with it. Most of us are familiar with Tennessee Ernie Ford’s version, also a big hit. In fact on March 25, 2015 the Library of Congress announced that it would induct Ford’s version of the song into it’s National Recording Registry.

Diddley’s version, not surprisingly, doesn’t sound much like Mr Ford’s.

Bo Diddley vs Ed Sullivan

No 16 Tons

But instead of “Sixteen Tons” he sang his own eponymous “Bo Diddley.” Ed Sullivan was infuriated and banned Bo Diddley from his show. He also said that Bo Diddley wouldn’t last six months.

The ban lasted. So did Diddley.

Of course, this incident wasn’t the only time Mr Sullivan had to choose between ratings and his sense of morality. See Elvis. See the Doors. See The Rolling Stones.

The story behind the dispute is vague. Apparently the request for “Sixteen Tons” came about because the show’s staff heard Diddley casually singing “Sixteen Tons” in the dressing room.

Bo Diddley apparently said that when he saw “Bo Diddley” on the cue-card, he thought he was to perform two songs: “Bo Diddley” and “Sixteen Tons.” Here’s his 1:55 seconds of 1955 infamy.

Bo Diddley vs Ed Sullivan

Basilio v DeMarco

I don’t remember this event, though it’s likely I watched the show with my family as we did each Sunday. Nor do I remember that 10  days later on November 30 in an actual boxing match that Carmen Basilio retained his world Welterweight title by knocking out former world champion Tony DeMarco in the twelfth round, at Boston.

Carmen Basilio
Carmen Basilio
Bo Diddley vs Ed Sullivan
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