Ed Sullivan Bans The Rolling Stones

Today in 1967, Ed Sullivan bans The Rolling Stones for an eye-roll.

In his prime, newspaper columnist and host Ed Sullivan could make or break an act. He asked Mick Jagger to change the lyrics of Let’s Spend The Night Together, to “Let’s Spend Some Time Together” (Video). Jagger complied, but rolled his eyes when he sang the censored stanza. Ed didn’t like that and “banned” the band from his program.

It wasn’t the only time Sullivan banned an act. The Doors got the boot after they refused to soften he “We couldn’t get much higher” line in Light My fire (Video). Bo Diddley simply ignored Ed’s demand that he change the song he performed from Bo Diddley to Sixteen Tons (Video). That earned the blues artist a lifetime ban. Comedian Jackie Mason endured a two year ban after Ed misconstrued a gesture Jackie made as obscene. In 1963, Bob Dylan canceled his appearance at the last minute after Sullivan asked him to change a line in Talkin’ John Birch Paranoid Blues.

Interestingly, every one of these “controversial” performances can be found on YouTube.

But some acts were just too big and Ed had to adjust. Most famously, he directed cameras to shoot Elvis Presley above the waist as his hip gyrations were thought to be a little to suggestive for prime time (Video).

Ultimately, Ed Sullivan’s audience evolved beyond his sensibilities. His 43 year run on CBS ended on June 6, 1971.

Today in History:

In 1948, “The Treasure of the Sierra Madre“, film based on B. Traven’s novel, directed by John Huston and starring Humphrey Bogart premiere. It’s famous for adding, “Badges? We don’t need no stinking badges!” to the lexicon. A very young Robert Blake appears uncredited as a young boy selling lottery tickets

In 1957, The Cavern Club opened in Liverpool. It became the home base for many Liverpool bands including The Beatles who appeared there 292 times. Over the years a wide variety of popular acts appeared at the club, including The Rolling Stones, The Yardbirds, The Hollies, The Kinks, Elton John, Black Sabbath, Queen, The Who and John Lee Hooker.

We talked yesterday about Diana Ross‘ swan song with the Supremes in Las Vegas on January 14, 1970. Nine years earlier, on this date in 1961 the trio signed with Motown Records.

Today in 1965, The Who‘s first single, “I Can’t Explain” was released in England. (Video)

Today in 1971 George Harrison releases “My Sweet Lord” in the UK. It would become a worldwide hit and get the former Beatle into legal trouble due to the tunes similarity to the Ronnie Mack song “He’s So Fine“, a 1963 hit for the New York girl group the Chiffons. (Wikipedia) (Video)

In 1973, Bruce Springsteen appeared at Philadelphia’s Villanova University, to an audience of 25 people. Due to a strike at the time by Villanova’s school newspaper The Villanovan, the concert went unadvertised. It was probably the smallest crowd Bruce and The E Street Band have ever played in front of.

Today in 1974, Ritche, Potsie, Malph and the Fonz entered our vocabulary as “Happy Days” began an 11 year run on ABC. The pilot was shot in 1972 but it wasn’t until George Lucas cast  Ron Howard as the lead in his 1973 hit film “American Graffitithat the network got interested in the show.

In 1981 “Hill Street Blues” premieres on NBC. Mary Tyler Moore‘s MTM Enterprises developed the series on behalf of NBC, with Steven Bochco producing. In its first season, the show won eight Emmy Awards, a record surpassed only by The West Wing.

On January 15, 2009, Captain Chesley “Sully” Sullenberger was forced to crash-land his aircraft in the Hudson River. All the passengers lived to tell the tale. The remarkable event now known as “The Miracle on the Hudson.” Here’s WNYC’s recounting of the story that was turned into a Hollywood hit staring Tom Hanks.

Today’s Birthdays:

Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., 1929 (d. 1968); Bobby Bloom (Montego Bay), 1946 (d. 1974); Ronnie Van Zant, 1948 (d. 1977); Charo, 1951; Mario Van Peebles, 1957

Much More Music:

One of the things that used to drive me nuts as a DJ was the poor stereo mixes of some of the classic 60s tunes I loved. Case in point. This Mamas & Papas tune is much better in mono. Here’s “I Saw Her Again” from 1966. (Video)

In 1967, The Buckinghams record “Don’t You Care.” (Video)
In 1971, Chase records “Get It On.” (Video)
In 1974, Brownsville Station‘s “Smokin’ In The Boys’ Room” is certified Gold. (Video)
in 1977, Leo Sayer‘s “You Make Me Feel Like Dancing” hits #1. (Video)

Today’s Birthdays: Aristotle Onasis, 1906 (d.1975), Drummer Gene Krupa, 1909, (d.1973), Lloyd Bridges, 1913 (d.1998), Chuck Berry, 1926, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., 1929 (d. 1968); Bobby Bloom (Montego Bay), 1946 (d. 1974); Ronnie Van Zant, 1948 (d. 1977); Charo, 1951; Mario Van Peebles, 1957

Today’s Quote Worth Re-Quoting: “Not all storms come to disrupt your life. Some come to clear your path.”

We leave you with the number one song from this week in 1967, “Itchycoo Park” the only US hit for The Small Faces. The song got its name from the stinging nettles that grew in Suburban London’s Little Ilford Park.

Thanks for listening!

Scott Westerman
Host and Producer – Rock and Roll Revisited
Author: Motor City Music – Keener 13 and the Soundtrack of Detroit