It’s wonderful that younger fans who missed the ’60s can still enjoy recordings and see the music come alive via vintage clips on YouTube. Better yet, we can see for ourselves particular TV appearances, the legends of which precede them. “Huh? Dean Martin said what when introducing the Stones on Hollywood Palace? I gotta see that!” And you can. Sometimes.
Back then, television stations didn’t preserve programming as completely as they do today, and without home VCRs to help fill gaps, much vintage TV is lost, including notable musical guest spots by artists we love. Here are six 1960s music TV appearances of legend, all sadly misplaced or gone forever.
1) The Beatles on Sunday Night at the London Palladium (October 13, 1963)
Not the Beatles’ first time on English television, but their first on a show watched by all ages as part of essential weekly family viewing. Fresh off the monster known as “She Loves You,” the Fabs played that, its flip “I’ll Get You,” “From Me To You,” and their show-stopping tackling of “Twist and Shout,” adding charm and humor in between. An entire nation took note of this secret their kids were keeping from them. As Beatles historians have it, this night unofficially launched the phenomenon dubbed Beatlemania.
Must have been quite a visual treat, right? We’ll never know (unless you watched it that night) because no video survives, only audio (heard above) and photographs.
2) Pink Floyd on The Pat Boone Show (November 1967)
The details of what exactly Pink Floyd did and when they did it on their fateful American trip in the autumn of 1967 varies from source to source. We know they taped some television appearances, though how many shows, which shows, what songs for each, and whether they taped more than one appearance on a particular show is debatable.
Thanks to a surviving clip, we know what happened when they appeared on American Bandstand: they mimed to “Apples and Oranges,” with Syd Barrett unenthusiastically mouthing the words, and chatted with Dick Clark. No band member looks overly thrilled, but they’re not causing any trouble.
Before the video surfaced, legend had it Barrett kept his mouth sealed during both song and interview. With video proving that false, those claims have since been lateraled to another TV appearance they taped that week for The Pat Boone Show.
No known video survives, so only those watching in 1967 stand a chance of knowing for sure what happened. Some say the band mimed to “Apples and Oranges,” while others say it was “See Emily Play.” Some say they taped both, one apiece for two different episodes. All do agree that Barrett was being a bad boy. Bassist Roger Waters says several takes were blown by Barrett not opening his mouth to mime his vocal, resulting in a quick decision to have Waters fake vocals instead.
It’s also rumored that Pat Boone interviewed the band while Barrett remained mute, looking dazed. Fact or just the result of conjecture about what happened on American Bandstand proved false and needing a new home? Answer unknown, as is whether Pink Floyd additionally appeared on The Perry Como Show, as some sources say, or if someone just mixed up their MOR singers whose names start with P and had TV shows in 1967.
It doesn’t help that, in the 1990s, Waters spoke about the Pat Boone appearance on a History of Rock and Roll special during clips from American Bandstand , duping many viewers into thinking they’d witnessed the Pat Boone clip.
It would be so nice if the real clip surfaced to straighten things out and to provide the amusement of seeing Pat Boone interacting with Pink Floyd.
3) The Monkees on The Tonight Show (June 17, 1969)
The Monkees’ television series ended in 1968, leading to declining record sales. They made Head, a strange (but brilliant) movie that tanked upon its late-1968 release. Before 1969 rang in, Peter Tork rang out, leaving the band after the completion of a strange (and not brilliant) television special that baffled those who endured its spring 1969 airing.
So, in 1969, the trio sought to hopefully reverse their fading fortunes. Their strategy included continuing recording and doing numerous live performances throughout the year, as well as making several television appearances to stay visible.
While the notion of “the show must go on” is admirable, in some towns, it didn’t, due to insufficient ticket sales. As for their TV appearances, which included Laugh-In, The Johnny Cash Show, The Joey Bishop Show, Happening ’69, The Glen Campbell Goodtime Hour, and even Hollywood Squares, in at least one case, perhaps the show shouldn’t have gone on.
In June, the threesome ended up in New York. Their scheduled concert at Forest Hills Tennis Stadium was among those ultimately scratched, but another New York requirement remained: The Tonight Show. An appearance on one of the most popular television shows was a much-needed opportunity for our hard-luck heroes… or would have been, had one particular Monkee behaved.
The Monkees performed enjoyable live versions of “Daydream Believer” and “Goin’ Down.” Between songs, they sat with Johnny Carson and Ed McMahon for standard guest chat, touching on subjects including their recent hits collection, the band’s origins, Mike Nesmith’s Nudie suit, and the Rockefeller Center commissary.
Micky Dolenz, though, dominated the conversation throughout, leading things into some strange territory. First, Micky spoke of his cough medicine, inspiring Johnny, as time went by, to make comments about what he personally believed constituted Micky’s “medicine.” Micky then produced a paper bag and, for the rest of the chat, kept pulling out random things and describing them, including:
- a picture of his wife, Samantha, and baby daughter, Ami
- a recent TV Guide article on (fittingly) hogging the cameras on talk shows
- a copy of the The Great International Paper Airplane Book (a gift for Ed)
- a hologram for Johnny, which Micky described the intricate workings and purpose of in overly extensive detail
- an article about CIA polygraph expert Cleve Baxter
A commercial break came up, and with it, the Micky-logue ended.
A homemade low-fi audio tape of all this circulates, but we’re missing Johnny’s, Mike’s, and Davy’s facial expressions, which must have been priceless. We also have no video of the Monkees playing music live with Sam & the Goodtimers as they did on this show, so we miss out on a peek of that as well.
4) John Lennon and Paul McCartney on The Tonight Show (May 14, 1968)
Unlike Micky Dolenz, the two Beatles did not embarrass themselves front of Johnny Carson when they appeared on The Tonight Show. They couldn’t, for manning the desk that week was baseball legend Joe Garagiola. Lennon and McCartney didn’t necessarily embarrass themselves in front of him either, but things were rough going nonetheless.
John and Paul, promoting their newly formed Apple Corps, flew to the Big Apple in May 1968 to do some television interviews and press conferences. One stop was an appearance on The Tonight Show. Perhaps the unexpected change in hosts led to the two Beatles sounding a little unenthused. Maybe it was because of already explaining Apple repeatedly to interviewers for the last few days.
Regardless, the two weren’t overly perky fielding 20 minutes of questions of varying degrees of quality, some sounding like 1964 press conference or teen magazine leftovers, and recurring interruptions from a seemingly drunk Tallulah Bankhead. When Apple finally came up, they did hit all the high points, but talk drifted away from Apple soon after. More questions were asked about the Maharishi and the Beatles’ recent trip to India.
A homemade audio tape preserved most of the soundtrack of this appearance, while brief, but fragmented, off-the-TV home movie camera clips exist as well (see above). The proper videotape is long gone.
While not quite the complete disaster legend has made it out to be, video of the whole appearance still would be a treasure. Unfortunately, NBC back then notoriously reused their video tape pretty soon after. Most likely the video — like the Apple Boutique and Tallulah Bankhead — was gone before 1968 ended.
5) The Standells on House Party (May 27, 1967)
In early 1967, Texas radio station owner/programmer Gordon McClendon urged American stations to yank certain records he deemed obscene from their playlists, among them “Try It,” the latest release by the Standells. Said McClendon, “It was obvious what “it” was.”
Many stations heeded McClendon’s words. The Standells naturally weren’t pleased. Organist Larry Tamblyn recalls that television personality Art Linkletter, host of House Party, invited both McClendon and the Standells to debate the matter on his show, as part of Linkletter’s regular debate feature, “Let’s Talk.”
The taping location chosen, Los Angeles’s Hullabaloo club, gave the Standells home-field advantage, especially with an audience of teens and/or Standells fans. Memory has preserved some choice quips. To McClendon’s accusation of “Try It” being overtly about sex, Tamblyn reminded him of Cole Porter’s “Let’s Do It,” prompting a cheering crowd and a fuming McClendon.
The Standells wanted to mention the allegations of rule breaking McClendon and his stations had been accused of but resisted as these were unconfirmed. However, some audience members weren’t so resistant, and the same cheers and look of fury from McClendon resulted. The debate was an easy victory for the band.
Unfortunately, the broadcast fell prey to considerable editing that made things appear more even-handed. Larry’s “Let’s Do It” comment remained. The audience calling McClendon on his charges and the cheers and shots of beet-red McClendon after both did not.
Also, unfortunately, the shebang did not change”Try It”‘s fate. Most stations that banned it kept it so, and the broadcast didn’t inspire impressive enough sales.
Deceptive editing notwithstanding, this still sounds like it would make for fascinating viewing.
6) The Byrds on The Tonight Show (July 13, 1967)
In the Summer of Love, nowhere was there warmth to be found in Camp Byrds, between a shambolic performance at Monterey Pop where ragged playing alternated with David Crosby’s babblings, annoying Roger McGuinn in the process, and continual arguments offstage and in the studio, usually Crosby-precipitated.
Crosby still delivered the songwriting goods, but the band’s fabulous mid-1967 single, David’s “Lady Friend,” didn’t make many friends among record buyers. Crosby’s Byrd wings would soon be clipped.
Not long before, the band played The Tonight Show. This afforded Crosby one more chance as a Byrd to shoot off his beak, although this time brilliantly.
Guest host Bob Newhart introduced them while they were still adjusting guitar strings. Newhart condescendingly deadpanned, “I think I hear them tuning up now.” He introduced the band, still not finished tuning when the cameras cut to them. After a few seconds, David rebounded with, “We tune because we care.” The audience laughed, and the band began “Lady Friend.”
“We tune because we care” became a bigger hit than the song it preceded and became a much-repeated line among bands, rivaling, “this is a Chinese song called ‘Tu-Ning.'” Artists like the Monkees, the Jimi Hendrix Experience, and Pete Seeger quoted it onstage from time to time.
No video is known to exist. Unspectacular offline audio from David’s quip onward does.