Thanks to shows like the brainchild of the just lost TV pioneer, Don Cornelius, we can offer you this article, CLASSIC TV PERFORMANCES.  Yes, Soul Train, Midnight Special, and a handful of local U.S. and British dance shows left us some wonderful nuggets… incredible live and lip sync TV appearances that are simply priceless reminders of how great music was in past decades.  No comparison to today’s singers and musicians, I’m just saying we Baby Boomers have had ourselves a time with CLASSIC TV PERFORMANCES like the ones we’ll share with you in this article; thanks to our modern day facilitator, YOUTUBE.    

The original album version was 11 minutes and 49 seconds long; mostly instrumentation of course.  But in 1977, the Floaters struck a chord that resonated around the world with the description of the kind of woman Ralph Mitchell, Charles Clark, Paul Mitchell and Larry Cunningham desired.  “Float On” may be the Floaters’ one and only hit but in 1977, it came out the gate as an Instant Classic.

posted by georgekohl

This performance by Gladys Knight & the Pips is one of my favorites of all time.  This performance showcases Gladys’ incredible voice and the Pips’ masterful steps.  Nobody entertains like Gladys and nobody could routine like the Pips… nobody!  All three had a varying degree of movement but they were always lockstep with each other and precise as nobody’s business.  Enjoy… and I do mean ENJOY… this 1972 clip of Gladys Knight & the Pips performing, “I Heard It Through The Grapevine.”

posted by AbejaMariposaIII

No one had a more distinct and soulful voice than Levi Stubbs.  This great vocalist was in a class all by himself.  The Four Tops are among the greatest to ever utter into a microphone.  Sure, they’re part of the Motown legacy but, for my money, they are so much more.  These four talented guys, Levi, Larry Payton, Duke Fakir and Renaldo “Obie” Benson, are legendary because they were flat out GOOD!  They could sing!  And Levi’s soulfully interpretive voice can tingle anybody’s spine on any song he unleashed.  What a Super Group!  If you miss Levi’s great voice like I do, not to worry; Levi’s granddaughter, Kourtney is one-third of a dynamic trio of singers called DMK (Detroit’s Musical Kuties).  Damoli, Melanee and Kourtney make up this group of sangin’ young sistas; I mean they really “make it do what it do.”  I had the great pleasure of directing them in the Angela Barrow-Dunlap musical play, “Church Girl.”  Trust me, they are B-a-a-a-ad and should be heard from in the not-to-distant future.  Now, check out Kourtney’s granddad’s group, the Four Tops in 1966, singing their classic, “Baby I Need Your Lovin’.”

posted by Irma0815007

We found a clip of the Radiants making a CLASSIC TV APPEARANCE on the TV show, The Beat, in the mid 60’s.  Maurice McAlister, Wallace Sampson and Leonard Caston, Jr. recorded this hit on Chess Records.  When I first heard it back then, I thought it was Curtis Mayfield and the Impressions.  The song, though written by Maurice McAlister and Gerald Sims, was very similar to the Impressions’ sound.  None the less, it was still the Jam.  Here are Chicago’s own Radiants performing, “Voice Your Choice.”  Is it the Monkey or the Jerk they’re doing?  I could never tell those two dances apart.  Enjoy!

posted by LostPirate1977

Burt Bacharach and Hal David wrote this next song but Marilyn McCoo brought it home.  The Fifth Dimension are perfect on this CLASSIC TV PERFORMANCEMarilyn, husband Billy Davis, Jr., Florence LaRue, Ron Townson and Lamonte McLemore made up the Fifth Dimension.  Along with “Stoned Soul Picnic,” this is my favorite Fifth Dimension song.  Here’s their Soul Train appearance performing, “One Less Bell To Answer.”

posted by sunnysidup82

This group of 40 members (including 10 musicians) started as a college Gospel choir in 1969.  In ’71 Gary Hines became the director, changed the name to The Sounds of Blackness and they forged ahead with a widened musical repertoire.  Twenty years later, in 1991, they released an album produced by Gary Hines, Terry Lewis and Jimmy Jam.  This album, The Evolution of Gospel, catapulted the Sounds of Blackness to the world stage and “Optimistic,” featuring the voice of Ann Nesby, put them in the music history books.

posted by AnnNesby

Where would we be without some of the great CLASSIC TV PERFORMANCES recorded on Soul Train over the years?  Here’s one from the Queen of Soul, Aretha Franklin, singing “Oh Me Oh My.”   Check out my girl, Brenda Corbett in the pink on the left.  I met her when we were both cast to act in Detroit City Dance Company’s musical Christmas play, “Black Nativity,” at Detroit’s Music Hall back in ’84.  Go Brenda!

posted by britbluesfan

Baby Fingers.  That’s her nickname.  Patrice Rushen is an extraordinarily gifted Jazz keyboard player who struck a chord with the R&B public by singing on her records.  She was a child prodigy on the keyboards and received a degree in Music from the University of Southern California.  After her hit records, she has found much success behind-the-scenes as a Musical Director for Janet Jackson’s tour and a slew of TV Specials and Award Shows like the Grammy’s, Emmy’s, NAACP Image Awards, Music Choice Awards, HBO’s Comic Relief and the TV talk show The Midnight Hour.  Let’s take a peek at the often televised Music Video for Patrice Rushen’s CLASSIC, “Forget Me Nots.”  Co-Writer and Bass Player, Freddie Washington, sho’ nuff went to work on this track.  Will Smith sampled this music for his hit song, “Men In Black.”

posted by RockinCloud

Back in the day, we were fortunate to have a show like the Midnight Special, where popular culture music acts performed live on our TV screens.  Wolfman Jack introduced some of the baddest performers of the day on this show.  In 1976, he introduced the group who mixed Disco & Jazz to perfection.  The Atlanta based band, Brick, lit up the stage that night with their slammer, “Dazz.”

posted by 111blanandrive

This was my Jammy Jam!  Steely Dan always amazed me with their remarkable musicianship, sophisticated lyrics and beautiful blend of Jazz and Rock music.  Keyboardist, Donald Fagen and Guitarist, Walter Becker, are the real members of Steely Dan; all others are essentially hired musicians.  I think the thing that amazed me even further was Donald and Walter’s reluctance to perform on tour, where recording artists make the lion’s share of their income.  They chose to, most of their careers, just be studio musicians who put out records.  I always figured they must have had some rich uncles in the furniture business.  Well, I’m sure they made a substantial living off their songwriting royalties.  We’ll wrap up our CLASSIC TV PERFORMANCES with Steely Dan from their 1973 visit to the Midnight Special TV show throwin’ down on, “Reelin’ In The Years.”  Peace!

posted by coquguaca

We’re gonna end this month’s CLASSIC TV PERFORMANCES with a little hip trip on the Soul Train.  We recently lost the Innovator and Soul Train creator, Don Cornelius.  What a tragic loss.  I’m still in disbelief about the passing of Luther Vandross and Michael Jackson… and yet, so many more have gone on since them… it’s truly sad.  We are losing so many great and talented people these days.  To pay tribute to Don Cornelius, I’m gonna leave you with a clip from that CLASSIC TV Dance Show.  This vid is of Stevie Wonder paying homage to the Don in his own special way.  With this I’ll bid you adieu, wishing you LOVE, PEACE & SOUL!

posted by dustymedical