Thanks to television shows like Soul Train, Midnight Special, Shindig, American Bandstand, the Tonight Show, Dick Cavett Show, Merv Griffin, Mike Douglas Show and a handful of regional entertainment programs, we are privy to CLASSIC TV PERFORMANCES.  Luckily, good folk post these CLASSIC gems on our modern-day entertainment outlet, YOUTUBE.  And because all these forces work together for the greater good, meaning our entertainment benefit, we can share them with you here in NO SKIPS NO SCRATCHES.  This month’s issue of CLASSIC TV PERFORMANCES is chocked full of an eclectic variety of wonderment.  I’m sure many, if not most, of these TV performances you never saw before.  That makes it all the sweeter to be the presenter of this crop of phenomenal songs and entertainers for your enjoyment.

The tragic loss of Whitney Houston has sparked the playing of her music in abundance on radio and TV but it’s partly because of the sad realization that we’ll never get another new song from Whitney.  Sure, they may dig up recorded songs that were previously unreleased but I mean a brand new studio release that she absolutely approves of.  Our tribute to her mighty gift of song is this, one of her most emotional songs.  Please enjoy this live performance of, “All The Man I Need.”

posted by palmertone

Billy Ocean… Wow… what ever happened to him?  Well, I was auditioning for a role in the recently cancelled TV drama, Detroit 187 at Motor City Casino.  On the wall was a poster of a gray-haired and dreadlocked Billy Ocean who was coming to perform at the Sound Board.  You mean Billy is still singing?  I was pleasantly surprised because his voice was always as pure as Jamaica’s Atlantic Ocean waters.  Believe it or not, his voice sounds just as good now as it did back in his heyday.  That sparked me to seek out Billy Ocean songs that I hadn’t heard in a long, long time.  I think this one is my all-time favorite by the Jamaican Crooner… check out, “There’ll Be Sad Songs.”

posted by PenarthJem

It’s Shindig, 1965 with Darlene Love and the Blossoms singing background (or doing a real good lip sync job).  Front and center is the beautiful Fontella Bass performing her biggest hit.  Years ago, I saw a TV special about music from the Windy City.  I can’t remember if Fontella was the speaker or a record company exec but it was stated that the song, “Rescue Me,” was a successful attempt to emulate the Motown Sound.  Well, Chicago has an equally impressive music history and stable of CLASSICS.  The song found a lot of success in the commercial jingle world for Pizza Hut, American Express and L’Oreal TV ads.  Performing on the original recording for Chess Records is Maurice White of Earth Wind & Fire on drums and Minnie Riperton singing with the background vocalists.  Dig up on Fontella Bass’ CLASSIC TV PERFORMANCE singing, “Rescue Me.”

posted by nyrainbow5

Trammps lead singer, Jimmy Ellis just passed away March 8, 2012 and an incredible voice was silenced forever.  He had been suffering from Alzheimer’s Disease and was living in a nursing home in Rock Hill, South Carolina.  Jimmy was 74 years old.  Some of the Trammps’ charted songs were, “Where Do We Go From Here,” “That’s Where The Happy People Go,” “Seasons For Girls,” “Hold Back The Night” and of course, “Disco Inferno.”  May God rest your weary soul.  Let’s check out this live performance of the song that Jimmy Ellis threw down on, “Disco Inferno.”

posted by coquiguaca

Those artists who made their mark in the 50’s and 60’s are rarely heard on radio these days.  Well, that is going back 50 and 60 years… and yet… artists like Little Anthony & the Imperials sincerely sound as good today as ever before.  They garnered hits like “Shimmy, Shimmy Ko Ko Bop” in 1960 and “Goin’ Out of My Head,” in 1964.  Sammy Strain, former member of the O’Jays, was a member of the Imperials back in their prime.  He left the Imperials to join the O’Jays and later left the O’Jays to return to the ImperialsSammy retired from the Imperials in 2004.  Jerome Anthony Gourdine, better known as “Little Anthony,” is now 71 years old and the group is still performing.  Well, why not… Little Anthony is still one BAD singer who can still hit all his notes and deliver a song with all the emotion he did in the 60’s.  Here’s proof of how good this group is… just in case you hadn’t heard them in a very, very long time.  Here’s their CLASSIC hit song from 1965, “Hurt So Bad.”

posted by SixtiesPopGold

At one time they played with Billy Preston and did session work and live gigging with various artists like the Supremes and Bobby Womack.  I first noticed George Johnson as a session guitarist on George Duke’s ’75 album, “I Love The Blues, She Heard My Cry.”  I was an avid “album credits” reader.  The very next year in ’76, here’s this same guy I just discovered putting out his own album.  George “Lightning Licks” Johnson and his brother, Bassist, Louis “Thunder Thumbs” Johnson became the Dynamic Duo of Funk.  Louis, along with Larry Graham, really popularized the thumping of the Bass instrument… this drove us Funk Fans into pure pandemonium.  In spite of their success together, the BROTHERS Johnson broke up in 1982.  Can you believe that?  They’ve had reunions along the way but still remain separate entities.  Well, let’s partake in their first big hit back in the good ol’ Kum Bah Ya days… this is their ’76 appearance on the Midnight Special performing, “I’ll Be Good To You.” 

posted by allmusic1981

Natalie Cole is easily one of the greatest singers ever.  Just remember how refreshing it was when you first heard her recordings.  She had an incredible string of hits… one after another for years.  Natalie turned it out with R&B, Pop and Jazz songs.  Later in her career, she even got down on old standards like her dad, Nat King Cole, sang.  Let’s go back to her beginnings.  In 1975, she appeared on the Midnight Special singing a live altered rendition of her now CLASSIC hit, “This Will Be.”

posted by coquiguaca

I must admit I was barely on the planet when Dinah Washington ruled.  Consequently, I have no direct memory of her music… or any music back then.  Howsoever, she was the Queen in her day and probably still influences serious singers today.  I found a clip of her singing live on TV in 1959.  The Big Band was blaring and she was riding atop the music crest like nobody’s business.  If you’re like me or even wa-a-a-ay younger, I recommend surfing YOUTUBE for all the Dinah you can pull up and enjoy this singer who has very few rivals… even today.  Check out the absolute clarity of one of the world’s greatest voices; this is Dinah Washington singing, “Lover Come Back To Me.”

posted by bleeoin

Who could set out a guitar riff like Nile Rodgers and Ray Parker, Jr.Nile Rodgers’ whole body of work is full of guitar riffs that drove the DISCO songs that Chic had us all dancing to.  And Bernard Edwards on Bass… Wow!!  Dude was the Truth!  To make me dig DISCO songs in the 70’s, you had to be superior musicians because my knock on DISCO was it was overly simplified music far too often.  Most of it bored me to tears.  But Chic stood out because they were truly a band that could play their instruments and they made some of the Funkiest DISCO ever.  They were the total package.  Check out Chic performing one of their funkiest… “Le Freak.”

posted by cesarap1962

Sheila E, from the famous Escovedo family of percussionists, was already well known in Jazz and Latin music circles when Prince discovered her.  I was familiar with Sheila from performances with her dad, Pete Escovedo and uncle, the late Coke Escovedo.  They also performed with Santana before branching out into their own recording careers.  So imagine my excitement when I saw Sheila going under the tutelage of Prince with the ’84 hit, “Erotic City” and subsequent JAMS, “A Love Bizarre” and “Glamorous Life.”  She was already and continues to be quite the showperson.  She does way more than play percussions; she envelopes you with her performance.  I’m gonna leave you with this extremely entertaining CLASSIC TV PERFORMANCE by Sheila E… please enjoy, “Glamorous Life.”  Peace!

posted by debandana