I was looking through some DVDs the other day, and ran across The T.A.M.I. Show. The film was shot and released within 2 weeks in 1964. I watched it last night and realized that I like it even more now than I did when I saw it in the movie theater back then.
It starts with Jan and Dean skateboarding around L.A. "Sidewalk surfing," I think it was called at the time, with the cute little teeny tiny boards they had then. The MUSIC, however, starts with Chuck Berry and ends a couple of hours later with The Rolling Stones. In between, it's mostly British Invasion and Motown. There was one band, The Barbarians, I had never heard of. They sound like a garage band, and I could have done without. Also not wild about Billy J. Kramer and the Dakotas. Definite creep factor watching this dollar store Elvis impersonator singing a song offering candy and money to small children so he can have some privacy with their older sister.
But the rest of it! Holy cow! That was some awesome 60s rock, put together in a respectful format. Seeing it after all this time, I could see some things I didn't know about back then. I now hear roots of Janis Joplin in the vocals of James Brown. And Lesley Gore, all done up like a Baptist Church Lady in a bouclé suit and enough hairspray to burn down the building, sang six songs. Including my favourite, "You Don't Own Me."
The Supremes, Marvin Gaye, Smokey Robinson and The Miracles--these were the bands we danced to at sock hops. In future years, we would see them on TV (thank you, Ed Sullivan), but this was nose to nose in a movie theater.
The first artist I saw live was James Brown, a couple of years after. I think it's safe to say that TheT.A.M.I. Show was (heh) instrumental both in that decision and in the direction my taste in music took from that point on.
Before I read the booklet that came with the DVD, I had thought there were three music films that were significant to me, and lo, there they were! The other two are The Monterey Pop Festival and Woodstock.
The Stones took one look at James Brown's performance and realized that he would be a tough act to follow. Apparently, James Brown refused to rehearse, so they didn't get to see him till the actual concert. Having to follow such a consummate showman gave Jagger the impetus for his rather awkward dance, which eventually evolved into his classic stage show. By the end of their set, you can see exhaustion all over his face.
Anyway, it was fun to watch, and I'm going to find the other two and have a look from the perspective of age...
(That sounds like a good title for another blog, doesn't it? From the Perspective of Age. Or does that sound a bit too pretentious?)