We turn now to a consideration of the role of television, movies and dance crazes in this period at the beginning of the 1960s. when we start to think about TV and the movies, what I want to do is start to start to lay down the groundwork for talking about MTV in part two of the course. I want to begin to start tracking the influence of video with music. How some kind of video source, whether it's TV or whether it's movies is used to support. The sale or the appeal or the dissemination of musical styles and of course when MTV comes in, in the early 1980s and then becomes very big it all starts to become about the video. But by the time MTV comes in, it's not like that's a new idea, it's been happening for awhile. So we're going to see some of the first, hear it at sort of at the very beginning of the history of rock, we're going to see some of the first instances of that. So let's turn first to television. We talk about television in, in rock music during this period. Really the first place we have to go is to American Bandstand and the success of that show. Now, American Bandstand started out. on, WFIL in 1952 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania as a local show. The kind of show that was a, a kind of an adaptation of, of a disc jockey radio show. So instead of just having a disc jockey play song after song, popular songs that were on the charts and this kind of thing. You would have a disc jockey play those songs on a camera and you'd have kids come in and dance. And it was a, you know, it was a way of providing local programming. when you didn't have national programming to play. lots of times this would be done after school during the day when there wasn't a high demand for, for prime time or for, or for national programming to be played. what happened with American Bandstand is in 1956, the original host of American Bandstand, a guy by the name of Bob Horn, got himself into some trouble. I want to be careful what I say because I don't want to condemn a guy on charges that that I'm not personally, you know, familiar with. But what seemed from, from the sources that I've seen and the reports that I've seen it seems like Bob Horn maybe got a little bit too close to some of the kids that were on the show there. I know that he was a I, I, I, I, I think there's a report that he was, in fact, arrested for drunk driving. There are some other things going on. Whatever was happening, you can't have a host who has, even if these things weren't true. you know, you can't have a host who, where any of that kind of doubt is hanging over his head. Especially in the mid 1950s, if you want, you know, white, white middle class kids to let, have their parents allow them to watch a show. So Bob Horn was out, fair. Fair or not, he was out, and Dick Clark was in. In fact, Dick Clark was doing the radio version of American Bandstand at that time, and so came over from the radio version, and became the permanant host of American Bandstand. He really had the touch. With that show. He knew just how to be the genial host that was friendly with the kids but absolutely unthreatening but not sort of like a, an, an oldster, who, who seems like your, your high school teacher or some kind of thing like that. So he had the perfect touch with that show. And is wasn't long before in 1957, the show went national. It continued to film in Philadelphia, but was carried nationally on the ABC network. Truth be told the ABC network was the weakest of the three networks at the time. And they, they kind of were a little bit desperate for programming, but they went with American Bandstand it, it broadcast everyday after school. And it was the perfect thing for a lot of high school kids to come home, turn on the TV and listen to the most recent hits with other kids dancing. of course dancing was the focus of the show. They were playing records the whole time. Even when they had performers come on the show during the day, those performers weren't actually. Performing the tunes. They were, they were lip syncing. In other words, they would be just sort of singing along but the record would be playing in the background. Now for some of the teen idols, that might have been the best way to do it. Maybe you didn't really want to hear these guys sing live. but that was the way it went. It really didn't matter whether is was a, was a talented performer or not. Now he had some other shows that would, that would, that would play on the weekend, where there would be actual live performances. And those also went under the American Bandstand. title. So if you've, if you're looking for videos on YouTube or wherever, and you see one that's not lip sync. it's probably not from the daytime show that, that we're talking about here. But, anyway this idea of, of focusing on dancing really is going to lead as we get to the end of this particular segment in talking about the dance craze that comes in with Chubby Checker. But before we do that, lets talk a little bit more about TV and movies, then we'll come back to the dancing end of it. Other important TV that we should think about when we think about the history of rock and roll. Are the variety shows. They're, this is somewhere where you could have heard a, a, a, rock act actually perform on television. And most of these variety shows were live so if you go and, and look for old variety show performances of, of Elvis Presley or Jerry Lee Lewis, I mean they're not lip synced at all you can tell. and they're exciting from that point of view. Probably the most important of the variety shows and longstanding of the variety shows was The Ed Sullivan Show. And so those performers who got, who got a spot on Ed's show really got a, a very big national audience on Sunday nights. Another important person, we'll return to him a little bit later in this week's lectures is Ricky Nelson. Ricky Nelson was on the very famous very popular television show during the, the 1950s called Ozzie and Harriett. But if you want to know what, you know, sort of clean middle class, white, suburban living was like in the 50s. You can watch Leave It to Beaver, Father Knows Best, or Ozzie and Harriet. Now, it turns out that Ozzie Nelson was in, was a band leader, a big band leader. And his wife, Harriett, was a singer and so they were able to help Ricky Nelson develop a career. We'll talk about that a little bit later, but nevertheless Ricky Nelson was able to perform these numbers on the television show and so this in the, the late 1950s, the early 1960s. So this begins to sort of lay down a marker of where popular music and rock and roll on television is going to go but, by far, American Bandstand is the most important television influence that we need to think about. Rock music in the movies. Well, we've already talked about Alan Freed and those those films that that he did. kind of a flimsy affairs but you did get performances there, although those were often lip synched performances in those films as well. we talked a little bit about The Girl Can't Help It from 1956. Elvis was in, was in the movie business with his, his first movie in late 1956. In fact, after he had done all those television appearances we talked about last week the Dorsey Brothers Show, the Steve Allan show, the Milton Berle show, and the Ed Sullivan show. By late 1956, he had a film out, Love Me Tender where he was featured. 1957 is Jailhouse Rock, the one that we talked about before that had Leiber and Stoller writing a lot of the the tunes there. in fact, if you check out the famous dance sequence for Jailhouse Rock, it's the one that has all the guys in the striped shirts. It's very, very, very famous dance sequence. If you notice the piano player, the piano player in that in that scene is actually Mike Stoller himself. He wasn't supposed to be, but the guy who was supposed to do that role somehow got sick or didn't show up that day and they were kind of in a panic to find somebody to sort of. Learn the steps and, and kind of be in the thing when they had it scheduled to be filmed. And so Stoller said, hey, I'll do it. And so if you want to see Mike Stoller in action, here's a songwriter that was never a performer, but he is a performer in that scene from Jailhouse Rock. Anyway, Elvis doing all those, those movies up until he goes into the, of course, goes into the service in 1958. When he comes back, as I said before the idea was to mainstream his career and so he did a whole sequence of movies that most Elvis fans, though they like the movies because Elvis is in them, will admit that they're really not very good movies at all. And it's kind of a shame because Elvis really did have aspirations to try to be a good actor but every script he would get sent would be these sort of lousy boy meets girl, you know, movies that he didn't want to do. But he was under contract, Colonel Tom Parker had him under contract, so he had to see the contract through. Couldn't wait to get out of the contract, and when he finally did in the mid 60s, he came back in 1968 with the so called Comeback Special which is some of the best Elvis you're ever going to see. If you have ever a chance to hear, see the Comeback Special or see bits of it on the Internet, you really should check it out. Anyway, so in terms of music in the early 1960s, every one of those Elvis records, every one of those Elvis movies had a couple of songs in there and there was a soundtrack album to go with it. So they were essentially used to market Elvis Presley if you want to check out a couple of those, maybe the two best ones are Blue Hawaii from 1961, or Viva Las Vegas from 1964. We've already mentioned Frankie Avalon and Annette Funicello doing these kinds of rock 'n roll beach party kind of movies during the 60s. A couple of interesting ones maybe are the movie Beach Party from 1963, which actually features Dick Dale surf guitarist. We'll talk about him in a little bit. Or, Beach Blanket Bingo from 1965. The important thing I guess about the Beach Blanket, the beach party movies and all of this is to understand that there was beginning to develop a market for teen movies. And once you've got teen movies, you can start selling teen music through those movies. And of course, as we look toward MTV and the marketing of singles, through MTV in the 1980s, we, we see the precursors. We're also going to talk about the Beatles next week, A Hard Days Night, and Help, and their movies and all that goes with it. And so the, this is all of course a precursor or showcases movies that are happening at the same time as those Beatles movies. Before we finish this segment let's talk a little bit about Chubby Checker, The Twist, and the dance craze that was in large part fueled by shows like American Bandstand. Interesting thing about a dance craze is that it's not about the musicians at all, it's not really about the performers at all, it's not even really about the songs at all. A dance craze is about dancing. And we're going to come up against this same issue, this kind of difference in what's important when we talk about the disco, the rise of disco in the late 1970s, and why so many rock n rollers hated it so much. One of the reasons why they hated it so much is that disco never seemed to be about the music. It didn't matter how lousy the music was, not that I'm saying all disco music is lousy, or anything like that but I'm just saying. Doesn't matter how lousy the music is, so long as it's got that beat and people can dance to it, it's all good. And for people in the rock generation who thought it really was about the music, it really was about the writing, it really was about the playing, disco was the antithesis of all that. Well, you can see that happening in this dance craze that sort of gets gets, gets started here in 1960. The big track that starts it all is a track called The Twist. Number one in 1960. Recorded by a guy whose name is actually Ernest Evans, but they decided when they recorded it to call him Chubby Checker. So, if you think about Fats Domino, then you get Chubby Checker. ha. That's where they got it. In fact, the record itself is a duplicate. That is, I talked before about cover versions, and how you could do your own version. And, that was the kind of thing that happened in pop music all the time. But when you did one of these versions, it was exactly like the other record. that maybe was a little bit less defensible, when we talked about the issue and the controversy surrounding that. Well, this record by Chubby Checker, The Twist, was in fact a duplicate. It was a duplicate of a record that had been done by the songwriter, Hank Ballard. So, Hank Ballard, an African Amer, American musician who had wrote, written a song and recorded it, and it was such a close copy that Hank Ballard tells the story, used to tell the story anyway. That that he was in a pool one day at a hotel when he was on tour, and somebody had the radio on and all of a sudden he hears this song come on the radio and he says finally I'm getting some crossover airplay on white radio, and the announcer comes on at the end and says, that was The Twist by Chubby Checker. The artist himself, Hank Ballard, thought it was him [LAUGH] on the recording. That's how close a duplicate it was. Why was it a duplicate? Well, Dick Clark was involved in the publishing and all of this, and, or course, he didn't have any money in the Hank Ballard record, so he made sure he had money in publishing in The Twist, and then he played it on his show. This is the kind of thing that the payola people were looking into. Is this really a legitimate kind of thing to do? Anyway, the record launched a whole craze for The Twist. And wherever you went in a club, or dances, or things like that everybody was doing The Twist. And it wasn't just the twist. After a while there were all kinds of dance steps that you learn and there was a song to go with it. And the perfect place to get that song on. Was American Bandstand, which was about the dancing anyways. So you could see these young kids dancing. Dick Clark used to say that he thought The Twist was maybe one of the most important songs in the early history of rock music, because it was a song that even adults could admit they liked. And he said that when they first started doing American Bandstand, he thought it was about kids watching kids dance. But he very soon discovered that older people like to watch the kids dance too. And The Twist was that song that allowed people to say, they liked rock and roll. If you want, it's, it was sort of like the final step in, in crossover for, for rock 'n roll and how it was no longer dirty but it was fun, it was good clean wholesome fun. And Dick Clark went a long way toward making that happen. And The twist was a song that was instrumental in making that whole thing come together. We talked before about these white cover versions transforming everything that had to do with sexuality in some of these rhythm and blues songs into dancing. Now, we get to The Twist, we get to American Bandstand, the transformation from sexuality to dancing is officially complete. Now, there's nothing sexual about this dancing. It's all good, clean, wholesome fun. And this is, this is sort of what this whole thing is about at this particular period. We've gone, we've gone the full circle, we've gone the full transformation now. And now it's, it's really about dancing with no sense of sexual suggestiveness. Well having said that, this is what the teenagers were, the music that we've talked about so far, is what the teenagers were thinking about during this period. In the next video we're going to talk about what their older siblings had turned to. The idea of what, what would be happening after you put childish things away, went off to college, still wanted to be involved in popular music, what kind of popular music would you listen to? Well, one of those kinds of music would be folk music. And that's what we're going to talk about next.