Popular Songs and Television by Mel Rosenberg - מל רוזנברג - Ourboox.com
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Popular Songs and Television

After fruitful careers as a scientist and inventor I've gone back to what I love most - writing children's books Read More
  • Joined Oct 2013
  • Published Books 1536

We talked about the evolution of tv, the programs of Dick Clark (American Bandstand) and the Ed Sullivan Show, and discussed the appearances of the Doors, the Rolling Stones, Freddy Cannon, and the Beatles.



In the 1920s radio, records and ‘talkies’ (talking movies) brought music to tens of millions. In the 1930s electric guitars and microphones changed the name of the game. In the late 1940s long play and ’45’s were invented. In the 1950s TV became popular and changed everything forever.


NBC and CBS started out in the 1920s as radio networks, and then slowly morphed into TV. NBC was forced to split and thus ABC was formed from the “Blue Network”. There was another TV player called “Dumont” that didn’t have a radio network and was innovative, but eventually had to close down. Conversely there was a major radio network (Mutual Broadcasting System) that never made the successful transition into TV.


The Lone Ranger was a radio program that morphed into TV (there were many others). The music? The William Tell Overture. At least the world could sing one classical music composition!




From primarily from the 1960s onward, several famous singers had their own TV shows (e.g., Dean Martin, Perry Como, Carol Burnett, Smothers Brothers, Andy William). Advertisements were even more ‘in your face’ than now. They were often part and parcel of the show!



Frank Sinatra hosted by Dean Martin


An entire Dean Martin show with Jackie Mason at (36:30)


from 3:52 Chesterfield ad and “Tenderly”


The advent of TV brought a new dimension for popularizing up-and-coming singers and songs. Perhaps the most popular pop music show was “American Bandstand”. But there were others such as Hootenanny, Shin-Dig that were big in the day.


Joni Anderson (soon to be Joni Mitchell) on Hootenanny!


Dick Clark was the host of American Bandstand from 1956 until 1988. He was originally a DJ.

From Wikipedia: The show gave many new music artists their first exposure to national audiences, including Iggy Pop,  MadonnaIke and Tina TurnerSmokey Robinson and the MiraclesThe Beach BoysStevie WonderPrinceSimon and GarfunkelJerry Lee LewisBuddy HollyJohnny CashSam CookeFats Domino and Chubby CheckerJackson 5Sonny and CherAerosmith, —all of whom made their American TV debuts on the show.


Episodes he hosted were among the first in which blacks and whites performed on the same stage, and likewise among the first in which the live studio audience sat without racial segregation. Singer Paul Anka claimed that Bandstand was responsible for creating a “youth culture”. Due to his perennial youthful appearance and his largely teenaged audience of American Bandstand, Clark was often referred to as “America’s oldest teenager” or “the world’s oldest teenager”


Hey Paul (26:33) 


The Rate-A-Record (about 6:00)


Carole King was once humiliated on the show with a low rating. Not on this song, though.


Freddy Cannon appeared over 100 times (go figure)


From Matthew F. Delmont: 

“The program featured a number of singers, signed to local record labels, who sounded very much alike. Bobby Rydell and Charlie Gracie on Cameo-Parkway, Fabian and Frankie Avalon on Chancellor, and Freddie Cannon on Swan all appeared regularly on American Bandstand and had hit records in the late 1950s and early 1960s. In addition to these Philadelphia label stars, Paul Anka (ABC-Paramount), Bobby Darin (Atlantic), and Johnny Tillotson (Cadence) also scored hit records with tame rock and roll songs in a crooning style.[xvii]”


Ed_Sullivan was sixty-two years old when the Beatles performed on The Ed Sullivan Show! He had been a newpaper reporter and moved to hosting a TV show in 1948 which eventually became the Ed Sullivan Show. The show was a variety show and aired every Sunday evening. Ed was very particular about who appeared on his show. How they sung. And what they sung.





Television – The Ed Sullivan Show

THE DOORS “Light My Fire” on The Ed Sullivan Show

More on the Doors


The Rolling Stones – Let’s Spend “Some Time Together”


There were many more Ed Sullivan moments…..


The Smothers Brothers were cooler and more dangerous. Here are THE WHO destroying the set.




And, finally, let’s not forget the amazing story of the Monkees (from 1966 onwards) a television program about an imaginary band that ended up becoming a real one.


And just to mention that some of the theme songs of beloved tv programs are still very much with us.


Love and Marriage (originally introduced in 1955), you know it from Married….With Children


Straight from our class…..

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