Rhythm and Color
November 22, 2016
Jerome Green: Why are you scowlin’ at us Ed?
Ed Sullivan was widely regarded as somebody who, if it benefitted his show, would bring unknown acts on stage and showcase their talents ‘live’ every Sunday night. As long as you played by his rules and his ratings went up, Ed was happy.
Problem was, some wanted to ‘spend the night together’ with America playing by their rules. Like this Bo Diddley performance.*
Bo was playing a style of music up in Harlem that nobody had really heard before. I mean those beats….it was the infancy of rock and/or roll. Ed didn’t even know what to call the music (as he displays in his intro – after Sullivan’s bumbling intro Bo is introduced by DR Jive (Tommy “payola” Smalls)).
The story goes (link) that for this show almost exactly 60 years ago, Sullivan wanted Diddly to play Tennessee Ernie Ford’s “Sixteen Tons” which is what they played in rehearsal (link to Bo’s cover). But Bo had other ideas…..Diddley and the boys played the song Bo wanted to play…..he never played Sullivan again. But he didn’t need to.
This is as ‘classic’ as classic gets!
Bo Diddley – The Ed Sullivan Show – November 20, 1955
yt post by William Stewart
*His last show here in town was in May 2006.
Related: The Strangeloves – I Want Candy
The Who – Magic Bus