Great Televised Moments In Rock History

One upon a time there was music on TV that wasn’t fronted by Jools Holland. Bands used to turn up in the weirdest of places, even on MTV! I know, sounds crazy doesn’t it? And sometimes – either through a misunderstanding, unfortunate timing or a crazed, rogue employee – truly bizarre musicians reached our screens, and glorious confusion resulted. Here are some of the finest examples of those moments.
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One upon a time there was music on TV that wasn’t fronted by Jools Holland. Bands used to turn up in the weirdest of places, even on MTV! I know, sounds crazy doesn’t it? And sometimes – either through a misunderstanding, unfortunate timing or a crazed, rogue employee – truly bizarre musicians reached our screens, and glorious confusion resulted. Here are some of the finest examples of those moments.

Iggy & The Stooges, Cincinnati Pop Festival 1970

Imagine being a bored kid in Ohio in the early seventies, switching on the television and coming face to face with Iggy in his prime, wearing silver oven gloves and screaming TV Eye. Your mind would be well and truly blown. Just incredible that the local news show switched over to cover the rock festival and happened to arrive in the middle of The Stooges set, during which Iggy invents crowd surfing and smears himself with various substances. The running commentary is amazing: “That’s… peanut butter.”

The Monks, German TV, 1965

Many bands have been accused of being ‘ahead of their time’, but how many bands were dressing in habits with shaved heads and wearing nooses as ties in 1965? These former American GIs stationed in Germany came up with their repetitive electric banjo lead sound and then drove it to extremes. They were a regular feature on German pop TV shows in the mid-sixties, which must have disturbed many.

James Brown, WGHB Boston, 1968

Sometimes the most remarkable things emerge from tragedy. The assassination of Martin Luther King in April 1968 triggered social unrest throughout the States, but Boston was spared thanks to the quick thinking mayor convincing a local TV station and the Godfather of Soul to broadcast his live show that night. It proved to be a canny move. The populous stayed in to watch the show, the streets remained calm and JB put on an amazing, politically charged show.

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Pil, American Bandstand, 1980

Iggy and JB blew the home audience away with the audaciousness of their high energy performances. John Lydon took a different route. How Public Image Ltd ended up on Dick Clark’s romp through the pop charts is unknown, but they planned to make it memorable. They provided an anti-performance, not even trying to lip synch and eventually dancing manically with the slightly disturbed audience. Dick was not happy.

Jimi Hendrix, Lulu Show, 1969

Jimi and his Experience blasts through a feedback dripping and slightly out of tune Hey Joe, stops ‘that rubbish’ as Hendrix calls it and bursts into a jaw-dropping rendition of the Cream tune Sunshine Of Your Love. Perhaps he was sick of playing his own stuff, but he seems to be having an absolute blast romping through the tune.