Archive for Monday, July 24, 2000

List of TV’s best rock rolled out

July 24, 2000


— Feb. 9, 1964. A British band from Liverpool takes "The Ed Sullivan Show" stage and sends waves of teen-agers into screaming convulsions across America, bewildering millions of parents.

The top music moments on television, as selected by VH1 and Entertainment Weekly magazine:1. The Beatles' debut on "The Ed Sullivan Show," 19642. Elvis Presley's comeback special on NBC, 1968.3. MTV launches with first video, "Video Killed the Radio Star" by the Buggles, 1981.4. "Saturday Night Live" premieres, showcasing musical acts each week, 1975.5. "Motown 25" special featuring Michael Jackson's first moonwalk, 1983.6. Dick Clark's "American Bandstand" series premieres, 1957.7. Live Aid aired by ABC and MTV, 1985.8. Madonna rolls around the stage in a wedding gown singing "Like a Virgin" on the MTV Video Awards, 1984.9. Elvis Presley performs on "The Ed Sullivan Show," shown only from the waist up, 1956.10. The Who's use of too much explosives ending their performance on the "Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour" in 1967.11. Michael Jackson's "Thriller" video debuts on MTV, 1983.12. Elton John performs his "Candle in the Wind" remake at Princess Diana's funeral, 1997.13. "The Monkees" TV series premieres, 1966.14. John Lennon and Yoko Ono co-host a week of "The Mike Douglas Show," 1972.15. The Rolling Stones, Beach Boys, Chuck Berry and James Brown perform on "The T.A.M.I. Show" on ABC, 1964.16. The Doors sing "girl we couldn't get much higher" on "The Ed Sullivan Show" after censors tell them not to, 1968.17. Dancer with "Soy Bomb" written on his chest crashes Bob Dylan's Grammy Awards performance, 1998.18. Nirvana's "Smells Like Teen Spirit" video debuts on MTV, 1991.19. Musicians tape the "We Are the World" video, 1985.20. James Brown appears live from the Boston Garden after Martin Luther King's assassination, 1968.

What's rock 'n' roll's biggest TV moment?

A new top 100 list from VH1 and Entertainment Weekly magazine says that was it -- the day Beatlemania hit the states and stayed.

The Beatles' U.S. debut even topped the 1968 comeback of the King.

An estimated 73 million people were watching that night in '64 -- about three times the audience of an episode of this summer's TV blockbuster "Survivor." John Lennon was so nervous he taped song lyrics to the back of his guitar.

As Ringo Starr explained, the band didn't realize until it arrived in America how important Sullivan's Sunday night showcase was.

For a generation of rock 'n' rollers, it was the moment they knew they wanted to be stars. "I remember thinking, 'this can be done. I can do that,"' singer Billy Joel said.

Elvis Presley's comeback special four years later, his return to radio after years of B movies, was No. 2, and deemed more important than the King's 1956 debut. The 1968 return at least showed those swiveling hips; in 1956, the camera only shot him from the waist up.

Several selections were more important in retrospect as historical movements rather than memorable moments, such as the premieres of MTV, "Saturday Night Live" and "American Bandstand."

Other moments in VH1's top 10 included Michael Jackson's first moonwalk on the 1983 "Motown 25" special, the Live Aid telecast in 1985, Madonna's "Like a Virgin" performance on the 1984 MTV Video Music Awards, and The Who's appearance on "The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour" in 1967.

The most bizarre selection: No. 17, the man who crashed Bob Dylan's 1998 Grammy Awards performance with "Soy Bomb" written on his bare chest.

The most recent: Ricky Martin's performance at the 1999 Grammy Awards, one of 28 events from the 1990s.

The list also includes three performances of the national anthem: by Marvin Gaye at the 1982 NBA All-Star Game in Detroit, by Whitney Houston at the 1991 Super Bowl, and by a crotch-grabbing Roseanne at a 1990 San Diego Padres game.

The Beatles made the list seven times, Madonna and Michael Jackson are each on it five times.

VH1 plans to air selections from the list in a series of five one-hour specials on VH1 starting July 31.

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