This will be a total change from my usual musical posts. It will not be a large one but I will highlight what I think was the best Musical entertainment show ever to be on our TV Screens. This is truly my (Gary’s) project as Russ never watched the program, so if you do not like the post it’s all on me.
“Shindig” was the creation of Art Stolnitz, L.A. Disc Jockey, Jimmy O’Neill and his wife Sharon Sheeley. (Sheely wrote Poor Little Fool for Rick Nelson, was engaged to Rick and in the car with Eddie Cochran when Eddie was killed). Unfortunately Sharon left us on May 17,2002.
Remember this TV program was all done live, no additions, electronics, video edits or enhancements that they use today, Just LIVE MUSIC, the way it should be. There was not the equipment that they use today, but we were light years ahead of any of the “Stuff” produced today in terms of the quality of live music, enthusiasm, performance and sheer talent. I know it seems that I do not recognize today’s talent; not true, but the majority of songs today require a video to be popular, and I thought music was for listening.
There are so many videos, so I picked some of the performances that I thought you would like to view. I know that I will not have everyone’s favourite, but I do try. You will see artist’s that are no longer with us and the great one’s in their prime. For me these performance’s are legendary, because the artist’s were in their prime and they had some of the best musician’s ever assembled on one program at one time.
1965: (the big year)
For me the key to the show was it was “Live” with some of the best musicians of the day. Now the show was short lived (due to poor networking), but in September of 1964, the first 1/2 hour episode was on the air. Now here is just a little peek at who the backup musicians where.
James Burton, Glen Campbell, Billy Preston, Leon Russell, Larry Knechtel, Chuck Blackwell, Glen Hardin and the list goes on. The shows musical director was Ray Phohlman who was a member of the famous studio recording musicians, “The Wrecking Crew“. So when ever he needed them they could be there.
Bobby Sherman, Donna Loren, Jackie DeShannon. The Righteous Brother appeared many times. The Back up singers “The Blossoms” featured Darlene Love and the Male Singers where the Wellingtons.
The show started as a half hour show, then went to an hour January 1965, split to two half hour segments in the fall of 1965 and was cancelled January 1966.
It was short lived; the network did not know how to handle it and really screwed it up. It was imitated twice on two other networks, but never the quality of Shindig.
To me the demise was when ABC started bringing people like Zsa Zsa Gabor, who did not know or like the music, for that ABC deserved to be last, they took one the most innovative shows, and they owned it and destroyed it in two years, but what a ride.