Top 5 Musical Ed Sullivan Show Controversies

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"You want me to sing WHAT now?"
To the right-wing conservatives, religious groups, and self-proclaimed family organizations raising hell over Chaz Bono's "assault on family values" as the first transgender contestant on Dancing With the Stars, Rocks Off asks the question: Would you rather expose your kids to Keith Richards? How about Jim Morrison? Because that's who they were watching 45 years ago, as just a few of many groundbreaking musical acts featured on The Ed Sullivan Show.

On October 4, SOFA Entertainment will release The Ed Sullivan Show Starring The Rolling Stones, a 2-DVD set that includes four episodes. A deluxe edition follows on November 1, featuring all six Stones appearances on the legendary Sunday night variety show - including their legendary performance on January 15, 1967.

The 1967 show was not only significant because it was the band's last with founding member Brian Jones, but also for the now-historic rendition of "Let's Spend the Night Together," the title line delivered as "Let's spend some time together" as Jagger looks directly into the camera and sarcastically rolls his eyes.

The Stones may have adhered to the wishes of Sullivan and CBS's standards and practices union, but many others did not, resulting in offstage blowouts, "technical difficulties", walkouts, and even a couple great live performances. We've listed five of our favorite Ed Sullivan controversies below, in the order they occurred.



5. Bo Diddley Doesn't Give a Shit (Nov. 20, 1955):

Diddley was instructed to perform Tennessee Ernie Ford's "Sixteen Tons", but instead launched into his no. 1 hit "Bo Diddley", exposing the American public to rock and roll, a wicked new sound that would soon become a national obsession. According to Diddley's biography Living Legend, Sullivan was furious, telling the young musician, "You are the first black boy to ever double-cross me."

Diddley felt the inflection placed on the word "black" was just as bad as the "n word", and when his manager said, "That's Mr. Sullivan!", Diddley snapped back, "I don't give a shit about Mr. Sullivan, he don't talk to me like that!", and was banned from any future appearances on the show.


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Elvis, with Leny Eversong and Sullivan, after rehearsing for his final appearance in 1957.
4. Elvis is Hung Like a Soft Drink Can (Jan. 6, 1957):

There was some speculation that Elvis Presley had a small soda bottle hanging from the inside groin of his pants that would create the illusion of a large, swinging, er, "endowment" whenever he danced around, and Sullivan wasn't taking any chances. Rumor or not, the host felt Presley's moves were far too salacious for decent, god-fearing American families, and on Presley's third and final appearance on the show Sullivan insisted that the camera shoot above the waist any time The King's legs got going.

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Joe Sturgis
Joe Sturgis

Censorship really ruled the roost back in those days, but I'm kinda glad some of the artist's didn't comply with the ridiculous demands that Sullivan tried to  enforce them with. Which is mild when you compare with some of the dialogue that you here on TV these days.

Lennie Giambalvo.
Lennie Giambalvo. like.author.displayName 1 Like

Houston press, you got some nerve comparing a trans Gender to the diff music sounds in their day.The subtle way the press has of forcing the public to accept something that is taught to be against the will Of Gods teachings,is something evil in itself,  if the press is gonna continue to put that pressure out there to accept then print the passage that teaches otherwise, better yet, the press should stop making a story and just tell what is happening. They very subtlely try to reshape what people should feel. Chaz Bono changing her Gender is to rock and roll being accepted like comparing creation to evolution. Hello, i will never buy your paper. Funny but this article doesnt post an author, i wonder off the record what that person believes since he or she, no pun intended, didnt have the courage to sign this article. All the mocking of morals will neverrrrrr change the morals.  

lennie G.
lennie G.

by the way, i had to sign my name to post this, why isnt the press held to that.

lennie G
lennie G

i stand corrected as far as signature on article, its way at the top above the pics, Hello Lauren Marmaduke.

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