DAILY DIRT: Watch out for the gunpowder in the drum kits

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Daily Dirt for Monday, Jan. 17, 2023

I’ll always remember how loud the audience was on the Beatles’ 1964 appearance on the Ed Sullivan Show … Welcome to today’s three thoughts that make up Vol. 502 of The Daily Dirt.

1. The mid-to-late 1960s provided much fodder for pop culture history, but at — or at least near — the top of any such list depicting that period were some of the first live TV performances of major rock acts.

This was a time when major recording stars were starting to be presented live to U.S. audiences, usually on “The Ed Sullivan Show” on Sunday nights, and later on “The Smothers Brothers Show,” also on Sunday nights. America, and the recording industry, would soon never be the same.

For conversation sake, we’ll call this “The Good, Bad and Ugly” (with apologies to Clint Eastwood and the spaghetti westerns) of rock’s early history and relationship with the medium of TV:

The Good: Back when I was a wee lad, I remember a Sunday night in 1964 when I begged mom and dad to let me watch the Beatles’ debut on Ed Sullivan. Hey, all the cool kids were talking about it at Pleasant Street Elementary School in Ashland, Ohio. It was Feb. 5, 1964 when the Beatles attracted 73 million viewers, or 45.3 percent of all U.S. TV sets. They sang “All My Loving,” “Till There Was You” and, of course, “She Loves You.” 

Mentalfloss.com reported about that night, “The crowd (and a third of America) may have been going crazy when the Beatles performed, but Ray Bloch —The Ed Sullivan Show’s musical director — wasn’t as impressed. When asked for a comment about the performance by a reporter for the New York Times, he was blunt: ‘The only thing that’s different is the hair, as far as I can see. I give them a year.'”

The Bad: “The Smothers Brothers Show” was another outlet for such acts in the late 1960s, including the notorious bad boys of The Who in the fall of 1967. “A very drunk Keith Moon put too much gunpowder in his drum kit, so during the customary instrument-trashing after ‘My Generation,’ the explosion was so great that Pete Townshend was thrown 10 feet. Townshend blamed the incident for much of his hearing loss,” according to spin.com. But it was great TV!

The Really Ugly: The Doors, featuring controversial lead singer Jim Morrison, normally wore out their TV welcome after one appearance. Ed Sullivan had the group on once and had enough of its shenanigans. The Doors also made one appearance on a PBS special and played “Critique.” That was the first time the word “m—–f—–” was heard on TV. (PUBLISHER’S NOTE: Is M-F’er one or two words? JRG)

2. We’re only in week two of the 2023 Great Plate Debate, and already we have an entry that is going to be tough to beat.

See what you think about the latest and greatest license plates found in West-Central Illinois and Northeast Missouri.

This week’s rankings have three entries taking their spot on the medal stand:

Gold medal: STARVED. Obviously, my kind of plate. It’s going to take one creative plate to knock this off the pedestal. (For the record, I found this one over the weekend near Blessing Hospital.)

Silver medal: 4 CASTR. A local weatherman? (This beauty was spotted in the Downtown Quincy area near Muddy River News world headquarters.)

Bronze medal: CAR NO 18. My immediate thought this has to be a fan of local dirt-track racer Michael Long. (I found this one in another downtown parking lot.)

This week’s honorable mentions:

RAM VAN 5

DOG FUN 2

PMKIN

3. After enjoying the glut of NFL playoff games in recent days, I had the following opinions:

Best play-by-play man: Al Michaels might be 78, but he’s still the best. And the much-maligned Joe Buck is pretty darned good, too.

Best in-game analyst: Tony Romo is still The Man. His keen sense of what to expect will always set him apart. If there is a most improved category, I will go with Troy Aikman, who has seemed reborn since moving with Buck from Fox to ESPN.

Best in-studio analyst: Nate Burleson, CBS. This is a fledgling superstar talent who keeps getting better and better. Now, if we could just rid of Phil Simms.

Steve Thought O’ The Day — There really isn’t that big of a difference size-wise between a Maid-Rite Super and a Maid-Rite Mega.

Steve Eighinger writes daily for Muddy River News. How ’bout them Cowboys?

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