The T.A.M.I. Show (1964)
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Featuring a bevy of over-zealous go-go dancers and hysterically screaming fans, The T.A.M.I. Show proficiently showcased the budding talent of early-1960's pop music sensations from both sides of the Atlantic.
Filmed in b&w, at Santa Monica's Civic Auditorium (a 3000-seat venue), The T.A.M.I. Show's biggest highlights were The Beach Boys (performing "Surfer Girl"), The Supremes (performing "Baby Love"), and The Rolling Stones (performing "Time Is On My Side").
Directed by Steve Binder - This 2-hour music extravaganza also featured the singing talents of James Brown, Marvin Gaye and Lesley Gore, to name but a few of the 14+ performers.
It starts off with a solid Chuck Berry. The Beach Boys were edited out originally, but they've since been returned. The Supremes were great. IMO the best has to be the one and only James Brown. His performance is insane. He is by far the best of the concert. Following James Brown, the Rolling Stones close out the concert. Honestly they looked glassy eyed and dazed. I would not be surprised if they were chemically enhanced. Certainly they don't make them like that anymore. The music sounds sharp even with the screaming kids in the background.
I saw this WHOLE film in the early 80's, here in NYC, at the (original) Irving Plaza. It was a 16mm print, and the place was PACKED (for those who don't know - Irving Plaza was THE place to go to for REAL punk music and alternative music concerts back then. It's still around, but - as far as I'm concerned, in name only).
The pandemonium on the screen was emphasised by the crowd attending this showing (if you don't know, The TAMI Show - and The Big TNT show were held in legal limbo for many years, so to see it - in any format was a treat). Watching it in this setting, one almost felt as if we were there. It was a very special night.
I'll agree with the consensus - James Brown's performance - RIVETING! REAL showmanship! One of my favourite performances (saying one was better than another in this film is impossible)was Marvin Gaye's. I don't want to just throw out superlatives, but - this movie is a must see for anyone interested in seeing a landmark bit of rock & roll. See this, and you'll get sick, thinking about the (very sad) state of music today. There was NO: auto-tuning, misogynistic, violence-riddled garbage. This was the whole SPECTRUM of rock music - with EVERY style represented.
For many years after, I pondered the thought; to try and do a TAMI show today would be impossible. The egos. The costs being demanded. Sure - everyone performing got paid, but, it was more than for the money they did this show.
I'm a huge Teri Garr fan, and seeing her (and Toni Basil!) doing the pony, , the jerk, the frug, the swim.... and so much more is just wild. Add to this, the incomparable Blossoms (and Ms. Darlene Love!).... there are no words to describe the talent encapsulated in this film.
If you're a parent, or just curious to see what rock music was REALLY like, then I highly recommend you purchase this landmark film.
Most of the music was "live" with no audio enhancers and no lip syncing. The way music should be; you either got the talent to pull it off or else you don't.
One of the most amazing aspects of the film was that 99% of the 2600 people in the audience were white, suburban teenage girls, and I suspect that it was their first exposure to black artists like James Brown, Chuck Berry, Marvin Gaye, and Smokey Robinson. They were probably there for the Rolling Stones, but the Stones had the misfortune of following James Brown, and Mick Jagger's stage performance looked incredibly lame when pitted against the "Hardest working man in Show business"
I realize everyone has their own opinion, but he seems to be biased against James Brown because his other post on the movie ''Ski Party' and another movie on the same DVD completely ignores James Brown's performance of 'I Feel Good'and only mentions Leslie Gore, who he praised for her performance on the TAMI show!
The reaction of the mostly white audience, and the reaction of the musicians definitely show that James Brown stole the show on the TAMI Show. That is the single greatest performance on video of any entertainer in history. Not only do his feet move at blinding speed during 'Night Train', but his whole body movies, with a little 'nerve' twitch that he thought up. If you watch his feet with the Flames, you see he does 4 steps to their 2. 'Please Please Please' is the best version of that ever captured on film.
Puckish surf-rock jokers Jan and Dean, who do "The Little Old Lady from Pasadena" and "Sidewalk Surfin'," are the goof-ball hosts of this non-stop musical extravaganza. Chuck Berry gets things off to a rip-roaring start, working his spindly wibble-wobble legs overtime as he tears the place up with roll-over-deadly renditions of "Johnny B. Goode," "Sweet Little Sixteen," and "Nadine." British Invasion band Gerry and the Peacemakers keep everything a hopping by first joining Chuck on "Maybellene,' then holding their own with such winners as the gentle, lulling "Don't Let the Sun Catch You Crying" and the life-affirming "It's Gonna Be Alright." Lovely feminist-rock pioneer Lesley Gore mesmerizes the audience with strong, commanding performances of the "sisters stand up to your man and don't take any guff" anthems "You Don't Own Me," "It's My Party," and "Judy's Turn to Cry." Smokey Robinson and the Miracles deliver a tasty, tuneful truckload of spot-on keening tenor harmonies, highlighted by the gorgeous "You Really Got a Hold on Me" and a crazed, chest-thumping, abdomen-itching cover of the wiggy novelty dance number "Mickey's Monkey." Marvin Gaye, looking mighty spiffy in an immaculate white tux, cuts a suave figure as he belts out "Hitchhike," "Pride and Joy," and "Can I Get a Witness." Representing flavor-of-the-month generic pop slop, the hopelessly dweeby Billy J. Kramer and the Dakotas nerd it up something hysterical with several remarkably doofy songs. Diana Ross and the Supremes, sexy as all hell in clinging dresses and enormous heavily lacquered hairdos, strut their sultry stuff with a scorching medley which includes the luscious "Baby Love." Token grunged-up garage rock outfit the Barbarians do the sinewy caveman stomper "Hey Little Bird," with their famous one-armed drummer Moulty (he's got a hook hand!) gleefully trashing his kit during a gloriously protracted solo. James Brown rides the "Night Train" straight to Funkytown and back with his bring the house down manic antics, complete with wild dancing feet, hips and pelvis a swinging rotation action, the groin pulling splits, crashing onto the floor and getting up for more -- we're talking some seriously smoking theatrics, people. The Rolling Stones, surly, scruffy, arrogant and punk as all get out, burn up the place with lots of sizzling lowdown dirty blues covers, with their blazing rendition of Irma Thomas' "Time Is On My Side" rating as the definite stand-out. The Beach Boys, clad in white striped shirts, end things on a suitably stirring note, doing 100% on the money honey performances of the timeless classics "Surfin' U.S.A.," "Surfer Girl" and "I Get Around."
Steve Binder's razor-sharp direction captures the concert's merry, upbeat, bubbly atmosphere with consummate unwavering acuity and expertise. The really into it audience never cease to shriek their approval. A sense of both wide-eyed innocence and carefree, frivolous, oftentimes even downright explosive gaiety pervades throughout. The excellent black and white cinematography makes terrific use of stately crane shots, slow, graceful dissolves and snazzy super-impositions. Phil Spector music arranger Jack Nitzsche served as music director. Terri Garr and Toni Basil are among the nice-looking go-go gals who energetically frug their way across the stage. A marvelously vibrant, joyous and jubilant time capsule of the swell 60's rock scene.
I kinda didn't know what to make of JB's dramatic finale with the cape, etc., at the time. It actually scared me a bit! (As it apparently did Mick Jagger and Keith Richards!) I thought he was having a seizure or something! It's since become sort of a cliché, down to Paul Shaffer's bit on "Late Night," but at that time no white kids I knew had ever seen anything remotely like THAT! Just blew me away completely!
It's also worth noting that the fantastic backing band for the show was led by noted producer/arranger/performer Jack Nitzsche, who worked with everybody from Bob B. Soxx and the Bluejeans to Captain Beefheart, with a few Lesley Gores, Tim Buckleys, Neil Youngs, Rolling Stones, etc., thrown in for good measure! A true unsung legend in his own right!
The Beach Boys' segment has been cut from most versions since then, if you could find the show at ALL. There was a "That Was Rock: the TAMI and TNT Music Shows" tape that was available years ago, but most of the TAMI Show was missing and the TNT Show I didn't care for much.
I recently found a pretty good copy (DVD-R)of the WHOLE THING ("TAMI Show 1964") on eBay, INCLUDING the Beach Boys' segment, and it brought back some incredible memories.
I hope that someday someone will release a "legitimate," uncut, first-generation quality version of this show, although with licensing deals, etc., I'm not too optimistic. In the meantime I've got the next best thing: a decent-quality uncut DVD-R, with much of it in widescreen format!
However, it was James Brown, and his marvelous Flames, who completely stole the show. His "Please, Please, Please" alone is an unforgettable experience to watch. You want to watch it over and over again. The man is simply DYNAMIC! They came on before the Rolling Stones, who held their own very well with "Time Is On My Side" and "It's All Over Now" among others.
At the end, all of the performers meet up on stage at the same time, to dance to the Stones' final song, and to dance and move with the background dancers. Btw, look for Terri Garr during the Supremes' set, wearing a shirt with a bullseye in the middle. Her dancing is quite sexy. Just seeing everyone looking so young, and being so vibrant and energetic is great. Like I said, it's definitely a piece of music history, that is a real pleasure to watch. You'll NEVER get tired of it!
I was thirteen years old at the time and in my first rock and roll band as a "front man". I recall sitting and signing along each lyric of each song of each performer. Of particular fond memories are the performances of James Brown and the Famous Flames, who i saw several time in concert during the early and mid 1960s. Also, the "British Invasion groups" were so cutting edge at the time. It was a real treat.
I checked eBay today and there are others selling TAMI DVD's. Just search using DVD and TAMI as your keywords.
Be advised that the video quality is 1960's standards black & white. But true lovers of this kind of music won't mind at all.
It was certainly a defining moment in my musical life.
I saw it as a teenager when it first came out and will confirm that the segment by James Brown was the mother of all show-stoppers. I went to the movie to see the Rolling Stones segment, but left remembering James Brown signing Please, Please, Please. He was the real deal. I've seen some versions listed on e-bay with Ike and Tina doing Please Please Please, and other ones where it's JB. Perhaps over the years the movie segments have been cut and spliced so that the original show would be hard to recognize.
By the way, Leslie Gore's 'You Don't Own Me' was also great. She really has a wonderful melodic voice.
I'd be interested in the full length version in Video or DVD if it's available. JTL
Bad performance by James Brown (he seems to think that activity -- and sweat -- on stage is all it takes!) and particularly the pathetic duo of Jan and Dean, who are seen making fun of the other, more established, acclaimed rockers of the period. Poor Jan and Dean just couldn't sing. They attempted a Beach Boys imitation, but even with good material, they just couldn't cut it.
Gore (forget about the Jackie Kennedy 'do) steals the show with her emphatic, bone to the beat interpretations of her big 60s hits. Pitch perfect, young and strong, Gore never misses a beat.
The young and wild Mick Jagger provides an interesting contrast to today's sunken rock idol.