Friday, April 13, 2012

James Brown and the Rolling Stones on the T.A.M.I. Show (1964)

The T.A.M.I. show was the brainchild of director Steve Binder, who put it all together in late 1964 as a way of gathering all of the greatest current "pop" acts in one show. The acronym stood for Teenage Music International, or Teenage Awards Music International, depending on where you look it up. It was a genius move, staged at the Santa Monica Civic Auditorium in October and filmed in Electronovision, a technology which enabled the TV footage to be transferred onto the big screen. The line-up allowed the audience to experience a variety of performers, such as the Beach Boys, Chuck Berry, Lesley Gore, the Supremes, Marvin Gaye, James Brown and his Famous Flames, along with the Rolling Stones. As a matter of fact, the Rolling Stones had to follow James Brown as the closing act.

Just before they were to step on stage the Stones were watching this performance of James Brown, with his Famous Flames, from the wings. They were very worried, with Mick Jagger wondering how the band would ever be able to follow the act they were witnessing. Clearly, James Brown should have been the closing act. Additionally, during the 4 days of rehearsals for the show, James Brown did not rehearse. He had a unique act, and coming fresh off the road, he felt no need to. Consequently, the Stones, like so many others at the time, had never seen James Brown perform; they had only heard his records.

With Jagger worried about his dance moves, and Keith Richard concerned about following one of the greatest R and B bands of all time, they wound up pouring everything they had into their act, which included the newly released "Time Is On My Side." Watch Jagger dance. Although no real match for the Godfather of Soul, he really does a lot more than he ever had before during this performance.

Music crosses all boundaries, and the T.A.M.I. show was a landmark concert which brought together white and black music in the middle of some of the most racially charged times in the nation's history. And that music had an extraordinary effect on some of the biggest social issues of the time.

Here are the Rolling Stones, immediately following James Brown and his Famous Flames;

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