Rock & Roll On TV and In The Movies

Someday we’ll be able to see this stuff in hi-def on our computers, but for now, I kind of like the ultra crappy quality of Youtube uploads, and it’s free (that won’t last for ever, bet your undershorts on that). Here’s a few of my favorite clips, some rare, some fairly common, all great.

Amos Milburn & his Chicken Shackers….what’s a shacker?

The Johnny Burnette Trio take first prize on Ted Mack’s Amateur Hour.

Sam Butera sings Chantilly Lace, Louis Prima digs it from a front table…

Johnny Carroll from Rock Baby Rock It, different from the 45 version.

Rosco Gordon serenades Butch, the alcoholic chicken, also from Rock Baby Rock It.

Carl Perkins on Ranch Party, pre-toupee

Jerry Lee Lewis drives ’em nuts on U.K. TV, the same week as his classic Live At The Starclub LP was recorded.

Elvis first show ever (the footage is silent, ignore the corny music) at the Overton Park Band Shell in Memphis, it’s amazing this exists.

Eddie Cochran on Town Hall Party (is that Gene Vincent’s band?).

Pee Wee Crayton more on him soon….

Louis Jordan and his Tympani Five (where’s the Tympani?).



Larry Darnell, he started his career in dancing in drag.

The Johnny Otis Show, Three Tons of Joy demonstrate the Hand Jive.

Jackie Wilson with some tight pants.

Bob Luman with James Burton from Carnival Rock, Ricky Nelson would steal the whole band.

Buddy Holly and the Crickets as a three piece, I never saw this one before.

22 thoughts on “Rock & Roll On TV and In The Movies”

  1. “, check out the clip from “Beat Girl” where Adam Faith does the great “Made You” with lovely Gillian Hills diggin' the sounds!”I was going to use that but I did a posting on Gillian Hills recently and I think I already used it….thanks.

  2. I believe the band backing Eddie is Dick D'Agostin and The Swingers. They were at least his road band-probably recorded something with him too. Funny how Eddie and Gene both had clapper boys in the lineup around this time…

  3. It's a remarkable piece of film, but that Elvis clip is definitely not his first live appearance. Elvis and Scotty didn't have those particular guitars until 1955. A little checking of sources, I'd say it's the August 5, 1955 Overton Park appearance.

  4. The Elvis clip is from August 7, 1955, at the Magnolia Gardens in Houston, TX. And that is Conrad 'Guybo' Smith on electric bass, behind Eddie, who toured with Cochran and is on his recording sessions. Thanks!

  5. The fantastic Johnny Carroll & Roscoe Gordon clips are actually from ROCK BABY, ROCK IT, not ROCK PRETTY BABY (which instead boasted the blistering sounds of Sal Mineo & Rod McKuen, another world entirely!). RBRI is an embarrassment of rock 'n' roll riches, especially the profoundly weird numbers by unknowns, “Juanita” and “Love Never Forgets”. I've watched this movie literally dozens of times in its entirety, and I'm STILL kinda hazy as to why the gangsters wanna kick the kids outa their clubhouse!

  6. Oh, and I had no idea there was footage of the Johnny Burnette Trio outside of ROCK ROCK ROCK! Awesome. It's always weird to see Paul Burlison playing standing up, as he's seated in just about every still of the band ya see. Just looks so unnatural, him on two legs…

  7. “The fantastic Johnny Carroll & Roscoe Gordon clips are actually from ROCK BABY, ROCK IT,”Dough! My dumb mistake…I do love RBRI, who is the albino w/the glasses in all the club scenes digging the bands? He's my favorite charachter….

  8. It's been suggested he's my long-lost father. An unheralded classic comedy character! “What's in the treasury?” “A few buttons…”. And that scene at the tail end of the climactic battle, where the G-man picks 'im up in the air while he's still swinging maniacally in the air: “Hold on there, boy, who ya think yer fightin'?” Classic. I'll betcha this is the cat who recorded “Hootchie Cootchie” under the Tommie Martin & the XL's moniker…

  9. Great selection of clips. I would add Mean Headed Woman by Wanda Jackson.It's actually quite hard to find real live footage from the 50s. Most of the R'n'R movies, like The Girl Can't Help It, didn't have live performances. I think Rock Baby Rock It is the only exception. Is that right?

  10. “Mean Headed Woman by Wanda Jackson.”I assume you mean the clip from the Ranch Party TV show, it's readily available on Youtube last time I looked. “Most of the R'n'R movies, like The Girl Can't Help It, didn't have live performances. I think Rock Baby Rock It is the only exception. Is that right?”I'm not really sure Rock Baby Rock It 's soundtrack was recorded live, probably it was lip sychned to tracks recorded earlier, albeit different takes than those issued on disc. I don't know of any early Rock'n'Roll movies with live recorded soundtracks unless you count Chuck Berry and Big Maybelle's appearances in Jazz On A Summer's Day (1960).

  11. Thanks Mr; Marshall for those wonderful R&R clips!Please take a look at my humble site: http://www.bopping.org for Hillbilly Bop and Rockabilly musicKeep up the good work. I'll be visiting your blog very often from now on, there's plenty of interesting things.Xavier (France

  12. I'm quite positive Rock Baby Rock It was recorded live. It was entirely shot in a hotel lobby in Dallas. Overdubbing would have been too expensive for the producers, I think!And apart from TV shows such as Ranch Party (and that amazing performance by Wanda Jackson), there are just no 'live' 50s RnR recordings.And how do you explain the fact that you can see lots of clips of Johnny Carroll, or the Collins Kids, but none of Ronnie Self? How come we can watch the wonderful Treniers, 50 years later, but not Wynonie Harris?By the way, other suggestions:- Larry Williams singing Short Fat Fanny,- Vigon singing Harlem Shuffle (do you know this guy? he was Moroccan and had a (short) career in France).

  13. Rock Baby Rock It definitely was lip-synched, as ya say, like everything else in those days. It was actually a lot cheaper to pre-record everything in a cheap studio & sync to it later, as opposed to all the headaches involved in recording a live performance, sound & all. At least they SOUNDED live, for the most part; I despise how every freakin' movie since La Bamba (and probably before that, but that's the one I blame) has all the musical numbers in this jarring, ultra-high fidelity stereo in-your-face sound that's the audio equivalent of the paddleball scene in HOUSE OF WAX. Totally horrible.My rock-movie holy grail is the censored Screamin' Jay Hawkins “Frenzy” segment from (I think) ROCK ROCK ROCK. Has that ever been dug up?

  14. “Larry Williams singing Short Fat Fanny,”Evidently this was the only Bandstand performance that was performed live, has anyone seen it? It certainly not on Youtube or anywhere else on the web that I can find. Also, John Sinclair told me he saw Andre Williams perform in a zebra skin suit on TV on some local Detroit tv show in the 50's, another one that seems to have disappeared for good. “My rock-movie holy grail is the censored Screamin' Jay Hawkins “Frenzy” segment from (I think) ROCK ROCK ROCK. Has that ever been dug up?”Again, I've never seen it, nor do I know anyone else who has…

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