Friday, May 14th, 2021

Contemporary Artist Inspiration from The Ed Sullivan Show

In a culture that revolves around measuring talent and ability, we often forget about the important role of inspiration. Inspiration can open us to new possibilities by allowing us to transform our ordinary experiences and push our own limitations. The Ed Sullivan Show was not just a variety show, it was a pool of inspiration that everyone wanted to jump into. To this day, it still inspires people from all walks of life, and even some of the biggest stars in the world. Today we’d like to share with you just some of the many artists that drew inspiration from the amazing talent that appeared on the show.

Ariana Grande Grew Up Watching Judy Garland VHS Tapes

In a 2013 Billboard interview, Ariana Grande gave her top five all time inspirational singers. Among that list was none other than Judy Garland. During the interview she said, “I grew up watching videos of her concerts and her movies. Every day my mom and I would watch a different Judy Garland VHS. I love how she tells a story when she sings. It was just about her voice and the words she was singing — no strings attached or silly hair or costumes, just a woman singing her heart out. I feel like that doesn’t happen that much anymore.” Apart from this interview, Grande also went as far as to impersonate Garland during a 2016 SNL sketch. The sketch was about Garland’s self-funded 1961 space film Up We Go in Our Fantastic Rocket. Grande was spot on from Garland’s mannerisms to her quirks, a performance that could only be accomplished by a true Garland aficionado. 

James Brown Changed Bruno Mars’ Life

Grammy singer Bruno Mars has been nothing short of a hit maker for over a decade now. But the world famous singer didn’t get to where he is today without a little bit of inspiration growing up. In a 2011 interview Mars said that one of his biggest inspirations was James Brown. He said, “I’d watch James Brown on an old concert from 1964, ‘The T.A.M.I Show’. Seeing him changed my life. I was working every night singing and going to school during the day. It was very important to me to graduate.” Many people have compared the two showmen due to their stage presence, dancing skills, and overall persona. 

Ed Sheeran Wanted To Collaborate With Stevie Wonder Before His Fame 

Ed Sheeran has enjoyed a career that so many artists could only wish of having. At only 30 years old, he’s won four Grammys, performed several world tours, and reached multi-platinum records. Apart from all his accolades, his favorite artist since day one has been Stevie Wonder. In a 2011 interview at only 20 years old, Sheeran was asked who he would love to collaborate with. He said “Stevie Wonder. In my eyes, there’s no one better than Stevie Wonder. He’s a top dude.” This story eventually comes full circle when Ed won the Grammy for Song of the Year for his hit single Love Yourself. The person who presented Ed the award was none other than Stevie Wonder. During his speech he said with great emotion, “If you would have told me 11, five, any age, that I’d receive an award from Stevie Wonder I’d be chuffed.” 

Justin Timberlake & Elvis Presley Have More Similarities Than You Think

Justin Timberlake is definitely considered a jack of all trades. However you can’t mention Justin’s versatility to entertain without putting the King of Rock and Roll’s name in that same conversation. Elvis Presley and Justin Timberlake have many similarities that many people don’t think about immediately. Right off the bat, both these men are from Memphis, Tennessee, they each have multiple Grammy wins and nominations, and are known for specific articles of clothing. Elvis for the infamous scarf, and JT for the fedora. In addition, they are also considered triple threat talents, singers, actors, and dancers. Both men were definitely ahead of their time when it came to showing the world their talent. In an interview JT spoke highly of Elvis and said, When you come from Memphis, music is in your blood. From the blues artists to Elvis Presley, they have all had a major influence on my music. I admire Elvis, always have. He combined all of these different types of music and made it one.”

Mariah Carey Used To Sneak Out Of Her Room To Listen To Gladys Knight 

It’s not a secret that Mariah Carey has been a massive Gladys Knight fan for quite some time. Mariah is such a fan that she was asked to induct Gladys into the Rock n Roll Hall of Fame ceremony in 1996. During her introduction Mariah said,“When I was a little girl, I used to sneak out of my room, steal a portable radio from the kitchen, hide under my covers and sing along to Midnight Train to Georgia, Neither One of Us, and The Best Thing That Happened to Me.” “The voice of Gladys Knight pulled me through a lot of lonely times and I just wanted to thank her for that tonight. Unlike some who came after her, she’s not about image, or shock value, Gladys is a singer singer she’s as real as it gets, all she has to do is stand there and sing she’ll blow you away. She doesn’t have to follow trends or set them, it’s all about that voice, her incredible gift from God.” Following Carey’s introduction, Gladys received a well deserved standing ovation from the audience that left her speechless and full of gratitude.

Michael Bublé Loved Christmas Because Of Bing Crosby Not Presents 

In a 2018 interview, Michael Bublé was asked about his singing style and who inspired him growing up. He went on to say that his uncle was a big inspiration along with the iconic Bing Crosby. He said,“Its funny, when I was about six or seven years old, Christmas would come around, and I loved it so much, not because of the presents, but because Bing Crosby’s White Christmas album would be playing throughout the house and even at that young age, I thought it was the coolest stuff in the world, I fell in love with it.” Bublé is such a super fan that in his 2012 Home For The Holiday’s Christmas Special due to a little help of technology and good editing, he was able to sing along to his favorite Christmas song with Crosby by his side along with some funny dialogue between them, making for the ultimate tribute.     

Justin Bieber Has Been Modeling Michael Jackson Since His Early Years 

In an interview with Forbes, Justin Bieber was asked about why he wanted to be an entertainer. Surprisingly enough he said, “It’s only one person, everything I do is modeled after Michael Jackson. Not only was he a great dancer, performer, and entertainer, he made a charitable act out of it, he was a philanthropist, he was that guy that gave back with everything.” Needless to say, Justin’s career has skyrocketed since then and today he’s one of the most renowned entertainers. In addition, Bieber has also taken on philanthropic projects to give back to his community and his fan base. Much like Mr. Jackson did, Bieber continues to release hit after hit and continues adding to his legacy. 

Taylor Swift Wrote An Essay Dedicated To Brenda Lee

In 2017, Taylor Swift wrote an essay dedicated to Brenda Lee for Woman Walk the Line, a book of personal essays about the most influential women in country music. In the essay Swift recounts a memory of her and her mother rewatching an old award show that Brenda Lee performed on. Swift praises the singer and goes into detail about the specific performance. “She starts to sing. That’s when you hear the gold, and you watch her as she holds the crowd in the palm of her hand.” Swift’s essay is a brief page and a half but that’s all the space she needed to get her feelings and praise for the bonafide singer. She talks about Lee’s shine on stage to why she’s one of the greats. “There’s a reason she’s been able to move people to their feet for almost sixty years. Brenda Lee is grace. Brenda Lee is class and composure.” Much like Brenda Lee, Taylor Swift has built this image of herself of being a golden singer that can take on any challenge and let her voice do the talking. During the 2009 Grammy Awards, Swift performed a cover of Lee’s “I’m Sorry”. This is a perfect example of following your dreams, and putting yourself in the same position as your heroes. 

Joe Rogan Considers Rodney Dangerfield To Be One Of The Greatest 

During episode #884 of The Joe Rogan Experience podcast, comedians Joe Rogan & Joey Diaz talk about comedy, and who were some of the best to ever do it. At one point Rogan asks Diaz “How much do you know about Rodney Dangerfield?.” It was at this moment that the two men took a deep dive into one of the best comics to ever take the stage. Rogan talked about being a security guard at a comedy club in Massachusetts at 19 years old and briefly seeing Rodney backstage for a few seconds, and nevertheless holding onto that moment like a priceless artifact. Rogan followed by saying “When you think about all time influential figures, with his Rodney Dangerfiels specials, he introduced the world to some of the greatest of all time.” “That guy was awesome, I’m so glad I got to meet him.” Diaz went on to say that he starred in a Rodney Dangerfield movie, and that he wasn’t necessarily on the call sheet but Rodney liked him so much he called his house, his agent, and eventually got him in the movie. Dangerfield will always be considered among the greats, and it’s through his fans and fellow comedians that he’s earned his well deserved respect. 

Barack Obama & Bruce Springsteen Talk About The Ed Sullivan Show’s Influence

In 2021, the Renegades podcast released a series called Born In The USA starring music legend Bruce Springsteen and former President Barack Obama. These two influential men talk about everything from living the American dream, their pasts, and of course, music. During the American Renewal episode, they talk about the influence that both The Beatles and Elvis had on each of their childhoods and their appearances on The Ed Sullivan Show. President Obama kicked off the discussion by commenting about Elvis and The Beatles, comparing their stardom to God and how they were both so popular. He continued to say, “The reason (they were so popular) is cause they were on the Ed Sullivan Show.” “Right? Elvis is on the Ed Sullivan Show. Ah, that was part of that common culture.” 

Springstein replied, “Elvis, you know, Elvis was part of my childhood, wasn’t part of my teenagehood, was part of my childhood when I was 9. That’s when … I saw him on the Ed Sullivan Show.” 

The broad influence of The Ed Sullivan Show on our culture is undisputed and affected not just the most distinguished names of our times, but also those who still fondly recollect unforgettable moments shared with Ed.

These phenomenal artists found some of their earliest inspiration on The Ed Sullivan Show. Which artists have given you the most inspiration and left a lasting impact on you?

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