Friday, October 7th, 2022

DVD Review: Ed Sullivan’s Rock & Roll Classics

Why isn’t Ed Sullivan in the Rock And Roll Hall of Fame? The host of the long running variety show on CBS was responsible for two of the biggest moment in Rock history. On September 9, 1956, Ed Sullivan introduced Elvis Presley to an audience of 60 million people. That was over 80% of the people who had access to TV. He launched a kid from Memphis into the stratosphere. Then on February 9, 1964, 73 million people huddled around their tiny black and white TV sets to experience the British Invasion with the Beatles. Think of how the musical tastes changed for millions of viewers on those two nights.

Ed’s show booked so many rock legends including the Rolling Stones, The Doors, The Beach Boys and The Byrds. How can he not be inducted and enshrined in Cleveland? Perhaps they view Ed Sullivan as not a rock and roll kind of guy? He was an entertainment gossip columnist in New York City who was able to finagle hosting the show from 1948 until the cancelation in 1971. He had all sorts of acts booked on his show from comics to opera to Broadway casts to spinning plates. He wasn’t exclusively rock and roll. If your family tuned in on Sundays at 8 p.m., there was something for everybody coming up on his really big show. The good news is that Ed Sullivan’s Rock & Roll Classics is focused just on the rock acts.

This is more than a random compilation of performance clips. The DVD feature episodes from a series that was made in the late ’90s. Jay Thomas (Cheers) narrates the episodes by giving a sense of historical context and background on the various acts. This allows you to appreciate the performances more than just running a bunch of clips. The acts are grouped so you can experience of the pioneers of rock or the British Invasion bands. There are quite a few bands from the psychedelic times. This is the kind of treasure trove of performances that would excite avid listeners of Little Steven’s Underground Garage.