The Ed Sullivan Show and the Sounds of the Sixties - Article Example

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In this paper “The Ed Sullivan Show and the Sounds of the Sixties” the author is going to do a critical reading and analysis of the article, which states that censorship in the music industry is not a new phenomenon, rather it has existed right from the 1960s and the era of rock and roll…
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The Ed Sullivan Show and the Sounds of the Sixties
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"The Ed Sullivan Show and the Sounds of the Sixties"

This is because the Ed Sullivan Show was one of the most popular shows on CBS for three decades from 1948 to 1971 and was viewed by an average of 40 to 74 million Americans during that time (Inglis, 559). Bob Dylan "Talkin' John Birch Society Blues" The first example given by the author of censorship in the 1960s was in the performance of Bob Dylan’s ‘Talking John’. Dylan had been asked to audition for the show in 1962 but was subsequently not invited to perform. However his prowess as a singer-songwriter of originality was winning him more and more acclaim and CBS invited him to perform in 1963, pending the upcoming release of his second album The Freewheelin’ Bob Dylan. Amazingly, the song was appreciated by Sullivan and producer Bob Precht in a private listening, but Dylan was told to change the song hours before live transmission of the show as it was libellous. He refused and walked out of the studios, earning further accolades and fame for his defiance in the light of free speech and artistic expression (Inglis, 561). Even his recording label Columbia insisted that he change 2 to 3 songs on the second album before they allowed its release in April 1963. This time Bob Dylan had no choice but to comply. The Rolling Stones "Let's Spend the Night Together" The second instance put forward by the author is when the Rolling Stones were invited to perform on the show in January 1967. They had flown in to New York especially for the occasion and were keen to promote the song Let’s Spend the Night Together. When the objection to the word night was raised due to its sexual connotation, the group agreed to change the lyrics and Mick Jagger, the group’s vocalist sang a version that sounded like ‘Let’s Spend Some Time Together’, although he refused to admit to it for a long time after that. Vocals and all, the song’s controversy contributed to its notoriety (Inglis, 562). Meanwhile this acquiescence no doubt contributed to their appearing a total of 5 times on the Ed Sullivan Show. The Doors "Light My Fire" The third instance put forward by the author is when the Doors were invited to perform on the Ed Sullivan Show in the late summer of 1967, four months after the Rolling Stones episode. The group had already achieved some success with ‘Break on Through’ and ‘Light My Fire’ but Bob Precht took offence to the latter’s lyrics particularly "girl, we couldn't get much higher" with its apparent reference to drug taking. The Doors complied with a change of lyrics in rehearsal for the show, but vocalist Jim Morrison reverted to the original lyrics in the live performance, to the considerable anger of Bob Precht, who vowed that the Doors would never do the show again. They never did, Morrison dying in Paris of an apparent heart attack on June 6, 1971. Contexts and Consequences In this section the author reminds us that the role and policy of censorship in the USA has in turn been influenced by the happenings in the social and political landscape. Dylan’s censorship episode has, therefore, to be viewed in the context of the Cuban missile crisis, the Civil Rights Movement and the anti-establishment stance of the Ku Klux Klan and the Communist extreme right-wing policies of the John Birch Society.  Read More
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