Musicians have always needed some sort of platform from which to promote themselves, and before music videos became commonplace, the logical avenue was prime time television. Even if the premise was painfully clichÃ©d (the Mosquitoes on Gilligan's Island, anyone?), it was a mutually beneficial arrangement; the episode was guaranteed to attract hordes of teen viewers, and the band garnered valuable exposure. Here are seven examples.
1. Chad & Jeremy Invade U.S. TV
British duo Chad and Jeremy fancied themselves as the U.K. version of the Everly Brothers, but had only limited success in their homeland. However, their timing was perfect to make a splash in the U.S., what with both the British Invasion and the folk music craze being in full swing on these shores. C&J had a string of hits on the American charts and at one point were the default duo for any TV show requiring mop-topped singers with a British accent. They appeared on The Dick Van Dyke Show, Batman, Laredo, and even The Patty Duke Show, as seen here:
2. Buffalo Springfield on Mannix?
Joe Mannix was as tough as they came when it came to hard-boiled private eyes, and he had a darned fine head of hair that never got mussed whether he was clocking a perp with his mean right hook or chasing after one in his customized Toronado convertible. In a 1967 episode of the Mannix detective series titled "Warning: Live Blueberries," Joe visited a counter-culture-type nightclub on the Sunset Strip in search of a runaway college coed. If you watch carefully, through the smoky haze you can catch glimpses of Buffalo Springfield playing in the background. That clip is unavailable online, so instead we invite you to enjoy Stephen Stills, Neil Young, et al performing on an episode of The Hollywood Palace later that same year. Notice that the bass player is performing with his back to the audience. That's because he is a roadie filling in for bassist Bruce Palmer, who had recently been deported back to his native Canada after a drug bust.
3. The First Bewitched Appearance to Lack Magic
Tommy Boyce and Bobby Hart were very successful songwriters who also yearned to be pop stars in their own right. They'd auditioned to become members of The Monkees, but instead of getting on-camera roles, they were hired to write hit songs for the Prefab Four. Boyce and Hart eventually did hit the Top 10 on their own in 1968 with "I Wonder What She's Doing Tonight." Two years later, their star had faded and they tried to revive their career with an appearance on Bewitched that only served to emphasize two sad facts of life: fringed vests and cowboy hats can't cover up goofy dance moves, and women should not attempt to turn horse blankets into slacks.
4. The Munsters dig on The Standells
The Standells are familiar to Boston Red Sox fans thanks to their hit "Dirty Water," which is played after every home victory. We hate to burst anyone's bubble, but the Standells are from California, not Massachusetts. Worse still, they didn't even write the song-- their producer did. A year before "Dirty Water" was released, The Standells played a command performance on The Munsters, during which they played a version of The Beatles' "I Want to Hold Your Hand" and another song called "Come On and Ringo." (Hardcore Standells fans have been searching for a copy of this tune forever, and it still hasn't turned up anywhere, not even on a bootleg.) Click here to see the performance.
5. The Seeds (and some Mothers-in-Law) inspire the Ramones
The Mothers-in-Law was a Desilu production that lasted two seasons in the late 1960s. The show centered around next-door neighbors whose adult children married each other and moved into the garage (converted into an apartment) behind their parents' houses. In one episode, the kids decide they want to manage a rock band called The Warts, but they need their parents' financial help. "The Warts" were actually the proto-punk band The Seeds, who performed their garage classic "Pushin' Too Hard." (The late Joey Ramone later revealed that this song was what inspired him to become a singer and form a band.)
6. Rock rocks the F Troop
How much influence did the then-new genre of rock and roll have overall on 1960s popular culture? Enough so that bands turned up in the strangest places, including post-Civil War America. An appearance by long-haired men bearing guitars was guaranteed to bring in ratings, so a ragtag group of musicians called The Bedbugs popped up on an episode of F Troop, playing electric guitars on a stagecoach (of course). Eagle-eyed viewers will note that two of the Bedbugs were Lowell George and Richie Hayward, who would later gain fame as founding members of Little Feat.
7. The Flintstones get Sly
The Beau Brummels were one of several successful bands to emerge from the Bay Area during the mid-1960s. Listening to their hit "Laugh, Laugh" (performed here on The Flintstones), with its oh-so-mellow Summer of Love ambiance, it's hard to believe that it was produced by Sly Stewart, who would later go on to front the funk/R&B group Sly and the Family Stone.