T.A.M.I. Show: Teenage Awards Music International
T.A.M.I. Show: Teenage Awards Music International (Shout! Factory)
Reviewed by Raoul Hernandez, Fri., Dec. 3, 2010
T.A.M.I. Show: Teenage Awards Music International(Shout! Factory)
"We started off opening the show, and then got to ending the intermission, and then we go to opening the second half, and within six weeks," the Rolling Stones were headlining, writes Keith Richards in his autobiography, Life. Not the T.A.M.I. Show specifically, a package bill of the day's hottest chartmakers, which loaded into the Santa Monica Civic Auditorium in Southern California, October 1964. A month later, the filmed document was in theatres, with musical direction by rock & roll's Midas touch, Jack Nitzsche, and choreographer assistance from Toni Basil ("Mickey"). Variety show clutter stays at a bare minimum in this early touchstone of pop-culture explosion, Chuck Berry ringing his bell and singing opener "Johnny B. Goode" to a canned musical track. The two-shot of him bowing next to an empty drum set as the song winds down with a kit flourish doesn't dampen the Halley's Comet gleam in his eyes. His "Maybellene" segues into Gerry & the Pacemakers doing the same song as white as possible, plus two more songs. Painful. Ditto for the go-go dancers on the scaffolding behind the stage. Then back to Berry (check the tomato in the bikini on "Nadine" – era porn), followed again by the Pacemakers: pingpong. Smokey Robinson & the Miracles finally put a stop to this with a hit triptych fronted by the singer's boyish church soul ("You Really Got a Hold on Me") and voice-breaking exuberance ("Mickey's Monkey"). Marvin Gaye grits that same Motown soul in four tunes and a tux, with a reedy bark as perfect as his grill. Nice Jewish lesbian Lesley Gore holds her own on songs penned by the likes of Ellie Greenwich & Jeff Barry ("Maybe I Know") and Lesley Sue Goldstein ("It's My Party"). Emcees Jan & Dean open for the Beach Boys, who were cut out of the film's VHS release, yet couldn't look or sound more apple pie here. Brian Wilson's unearthly vocals on "Surfer Girl" induce hallucinations, while Dennis Wilson's drum bash brings you back like defibrillation. The close-up of Diana Ross during the Supremes' "Where Did Our Love Go" brands JFK-era iconography. James Brown's 18 minutes next are equally unbelievable, a stallion somehow contained to the dance moves of a piston ("Out of Sight") and an earthen soul stretching from the Georgia brothel of his impoverished childhood to the tip of his pompadour. Richards has admitted the blunder of letting the Stones be talked into following Brown, and indeed they look like Gerry & the Pacemakers after the Godfather of Soul, except Keef gooses the hysterical female audience with moves even Mick Jagger has to compensate for. The group's five-song set peaks with "It's All Over Now," and what Jagger lacks in Brown's hoofing, he makes up for in maracas ("I'm All Right"). Sing it, Toni Basil: "Oh Mickey, you're so fine, you're so fine you blow my mind, hey Mickey."