by Robert Wilkinson
Today is the birthday of two musical giants! So tonight we have two Saturday Night Attitude tunes.
Harry Belafonte (March 1, 1927) is one of the best known singers, songwriters, and actors in American history, along with being a passionate social activist. Once known as “the King of Calypso” in the 1950s, he had 50+ year careers in film and music while also being a major civil, human, and political rights activist, humanitarian, UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador, Godfather of Live Aid, and outspoken critic of retrograde politics.
I found some great videos from various points in his career that should make you feel happy, and if you’re moved to dance, well, get it on!
For Harry’s contribution to our Saturday Night dance, here’s a song with some kind of attitude! For your dancing enjoyment, a truly great live 1997 performance at SUNY of his signature hit, "Day-O (the Banana Boat song)"
From 1966 in Sweden at a MLK benefit, here’s a great clip of Harry in a live performance of his first single, "Matilda."
From 1957, a live performance on the Nat King Cole show with Harry and Nat doing a duet “Mama Look A Boo Boo.”
From 1966, Harry and Danny Kaye doing a live performance of “Hava Nagila”
From later in his career, a live performance of “Try to Remember”
We’ll close this brief tribute to Harry with a fantastic live performance of his internationally known mega-hit, “Jamaica Farewell” - check it out!!
For our first encore, we’ll close with two different funny takes on Harry’s contribution to our Saturday Night Attitude! First, a great short clip from one of several movies I worked on. I did script and character development with the guy that wrote this scene, my dear long-departed friend Warren Skaaren. For your remembrance and enjoyment, from 1988’s “Beetlejuice,” "Day-O (the Banana Boat song)"
We’ll close Harry’s contribution to our Saturday Night Attitude dance with a clip of Harry and the Muppets doing a very funny performance of "Day-O (the Banana Boat song)"
We now move to the other birthday boy, the amazing Roger Daltry (1 March 1944), front man for the Who. As I wrote for Peter Townshend’s birthday celebration,
I saw the Who 6 times between 1967 and 1976. They were a unique pyrotechnical sonic spectacle, and were the first to pioneer the destruction of their instruments as a work of performance art. Even though it started by mistake, it became a standard of their act, and was the influence imitated by Jimi, the Yardbirds in the movie "Blow Up," and a hundred acts since then.
At the forefront of it all was Peter Townshend, thrashing at his guitar, making windmill moves that hit on the strings until his fingers were bloody. As Pete leapt with both feet in the air, Roger Daltrey was slinging the mic in circles that grew ever wider until the mic went straight up to the ceiling only for him to jerk it down at the exact moment he needed to sing, yell, or scream some memorable line into it.
Keith Moon had the biggest drum kit I'd ever seen, and played every one of those drums and every cymbal including both base drums going simultaneously frenetic and pounding out rhythms and counter rhythms no other drummer had ever done, or has ever done since. He played a thousand beats a minute in every form imaginable, and destroyed his kit after every performance I ever saw. I also gather he blew up more hotel toilets than any person in history, but that's a story of "Moon the Loon."
Through it all John Entwhistle stood stiff and tall, expressionless, pounding out bass lines that with the drums created the most frenetic rhythm section imaginable. All of this was held together by the songs, sonic and powerful and soaring and deep and driving and ringing the hall until the audience just stood there in awe.
The Who at their peak are generally considered one of the best rock bands in history, right up there with the Beatles, Rolling Stones, and Led Zeppelin. They played both the Monterrey Pop Festival AND Woodstock!
Here are a few amazing video performances of this singular force of nature that electrified the world of the 1960s, 1970s, and 1980s, so enjoy this blonde “Ox” whose voice gave us such lines as “meet the new boss, same as the old boss,” and “won’t get fooled again.” Besides his music, his performance as Tommy in the movie of the same name was at times chilling, moving, and jaw-dropping, as were his performances in the Who performance tour rockumentary film "The Kids Are Alright." Either or both of these movies are worth a new look!
First, the Who’s contribution to our Saturday Night Attitude dance! This song has enormous attitude, with “meet the new boss, same as the old boss!” This clip of Roger Daltrey’s performance of our second Saturday Night Attitude tune comes from their concert at Voorburg in 1973, “Won’t Get Fooled Again”
We now move into some “tame” stuff from early in their career. It’s still infinitely danceable, and as Pete once put it “straightforward Kink copying.” Here's a promotional video done in 1964 for their first smash hit, "I Can't Explain."
Here’s an early gem from 1965, a video of the Who lip-synching to the awesome studio version of “Substitute” John's "lead bass" pumps big time!
A rare (and very twisted!) gem! I found the original studio version of a song John wrote for the B side of "Substitute," "Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde."
This one's a lost gem! From an uncompleted movie in 1964, back when the Who were known as the High Numbers, here's "The High Numbers performing "Ooh Poo Pah Doo" and "I Gotta Dance To Keep From Crying."
Here's The Who on the last "Shindig!" show in 1965! Last year I had all three in a medley, but this year it’s disappeared. Still, I found all three tunes, so keep dancing to "I Can't Explain," followed by "Daddy Rolling Stone," and we close with major attitude, "My Generation."
From the Happy Jack album, stills set to the studio cut of Entwistle's "Doctor, Doctor."
Some live performances! From the Beat Club, 1967, "I'm A Boy,"
Another of my favorite tunes from that era! Here are the Who live at the Marquee Club in 1967 doing “So Sad ‘Bout Us.”
Here's The Who live in Helsinki 1967 doing "Substitute" and "My Generation." (The performance begins about 8 minutes in.)
From the same era in 1967 on the Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour, the Who lip-synching to the studio version of “I Can See For Miles”
A great live performance of the controversial masterpiece, "Pictures of Lily."
Here's an exciting (and loud!) version of the John Entwistle song opening the great Live At Leeds concert album. If you're so inclined, turn it up! "Heaven and Hell."
From their live performance at the Isle of Wight Festival in 1970 with John Entwistle in a skeleton outfit leading the Who in opening the set with "Heaven and Hell." You'll note that he's the only one standing still with an imperturbable look on his face in the midst of the swirling chaos!
Here’s as much of the entire 1969 set at the Isle of Wight as I could find. It's b/w, but it's still the Who!
From a few years later, here's John Entwistle performing a song he wrote for the "Happy Jack" album. Live on the King Biscuit Flour Hour in 1975. set to stills, "Whiskey Man."
I was in Houston Texas November 1975 for this show! It was the first show of their 1975 US tour, and I and my friends had been waiting for that night for a long time! Yes, they really did achieve a “maximum r & b sound” on stage that rivaled or surpassed what they did in the studio when they weren’t maxing out their amps!
I found as many clips from that show as I could, and put them in order of the set list. For your enjoyment, a live concert by the Who of
From the same 1975 tour, this time in Cleveland, the Who doing John's composition "Boris the Spider."
Here they are live in Essen in 1981 doing “You Better You Bet”
Here’s the official music video from 1981 of the Who doing "You Better,You Bet."
From Maple Leaf Gardens, Toronto, 17th December 1982, the Who doing "Boris the Spider."
Here’s a live performance by the Who at Radio City Music Hall in 1989 set to stills of the haunted John Entwistle composition from "Tommy," "Cousin Kevin."
We’ll close this birthday tribute and Saturday Night Attitude Dance with two songs from 1978, one of the last performances with Keith Moon! For your enjoyment, the magnificent “Baba O’Reilly” And from the same gig, one of our Saturday Night Attitude tunes, “Won’t Get Fooled Again”
For our first encore, an incredible set from 1970! For your continued listening and dancing enjoyment, an 85 minute rockumentary concert of Listening to You - The Who Live At the Isle of Wight 1970
For our second encore, another incredible 1 hour 33 minute set from 1970! The Who at Tanglewood MA 1970
For the third encore (I TOLD you they are one of my favorite bands in history!), 24 tunes delivered in 2 hours and 37 minutes! This includes hits from every era of their career! Roger’s looking and sounding great! The Who – Concert for the People of Kampuchea
So here’s a big birthday shout-out to two major league talents whose voices still resonate today! May you both have many more years and many more songs.
© Copyright 2014 Robert Wilkinson