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  1. #1

    Motown Performers FIRST Television Appearances

    I was just reading the following in Robin Seymour's new book just published.

    Johnny Carson asked his guest Smokey Robinson "Your first appearance on television was on American Bandstand, right?" "No," Smokey replied. "My first television appearance was 1965 in Detroit on a local dance show called Swingin' Time, hosted by Robin Seymour."

    First I ever heard this about Smokey.

    Now, let's try to see if we can have a running tabulation of the other Motown artists and where their first television appearance was. Let's try to cover as many as we can. This should be interesting.

    Thanks for any input you can provide on this question.

  2. #2
    1965? Seems kinda late for their first television appearance, especially after having hits like Shop Around, You Really Got a Hold On Me and Mickey's Monkey were all top 10 hits.

  3. #3
    Quote Originally Posted by SatansBlues View Post
    1965? Seems kinda late for their first television appearance, especially after having hits like Shop Around, You Really Got a Hold On Me and Mickey's Monkey were all top 10 hits.
    Smokey could have been right about the tv show but definitely wrong about the year.

    Often acts are probably the worst when it comes to facts about their own careers. For example, on her 1977 tv special, Diana says the Supremes' first tv appearance was on Ed Sullivan, although they had been on Steve Allen, Shindig!, and others before that. Plus I'm sure many of them probably did any number of local or regional shows in addition to national broadcast.

  4. #4
    The Miracles were on "Saturday Hop" a Miami Bandstand type of show in 1963 doin Mickeys Monkey their new hit. They were GREAT. Mary Wells was on American Bandstand 1962. In fact the Miracles were on the same day as the Cookies on Saturday Hop.

  5. #5
    Most of the earlier Motown artists appeared on local and regional television years before they were on national TV. WXYZ, Channel 7 Detroit had a number of the local Motown artists on their various shows.

  6. #6
    How great would it be if there was footage of all these first TV appearances?

  7. They also did Shindig! in November of 1964

  8. #8
    I believe Marv Johnson appeared on AB or another Dick Clark TV show as early as 1959-60.

  9. #9
    Quote Originally Posted by Optimal Saint View Post
    How great would it be if there was footage of all these first TV appearances?
    That would both blow my mind and steal my heart!...

  10. #10
    Quote Originally Posted by splanky View Post
    That would both blow my mind and steal my heart!...
    Agreed! Holy grail!!

  11. #11
    Think the Miracles' first TV appearance was on "American Bandstand" in early 1961. Least that's what I read in one of the Motown books (the Posner one if I'm not mistaken).

  12. #12
    The first date on Bandstand I have is Dec. 27. 1960 when they performed "Shop Around" next was May 28. 1962 "I`ll Try Something New" they appeared on Shindig Nov. 4 1964, New Lloyd Thaxton Nov. 6 1964, Ready Steady Go Dec. 4 1964 and Thank Your Lucky Stars Dec. 12 1964 before Teen Town.Please correct me if I`m wrong as I`m working on this project.

  13. #13
    Quote Originally Posted by Roger Polhill View Post
    The first date on Bandstand I have is Dec. 27. 1960 when they performed "Shop Around" next was May 28. 1962 "I`ll Try Something New" they appeared on Shindig Nov. 4 1964, New Lloyd Thaxton Nov. 6 1964, Ready Steady Go Dec. 4 1964 and Thank Your Lucky Stars Dec. 12 1964 before Teen Town.Please correct me if I`m wrong as I`m working on this project.
    Believe me, he knows! Thank you Roger for that information. I hope all if fine.

  14. #14
    Hi Marv, I`m flattered I hope you are right! You stay safe. You`ll receive a package in the next few days which I hope you will enjoy.

  15. #15
    Gladys Knight would have been on the Box early 50s when she was a child star. I know she was definitely on the radio when she won a national talent competition

  16. #16
    Quote Originally Posted by Roger Polhill View Post
    Hi Marv, I`m flattered I hope you are right! You stay safe. You`ll receive a package in the next few days which I hope you will enjoy.
    Ok, but I can't get you anything until Christmas! LOL! I very much appreciate whatever I receive from you. Thanks my friend.

  17. #17
    Quote Originally Posted by soulwally View Post
    Gladys Knight would have been on the Box early 50s when she was a child star. I know she was definitely on the radio when she won a national talent competition
    My mother was telling me the other day when I told her that Stevie Wonder just turned 70, that she use to go see him anytime he was performing back in the day and he was so small that they had to hold him up almost in the air so that the audience could see him! Stevie and other Motown artists would play dances around Detroit, Toledo, Flint etc in the early days.

  18. #18
    From memory, I believe that the Miracles lip synced to 'That's what love is made of' on RSG and presumably did the same on TYLS. I saw the performance on RSG, which I avidly watched every week, and probably also saw TYLS as well but sometimes missed the latter as it went out early Saturday evenings and soccer viewing commitments sometimes meant I missed this. Remember being amazed at Smokey's voice!

  19. #19
    Quote Originally Posted by reese View Post
    Diana says the Supremes' first tv appearance was on Ed Sullivan, although they had been on Steve Allen, Shindig!, and others before that.
    They even did overseas TV appearances before Ed Sullivan didn't they? The UK TOTP & Dutch TV appearances where they sang Lovelight as well as the first two hits but before Come See About Me was released.

  20. #20
    Quote Originally Posted by Levi Stubbs Tears View Post
    They even did overseas TV appearances before Ed Sullivan didn't they? The UK TOTP & Dutch TV appearances where they sang Lovelight as well as the first two hits but before Come See About Me was released.
    They also appeared on local Detroit television shows before Ed Sullivan and all of that.

  21. #21
    Quote Originally Posted by Roger Polhill View Post
    The first date on Bandstand I have is Dec. 27. 1960 when they performed "Shop Around" next was May 28. 1962 "I`ll Try Something New" they appeared on Shindig Nov. 4 1964, New Lloyd Thaxton Nov. 6 1964, Ready Steady Go Dec. 4 1964 and Thank Your Lucky Stars Dec. 12 1964 before Teen Town.Please correct me if I`m wrong as I`m working on this project.
    Thanks! I forgot that I saw that date on Posner's book.

  22. #22
    Quote Originally Posted by Levi Stubbs Tears View Post
    They even did overseas TV appearances before Ed Sullivan didn't they? The UK TOTP & Dutch TV appearances where they sang Lovelight as well as the first two hits but before Come See About Me was released.
    I think they did the Steve Allen Show for Where Did Our Love Go. I think. I could have the wrong show, I'll look it up.

    Yeah, they did the Steve Allen Show on September 27, 1964. They went to the UK the following month to do Baby Love on TOTP and then performed on Dutch TV prior to them returning back to the States to do Ed Sullivan in December.
    Last edited by midnightman; 05-22-2020 at 12:07 AM.

  23. #23
    I believe the Supremes first UK TV performance may have been on RSG when they lip synced to both Where Did Our Love Go & Baby Love. The latter was announced as their next UK release which would have placed the show on about early October. I recall the performance of the latter song well, co-compere Keith Fordyce was seated on a chair surrounded by the 3 girls who pretended to be singing the song to him personally. Each of them individually smothered him with hugs and kisses during the performance. I guess some guys have all the luck!

  24. #24
    Quote Originally Posted by Peter G View Post
    I believe the Supremes first UK TV performance may have been on RSG when they lip synced to both Where Did Our Love Go & Baby Love. The latter was announced as their next UK release which would have placed the show on about early October. I recall the performance of the latter song well, co-compere Keith Fordyce was seated on a chair surrounded by the 3 girls who pretended to be singing the song to him personally. Each of them individually smothered him with hugs and kisses during the performance. I guess some guys have all the luck!
    Hi Peter,
    Nice for you to share your recollections of this show. It's great to visualize now the show especially when there's nothing else left.
    You have probably watched some other tv shows with the Supremes in the UK in 1964, 1965 and 1968 and maybe you can share some more ! or even try to help to determine from which shows are some pictures on the site :

    http://dianarosssupremes.free.fr/TV60Unknown.htm

    http://dianarosssupremes.free.fr/

  25. #25
    Hi Lauren

    I have had a look at the two sites to which you directed me but regret that the only one I can identify is the Sunday Night at the London Palladium show which is correctly identified as being on 28th January 1968. At the time I did record that portion of the show on a reel to reel tape that unfortunately got thrown out over the years. Specifically recall them singing In & Out of Love and have a vague recollection that they may also have performed 'There's a place for us' in which they stated their performance of the song was a tribute to Dr King but I cannot be positively certain on this point. There is a DVD set available in the UK that contains PDF logs for a number of the London Palladium shows and it stated that the group was scheduled to sing In & Out Of Love plus 2 others on that show. Alas the DVD set does not contain any footage of the shows. It gives no details of what they performed on their earlier appearance on the show on 21 March 1965.

    Otherwise, given the passage of time, other than the RSG show, I cannot recall any other shows.

  26. #26
    Marvin Gaye's first TV performance was on American Bandstand in 1963 or 64.
    Stevie's on Ed Sullivan in 1963.

    I forget the month on each.

  27. #27
    Peter, I believe that it was "Stop! In The Name Of Love" on 21st. March.The earliest appearance I can find is Jan. 1 1964. on Swingin` Time doing "When The Lovelight..."
    Marvin Gaye`s debut is probably American Bandstand on Oct. 22 1962. doing "Stubborn Kind Of Fellow"

  28. #28
    Hi Roger. You are almost certainly right as 'Stop In the Name of Love' had just been released in the UK at the time and entered the UK charts the following week. The Supremes were not the top act on that particular show (it was the UK comedians Morecambe & Wise) and thus would have been restricted to 2-3 numbers. I assume that they would have performed 'Baby Love' as that had been a recent UK number 1. If they performed any other numbers these could well have been 'Where Did our Love Go' ( a top 10 hit in the UK) or 'Come See About Me' (although the latter only just got in the Top 30 in the UK). The only other alternative was that, given the variety show setting, they performed one of their showbiz numbers.

  29. #29
    Quote Originally Posted by Roger Polhill View Post
    Peter, I believe that it was "Stop! In The Name Of Love" on 21st. March.The earliest appearance I can find is Jan. 1 1964. on Swingin` Time doing "When The Lovelight..."
    Marvin Gaye`s debut is probably American Bandstand on Oct. 22 1962. doing "Stubborn Kind Of Fellow"
    Hi Roger,

    I would be very interested to know where you got the information about the date of the show on which the Supremes sang "When The Lovelight". Is the date exact or approximative ?

  30. #30
    Hi Laurent, I`m sorry but I don`t know how I got this information. I had lists of most of the US. Tv shows and appear to have discarded most. I wouldn`t have made it up - maybe misinformed. I`ll keep looking.

  31. #31
    Quote Originally Posted by Roger Polhill View Post
    Peter, I believe that it was "Stop! In The Name Of Love" on 21st. March.The earliest appearance I can find is Jan. 1 1964. on Swingin` Time doing "When The Lovelight..."
    Marvin Gaye`s debut is probably American Bandstand on Oct. 22 1962. doing "Stubborn Kind Of Fellow"
    Ah okay! Yeah that would make sense. Thanks for the date!

  32. #32
    Does anyone know when Mary Wells and Martha & The Vandellas had their first tv appearance? Or the Contours?

  33. #33
    Mary`s first looks like American Bandstand July 7. 1961 with "I Don`t Want To Take A Chance", Martha`s either Ready Steady Go Nov. 6. 1964 doing "Heat Wave" & "Dancing In The Street"or a show called Top Beat also in 1964. I don`t have songs or dates. Contours only have Hy Lit Show in 1967.The must have been on Bandstand but I can`t find any reference.I would appreciate any corrections so that I can get my records straight.

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