Late Night: Bands Subverted Censors With More Grace Than Miley Cyrus’ Twerking

Ed Sullivan seemed really old fashioned and creepy to me, I just couldn’t watch him as kid; but in retrospect, despite CBS cutting off Elvis below the waist and forcing the Rolling Stones and the Doors to change their lyrics (which was a fail on both counts),  he had some pretty cool acts on. Or maybe there were just some really cool bands back then.

Check out Mick Jagger’s eye roll when he sings the CBS-approved lyrics…and how he sneaks in the verboten phrase at approx 1:30.

These bands really bucked society way more than Miley Cyrus wiggling her butt. Petula Clark bucked her TV sponsors, Chrysler, whose vice president got freaked out when the singer touched Harry Belafonte during their duet of “On the Path of Glory,” an anti-war song that Clark had written.  Doyle Lott, a vice president from Chrysler, the show’s sponsor, was present at the taping, and wanted the duet reshot because it might upset Southern viewers. Clark and her husband Claude Wolff, the show’s producers, destroyed all the other takes of the song, and delivered the finished program to NBC, telling the network that they could air it as it was delivered, or not air it all. NBC aired the special, and Lott was relieved of his duties at Chrysler a month before the show aired. This was 1968.

What momentous musical performances have you seen on TV?

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