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Echo and the Bunnymen and Billy Bragg cover the Velvets’ ‘Run Run Run’ on the BBC, 1986


 
In the 1980s the BBC used to do this thing every now and then where they would take a day and dedicate like 15 consecutive hours of programming to pop music. The recurring program was called “Rock Around the Clock”; it’s surprisingly challenging to track down information about this practice, but at the same time it seems likely that a great many DM readers in the U.K. remember these so-called TV marathons quite vividly. These “Rock Around the Clock” events were pretty much a grab bag of whatever the BBC felt like tossing in there, in a manner that might remind American readers of Night Flight during in the same era. But having a bigger budget than Night Flight, the BBC would also provide a studio for live performances.

One of these “Rock Around the Clock” days was September 20, 1986. That day rock connoisseurs could enjoy, on BBC2, the musical stylings of a-ha, Stan Ridgway, Dire Straits, and the Housemartins. A decided highlight for sure was an in-studio appearance by Echo and the Bunnymen, during which they played “The Game” and “Lips Like Sugar,” neither of which would be released officially for several months.

In addition, Ian McCulloch and Co. recruited a singer with whom they’d toured North America in 1984, that being Billy Bragg, to assist on a cover of “Run Run Run,” off of The Velvet Underground and Nico.

“Run Run Run” was in the Bunnymen repertoire at that moment, as the gang were indulging their taste for classic rock somewhat. Their cover of the Doors’ “People Are Strange” appeared on the Lost Boys soundtrack a year later, and the 1988 12-inch of “Bedbugs and Ballyhoo” featured a wealth of covers recorded at a gig in Gothenburg, Sweden: the three tracks were the already-mentioned VU cover, the Stones’ “Paint It Black,” and Television’s “Friction.” (You can also find the same three tracks on WEA’s Japan-only release New Live and Rare.)

According to Chris Adams’ exhaustive Turquoise Days: The Weird World of Echo & the Bunnymen, they also played part of the old Sinatra classic “One For My Baby,” but that section isn’t captured in this clip.
 
Watch for yourself, after the jump…...
 

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Posted by Martin Schneider
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10.17.2018
09:15 am
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Alice Cooper gets pied in the face on ‘The Soupy Sales Show’
10.16.2018
06:38 am
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When the legendary comedian Soupy Sales died in 2009, Alice Cooper issued a brief statement through his publicist:

Being from Detroit, I came home every day and watched Soupy at lunch. One of the greatest moments of my life was getting piefaced by Soupy. He was one of my all-time heroes.

Soupy Sales and a pie in the face have more to do with the Detroit of John Sinclair than you might guess. As “The Heart of Detroit by Moonlight” by the Destroy All Monsters Collective (Mike Kelley, Cary Loren, and Jim Shaw) makes clear, Soupy’s TV image inhabited the same psychic space as Alice, the MC5 and Lester Bangs. Not only was Soupy’s anarchic spirit beloved of Motor City rockers, but his actual sons, Hunt and Tony, played in Iggy Pop’s band in the seventies. The Sales brothers were Iggy’s rhythm section on part of Kill City, all of Lust for Life, and the famous 1977 tour with David Bowie.

And the way Alice Cooper took a pie (cake?) in the face at the 1970 Cincinnati Pop Festival was central to the case for the Stooges’ greatness Lester Bangs made in the pages of Creem:

So there he was: Alice Cooper, rock star, crouched frontstage in the middle of his act with a faceful of pie and cream with clots dripping from his ears and chin. So what did he do? How did he recoup the sacred time-honored dignity of the performing artist which claims the stage as his magic force field from which to bedazzle and entertain the helpless audience? Well, he pulled a handful of pie gook out of his face and slapped it right back again, smearing it into his pores and eyes and sneaking the odd little fingerlicking taste. Again and again he repeated this gesture, smearing it in good. The audience said not another word.

 

 
Here’s the full 1979 episode of The New Soupy Sales Show where Alice takes another pie in the face, cued up to Alice’s bit. Soupy finds a bug in the backyard that can sing and play piano, and he figures he can make big money if he books the insect, Buggy, as the opening act on his buddy Alice Cooper’s upcoming tour. Perhaps remembering the early-morning audition at Frank Zappa’s house that gave him his own entrée into the world of showbiz, Alice drops by Soupy’s place and listens as Buggy tears up “Autumn in New York.” It’s sensational—a star is born! But how will White Fang, the meanest dog in Detroit, react to the sudden rise of this upstart arthropod?

Find out after the jump…

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Posted by Oliver Hall
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10.16.2018
06:38 am
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The Adam Ant episode of ‘Tales from the Crypt’
10.09.2018
08:29 am
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The cover of Crime SuspenStories #27, 1955; first publication of ‘Maniac at Large’
 
John Frankenheimer, the director of The Manchurian Candidate, Seven Days in May and Seconds, got his start working in TV in the fifties. After a long absence, he returned to the medium in 1992 with this episode of Tales from the Crypt.

In “Maniac at Large,” Adam Ant plays a crime-obsessed nerd whose preoccupation with murder terrorizes the new librarian, Blythe Danner, who is all het up about a serial killer on the loose. Ant’s quite good; I’m puzzled that his acting career faltered after his promising debut in Derek Jarman’s Jubilee, and he wound up in movies like Sunset Heat and Cyber Bandits. (Someday I’ll get around to watching Wayne Wang’s Slam Dance, just to see Harry Dean Stanton, John Doe of X and Adam Ant in the same movie.)

Frankenheimer’s psychological direction, which foregrounds the distorted perspective of one of the characters, transforms the public library where the story is set into a clammy tomb of terror. I got the fears!
 

Posted by Oliver Hall
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10.09.2018
08:29 am
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Biddi-Biddi-Biddi: The beautiful outer-space babes from ‘Buck Rogers in the 25th Century’


Actress Markie Post and Gil Gerard getting their leather and spandex look on in a still from ‘Buck Rogers in the 25th Century.’
 
If my homage to adorable robot Twiki—one of the stars of the sci-fi television show Buck Rogers in the 25th Century (1979-1981), went above your head, I’m sorry. But I’m only sorry because this means that you maybe never watched the show which ran for two seasons on NBC. At the time, I was just a kid and never missed an episode as it was a continuation of its predecessor, Battlestar Galactica (1978-1979). I was such a big fan of BG and was obsessed with actor Dirk Benedict and his character Lieutenant Starbuck. The show was full of nutty plotlines and came complete with a disco soundtrack from the masterful Giorgio Moroder, which I am sure I was not able to appreciate at the time. There was even a fictional alien girl group featured on the show called the Space Angels who had the voices of singers Carolyn Willis, Marti McCall, and Myrna Matthews, a long-time collaborator with Steely Dan. Now that you can see I’m in full-on sci-fi nerd mode let’s move on to the actual point of this post, the far-out females of Buck Rogers in the 25th Century.

Buck Rogers cast of female characters in the first season alone included Jamie Lee Curtis, Catwoman Julie Newmar, Pamela Hensley, and Playboy playmate Dorothy Stratten. The show was a departure from Battlestar Galactica when it came to many things including the appearance of their female cast being more akin to the women William Shatner encountered on Star Trek. In fact, Gil Gerard’s character on Buck Rogers mirrors Captain Kirk’s when it pertains to his ability to become lip-locked with pretty much every female woman or alien he comes into contact with. Even Buck Rogers co-star the beautiful Erin Gray wasn’t immune to Rogers’ outer-space swagger. Like Battlestar, the plotlines were pushed to the edge of reason including battles with space vampires and an episode where the gang spends time on an intergalactic cruise ship filled with chicks in bikinis.

I’ve posted some great stills from the show to help illustrate my point about what a treat to the eyes this show was. And though we are technically not discussing Battlestar Galactica, I’ve posted a video of shirtless Dirk Benedict showing you how to get a “steel stomach” in an old-school workout video because it’s too awesome to keep to myself.
 

The super cool, completely hot Erin Gray as Colonel Wilma Deering.
 

Erin Gray all dolled up in the episode “Cruise Ship to the Stars” (season one, episode eleven).
 

 
More after the jump…

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Posted by Cherrybomb
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09.24.2018
11:27 am
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John, Yoko and Jerry Lewis play reggae on the MDA Telethon
09.07.2018
07:51 am
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John, Yoko, and the Nutty Beatle

This was once the time of year Harry Shearer called Telethon Season. Back-to-school sales coincided with the annual broadcast of the Jerry Lewis Telethon, whose host would come totally unglued over the show’s 21-plus hours, sobbing, geshreying and fulminating against his critics in the press.

But the golden age of telethons is over, and the show people who gave of themselves until we begged them to stop are mostly dead. The Chabad telethon still happens, but even if I could find it on the cable box (LA has a channel 18?), it wouldn’t be the same without Harry Dean Stanton and Bob Dylan playing “Hava Nagila” together, or my own sainted grandfather cutting up beneath the tote board.
 

 
So I was delighted to come across this clip of John and Yoko’s performance on the 1972 Jerry Lewis Telethon, even though Lennon biographer (and emeritus history professor and Nation contributor) Jon Wiener identifies this moment as the nadir of Lennon’s life in showbiz. The Nixon administration was then aggressively trying to have Lennon deported, and he and Yoko hoped the appearance would help them remain in the country, Wiener writes:

Before and after John and Yoko appeared, Jerry Lewis went through his telethon shtick, making maudlin appeals for cash, alternately mugging and weeping, parading victims of muscular dystrophy across the Las Vegas stage, and generally claiming to be the friend to the sick. Most offensive of all was his cuddling up to corporate America. Public-relations men from United Airlines, McDonald’s, Anheuser-Busch, and others appeared to hand Jerry checks. He responded by pontificating about what wonderful friends we all have in the corporations.

John and Yoko permitted themselves to be exploited in this way because they were trying to clean up their act, to impress the immigration authorities that they were good citizens. And, to be fair, many big stars went on the telethon; Paul and Ringo did in subsequent years. However, there were other points where John and Yoko could have stopped on their way from Jerry Rubin to Jerry Lewis.

 

 
Below, backed by Elephant’s Memory, John and Yoko play “Imagine,” “Now or Never,” and a reggae arrangement of “Give Peace a Chance.” Jerry Lewis blows his trumpet on the last number.
 

Posted by Oliver Hall
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09.07.2018
07:51 am
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Dennis Hopper is private detective H. P. Lovecraft in the occult noir TV movie ‘Witch Hunt’
08.31.2018
06:23 am
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Night Tide it isn’t, but I like this cheapo TV movie with Dennis Hopper as hardboiled private dick H. Phillip Lovecraft. In Witch Hunt, the sequel to Cast A Deadly Spell, Hopper takes over the role from Fred Ward, and Paul Schrader relieves Martin Campbell of the director’s chair.

Both early nineties HBO features are set in a post-WWII Hollywood where everyone dabbles in black magic—the Portuguese title of Witch Hunt is Ilusões Satânicas, “Satanic Illusions”—and all dirty work is left to gnomes, sylphs, undines and salamanders.

Eric Bogosian plays Senator Larson Crockett, a McCarthyite anti-magic crusader whose voice emanates from every TV and radio, speechifying about the threat the dark arts pose to the American way of life. When the actress Kim Hudson (Penelope Ann Miller) hires Lovecraft to investigate her husband, the case draws them toward some mass-movement jingoistic witchery that makes Hollywood look sweet.

The score is Twin Peaks-y jazz by Angelo Badalamenti. One scene echoes Dean Stockwell’s performance of “In Dreams” from Blue Velvet, only this time it’s Lypsinka miming “I Put A Spell on You” as Hopper looks on with pain and delight.

Have a look after the jump…

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Posted by Oliver Hall
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08.31.2018
06:23 am
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Captain Beefheart rips your head clean off in this ‘74 TV concert with the ‘Tragic Band’
08.23.2018
08:59 am
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Captain Beefheart and the Magic Band, June 1974 (via WalesOnline)
 
Don Van Vliet was capable of vocal ferocity. He commanded extremes of volume and timbre that murdered microphones. In the program below, he summons a growl that has mass and weight; it seems to gather physical force as it whizzes through the mike cable to the little paper cone in your TV, where it shoots into the air and lodges in between two of your cervical vertebrae, shivering the teeth and brains in your head. It has the texture of grooved pavement. Why, he made Barry McGuire sound like Wayne Newton!

One YouTube user identifies this show as Toronto, winter ‘74, but Beefheart didn’t play Toronto in the winter of ‘74 as far as I can tell, and the set list from his Toronto date that spring doesn’t match. Almost certainly it is the Cap’n's performance in Paris on May 24, which was broadcast on French TV. The picture that has come down to us from that faraway time is so-so; the sound is bitchin’.

Because I am blessed with the gift of clairvoyance, I can peer into the Akashic records and read comments not yet written by the future people of tomorrow, dismissing this show as a “Tragic Band” fiasco. A word of advice for these wiseacres: they should try listening to music with their fucking ears rather than their fat, saggy buttocks. No, this group is not as good as the Magic Band that played on Safe as Milk or Trout Mask Replica or Lick My Decals Off, Baby or Clear Spot or Doc at the Radar Station. Thanks for pointing that out. I hear Dom Pérignon 1989 really sucks, too.

The set list:

Mirror Man
Upon the My-O-My
Full Moon, Hot Sun
Crazy Little Thing
Sweet Georgia Brown
Peaches

This version of the broadcast is cut short. To see the encore (“You’re Gonna Need Somebody on Your Bond/Keep on Rubbin’/Who’ll Be the Next One”) and appreciate how much worse the picture could be, click here. And if you like this material, pick up London ‘74.
 

Posted by Oliver Hall
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08.23.2018
08:59 am
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Scary stories and super creeps: The illustrated nightmares of Stephen Gammell


A catchy tune and one of Stephen Gammell’s illustrations from Alvin Schwartz’s trilogy, ‘Scary Stories To Tell in the Dark.’
 
If you look at the unassuming photo used by publisher Simon and Schuster of illustrator Stephen Gammell, you will, in no way, perceive the smiling, white-bearded and spectacled man was responsible for creating images which have terrorized the minds of children since 1981. But he is, and I hope this helps reinforce the golden rule one should never judge a book (or a person) by their cover. Unless one of those books happens to be Scary Stories To Tell in the Dark. In this case, I’d recommend you let your initial impressions be your guide because Stephen Gammell’s instantly recognizable artwork is as sinister as the tales of terror spun by author Alvin Schwartz within the pages of the three-book-series.

Gammell has led a private life during his career which started in 1972, and is notoriously humble about the impact his insidious illustrations have had on generations of people. Gammell’s father was an art editor for a major magazine and would bring home art supplies for his son to help feed his appetite for art and develop his distinctive, entirely self-taught style. Here’s Gammell expounding on his very early days tapping into his gift growing up in Des Moines, Iowa:

“Some of my earliest and happiest memories are of lying on the floor in our old house in Des Moines, books, and magazines around me, piles of pads and paper, lots of pencils…and drawing. Just drawing! I was four at the time thinking that I really didn’t want to go to school next year…I just want to do THIS.”

As I mentioned, Gammell is a private person and historically has scarcely spoken about his most notorious work with Alvin Schwartz—the word-writing creep behind the trilogy Scary Stories To Tell in the Dark. Starting in 1981, the spine-tingling tales of Scary Stories hit the shelves with Gammell’s terrifying cover artwork. Schwartz’s inspiration for much of the trilogy was found in vintage books archived by the American Folklore Society (housed at the Library of Congress). They were, of course, a runaway hit, especially with kids. And being popular with “impressionable” kids seemed to be the number one reason Gammell and Schwartz collectively became public enemy number one with parents and educators. When Schwartz passed away in 1992, his books were already being submitted to the Office For Intellectual Freedom (OIF) in the hope they would be added to the list of “challenged books” maintained by OIF and eventually banned. Complaints regarding Schwartz’s tales accused the writer of being cool with various nefarious activities including cannibalism, necrophilia, and the occult. An article from 1993 published by the Chicago Tribune notes one particularly angry parent likening Schwartz to the serial killer and actual cannibal Jeffrey Dahmer because of the short story “Wonderful Sausage” where a butcher converts his wife into a bratwurst. Here’s a quote from the article by Sandy Vanderburg, a mother of two, and one of Schwartz and Gammell’s biggest haters:

“If these books were movies, they’d be R-rated because of the graphic violence. There’s no moral to them. The bad guys always win. And they make light of death. There’s a story called `Just Delicious’ about a woman who goes to a mortuary, steals another woman’s liver, and feeds it to her husband. That’s sick.”

 

An illustration by Gammell for Schwarzt’s short story “Wonderful Sausage.”
 
For the love of Sweeny Todd and those meddling kids, Hansel and Gretel, get a fucking GRIP, Sandy. Given the outrage over Scary Stories, it’s important to be clear about the Schwartz/Gammell/Scary Stories success story. As nutty as Schwartz’s fables were, what any “reader” remembers most are Gammell’s illustrations of ghouls materializing through the mist, and unfortunate characters like Harold—the impaled scarecrow. Gammell’s impact on Scary Stories fans was magnified in 2011 on the occasion of the series’ 30th anniversary when Harper’s Collins decided to replace Gammell’s original artwork with toned-down images drawn by artist Brett Helquist. With respect to Helquist, the publishers’ actions made absolutely no sense, seeing that their support of the books never wavered despite consistent, decades-long efforts to have them banned. In 2017 Harper’s came to their senses and re-released the series with all of Gammell’s diabolical illustrations intact.

2012 saw a television adaptation of the books, and in 2017 a documentary on the legacy of Scary Stories was released. In April of this year (2018) director, Guillermo del Toro confirmed he had the backing to make the film version of the trilogy, and plot details of the flick finally were revealed in early August. In addition to his chilling work for Scary Stories, Gammell’s art has appeared in 50 other non-nightmare inducing children’s books, the most recent of which tells the story of a kid who loves mud. Right on.

I’ve posted Gammell’s eerie illustrations below from the Scary Stories series. Maybe keep the lights on until you’ve seen them all (some are slightly NSFW).
 

 

 

 
Many more macabre illustrations from Stephen Gammell, after the jump…

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Posted by Cherrybomb
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08.13.2018
07:51 am
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‘The Unauthorized Story of Charlie’s Angels’: TV movie trash done right!
08.10.2018
08:28 am
Topics:
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Behind the Camera DVD
 
Back in 2004, I watched the original airing of the TV movie, Behind the Camera: The Unauthorized Story of Charlie’s Angels, with a couple of friends. Expecting it would be mostly terrible, we were surprised to find it was actually trashy good fun. I liked it so much I later picked up the DVD, which I watched again recently. I still found it highly enjoyable—it was certainly better than it needed to be.

The movie was the second in a series of NBC productions that focused on the behind the scenes drama surrounding popular ‘70s TV programs. The first centered on the sitcom Three’s Company, while the third was about the show that made Robin Williams a star, Mork & Mindy. But don’t bother searching them out—like I did—as neither are worth your time (we told you how much the Mork & Mindy one stinks).

Charlie’s Angels was a surprise hit for ABC during its first season in 1976, and made one of its three female leads, Farrah Fawcett, a massive star. It was slammed by many critics for lacking substance and exploiting women (one reviewer called the program “family-style porn”), but there were others who viewed it as a groundbreaking show centered around three strong female characters.
 
Angels in Chains
A publicity still for the infamous ‘Angels in Chains’ episode, 1976.

Behind the Camera explores the controversial aspects of the show, but there’s also a lot of interesting details regarding how Charlie’s Angels got made, and examines how its stars, especially Fawcett, handled their fame. But the movie never gets too heavy, keeping things light in a knowing way. Lines like, “We must stop nipple protrusion on ABC,” and “We’re private dicks, not purring pussies,” are a total riot and deliberately trashy. Forced camp almost never works, but it absolutely does here.

Some of the casting is noteworthy. It’s remarkable how much Christina Chambers (Jaclyn Smith) and Lauren Stamile (Kate Jackson) resemble the actresses they’re portraying, as they not only look just like Smith and Jackson, but nail their cadences, too. On the other hand, Tricia Helfer doesn’t look that much like Farrah Fawcett, but she still does a fine job. Then there’s Dan Castellaneta (best known as the voice of Homer Simpson), who’s a tour de force as the legendary pipe chewing producer, Aaron Spelling. He shoulda won an Emmy!
 
Dan C as Aaron S
 
More after the jump…

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Posted by Bart Bealmear
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08.10.2018
08:28 am
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Manic Street Preacher: Neil Diamond gets evangelical on ‘The Johnny Cash Show,’ 1970


Neil Diamond and Johnny Cash.
 
One of Brooklyn’s finest, Neil Diamond, was 29 when he joined one of his heroes, 38-year old Johnny Cash on Cash’s short-lived variety program The Johnny Cash Show, which aired on February 7th, 1970.

After leaving Brooklyn for a short stint (Diamond’s father Kieve was in the military), the family ended up in Cheyenne, Wyoming where Neil would discover “singing cowboy” movies, exposing the young Diamond to the genre of country music. Later when the family returned to Brooklyn, Neil’s folks gave him an inexpensive acoustic guitar for his birthday. Diamond was already performing with his high school chorus along with another Brooklyn native, Barbra Streisand. A talented fencer, Diamond’s swordplay (not with Babs) got him a college scholarship where he would enroll as a pre-med student. Though “Dr. Neil Diamond” has a nice ring to it, Diamond, already a rabid songwriter, succumbed to his passion for music and dropped out to make it as a musician.

When Diamond appeared on The Johnny Cash Show, he was basking in the glow of his success as a songwriter and a solo artist. In 1966 he penned the monster hit “I’m a Believer” for The Monkees and also had a smash of his own the same year with “Solitary Man.” Interesting Cash/Diamond side note; 34 years later, Johnny Cash would cover “Solitary Man” on his deeply moving album, American III: Solitary Man. For Cash’s show, Diamond chose to perform a gospel-inspired number called “Brother Love’s Travelling Salvation Show” from his 1969 album of the same name. The invigorating single irritated evangelical southerners, due to Diamond’s twist of recording and performing it in the style of a proselytizing evangelical preacher. At one point during the three-minute jam, Diamond does, in fact, deliver the song’s lyrics with some preacher-on-the-pulpit fire and brimstone. I’m sure at this point you may be wondering how this went over with Johnny, a religious man to say the least. Well, he loved Diamond and considered him, as we all should, one of the era’s greatest songwriters and performers.

I can’t imagine anyone not being a fan of Neil Diamond, and even if you think you aren’t, just try to NOT sing along to “Sweet Caroline” the next time you hear it. Diamond was recently diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease and in January of this year, he announced he would be retiring from touring. This did not stop the 77-year-old Diamond from putting on a special show (which you can see here), this past Saturday for firefighters battling the horrific Lake Christine blaze in Colorado which has been burning for almost four weeks.

I’ve posted footage of Diamond’s appearance on The Johnny Cash Show below which includes a short interview segment between the pair of musical gods. Now, go turn on your heartlight, then turn this one up.
 

Neil Diamond and Johnny Cash chatting on the set of ‘The Johnny Cash Show’ in 1970.
 

Neil Diamond joins Johnny Cash on ‘The Johnny Cash Show.’ The show originally aired on February 7th, 1970.

Posted by Cherrybomb
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08.01.2018
08:48 am
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