Tuesday, July 12, 2011
Interesting and Controversial Moments on SNL & Show # 360
This week I thought I would visit three interesting and exciting moments in the musical history of the television program Saturday Night Live. While a whole radio show could be made out of the excellent musical performances that this show has produced over the years its beginnings, and numerous TV specials have been made surrouding such performances, i'm not sure if a radio program has focused on these performances. Today I will focus on three moments, two of which created controversy with the show and the shows producer Lorne Michaels.
Elvis Costello & The Attractions – Less Than Zero/Radio Radio (1977)
In December of 1977, Elvis Costello & The Attractions appeared on Saturday Night Live as a last minute replacement for the Sex Pistols, who were unable to get passports. This is perhaps the most infamous appearance that a band had on the show. There have been a few reasons thrown around as to why the band were not supposed to play the song “Radio Radio”. It has been said that his US record label wanted Costello to play an already known song “Less Than Zero” for an audience for better promotional purposes of the American release of My Aim is True and This Years Model. Another reason given was that SNL producer Lorne Michaels did not want the song to be broadcast because of its lyrics which negatively portrayed the commercialized state of radio and media, and also that it would put the show off schedule. Regardless of what happened, in true Punk Rock fashion Costello stopped the band from playing “Less Than Zero” after a few bars and then launched into a furious rendition of the then unreleased “Radio, Radio”. Costello was banned from the show for 25 years, until 1989. Also in 1999 as part of SNL’s 25th anniversary The Beastie Boys began playing “Sabotage” only to be stopped by Elvis Costello, they then ran through an energy high version of “Radio Radio”.
The Replacements – Bastards of Young (1986)
In January of 1986, The Minneapolis Punk band The Replacements appeared on Saturday Night Live to promote their new album Tim, released on Sire Records. They got banned after their performance, but it was due to a few factors. For one, they showed up wasted for their performance, the second thing that occurred was apparently during the performance of this song and the second song (“Kiss Me On The Bus”) the band were uttering profanities. While they may have been off mic and not heard very clearly, this was most definitely due to their inebriations. The most obvious slip was apparently before the solo of “Bastards of Young” where singer Paul Westerberg said the F-word to the audience. As a result, the band were banned from Saturday Night Live. In re-runs of the episode this part was edited out. Paul Westerberg appeared on the program later on to promote his solo career, redeeming himself.
The Specials – Gangsters (1980)
The Ska revival act The Specials appeared on Saturday Night Live in 1980. This performance was not controversial per-se, but rather a highly energetic and fascinating live moment that occurred in the TV show’s history. This version of the bands then single “Gangsters” featured a band jumping around with excitement and guitar solos that grip you and suck you in. The band is clearly on playing excellently, they would also perform the song “Too Much Too Young” in a similar fashion. After watching this performance you can see and feel the energy of not only Punk attitude, but Rock and Roll.
This Week's Play List:
1. The Dundrells - Big Chunk of Fudge
2. The Cassettes - Reverberate
3. The Dials - Get Up and Dance
4. Planet Smashers - Hippopotamus
5. The Specials - Gangsters (Live SNL)
6. Bob Marley - Punky Reggae Party
7. King Tubby - Dub Seven
8. Arctic Monkeys - The Hellcat Spangled Shalalala
9. Hooded Fang - ESP
10. Pink Mountaintops - Single Life
11. Invasions - Rat Bastard
12. The Davey Parker Radio Sound - I Gotta Know
13. Chang A-Lang - Listen Up Buttercup
14. Young Circles - 2012
15. Audrey and The Agents - Don't Think Twice
16. Sloan - I've Gotta Know
17. Luger Boa - New Hot Nights
18. Dirty Pretty Things - Run Fatboy Run
19. Harlem - Gay Human Bones
20. Elvis Costello & The Attractions - Radio Radio (Live SNL)
21. The Replacements - Bastards of Young (Live SNL)
22. Motorhead - Too Late, Too Late
23. Nick Lowe - American Squirm
24. Magazine - My Mind Ain't So Open
To download this weeks program, visit CJAM's schedule page for Revolution Rock and download the file for July 12. Or subscribe to Revolution Rock as a Podcast.