Retro : That Was Some ‘Shindig!’


Dig through your closets for your old Coureges boots, bell-bottoms and miniskirts. Tease your hair with a fine-toothed comb and make sure you lacquer it with an entire can of hair spray. Then get ready to do the Watusi, the Frug, the Monkey, the Pony and the Twist. This Saturday, the sights and sounds of the swinging mod ‘60s will return when VH-1 presents “Shindig! Day”

“Shindig!” made its debut Sept. 16, 1964, on ABC and was the first prime-time rock music series. (Four months later, NBC jumped on the bandwagon with its rock series “Hullabaloo.”)

The premiere episode featured Sam Cooke, the Everly Brothers, the Righteous Brothers, the Wellingtons, “Shindig!” discovery Bobby Sherman and comic Alan Sues, who later found fame on “Laugh-In.”

During its 16 months on the air, “Shindig!” was never a ratings blockbuster, but the series featured such blockbuster acts as the Beatles, the Rolling Stones, the Beach Boys, Chuck Berry, Neil Sedaka and Roy Orbison. Hosted by Jimmy O’Neill, “Shindig!” also provided a showcase for such up-and-coming performers as Billy Preston, Glen Campbell, Leon Russell and Sonny & Cher. Teri Garr and Toni Basil were members of the Shindig Dancers.

The series has not aired on TV since it left the airwaves Jan. 8, 1966. (It is available on video in a six-volume set on Rhino Video.)


VH-1 will air a special tribute to “Shindig!” at 9:30 a.m. The special includes the Supremes performing “Stop in the Name of Love,” the Isley Brothers doing “Shout” and performance footage featuring Jerry Lee Lewis, James Brown and Jackie DeShannon. Also appearing to talk about their experiences on the show: Bobby Sherman, Donna Loren (another “Shindig!” discovery), the Coasters, Mark Lindsay from Paul Revere & the Raiders, Jimmy O’Neill and Bobby Hatfield of the Righteous Brothers.

The rest of the day will be sprinkled (6-8 a.m., 1:30-3 p.m. and 6-8 p.m.) with vintage clips from the series. Among the performances: the Righteous Brothers singing “Unchained Melody” and “You’ve Lost That Lovin’ Feelin’,” the Temptations crooning “My Girl,” Marvin Gaye doing “How Sweet It Is,” Jackie Wilson performing “Baby Work Out,” Petula Clark trilling “Downtown,” the Supremes doing “Baby Love” and Mary Wells performing “My Guy.”

“Shindig! Day” begins Saturday at 6 a.m. on VH-1