Monday, August 15, 2011

The Midnight Special Special

I know it's difficult for those of you born in the current epoch to wrap your heads around the concept that, once upon a time, there was no interwebs and there were only 5 channels on the toob. Sadly, this is indeed the case. Back in TeeVee's Mesozoic era, there was a little program that came on Friday after Johnny Carsonsaurus called The Midnight Special. This is notable because A) it was on Friday nights, which meant you could spark up a doobie because you didn't have to be at work in the morning and B) each week featured 90 minutes of bands playing their music live, which is notable because 1) in the days before MTVsapiens appeared on the veldt, it was next to impossible to see a band unless they came to your town and 2) most of the shows on at the time that did feature music (I'm looking at you, Solid Gold) had the bands lip-synching to backing tracks. So, The Midnight Special was special.

Thankfully, Youtube has become a veritable repository of some of these now historic performances so that I and my fellow Homo Oldfarticus tribe members can scratch our butts and complain about how television sets aren't square anymore. With your indulgence, I'd like to show off a bit of what I turned up during a cursory trawl through the Midnight Special archives section of the Youtube digital time capsule museum.

Hear that sound, fellow travelers? That is the sound of disco clawing its way out of the primordial ooze. Despite notions to the contrary, old Tug here is not allergic to disco. It is a distant, sparklier cousin to smooth music. And on the dance floor, I do partake.

Mother of all that is holy, this is the real deal. Three words for you, brothers: purple velvet overalls. This is celluloid evidence that the great predator MTV did indeed kill music. Steely Dan would have never seen the Top 40 if the Top 40 ever saw them. Behold and let your third eye be squeegeed clean.

I'm pretty sure whatever Steve was on during his appearance on The Midnight Special is now locked away deep in that warehouse where the Ark of the Covenant is stored.

I'm sorry, did you say something? I was distracted by a goddess.

Just in case you might be left with the impression that The Midnight Special featured nothing but middle of the road, boring music, I leave you with this. It may not be smooth, but it is mellow. And an awfully brave thing to devote valuable airtime to back then or now. And just think, he followed Rick James. There may be more choices now than ever when it comes to television, but I can't think of anything as original now as Midnight Special was back then.

1 comment:

  1. You are a snob... I can dig the Bee Gees, but where is the Seals and Crofts??? I haven't seen "Summer Breeze" or "I'd Really Love to See you Tonight" once here... Totally lame.