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The T.A.M.I. Show 1964


August 29, 2022

If you watch nothing else, advance to the James Brown performance. It is unreal.

T.A.M.I. Show is a 1964 concert film released by American International Pictures. It includes performances by numerous popular rock and roll and R&B musicians from the United States and England. The concert was held at the Santa Monica Civic Auditorium on October 28 and 29, 1964. Free tickets were distributed to local high school students. The acronym "T.A.M.I." was used inconsistently in the show's publicity to mean both "Teenage Awards Music International" and "Teen Age Music International".


The best footage from the two concert dates was combined into the film, which was released on December 29, 1964. Jan and Dean emceed the event and performed its theme song, "Here They Come (From All Over the World)", written by Los Angeles composers P.F. Sloan and Steve Barri, the song erroneously asserting that the Rolling Stones are from Liverpool. Jack Nitzsche was the show's music director.

The film was shot by director Steve Binder and his crew from The Steve Allen Show, using a precursor to high-definition television, called "Electronovision," invented by the self-taught "electronics whiz" Bill Sargent (H.W. Sargent, Jr). The film was the second of a small number of productions that used the system. By capturing more than 800 lines of resolution at 25 frames per second, the video could be converted to film by kinescope recording with sufficiently enhanced resolution to allow big-screen enlargement. It is considered one of the seminal events in the pioneering of music films, and more importantly, the later concept of music video.

T.A.M.I. Show is particularly well known for the performance of James Brown and the Famous Flames, which features his legendary dance moves and explosive energy. In interviews, Keith Richards of the Rolling Stones has claimed that choosing to follow Brown and the Famous Flames (Bobby Byrd, Bobby Bennett, and Lloyd Stallworth) was the worst mistake of their careers, because no matter how well they performed, they could not top him. In a web-published interview, Binder takes credit for persuading the Stones to follow Brown, and serve as the centerpiece for the grand finale in which all the performers dance together onstage.

Motown Records, which by 1964 had experienced its first wave of chart-busting crossover success, was represented by three of its top acts: the Miracles, Marvin Gaye, and the Supremes. The Miracles (Smokey Robinson, Bobby Rogers, Pete Moore, Ronnie White and Marv Tarplin) had, three months earlier, lost the services of their sole female member, Claudette (Mrs. Smokey) Robinson. Claudette, who retired from touring for health reasons, remained as a non-touring member of the Miracles, recording with the group in the studio only. Marvin Gaye, backed by Shindig! favorites the Blossoms, sang several of his greatest hits. The show also featured the Supremes during their reign as the most successful female recording group of the era. The group had three chart-topping singles from July 1964 to December 1964, with the album Where Did Our Love Go reaching number two. Diana Ross went on to work with Binder on several of her television specials, including her first solo television special and her famous Central Park concert, Live from New York Worldwide: For One and for All.

Throughout the show, numerous go-go dancers performed in the background or beside the performers, under the direction of choreographer David Winters. Among them were Teri Garr and Toni Basil. According to filmmaker John Landis's DVD commentary for the film's trailer, he and fellow ninth-grade classmate David Cassidy were in the audience for the show.

Dick Clark Productions later acquired ownership of the concert from Sargent.

In 2006, T.A.M.I. Show was deemed "culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant" by the United States Library of Congress and selected for preservation in the National Film Registry.

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