It was 49 years ago tonight (September 16th, 1964) that the groundbreaking Shindig! premiered on ABC-TV. Shindig! was the first prime-time rock n' roll program to feature live music. The premiere episode featured live performances by the Righteous Brothers, the Everly Brothers, and Sam Cooke performing his version of Bob Dylan's "Blowin' In The Wind." The show was hosted by Los Angeles DJ Jimmy O'Neill, and featured regulars Bobby Sherman, the Wellingtons, and Darlene Love, as well as the Shindigger Dancers. During the show's 16-month-run, Shindig! featured classic performances from the Beatles, the Rolling Stones, the Who, the Ronettes, Leslie Gore, the Beach Boys, and the Turtles, among many others.
Darlene Love performed weekly on the show as part of the Blossoms -- the backing singers featured within the Shindig! house band. She says that during the show's run she juggled both a solo career and session work on top of Shindig! duties: "When we taped Shindig!, we had to be at the studio at six o'clock in the morning on our tape day. And it ended up being a four-day job, 'cause we'd go into the recording studio and do the tracks -- we put all the backgrounds down of all the singers, or whoever was going to be on the show that week, which would take two days. And then we'd go into the television studio and block. Then the next day we would go in and tape the show. So that was a four-day week, no matter what (else) we did, for two years."
Shindig! originally started out as a half-hour show but was expanded to an hour in January of 1965. By the fall of 1965 the show was split into two half-hour programs, which aired on Thursday and Saturday nights. Shindig! was canceled in January 1966 to make room on ABC's schedule for Batman.
Photo Courtesy of Subafilms Ltd / Bruce A Karsh