The archives of American chat shows and variety shows of the 1960s and 70s held a vault of talented performances from so many musicians — especially African American bands and performers who lit up the stages with songs that resonated for the times and were pop megahits that nobody missed.
Now getTV tips their hat in a most creative and music-filled way for Black History Month in February with epic performances — from Whitney Houston to the Jackson 5, to the lions of R&B including Aretha Franklin.
If you love music and miss those days of Merv Griffin, The Bing Crosby Specials, The Smokey Robinson Show, Woody Allen Looks at 1967, the Sonny and Cher Comedy Hour and other terrific American TV shows that had these artists not only perform but worked into comedy segments, you will love this.
The explosion of American television in the 1950s made pop music a major drawing card. We had The Ed Sullivan Show and Top of the Pops, then in later years we saw American Bandstand, Soul Train, The Smothers Brothers and The Sonny and Cher Comedy Hour where all musicians, especially African American artists, got to develop distinct visual styles and stage moves to accompany their music.
The network kicks off with the late Whitney Houston’s national television debut, and even wheels out The Jackson 5 performing their disco classic Dancing Machine.
Even the lovely multi-talented Lena Horne’s first TV special is unearthed as getTV starts its Black History Month celebrations on Monday, February 6, at 9pm ET.
The musical month has four straight weeks of Sonny & Cher guest performances by Michael Jackson and The Jackson 5 each Monday at 9pm ET, followed by moments from Lena Horne, Lola Falana, and more.
And starting at 11pm on Sunday, February 12, is a ‘Get Lost In TV’ block celebrating rare clips with a Night Of Soul to dovetail with the Grammy Awards that evening.
Here’s the network’s complete Black History Month programming lineup…
Monday, February 6
9 p.m. ET—Michael Jackson in a 1972 appearance with his band and a special solo rendition of “Ben.”
10 p.m. ET—Gladys Knight, Patti LaBelle, and Dionne Warwick’s ‘Sisters in the name of Love’ special.
Sunday, February 12
“Get Lost In TV” Night Of Soul Block starting at 11 p.m. ET
11 p.m. ET—20-year-old Whitney Houston in the 1983 debut on Merv Griffin Show. Houston is introduced by mentor Clive Davis and performs a medley with her mother Cissy Houston. This is so cool:
12 a.m. ET—Motown legends The Supremes, The Temptations, and Stevie Wonder on The Smokey Robinson Show.
1 a.m. ET—Merv Griffin sits down with Smokey Robinson, Hall & Oates, and The Temptations
2 a.m. ET—Motown mainstays The Temptations perform their biggest hits in their eponymous 1969 special.
3 a.m. ET—Aretha Franklin sings her signature singles “Respect” and “Chain Of Fools” on Woody Allen’s TV show Woody Allen Looks At 1967.
4 a.m. ET—Diana Ross & The Supremes perform a show-stopping pop song medley with Bing Crosby on his Special. You have to see this:
5 a.m. ET—Gladys Knight, Patti LaBelle, and Dionne Warwick’s Sisters in the Name Of Love special.
Monday, February 13
9 p.m. ET—The Jackson 5 perform Dancing Machine.
10 p.m. ET—Lena Horne shines in her first-ever U.S. television special with O.C. Smith and actor David Janssen. The event originally aired in 1969.
Monday, February 20
9 p.m. ET—The Jackson 5 do a 1975 mashup of their singles with Cher on her solo show, Cher.
10 p.m. ET—Dionne Warwick in her first television special with collaborator Burt Bacharach.
Monday, February 27
9 p.m. ET—The Jacksons perform Enjoy Yourself and a fun Bozo Awards Medley with Sonny, Cher, and Bob Hope.
10 p.m. ET—Lola Falana in her 1975 special with Muhammad Ali and Hal Linden, at 10 p.m. ET.
getTV celebrates Black History Month starting Monday, Feb. 6. at 9 PM.More: Nostalgia Bomb