With a total of 144 songs (including repeats) and well over 500 minutes of playing time, this massive boxed set, whose nine discs each contain between 12 and 19 performances, truly is, as host Ed Sullivan famously said, "a really big show." With some 20 songs between them, the two most important rock acts of the 20th century, Elvis Presley and the Beatles, both of whom received huge career boosts from the Sullivan show (garnering a reported 80 percent audience share and 70 million viewers, respectively), are well represented; so are other genres, like Motown and '60s rock. And wonderful, galvanizing performances by, among others, the Jackson Five (especially "the little fella in front," as Sullivan calls Michael), the Animals, James Brown, Janis Joplin, Jackie Wilson, the Rolling Stones, and even the Association ("Along Comes Mary") are enough to counter the curious inclusion of the Brooklyn Bridge, Jay and the Techniques, and other obscure minor talents.
Still, the boxed set (whose DVD bonus features include "trivia tracks" and limited discographies) has serious flaws. Audio and video (color and black and white) are good, but far too many songs are repeated (the Jefferson Airplane's "Crown of Creation" appears twice on the same disc!), while others are obviously truncated; and there's no excuse for programming two songs each by the likes of Dino, Desi and Billy, and Freddie and the Dreamers. In the end, the good music saves the day, but the set's drawbacks keep Ed Sullivan's Rock 'n' Roll Classics from being an essential purchase. --Sam Graham
Vanilla Fudge - You Keep Me Hangin On. The two live Vanilla Fudge performances on the Ed Sullivan Show: January 14, 1968 .
Sly and the Family Stone's appearance on the Ed Sullivan Show on 28 December, 1968
Check from 02:23.Simply Amazing!!
Bo Diddley performing "Bo Diddley" on The Ed Sullivan Show on November 20, 1955.
James Brown performing Prisoner of Love live at the Ed Sullivan Show (1966). Killer.