Back in the day, The Ed Sullivan Show was one of the best ways for musical artists to make it into the public eye. Memorably, artists such as The Beatles and Elvis Presley made iconic debuts on the program. There are numerous other artists that can also be said to make their breakout performances on the show. However, for every artist that was willing to play by host Ed Sullivan’s decidedly conservative rules; there were others who caught Ed’s ire for refusing to bow. From Jim Morrison of the Doors to Bo Diddley, join Facts Verse as we take a look at celebrities who ban from The Ed Sullivan Show.
When The Ed Sullivan Show is on the air, they prove to be the ultimate vehicle for musical acts to saw by the public. Many musical acts, including the Beatles and Elvis Presley; first broke out into the public eye thanks to performances on the program. However, host Ed Sullivan is famous to be fairly strict about the kind of behavior that he allows. While most musical acts are willing to abide by Ed’s strict rules in order to be in many television viewers; there were others who didn’t take so kindly to the host’s demands.
Ed Sullivan is always somewhat stoic compares to his contemporaries and didn’t always have the easiest time taking a joke. The talk show host was also incredibly conservative, even for his time. It was clear to most guests on the program beforehand that there were going to be things about their image. They were going to have to change if they wanted the chance to appear on The Ed Sullivan Show. Despite this, fans adored the host, and most guests were willing to play ball for the attention.
Besides the Beatles and Elvis Presley, other guests who came to prominence thanks to appearances on The Ed Sullivan Show include Fred Astaire and the Jackson 5. However, for every one of these acts, there were other acts that weren’t willing to bend their integrity in order to fit in with Ed Sullivan’s vision. Even though most of these acts went on to achieve great fame regardless, most of them are forbid from Ed’s show for good.
One musical act that infamously caught the ire of host Ed Sullivan during their initial performance on The Ed Sullivan Show is the Rolling Stones. When the Rolling Stones first showed up to perform on the show. Ed Sullivan is immediately taken aback by the boys’ scraggly appearances; He is the one who asked all the band members in earnest to wash their hair and change their clothes. Regardless of the fact that their unkempt demeanor is part of what has always made them stand out to their fans.
Besides Ed Sullivan not taking kindly to the appearance of the Rolling Stones; he also requested them to change one of the lyrics to their songs. Which was a common practice on The Ed Sullivan Show. Mick Jagger ended up obeying Ed’s command when it came to changing the song lyric. Which saw him singing “let’s spend some time together” instead of “let’s spend the night together”. Although Mick made sure to roll his eyes prominently enough for the audience to notice. Ed Sullivan felt that the boys had at least made an effort. Although he didn’t have much respect for the musical act; he deigned to let them come back onto the program after their initial appearance a subsequent five times.
The Rolling Stones may allow their disaster for Ed Sullivan’s conservatism to be seen, but they ended up playing by the rules and doing the host right. Many other rebellious acts, including the Doors and Bob Dylan. Showed a bit more integrity when asked by the producers of The Ed Sullivan Show to compromise their image. The Doors come to The Ed Sullivan Show to perform their song “Light My Fire”; which memorably contains the lyrics “girl, we couldn’t get much higher”.
The producers knew that this lyric was an allusion to drug use, and they asked singer Jim Morrison to change the lyrics to “girl, we couldn’t get much better”. Jim shows like he is going to follow the instructions, but decides to sing the original lyric anyways once the show is running! Because it was life, there was nothing that Ed Sullivan could do besides banning the musical act.
When the Doors are told that they aren’t going to The Ed Sullivan Show, they didn’t care. According to them, they are already got all the exposure they need to be from the host via the one performance; and this proved to be right. If you’re enjoying this video so far, be sure to hit the like button to show your support.
The Doors had subsequent appearances on The Ed Sullivan Show lined up to come after their first, but those ended up being canceled after they disobeyed Ed’s orders. The episode featuring the Doors had also cut to commercial early after their musical performance; notably eschewing the tradition of Ed shaking the musical guests’ hands. Another musical guest that caught the wrath of Ed Sullivan while appearing on his show was a rock legend, Bo Diddley.
When Bo Diddley’s turn to perform on The Ed Sullivan Show, he prepares to perform his namesake song, which is the title hit “Bo Diddley”. Immediately before it was time for Bo to give his performance on the program. Ed asked him to perform a different song instead. Apparently, Ed asks Bo to perform “Sixteen Tons”, which is a song that becomes famous by Tennessee Ford. Like the Doors did later, Bo Diddley seemed to agree to Ed’s terms only to revert to his original plan once the cameras were rolling. Bo plays his namesake song despite the host’s wishes, and the legend didn’t allow him back.
After Bo’s musical performance, Ed Sullivan made a distasteful remark about the rock legend that unwarrantedly called attention to his race. Bo Diddley didn’t much care for the remark and it’s possible that he refuses the opportunity to come back onto the program even they allow him. Like the Doors experienced later, Bo’s career didn’t suffer much from his feud with Ed Sullivan. The legendary guitarist and singer, they consider him one of the preeminent rock and roll musicians of his time.
Buddy Holly is another musician that caught the wrath of Ed Sullivan. Buddy had already appeared on The Ed Sullivan Show with his band, the Crickets, before his infamous second appearance. Apparently, Buddy and his band hadn’t taken kindly to Ed’s request that they change one of their scheduled songs. When Ed grew aware of the band’s bad attitude, he decided that he was going to sabotage their musical performance! Ed did this by cutting their set down from one song to two; mispronouncing Buddy Holly’s name, and turning his guitar microphone off.
Despite Ed’s attempt to sabotage Buddy Holly’s second appearance on his show. The appearance ended up being a success in the audience’s eyes. Ed agrees to let Buddy Holly come back onto the show, but Buddy Holly tells the producers that isn’t his interest. According to Buddy Holly, there wasn’t enough money in the entire world to entice him back onto The Ed Sullivan Show!
After Buddy Holly, Bob Dylan is another musician that caught the wrath of Ed Sullivan and subsequently never came back onto his show. Like many other musical acts that appeared on The Ed Sullivan Show before and after him. They ask him to change one of the songs that he is going to perform. He had initially been planning on performing the song “Talkin’ John Birch Paranoid Blues”. The executive at CBS asks him to change the song choice after one of the episode’s rehearsals. Instead of having to make a choice between compromising his integrity and disobeying the show’s rules. Bob Dylan made the respectable decision to simply bow out of the performance. It required Ed to struggle to fill Bob’s slot at that last minute.
The Ed Sullivan Show never invites Bob Dylan to come back. Though it’s doubtful if he would’ve ever wanted to return. Not every guest that caught Ed’s ire was a musical act. The Ed Sullivan Show also featured plenty of comedians and one comedian that ended up rubbing Ed the wrong way just as much as any musician was Jackie Mason. Jackie is a guest on the program many times before the time that they ban him. Jackie is performing one night in 1964 when his performance is cut short in order to make room for a broadcast from then-president of the United States Lyndon B. Johnson.
When Ed gave a hand signal to Jackie telling him that his time was almost up. Jackie gave a hand signal back that Ed apparently thought was an inappropriate gesture! This led to Ed temporarily banning the beloved comedian from his staple show. Though he is eventually coming back to the program after apologizing. According to Jackie Mason, the incident is a misunderstanding and his hand signal isn’t meant to cause offense.
While Ed Sullivan can pretty picky on what types of behaviors accept on The Ed Sullivan Show. Most musical acts choose to abide by his rules in order to be in by the show’s immense television audience. Now it’s time to hear from you: did you know that the Doors were banned from performing on The Ed Sullivan Show because Jim Morrison refused to change a song lyric at the host’s request. And did you know that similar things happened to rock legends Bo Diddley and Buddy Holly?