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5 must-see musicians on 'The Best of Ed Sullivan' in September

Before the internet, there weren’t a lot of options when it came to discovering new musicians. Sure, you could turn the radio dial, but the airwaves were typically just crowded by artists you already knew and their hits. You could pick up a random record if the cover caught your attention, but we didn’t always have an extra $5 to take a chance with.

For many, The Ed Sullivan Show was the best way to discover the band that would surely become the next big thing.

Here are five acts that did become the next big thing, ones that you won’t want to miss this month on Decades’ airings of The Best of Ed Sullivan.


The Rolling Stones, September 15

The Rolling Stones had a pretty extensive tenure on The Ed Sullivan Show, performing six times over the years. However, the most notorious of any of their performances has to be their second appearance, airing on January 15, 1967. The Stones were told they had to keep their performance family-friendly, so they were asked to change the lyrics to their hit song “Let’s Spend the Night Together” to “Let’s Spend Some Time Together.” Though Mick Jagger complied, you can clearly see him roll his eyes as he sings the squeaky-clean line.


Janis Joplin, September 18

Though Janis Joplin only appeared on Sullivan once, to say she made an impact would be quite the understatement. Her psychedelic performances of “Raise Your Hand” and “Maybe” was many people’s first experience with not only the genre, but a woman performing it. Though she played with a variety of acts throughout her short career, it wasn’t until 1969 that she finally got booked on the show with her group, the Kozmic Blues Band, on March 16, 1969.


Buddy Holly, September 18

Despite Buddy Holly’s suit, glasses and innocent persona, he was about as rock and roll as they came in the 1950s. Though the first appearance of Buddy Holly and the Crickets went according to plan, his second appearance on The Ed Sullivan Show went on to become a bit more notorious. Due to a tiff before the show, rumor has it that Sullivan turned off Holly’s guitar amplifier right before his performance. Holly didn’t let that stop him, though. He played a solo, sans amp, and impressed the millions of viewers tuning in. Catch their first appearance, playing “Peggy Sue.”


Stevie Wonder, September 27

Stevie Wonder made his first appearance on Sullivan in 1964 at the age of only 13. Thanks to his Motown mentors, he got the chance to perform his fist hit, “Fingertips, Pt. 2.” He’d go on to be one of the greatest Motown acts of all-time with a career spanning decades — and with a few more performances on The Ed Sullivan Show under his belt!


Nancy Sinatra, September 29

Two performances by Nancy Sinatra will air this month, but you can catch her playing her hit “These Boots Are Made for Walkin’” on the latter. Decked out in a sparkly black outfit, she gathers her crew of women in their boots made for walkin’ to dance along. The February 1967 episode is a groovy look back at the Swingin’ Sixties.

Watch The Best of the Ed Sullivan Show on Decades

Weekdays at 7a ET | 4a PT and 7p ET | 4p PT

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