Thursday, 29 May 2014

Dean Martin versus The Rolling Stones

Chuck Berry couldn't have been more prescient when he wrote "Roll Over Beethoven". Its intention may have sprung up out of naive youthful bravado, however it turns out that it was a powerful statement of intent. Everybody thought rock and roll was a passing fad. Nobody knew that 60 years down the line just how influential it would be, and continues to be.

This video is another classic example signifying the changing of the guards. This is a clip of the Rolling Stones on the Dean Martin Show in 1964.

The band were huge in America at that point, as was pretty much every British band with guitars and drums. Variety shows all over America were rushing to book the new young bands at every opportunity. One thinks that maybe Dean Martin didn't have a lot of say in this booking. I assume Dean Martin knew his target audience well, and knew that the Stones wouldn't appeal to them - they were more likely to appeal to the kids of his fans. This was to be perfect comic fodder for Deano: the perfect opportunity to send them up.

The Stones' performance isn't exactly incendiary here. However the key thing to notice is that, within a few short years of this recording, Martin would no longer be a hit-maker. His record sales declined sharply from this point forward, and they never recovered. On the other hand, by the time he recorded his last LP in 1973, the Rolling Stones were one of the biggest bands in the world. The new guard had overtaken the old guard.

Dean Martin has clearly placed himself here as the top dog with the Stones as the underdogs. This wouldn't have happened if it was The Who. Ironically, it was the great crooners, while they disdained rock music, conceded defeat in a few short years. As the pop songwriters progressed in their skills, it was Dean's fellow Rat-Pack crooners, namely Frank Sinatra, who were recording Beatles', Jimmy Webb and Paul Simon songs. Go Figure.

Here, then, is the performance on the Dean Martin Show, circa 1964, perfoming "Not Fade Away" and their supercharged version of Muddy Waters' "I Just Wanna Make Love To You". Complete with Dean's facaetious intros and outros. Listening to him send up the Stones, it's no wonder kids of the day hated the older generation...


  1. Thanks for remembering and sharing this iconic moment in the life and times of Dean Martin. Never was, never will be anyone as cool as the King of Cool...oh, to return to the days when Dino walked the earth. Know that your thoughts are being shared this day at ilovedinomartin.

  2. This was not "The Dean Martin Show" (which wouldn't have its premiere until 1965). This is the "Hollywood Palace" variety show and Dean Martin was just hosting. There was a different host each week on the Hollywood Palace, a variety show which ran from 1964-1970.