June 28, 2010

GO GO JOHNNY RIVERS

Go Go dancers were a hot addition to clubs and TV in the early-mid 1960s. Their generous gyrations symbolized new freedom, expressed through movement. Like pop music cheer leaders for the sexual revolution, they helped to get any dance party hopping! Over the past weeks Spy Vibers have seen Go Go gals and guys shaking it up at the Whiskey A Go Go, the Peppermint Lounge, and on shows like Shindig!, Hullabaloo, and Hollywood A Go Go.

Today we spotlight Johnny Rivers, famous for the Secret Agent Man theme for the US release of Patrick McGoohan's UK spy series, Danger Man. Rivers was given a contract in 1964 to be the resident attraction at the new Whiskey A Go Go club in Hollywood. Check out this collection of vintage images of the Whiskey A Go Go on YouTube (not available to embed here on Spy Vibe). Rivers made many TV appearances, often with Go Go dancers. Hullabaloo offered the energetic dance styles of the early-mid 1960s. This 1966 promotion for Secret Agent Man, suggests a change to more of a "dance party" atmosphere.



The last clip today jumps us ahead to a 1967 TV appearance to promote
Baby I Need Your Loving. I absolutely love the minimal stage set design. The dancers' space age-inspired, silver mini skirts look amazing against the background colors. In the case of this performance, it would appear that the use of female dancers in mainstream entertainment had become more stylized and acculturated. As dancing itself became more improvisational for party-goers, it would suggest that Go Go dancing for a general, family audience became more uniform and symbolic. Looking now at these silver shakers, as fabulous as they are, it's not a huge leap to translate them into a contemporary period piece that attempts to recapture early-mid 1960s style (for example, the Austin Powers films). They are both a product of their time and, if it's not overstating, a parody of it. Still, they are undeniably groovy!

2 comments:

  1. Great post! I'd never seen the clip of Johnny Rivers singing "I Need Your Lovin" so that was a treat.

    I should stop by more often but I never have any free time anymore to read other people's blogs. Hope you enjoy the holiday weekend!

    ReplyDelete
  2. Thanks, Kimberly! I'm glad you stopped in :)

    ReplyDelete

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...