Friday, January 19, 2018
Dion, 1968 Smothers Brothers TV appearance
On Wednesday (two days after the observance of Dr. Martin Luther King's birthday), I came upon the following video, on YouTube: it is from a November 17, 1968 episode of the Smothers Brothers program, on CBS.
The video is of the singer Dion, performing the exquisite song "Abraham, Martin and John," which had been released in August of that year. The song was written (by Dick Holler) in the aftermath of the assassinations of Dr. King, and Robert Kennedy.
Dion's performance of the song, on the TV show (as on his original recording of it) is extremely beautiful--both his singing, and his guitar playing.
I don't remember being aware, prior to watching the video, that it was Dion who played the guitar on the record itself.
The Wikipedia page about the song notes: "Dion felt during post production that the song needed more depth and added a track featuring him playing classical guitar notably at the bridge, lead ins and the close."
The record had first appeared on the Cashbox music chart near the end of October, 1968 (and on Billboard's chart the following week). A little over a month after the Smothers Brothers appearance, the song reached #2 on the Cashbox list. It would also reach #4 in the Billboard ranking (and became a #1 record in Canada).
Here is the video of Dion's television performance: