Jul 142010

Start playing at 3:15.

All this reminiscing about the godawful Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band movie got me thinking about the weirdest moment in an otherwise already super-weird decade in filmed musical entertainment: the 1970s. That moment has to be the grand finale of the Robert Stigwood-produced Sgt. Pepper’s movie. The movie is stupid enough, but — for the huge chorus finale — you can tell Stigwood put a call out to all his cronies, cohorts, and coke dealers to round up as many washed-up rock stars and Love Boat cast members as possible. Then he set them on a huge outdoor set, taught them a few rudimentary dance moves, and had them sing along to a bad cover of the Sgt. Pepper’s “Reprise.”

The cast he assembled is downright strange. But — rather than have me rattle them all off here — why don’t we rattle them all off together? It really is a fascinating, fun time-waster of an activity. I’m also hoping in my heart of hearts that you worthy Townsmen will also take a few moments to comment on the widely varying performances caught on screen.

I’ll start the proceedings by pointing out: at 4:26 — yes, that’s albino guitar wizard Johnny Winter, “dancing” rather haphazardly!

I look forward to your responses.



  53 Responses to “The Apocalypse Is Upon Us — Somebody Posts the Sgt. Pepper’s Movie Finale on YouTube”

  1. Mr. Moderator

    Carol Channing is front and center when this extravaganza kicks off! Is that Tina Turner on her left??? And who’s the dude in the LA Kings’ jersey on her right?

  2. Mr. Moderator

    Wolfman Jack at 3:36 or so and Robert Palmer (???) right after that!

  3. hrrundivbakshi

    Curtis Mayfield is in there, looking pretty ashamed of himself. Natalie Cole is high on something. Jose Feliciano seems to not really know where he is — I suppose he can be forgiven for that.

    Then there’s Bowser, who — except for the dude who looks an AWFUL lot like David Carradine — seems the most enthusiastic member of the chorale.

    Oh, and I spotted Bobby Womack!

  4. hrrundivbakshi

    Oh, and there’s Wilson Pickett!

  5. Mr. Moderator

    Funny you should mention a dude looking like David Carradine. I took a still of that dude (he’s behind Carol Channing in the opening, if we’re thinking of the same dude) to RTH Labs to see if it might be his brother, Keith!

    At 3:27, is that Dr. John and Donovan?

    At the 3:34 mark, I can’t tell if it’s a man or a woman in a white suit with shades, but the person reminds me of the pathetic teenage girl in To Die For – not that it could possibly be her.

    Similarly, at the 3:37 mark, to the left of Robert Palmer, could that be the father of Dave from Kids in the Hall?

    I have no idea who they are, but you’ve gotta dig the SoCal Ramones at 3:41!

    At 3:54: SEALS & CROFTS – or at least one of those guys!

    I’ll stop for now to allow others to join in the fun. This is a find of major significance, hrrundi!

  6. hrrundivbakshi

    Dame Edna makes a couple of appearances — I had no idea he/she was movie-cameo-worthy in 1978.

  7. hrrundivbakshi

    WHO’S THE GUY AT 4:05? It’s driving me crazy!

  8. These are mostly guesses

    3:34- Rick Derringer

    3:58, far right- Rupert Holmes

    4:01- Art Linkletter

    4:24- Actual British Invasion vet Peter Noone

    4:43- Dame Edna. It says something that she (?) is in the top tier of fame in this motley group.

  9. hrrundivbakshi

    Tell Gergley I think that’s Peter Noone at 4:24.

  10. hrrundivbakshi

    Oats, consider yourself in the running for the coveted RTH No-Prize for that Derringer ID. I’m also thankful for your corroboration of Noone. Also, YES! on Rupert Holmes.

    All in all, I have to say: Townsmen, you have some seriously big boots to fill. Oats has come through, big time.

  11. hrrundivbakshi

    I do believe, maybe, that that’s Philly soul dude Billy “Am I Black Enough For Ya”/”Me and Mrs. Jones” Paul making his first appearance at 4:29. But I might be confused by the hat.

    I’m coming close to being tapped out here. Looking forward to smarter people chiming in.

  12. hrrundivbakshi

    Ooh! Leif Garrett at 4:34!

  13. BigSteve

    4:05 is Peter Allen, right? George Burns is too obvious to have been mentioned yet. And the butch woman to his right? Helen Reddy? Tina Turner is next to Carol Channing. Is that John Mayall whipping his head from side to side at 3:52? Johnny Winter (or Edgar?) at 4:27. Is that the Pina Colada Song dude at 4:32? Or Stephen Bishop? I can’t tell the difference. It looks like some former athletes are in there too, but not famous enough ones to be identified by me.

  14. I think I saw a Pointer Sister in a red and white polka dot dress.

  15. Mr. Moderator

    ARGGGGHHHHHH! I’m getting some error message from YouTube. They better straighten this out soon! I need to see if I can help identify more – and I want to see some of the artists already identified who I did not recognize.

  16. BigSteve

    I guess more British rockers than we realized were living in L.A. in the late 70s. Is there a Moody Blue in there somewhere?

    Billy Preston deserved better. It’s him I feel sorriest for.

    I don’t get nostalgia for crap like this. I unnderstand the concept of the guilty pleasure, but people of a certain age look back fondly on Xanadu too. I don’t get it. Or does my fondness for the Strawberry Alarm Clock seem equally stupid to them?

  17. Mr. Moderator

    OK, it’s back working for me. Did anyone mention Wolfman Jack?

    I don’t think that’s Billy Paul, but I could be wrong. I thought Paul was huskier than the guy in the hat. However, across from him, on the other side of the woman to his left, wearing a medallion, is Maurice White, I believe, from one of those “Black Chicago” bands like Earth, Wind & Fire. It’s either him or Grover Washington Jr.

    At the beginning, kind of behind Keith Carradine, is Frankie Valli – you know, the most stereotypically Italian guy in that frame.

    At 4:09, next to Bowser, there’s a guy in baby blue turtleneck. Is that Gilbert O’Sullivan or someone of that ilk?

  18. Oh, who is the platinum blonde at 3:31? It’s killing me. I can even hear her talking voice.

    4:02 isn’t Linkletter, it’s Boss Stigwood himself!

    Rick Derringer…or RONNIE MILSAP? I’m afraid I can’t be sure.

    3:43…Graham Nash?

    3:58, et al – The white suit guy near Tina Turner is definitely Stephen Bishop

  19. I have NEVER forgiven this production…..as a pre teen, I got to buy one album every six months after saving pocket money (albums were $9.95, I got $1 a week pocket money). I bought the cassette of what I thought was the real Sgt Peppers album only to get it home to find it was the soundtrack to this piece of……creative output. The store would not replace it with the real thing for me when I tried to return it, so I was stuck with it. I eventually recorded a radio simulcast over it (1983 Royal Albert Hall concert for ARMS – Clapton, Beck, Page, a few stray Stones and numerous other A-listers – great stuff!)

    Anyhoo….the full list of the Sgt Peppers rogues gallery singers is on Wikipedia. I wont spoil the fun by reposting it here, but if you want to check if your guess is right, look it up. So far everyone has done very well!

  20. Mr. Moderator

    The “Graham Nash” character at 3:43 has been troubling me. Is it him? Is it Eric Idle as Graham Nash?

  21. Just below “Graham” looks like Tom Jones.

    I also remember that Bocephus himself was listed in the credits. Is that him at 4:32? The “salute” guy? Or have we determined that it’s someone else already?

    I like how Billy Preston aka “The Weather Vane” saves the day with his magic. Why didn;t he just come down and do that at the beginning and save everyone the trouble?


  22. The platinum blond at 3:31 is Connie Francis. It also looks like 1 or 2 other members of ShaNaNa are there including the jehri curl Italian dude to the left and down from Bowser.

  23. Mr. Moderator

    Yes, Connie Francis. Thanks for clearing that up, k.

    Was the Rydell High School in Grease shot at the same set, maybe even at the same time? The early ’60s characters mixed into this scene make me think they were shooting that other movie on an overlapping schedule.

  24. alexmagic

    *COMET13009 wants to chat*

    Start playing at 3:15? You’re skipping over the best parts! I really do think the entirety of this movie needs to be Rock Town Hall required viewing, just to see its effect on everybody. I remember first seeing this 20 some years ago well past midnight after New Year’s Eve with my parents, who had been partying. My dad, a big Beatles fan, had no answer for me when I asked him what the shit was going on with this movie.

    But if anybody hasn’t seen this, you really need to, if just for the spectacle of the Bee Gees and Peter Frampton beating Aerosmith to death, a robot chorus version of She’s Leaving Home, Donald Pleasance upping the creep factor of “I Want You” ten thousand fold and Frampton’s understandable decision to commit suicide.

    *COMET13009 wants to chat*

    It has been rumored that Paul and Ringo are hidden in the group at the ending, which I’ve never believed. Going through it now, I think we’re supposed to believe that the guy in the Torgo outfit and the guy in the black jeff cap from 3:54 to 3:57 are Paul and Ringo, respectively, in disguise. No sale.

    4:23 – Is George Burns having chest pains?

    Tina Turner gets the prize for taking this most seriously, in a respectable way. I think she may be hip to this being a mess, but they paid her to be there, so she’s giving them an honest eight minutes of work.

    Robert Palmer comes off the best. He’s not hamming it up, but check out the little sneer and head-waggle he drops on “lonely” when he shows up at 3:37. Not much of a challenge, but he’s clearly the coolest guy in the room, and I bet young Leif Garrett was confused after this wrapped when Palmer walked off with his arms wrapped around the young ladies at 4:41. “What’s he got that I ain’t got,” Leif surely wondered. Simply irresistable, son.

    *COMET13009 wants to chat*

    Odds on which people in that line-up really thought this was going to be something, stars of the movie aside? I bet Noone was hoping to turn his cameo into a comeback. But Bowser, obviously, is into this. You know he was bouncing off the walls when he got the call to do this spot and kept telling the other guys in Sha Na Na how this was “gunna be YOOGE, you guys! The Beatles! The Bee Gees! Pete Frampton! Monte Rock III! YOOGE!” With his appearances in this and at Woodstock, did we overlook Bowser’s potential as Rock’s Zelig? Or is he more like those photoshopped pictures of Bert from Sesame Street at the 9/11 attacks and the Hindenberg Disaster?

    During the main cast’s brief dance spotlight starting at 4:20, Maurice once again proves that he was the best Bee Gee. Frampton is a little too into it and Robin is phoning his dip in. In the second row, the Sandy Farina is already showing signs in her body language that this isn’t going to end well for anybody.

    *COMET13009 wants to chat*

  25. Out on a limb here … is that the Dreamweaver himself — Gary Wright — in the orange jumpsuit?

    At the 3:42 mark, it sure looks like The Raging Bull — Jake LaMotta — in the yellow tux.

  26. Because i freely express my love, here on RTH, for so many things that are NOT good, I expect that some of you might think this is right up my alley.

    It is not.

    I have seen this whole movie twice, once on TV when i was 10 or 11 and once last year, because i was sure i must have been dreaming.

    Aside from the Earth Wind & Fire version of Got to Get You Into My Life, which i think is stellar, everything about this movie/album is shit.

    Further support of my theory on the adverse effects L.A. has on the English.
    They can’t handle it.

  27. hrrundivbakshi

    Shawnkilroy said:

    Further support of my theory on the adverse effects L.A. has on the English.
    They can’t handle it.

    I say:

    Now THAT’s a theorem worth testing, right here in the hallowed halls!

  28. hrrundivbakshi

    Alexmagic, thanks as always for that insightful analysis. RTH Labs couldn’t do it without you.

    For me, the defining moments of creepiness are the ones that show the greatest amount of what seems like genuine enthusiasm: Bowser, coked-up Natalie Cole (or the mystery Pointer Sister, if that’s who that is), and — especially — the Carradine sibling. Watching that guy gives me the willies.

    Most tragic moment: Curtis Mayfield, who really looks trapped up there, like he realizes he’s being captured forever, neck-deep in turd, on film.

    Most peculiar moment: still, for me, it’s gotta be Johnny Winter. JOHNNY WINTER?!

    And I gotta ask: where the HELL was Gavin McLeod in all this? And Jamie Farr? Come ON, Stigwood!

  29. I seem to remember Mr. Mod bringing the England-to-L.A. thing up on RTH Chess. Cited examples included Rod Stewart, Ringo and Eric Idle. It could definitely merit more examination though.

  30. There’s no mystery in my mind regarding the Carradine brother. It’s got to be Keith, right? This was after he won his Oscar for “I’m Easy” from Nashville, right? And after all, after you work with Robert Altman, a movie like this is the only logical next move, career-wise.

  31. Mr. Moderator

    Yeah, the England-to-LA topic has been touched on in the past, maybe by me, maybe by someone else. It’s so hard to search the old Yahoo Groups site, but if I get time I’ll try to find whatever it was we once discussed. Meanwhile, if anyone wants to simply kick off that topic, report to The Back Office and DO IT! Rock ‘n roll will be served by your efforts. Imagine the service you will do if you help keep that Chris Martin guy on English soil.

  32. Mr. Moderator

    It’s definitely Keith. I’m staking my Altman-loving credibility on that. Beside, it’s natural that with all the coke and dancing women around him that Keith would be so joyous. David would be seething for no particular reason. I think that guy had a touch of Fogarty Syndrome.

  33. Sure it’s easy to dump on this movie. Why not tear a page from hrrundi’s playbook and challenge ourselves to say something NICE about it?

    I’ll even go first: Aerosmith does a nice job with Come Together.

  34. Mr. Moderator

    I’ll second your comment, cdm, that Aerosmith does a nice job on “Come Together.” In fact, that’s the only nice thing that’s ever come to mind for me when I think about this movie.

    Let me think what else I can say that’s nice about this effort…

  35. alexmagic

    I can confirm that it’s Keith Carradine, and agree that he was probably pulling the second best action out of this after Palmer.

    No way they were getting Jamie Farr for this. You can trick a Bowser into doing this for free and probably paying his own air fare to fly in because he thought this was going to be a legendary project, but Jamie Farr was riding high on the MASH gravy train when this was going down, and probably already angling for a spot on AfterMASH. Stigwood would have had to break the bank to get Farr on board, and probably couldn’t match the dumptrucks full of dough that Fred Silverman and Aaron Spelling were regularly backing up to Farr’s door in order to secure him for valuable cameos on Supertrain and Love Boat.

    Farr didn’t need this anyway. Just a few years later, he was making a killing getting points on Cannonball Run and Cannonball Run 2. The latter boasts a cast including the back of Frank Sinatra’s head, Tony Danza, Telly Savalas, Charles Nelson Reilly, Jackie Chan and an orangutan, which wipes the floor with the Sgt. Pepper Chorus for sheer starpower.

    That said, I would totally watch a movie where all the people singing at the end of the movie immediately broke up into teams and hopped into cars to go race for a treasure chest full of coke. I have to think Sha Na Na (who would pile into a hot rod) would be the odds on favorites to win the race.

  36. alexmagic

    On the say something nice front, Sandy Farina as Strawberry Fields was quite lovely and did as good a version of the song as anyone could have done while surrounded by the Bee Gees and having to pretend that you wish that Peter Frampton wasn’t dead.

    Also, Alice Cooper steals the movie as The Sun King doing his “We Hate Love/We Hate Joy/We Love Money” version of Because. I figure he was the one person in the movie who actually realized what was going on.

  37. the Earth Wind & Fire version of Got to Get You Into My Life.

    the fact that the producers had the sense not to let Frampton or The Bee Gees speak.

    George Burns is nice.

  38. misterioso

    Holy Moses. This is no b.s., even though I was 10 when this came out I have never seen it. I’ve seen clips but never this one. It’s amazing: I never even knew Billy Preston could fly!

    That is Donovan and Dr. John at 3:27, but who are the other two next to Donovan?

    I love the fact that Stigwood was mistaken for Art Linkletter. Sic transit gloria!

    Did Stigwood have all of these people under some form of indentured servitude in the form of a contract to RSO? So where was EC?

    Mod, the “Eric Idle/Graham Nash” guy is Mayall, no?

    At 4:14, Minnie Ripperton or a Pointer Sister? You Make The Call.

    Man, I used to hate that Peter Allen. Now, of course, I feel guilty since he died of AIDS, but nonetheless he was pretty awful.

  39. High atop the list of Films, Music and TV Shows For Which The Only Possible Explanation Is Cocaine.

  40. I thought of something good to say about this mess. It taught the Beatles to exercise some quality control over their legacy. The story of their involvement in the quality control of the Beatles Rock Band game is described in great detail here: http://www.nytimes.com/2009/08/16/magazine/16beatles-t.html

  41. I’m with you, K;

    The best thing about this movie is that it shows how good the original stuff was.

  42. I’m not going to be a Wikipedia spoiler (much), but there does seem to be a Stamos-level Zelig in the crowd, if you know what I mean.

  43. ladymisskirroyale

    Are you sure it isn’t Forrest Gump?

  44. Lemmy?

  45. Mr. Moderator

    Our birthday boy hrrundivbakshi (that’s right: HAPPY BIRTHDAY, HVB!) expressed surprise at a dancing Johnny Winter in this clip. As the following 1970 performance demonstrates, Johnny’s no stranger to shaking his skinny white ass. Just like our birthday boy. Enjoy!


  46. hrrundivbakshi

    “Shaking”? More like, I dunno, gliding. Those are some weird, very non-rocking moves. And the first 30 seconds — when all you see is JW’s long white hair and skinny ass — all I could think of was Aimee Mann.



  47. alexmagic

    My first thought at seeing Winter was that he rolled up on set after filming parts as a chauffeur in The Rocky Horror Picture Show that would all eventually be cut out of the film.

    And yes, I realize there would have been three or four years between the filming of these two movies, but given how he looks here, I imagine that Winter would be equally incapable of explaining of where he was and what he was doing in the intervening years.

  48. Happy birthday HVB! I’d have goten you something, but what can you possibly get the man who already has a YouTube clip of Johnny Winter’s ass?

  49. I think Johnny is dancing the Lindy Hop with nobody in particular, like a true iconoclast.

  50. underthefloat

    Oh, good fun.
    First off the female with the big blonde hair is Connie Stevens (not Francis). Didn’t see anyone clear up this previously. Actress and unfortunate mother to Andrew Stevens.

    Is that John Stewart (singer) at 3:47?

    My biggest question is who is that at 3:44? Front row,center, head shot with chin cut off. I think this is the wacky guy that used to be on Johnny Carson years ago. He was a bit on an enigma. OH WAIT, WAIT…. NEVER MIND..Alexmagic answered- MONTE ROCK III. I’m going to Youtube to check this guy’s schtick out again….

  51. underthefloat

    4:14 is Pointer Sister/not Minnie

    4:06 is Peter Allen I believe. Not exactly rock and roll.

  52. Mr. Moderator

    YES, Connie Stevens! Very important distinction, because Andrew Stevens is one of my favorite bad actors!

  53. To the left of Carol Channing (her right side) is drummer Travis Fullerton.

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