I think I was four years old at JUST the right time in history, because in my world it was utterly normal to see weird fuzzy puppets on national TV pretend to play some of the coolest, grittiest New York garage rock around. When you combine that with all things Batman, the Monkees, miniskirts, Rock Em Sock Em Robots, and that my home state of Wisconsin finally allowed yellow coloring to be added to margarine, 1966 was a fantastic year for a preschooler, I think.
In explaining the title subject and my opening sentence, here's some interesting trivia for you: the first television appearance on CBS-TV's Ed Sullivan Show of Jim Henson's Muppets was on September 18, 1966, and they were then featured on the show regularly until the show's end in 1971. The chance that I didn't see this episode when it aired is almost nil, for watching Ed on Sunday nights in our house was as regular as church, provided we had been the type of family to attend church regularly and all. I would flop on my dinner-filled baby tummy in front of our console set with the rounded screen corners, wait for it to warm up (if you remember that or the teeny white dot in the middle of the screen after you turned the set off, you are reasonably ancient), and watch the entire one-hour variety show, every minute. Ed always had something for everyone, including the kiddies, and the Muppets filled the bill this time.
The song Henson chose to use for "The Rock And Roll Monster" segment for the Sullivan show was by the Bruthers -- four real brothers (Alf, Frank, Mike, and Joe Delia) from Pearl River, NY. They issued exactly one single -- one -- for RCA Records in the same year, "Bad Way to Go/Bad Love," the A-side a nutty Farfisa-fueled beehive stomper reminiscent of the 13th Floor Elevators and the Standells. It didn't chart and the band broke up the next year. Where Henson got "Rock It To Me" is unknown -- perhaps some kind of connection through the Bruthers' manager of the time, the famous New York promotor Sid Bernstein, and Sullivan? The song remains to this day unreleased, apparently lost, so the Muppets have the honor of holding a cool little place in garage rock history, and the Bruthers have the honor of having their song used by what soon became one of the most beloved entertainment troupes of our time. I love it, and as we know, have remained in the garage 4life.
Ed calls it "Jim Newsome's puppets." Oh, Eddie.
The Bruthers' "Bad Way To Go" can be found on "Pebbles Vol. 8." should you want to hunt around for that, but in 2003, a CD was issued on Sundazed Records included the Bruthers' 45, their unreleased songs recorded for RCA, and a few demos. You can buy the vinyl HERE or digitally on iTunes HERE.