Seriously, The T.A.M.I. Show was big. And not just because of a lineup that seemed to include every popular pop, rock, and R&B artist short of the Beatles.
What will always make The T.A.M.I. Show special is the fact that, at a time just before the Watts riots when Southern California was as racially, culturally and geographically segregated as any place in the United States, the show was the first high-profile opportunity for cloistered white kids to see black R&B artists up close.
It’s painful to admit, but many white kids who went to their local theaters to see The T.A.M.I. Show had never seen a person of color in person.
These were the artists who in many cases had written and first performed the songs that squeaky clean white artists like Pat Boone subsequently appropriated, “cleaned up” and recorded in excruciatingly saccharine versions.
It was a revelation.
Music was never the same. Life was never the same.