‘The T.A.M.I. Show’ – Rock Movies You Need to See
There aren’t many concert movies that contain the raw energy and star power of 1964’s ‘The T.A.M.I. Show.’ The acronym ‘T.A.M.I.’ stood for Teen Age Music International or Teen Awards Music International, depending on whom you asked (the term was used inconsistently in the movie’s marketing.), and the roster of performers makes one wonder if any audience members look back on attending the concert as a life high point to rival losing their virginity. It’s that amazing.
The movie, filmed over two days in October 1964, was pieced together using the best footage from two concerts featuring the same lineup. It included some of the most popular musicians from the States and U.K. performing before an audience of high school kids who’d been given free tickets to attend. In addition to oldie-radio favorites like Leslie Gore, the Beach Boys, Jan and Dean (who host) and Gerry and Pacemakers, is a down-and-dirty list of R&B powerhouses: Smokey Robinson and the Miracles, Chuck Berry, the Supremes, Marvin Gaye and — good God, y’all! — James Brown and the Flames working the stage and audience like nothing you’ve ever seen.
Brown’s is easily the showstopper set of ‘The T.A.M.I. Show.’ All of his signature moves are on display, but here you’re seeing the performer at his youthful peak. His energy and ability to dance hard and sing loud — without the assistance of prerecorded vocals — puts current concert acts to shame. Just when you think he’s about to pack it in, he returns to the stage for an encore with ‘Night Train.’ By the time he finally clears the stage (for the Rolling freakin’ Stones) he’s danced holes in the knees of his slick black slacks.
The Stones would later say that following Brown’s performance was one of the great mistakes of their career, and it’s easy to see why. But that doesn’t stop the British rockers from bringing down the house with a five-song set that ends the show with a bang before all the acts join them onstage to wrap things up with a group hoedown to ‘Let’s Get Together.’
The movie is an unforgettable time capsule that was deemed “culturally, historically or aesthetically significant” by the Library of Congress in 2006. And two fun facts: Two of the onstage teen go-go dancers who appear throughout the show include Toni Basil (who’d hit No. 1 in 1982 with ‘Mickey’) and actress Teri Garr, and both John Landis and David Cassidy claim they are two of the teens in attendance.