THE BEST ON RECORD
With various artists and hosts
Exec Producer: Ted Bergmann
Producer: George Schlatter
Writer: Mort Lachman
Musical Director: Les Brown
60 Mins., Mon.(16), 9 p.m.
NBC-TV (color tape)
"The Best on Record," the disk industry's counterpart of the Oscar (film) and Emmy (tv) awards shows, again presented a generous sampling of this year's Grammy winners as tagged by the National Academy of Recording Arts & Sciences in non-telecast ceremonies last month. This Grammy show may lack the element of surprise in unveiling the "bests" in each category, but it has the definite advantage of being entertainment.
This year, "Best on Record" came up with a topflight roster of disk performers supplemented by a distinguished lineup of show biz names who introduced each act. Students of pop music might cavil at the somewhat gilded picture of the contemporary disk scene which this show presented. There was, for instance, not a single vocal combo, shaggy or otherwise, to be seen on the show and the heavy influence of the rhythm blues genre on the current disk sound was nowhere to be heard.
However, the available talent for this hour added up to a first-rate musical outing spiced by some nifty comedy as supplied by the hosts. Bob Hope, a veteran of the Oscars, was on hand to kick off this show with some good-natured needling of the disk industry and the Grammys.
The show smoothly pieced together the several segments showcasing each of the disk acts. Bill Dana introduced Herb Alpert's Tijuana Brass who played two numbers in their widely imitated
Petula Clark, brought on by Rowan & Martin, was given an excellent setting for her hit vocal of "Goin' Out of My Head." In general, production values surrounding each of the performers had a major league quality.
Comedy disk LP winner Bill Cosby introduced by Steve Allen delivered an anecdote about Sheldon Leonard and his wife. It was okay but strung out somewhat too lengthily. Henry Mancini brought on the Anita Kerr Singers who dished up one of their award winning choral arrangements of "Dreamsville."
Roger Miller, one of the heavy=weight names of the current disk biz along with the Tijuana Brass was ushed on by Bobby Darin and delievered two of his hits, "King of the Road" and "I've Been a Long Time Leaving" both his own numbers. "King of the Road" turned up later in the form of "Queen of the House" another 1965 click by Jody Miller who was introduced by Godfrey Cambridge. Latter's humor had a trace of Stepin' Fetchit in its self-depreciation.
Perry Como bowed on Tony Bennett for the latter's rendition of "The Shadow of Your Smile" while Diahann Carrol introduced the Duke Ellington orch for its rundown of "Satin Doll", Don Adams had one of the top laugh bits on the show with his "Get Smart" routine, a prelude to Rober Goulet's singing of "On a Clear Day."
For the finale, Dinah Shore was on hand to present the special Golden Achievement Award by NARAS to Duke Ellington. Ellington obliged by leading his orch in "Don't Get Around Much Anymmore," with Tony Bennett delivering a powerhouse vocal. Like the rest of show, it was swinging, not rocking.