If you haven’t heard by now, Hugh Hefner – the man who brought us Playboy magazine and all that came with it and after it – passed away last night at the age of 91. And while there will certainly be plenty of tributes to the man and his publishing empire and the cultural revolution he created … for better or for worse …
I want to focus, for a moment, on his love for and promotion of music. And with that, I’m bringing you sections of a 1969-1970 syndicated TV show called “Playboy After Dark,” where Hef and his bunnies and assorted guests hung around a stage and watched the top performers of the late 1960’s rock the place to the ground.
Take, for example, this clip. Hef welcomes you to the penthouse, where he introduces his two servings of arm candy, takes a puff of his pipe, and escorts you to the “Rumpus Room,” where you get a private four-song performance by Ike and Tina Turner.
Yes, THAT Ike and Tina Turner.
At some point in time, one of Hef’s bunnies married Bob Cowsill, a member of the rock band The Cowsills, and sure enough, the Cowsills are here at the penthouse, performing several of their hits. Although there’s a very creepy moment when Hef asks little Susan Cowsill what she wants to be when she grows up. “Would you believe … Miss February?” she replies. Eww…
If your exposure to Three Dog Night was limited to oldies radio stations, you should see them perform. And thanks to the Playboy After Dark show, you can do just that.
And check out the guests that were at the Playboy Penthouse that night … including James Brown himself. Wow.
Did you know that Hef worked a side job as a waiter? He must have, look at how he holds that platter of cocktail meatballs… 😀 Then again, check out what’s going on at the Rumpus Room … it’s John Kay and Steppenwolf!
How surreal is it to have Hugh Hefner and Tony Randall discussing the merits of rock and roll … with an appearance in the Rumpus Room from Grand Funk Railroad. This was the original Mark, Don and Mel version of GFR, the 100% awesome version of GFR that STILL hasn’t received consideration for induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Something wrong with that.
If you’ve only known Fleetwood Mac from 1975 to the present, you have no idea that Fleetwood Mac was one helluva blues-rock band prior to 1975. Check out their version of “Rattlesnake Shake” in the rec room. Might even convince Arte Johnson to get off the billiard table.
How cool a party it must be if you can get your friends to gather for a couple of songs by the Byrds. Yes, THOSE Byrds.
And finally, let’s get a couple of jams from the legendary Godfather of Soul. Remember earlier when he talked about getting a chance to see Three Dog Night perform at this little intimate event? Now we get to hear him sing as well, including a get-on-your-feet performance of “Say It Loud (I’m Black and I’m Proud).”
There you go. Hugh Hefner, rock music aficionado. And all the other things he did in life. Rest in peace, Hef. We at K-Chuck Radio hold up a Playboy Club key in your honor.