A really fun, collectible Isley Brothers window card from the weekend our 35th president, John F. Kennedy, was assassinated. That tragedy happened on a Friday, and this show was slated for the Saturday.
Did the show happen, or not? Was it postponed or canceled? I put that question to you, my viewer, if any of you live in the area or have access to records, etc. that would provide us with the answer.
But whether it happened or not, this cardboard Isley Bros. poster board is quite the cool collectible. Who doesn’t like the Isleys? To this day, I still hear their “Shout!” and “Twist & Shout” songs played by bar bands all the time.
But remarkably, neither of those important records is on the poster… instead, a couple of clunkers are. But more on that in a moment.
This 14-by-22-inch Isley Brothers placard was made by the Murray Poster Printing Company out of NYC. It was done on thick card stock, or cardboard, all the better to withstand the fall weather elements such as rain.
It’s a B&W poster that uses just one additional color, yellow, to great effect, making it quite attractive to the eye. Buddy Holly’s famous Winter Dance Party poster was entirely in yellow, black and white, and looked great also.
“Show & Dance!”, it proclaims at the very top of this Isley Bros. in-person poster. That was a very common phrase used constantly on R&B and rock & roll concert posters of the ’50s and early ’60s.
And then, “Salisbury Armory,” located in Salisbury, MD. That’s just a couple of hours from our nation’s capital.
The date of this Isley Brothers billboard is “Sat., Nov. 23rd,” and the year isn’t given, but we all know that it’s 1963… and exactly what that means.
Our nation’s 35th president, JFK, was assassinated this very weekend… on the Friday. And this “show & dance” was supposed to take place on the Saturday. So did it?
This Isley Bros. window display would still be collectible even if the show never happened. But even in my deep research, I couldn’t ascertain whether it did or not. So I’m reaching out to my viewers… do you know a way to find out?
Other concert posters exist from this weekend with varying results. The Beach Boys in Marysville, CA… the show went on as scheduled. The Rat Pack featuring Frank Sinatra in Santa Monica, CA… postponed for a month. Joan Baez elsewhere, on Sunday night… undetermined.
But as a serious collector, I’m still bullish on this Isley Brothers event poster as a collector’s item. There’s a lot of good concert posters out there for which the event was canceled… FD-27, for example, with Howlin’ Wolf and BBHC featuring Janis Joplin. One of the more popular Family Dog posters, and yet the whole weekend was canceled.
OK, continuing with the venue information up top… “Hours 8:00 P.M. until?” – except the typesetter at Murray left out the last letter of “until,” so a gap appears there instead. Oops!
And then the ticket prices on this Isley Bros. show placard are given as, “Advance $1.50, Door $2.00.” Not that expensive – but then, there were no 2nd and 3rd acts like most of these posters have.
Actually, the “I.B. Specials Orchestra” at the bottom looks like an opening or support act, but it was just the brothers’ back-up band, of course. Clever marketing, though.
And then you’ve got the three smiling “floating heads” of O’Kelly, Rudolph and Ronald on this Isley Brothers concert sign, greatly enhancing its appearance.
But the song titles found on this poster, underneath their heads? That’s an entirely different matter altogether.
Why in the world this Isley Bros. boxing-style concert poster doesn’t have “Twist & Shout” and “Shout!” on it, to help sell tickets, I’ll never know in a million years. Both were recent hits.
Instead, it has “Shout ’N Shimmy” and “Twistin’ with Linda.” The latter was their current single release, so at least that we can explain that one. But “Shout ’N Shimmy”?
That has absolutely no place on an Isley Brothers ticket poster. It was James Brown’s song! And besides that, the Isleys were hopping mad that JB had ripped off their sound and style, both writing and recording it, and taken it way up the charts!
The claim is that “Shout ’N Shimmy” was a direct rip-off of the Isleys’ aforementioned “Shout!”, a hit for them in 1959.
So the IB’s resented that song, and James, like heck. So what on earth is that song doing on an Isley Bros. street sign? If you have any answers or clues for me, please let me know… either by commenting below my video, or writing me directly and I’ll pass it on.
So that’s two big question marks I have unanswered about this poster. It’s not a habit of mine to pose questions for my viewers, but I’m never afraid to say “I don’t know,” and in regards to two things about this item, I just don’t know!
But it’s still a great Isley Brothers fence poster souvenir, even with the wrong song titles on there and whether the show happened or not. You just don’t find many of these things surviving… they’re just not out there in quantity at all.
It still amazes me that these things were made to last for just a few weeks… always to be torn down and thrown away the day after the show. Just remarkable, because some of them simply look so nice.
This Isley Bros. concert advertisement wouldn’t be so collectible except that the brothers’ management company and booking agency simply didn’t use posters to get the word out back then. A few musicians definitely eschewed the use of concert posters, including most big Motown artists.
Others, on the other hand – contemporaries of the Isleys – used concert posters for their whole career… three that come to mind are James Brown, Ray Charles and Jackie Wilson.
This Isley Brothers pole poster is happily shown to you today by long-time music historian and collector Pete Howard. Yes, that’s me writing this, and I can be tracked down via either (805) 540-0020 or by using firstname.lastname@example.org. As a serious hobbyist, I pay the BEST PRICES IN THE HOBBY, PERIOD, for vintage rock and R&B advertising signs like this… I just love them.
If you’d like to see a few more old, cool rhythm & blues concert placards from the era, just slide over one page to here: http://www.postercentral.com/rhythmnblues.htm