Friday Night Forgotten Oldie: BS & T goes behind the Iron Curtain

Back in the day one of my favorite bands was Blood, Sweat and Tears, jazz-rock pioneers.

Bob Lefsetz writes about the music industry in The Lefsetz Letter. From a column last week:

You have no idea how big Blood, Sweat & Tears was back in ’68 and ’69, even into the spring of 1970. They were everywhere.

Also, if you were not alive in the era, you have no idea of the sixties counterculture, the protests against Vietnam…you’ve read about it, but you’ve never felt it.

The U.S. government wanted to deport (lead singer David Clayton-Thomas). So the band agreed to do this Eastern European tour (in 1970) in exchange for David’s green card.

They’re in Romania and the government throws a sh*t fit when the audience for the first night’s show won’t stop clapping, won’t stop cheering for the U.S.A., they’ve gotten a taste of freedom and they LIKE IT!

Good for the U.S. Bad for U.S./Romanian relations.

And according to (a new documentary) when the band came back and said how bad it was over there they were labeled tools of the administration, the hated Nixon administration, and were banned from the counterculture and the bad press ultimately led to the demise of the band.

Coming out in theaters this month…

“What The Hell Happened To Blood, Sweat & Tears?” will be released theatrically in New York and Los Angeles March 24th, before expanding across North America and Canada.

This video was taken in Sweden in 1971. BS & T performs a song they had also done during the Iron Curtain tour. That song was included on the band’s self-titled LP, actually their second album that was named winner of the Grammy Award for the best album of the year. The winning album was voted by the 3,000‐member academy over the Beatles’s “Abbey Road,” and Johnny Cash’s “Johnny Cash at San Quentin,” Crosby Stills and Nash’s “Crosby Stills and Nash” and the Fifth Dimension’s “The Age of Aquarius,” which had also been nominated in the best album category.

Steve Katz takes over the lead vocal in Sweden 1971.

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