September 13th, 2011
You learn something new every day.
I had no idea that Sherman Hemsley was a prog rock fan. Hemsley played George Jefferson on the TV shows All in the Family and The Jeffersons during the 1970s & 80s. Here’s a screencap of him wearing a t-shirt from the German prog band Nektar.
And here is a bit of Nektar’s “Show Me the Way” featured on an episode of The Jeffersons.
Who knew you could dance like that to prog?
On this particular occasion, the guest on the show was Sherman Hemsley, the guy that played the character “George Jefferson” on the shows “The Jeffersons” and “All in the Family.” On that occasion he was going to perform a dance. To our shock and amazement, the music he danced to was none other than Proclamation from The Power and the Glory! After his dance, the host was laughing and asked what kind of music that was. Sherman then proceeded to give a 5 minute speech on Gentle Giant. The host stopped laughing when he realized that Sherman was 100% serious about Gentle Giant!
Hopefully footage of that will surface as I can’t find it at YouTube.
Gong’s Daevid Allen has a good story about meeting Hemsley back in the day.
“It was 1978 or 1979, and Sherman Hemsley kept ringing me up. I didn’t know him from a bar of soap because we didn’t have television in Spain (where I was living). He called me from Hollywood saying, ‘I’m one of your biggest fans and I’m going to fly you here and put flying teapots all up and down the Sunset Strip.’ I thought, ‘This guy is a lunatic.’ He kept it up so I said, ‘Listen, can you get us tickets to L.A. via Jamaica? I want to go there to make a reggae track and have a honeymoon with my new girlfriend.’ He said, ‘Sure! I’ll get you two tickets.’
I thought, ‘Well, even if he’s a nut case at least he’s coming up with the goodies.’ The tickets arrived and we had this great honeymoon in Jamaica. Then we caught the plane across to L.A. We had heard Sherman was a big star, but we didn’t know the details. Coming down the corridor from the plane, I see this black guy with a whole bunch of people running after him trying to get autographs. Anyway, we get into this stretch limousine with Sherman and immediately there’s a big joint being passed around. I say, ‘Sorry man, I don’t smoke.’ Sherman says, ‘You don’t smoke and you’re from Gong?’
And that’s just the start of it. I also see that Hemsley collaborated on a “funk-rock opera” with Yes’ Jon Anderson called Festival of Dreams which “supposedly described the spiritual qualities of the number seven”. I can totally believe that.