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ID this keyboard (or stage prop?) Joe Cocker on Ed Sullivan


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That's Christopher Stainton on keys (part of "The Grease Band" that backed Cocker in the 60s). My first inclination is some model of Wurlitzer (maybe a 200)?

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Imagine a lightly sprung unweighted keybed with no velocity response.

Now hook it up to a tone generator basically similar to a combo organ and add some sustain, whose tone in no way resembles a piano.

Now put it in a very heavy and almost indestructible case.

 

The folding legs are kinda cool, and Tony Banks found a use for one..

 

It's kinda the Roland KC of keyboards.

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That looks like an RMI Rocksichord. The were a few variations of this model, the original extremely rare 100 model followed by the 100A and 200. I'm pretty sure a 200 is used for the Ed Sullivan performance. The 100 and 100A only had an 8' rank and the 200 model added a 4' rank. The 100A and 200 had all-blue covering and the earlier 100 had gray covering. The unique thing about these instruments and the later Electra-Piano and Harpsichord is that no divider circuits were used which made them heavy and fairly complex since there was a separate tunable oscillator for each key. The first Electra-Piano and Harpsichord model 300A can be recognized by the upper part being covered in blue and the bottom covered in black. These and later Electra-Piano 300B models had a combination Volume/Sustain pedal while the Rocksichord only had a Volume pedal. The Volume/Sustain pedal has two cables one with a standard 1/4" plug and the other with a slightly smaller obsolete plug size so you can't plug them in incorrectly. The same type of legs found on the RMI although likely heavier duty were used on Keyboard Products Hammond chops.

 

RMI Rocksichord 200

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RMI 100A

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I had an RMI electric piano for a while when I still played in a band. I never saw it in Blue. Of course the sound on the record that Joe and the band was using was lip sync, the instrument on the recording was not an RMI. It was most likely the piano in the recording studio they used to make the record.

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It was nice to see Chris Stainton put the effort in to make a realistic show of faking the piano solo. Especially considering I think it was Artie Butler on the original recording.
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It was nice to see Chris Stainton put the effort in to make a realistic show of faking the piano solo. Especially considering I think it was Artie Butler on the original recording.

 

Yep, it's a stage prop.

 

I had an RMI piano and it could never sound like that-

 

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I did a dinner theatre accompaniment gig one summer. 4 plays on alternating nights, with music scored for acoustic piano and RMI. It was the only time my instrument was appropriate.

Moe

---

"I keep wanting to like it's sound, but every demo seems to demonstrate that it has the earth-shaking punch and peerless sonics of the Roland Gaia. " - Tusker

http://www.hotrodmotm.com

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Now that the RMI identification issue has been solved, is this really the Ed Sullivan show? I thought he required all performers to play live.

 

 

Good point. I trusted the title of the YouTube video but that could be wrong. I found a couple websites all claiming Cocker sang Feelin Alright on Ed Sullivan on April 27, 1969, including edsullivan.com, which includes a photo that matches the set design of the YouTube video. But I share your doubt that musicians routinely lip synced on Ed Sullivan. https://www.edsullivan.com/honoring-joe-cocker/

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I watched the video with the sound off and a Beethoven sonata playing instead. Works quite well. The OP's question has been answered. My question is: where did Joe Cocker get that odd pink shirt and the purple bell bottoms, and who told him to wear those?
These are only my opinions, not supported by any actual knowledge, experience, or expertise.
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where did Joe Cocker get that odd pink shirt and the purple bell bottoms, and who told him to wear those?
It's obviously not those clothes on the recording.

 

I didn't know you could get bell bottoms in purple. I had them in black - don't miss them.

 

Cheers, Mike.

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where did Joe Cocker get that odd pink shirt and the purple bell bottoms, and who told him to wear those?
It's obviously not those clothes on the recording.
Good one.
These are only my opinions, not supported by any actual knowledge, experience, or expertise.
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First time I saw/heard an RMI was in Toronto. Winwood was playing one with Blind Faith and I was blown away. I couldn't believe how great it sounded. As far as I was concerned, it was the best substitute for a real piano every invented. I was, at the time, high as a kite, on street drugs I'd bought from a stranger outside the stadium! :freak:

I ordered one immediately on returning to Buffalo and only then discovered what a piece of crap it really was.

But I sure enjoyed that show!

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I watched the video with the sound off and a Beethoven sonata playing instead. Works quite well. The OP's question has been answered. My question is: where did Joe Cocker get that odd pink shirt and the purple bell bottoms, and who told him to wear those?

 

[video:youtube]

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RMI - they could sound half way decent for the 70's with a lot of effects and run through the FOH.... Larry McGowan (RIP) from 'Rat Race Choir' here in the NE did amazing things with an RMI electric and classic rock material from Elton John to Thick as a Brick/Passion Play etc.. with one for years... but RRC had a very active/capable soundman who would pull effects on each tune with the RMI and all the other instruments for the band, sometime multiple effects setting for any instrument in one tune with a live active mix..Rat Race ran their PA stereo front to rear with 4 A7 columns. .Alan was his name (soundman), a Bell Labs graduate ... he would often use 'slap back' echo, straight echo and a bit of verb on it...helped a lot, wrapped in effects and placed in the mix correctly it could sound like a piano 'in a mix' with a capable player.. and Larry was more than a capable player.. he was down right Brilliant... I gigged one for a long time on top of a Hammond C3...but you weren't going to get anything near a piano response out of it... sonically or touch wise... as someone noted, it was basically Italian combo organ tech..but better than lugging a Hapinstill Stage piano and worrying about tuning in those days and the bulk and weight...well for me at least. Hauling the C3 and a 122 was quite enough for the band and myself...so there was a good reason to use an RMI in the hayday..Winwood pulls off a nice solo with one on the 'Traffic' tune 'Empty Pages' ... they could be groovy if you let them ....mine was a darker blue... I think the early ones were bright blue like the one S.Winwood used in the Hyde Park video and Chris Stainton is using w/ Joe Cocker above as a stage prop...Winwood had that silver jet on top of his in the Hyde Park Blind Faith video...

 

[video:youtube]

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In the same timeframe another CTA booked band called Ox had a great keyboard player named Michael who played a B-3 and RMI and really made the RMI work for him. His was the blue one I mentioned before. I imagine he"d be a total monster on a modern digital piano.
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I heard John Sebastian playing one 1968 and ordered a Rock-Si-Chord 200. I'm not much of a piano player so the action didn't bother me. It was lighter than a Wurlie but didn't sound as sweet. I was frightened at the thought of two oscillators to go out of tune for every note but I treated it as carefully as I could and it served me well playing juke joints for a couple of years. I can't remember who I sold it to though. I don't miss it or my Combo Compact. Zero nostalgia there.
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Here is The Mandrake Memorial (Craig Anderton on guitar) with one of the earliest Rock-Si-Chords.

 

[video:youtube]

 

This is Country Joe and the Fish with a rare RMI Calliope known as the Band Organ.

 

[video:youtube]

 

RMI was a featured instrument in the music of Sparks.

 

[video:youtube]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=x29_lhRjuuw

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