by G. Jack Urso
One big attraction for Hot Hero Sandwich’s appeal to its young audience was the music performances. Disco, New Wave, Rock, and even Latin Jazz found its way to Studio 8-H and Hot Hero managed to snap up some of the top names of the era, including Sister Sledge, Eddie Money, Joe Jackson, Rex Smith, Stephen Stills, The Little River Band, and more.
In the years just prior to the debut of MTV in 1981, just one year after Hot Hero Sandwich, teen interest in music videos was at an all-time high. Midnight Special, Don Kirshner’s Rock Concert, Pop Clips, Friday Night Videos, and others, primed the late Baby Boomer/Gen X crowd for this genre and Hot Hero Sandwich was in an excellent position to capitalize on it. As noted by Paul O’Keefe in his interview for the Hot Hero Sandwich Project, “Studio 8-H was originally the radio studio for the NBC orchestra. It had very good acoustics for a TV studio.” Additionally, Hot Hero Sandwich shared crew with Saturday Night Live, which by 1979 had four solid years of recording acts for that show, so the performances for Hot Hero were filmed by top-notch technicians who needed only one or two run-throughs to nail down the acts on video. These taped performances are on par with anything SNL produced.
As for the performances themselves, Hot Hero Band producer Felix Pappalardi acknowledges in a Nov. 24, 1979, Record Word article, due to all the neon on stage, a loud hum was created when the amplifiers were turned on, so the performances were lip-synced, though it does appear that vocally the singers were still belting it out and the musicians hit their notes on target and on time.
All clips are hosted on the Hot Hero Sandwich Central YouTube channel. For all performances by the Hot Hero Band, please visit the article, Hot Hero Band Video Clips.
On Studio 8-H:
In addition to the performances on Studio 8-H, Hot Hero Sandwich also produced short films and animation (by Jerry Lieberman Productions) for a variety of music genres.
Animation and Short Films:
- Episode 1, “I'm Only Sleeping”: Originally The Beatles version, replaced with a cover version by Go Fret due to a limited copyright release]
- Episode 8, “When I'm 64”: Originally, this clip used the versions by The Beatles, here replaced with a cover version by the 101 Strings due to a limited copyright release.
- Episode 10 Stevie Wonder's “Ebony Eyes”: A tribute to Black girls and women set to Stevie Wonder's “Ebony Eyes,” overlayed with a woman doing snippets of "Phenomenal Woman," and another poem (“I’m Gonna Draw Me a Black Madonna”).
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