R.I.P. SHERMAN HEMSLEY: FUNKY DANCER & PROG-ROCK FANATIC
Here’s a clip of Hemsley dancing to British prog-rock band, Nektar, on The Jeffersons. An unlikely choice for Mr. Jefferson, sure, but right on for Mr. H apparently….
A former jazz keyboardist, Hemsley became an avid prog-rock fan during the post-psych heyday of the 1970s. And he wasn’t shy about it either: Hemsley apparently performed a dance on the Dinah Shore Show to the 6:48 Gentle Giant song “Proclamation,” then proceeded to school Dinah on the genre for another 5 minutes (+10 points to anyone who can find that clip!). Some time in the late 90s, Hemsley began writing a psychedelic rock opera with YES’s Jon Anderson called “Festival Of Dreams.” The opera is still unreleased despite Hemsley’s attempts in the early 00s to move forward with rehearsals in Atlantic City.
But the peak of Hemsley’s prog-rock fandom clearly hit in the late 70s, when he supposedly became so obsessed with the psychedelic band Gong that he devoted an entire room in his house to their song “Flying Teapot” and attempted to buy out the billboard space on Sunset strip to install “Flying Teapot”-inspired images.
In 2009, Gong frontman Daevid Allen recounted the bizarre meeting with Hemsley aka his biggest fan:
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.’
Read the rest of the story @ MAGNET
RIP Sherman, movin’ on up to that Flying Tea Pot in the sky….