Herbie Hancock: "Rockit" from the 1984 Grammy Awards


35 Responses to “Herbie Hancock: "Rockit" from the 1984 Grammy Awards”

  1. ScottTFrazer says:

    He’s not even playing the keytar there. He’s keytar-syncing :-(

    Hard to believe that’s the same guy that gave us this: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xfsnVYVd3iI

    • bassplayinben says:

      How are you sure? Hancock mastered these instruments quickly and was one of the first jazz players to do so.

      And why is it so hard to believe that a legendary jazz musician made a ground-breaking experimental pop record? I know it was panned by critics, but the people sure liked it.

    • chgoliz says:

      Do you remember anything about “live” music on TV shows in the mid-1980s?

  2. EH says:

    Eh, he’ll always be “D St.” to me.

  3. scifijazznik says:

    Herbie Hancock has been badass through several decades.

    With Miles Davis in 1963: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=x_whk6m67VE

    Funky and abstract with Mwandishi in 1971: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5lTimyz9T7k\

    Straight-up funky with Headhunters in 1975: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5lTimyz9T7k

    Bonus for the vintage keyboard heads: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n6QsusDS_8A

    He’s one of the few remaining genuine titans of jazz and he’s still going strong. Big ups for some Herbie on a Monday afternoon.

  4. Paco says:

    “What is that sound? That zigga zigga, where is that sound coming from?” -Mix Master Mike

  5. Xenu says:

    The music video for Rockit is one of my all-time favorites.

  6. collapsibletank says:

    Also, Jabo Sparkes on drums…?

  7. rikomatic says:

    What b-boy crew is dancing in the video? Rock Steady? Nice mix of popping and breaking.

  8. Rick. says:

    The documentary Scratch (as Paco posted) cites this performance as the inspiration for many a turntablist of my generation (early to late 30s). I remember seeing this when it aired and being mesmerized by the scratching. I immediately set about trying to destroy my parents’ turntable. They were not amused.

  9. threeldz says:

    Wow, this was an incredible performance.

  10. buhbuhcuh says:

    The future was so close back then!

  11. Gilbert Wham says:

    I remember seeing an exhibition with those very robots in it at about that time. Tim Hunkin, aren’t they?

  12. EH says:

    Herbie ain’t really playing: 2:59 or so

    • skeletoncityrepeater says:

      He is most certainly playing for real. That’s a completely improvised solo. The video rate is bad and it makes it look weird. It is definitely not ‘key-syncing’. Listen to the original recording and you will see that this is a completely different version; he was just playing really fast and this low-quality video does not do his hands justice.

  13. Donald Petersen says:

    Years after college (mid-90s, probably), I found out that Herbie Hancock was some kind of enormous jazz legend going back decades. And yet Rockit was my only exposure to the guy’s work.

    I fear I am not alone.

    I guess I never followed up on the guy because he sounded to my unseasoned ears like a lesser clone of Harold Faltermeyer. Which wasn’t really my thing.

    All to my shame now.

  14. Anonymous says:

    If you do a brief search, it’s possible to find a great interview from 1985 Musician magazine with Herbie Hancock and Wynton Marsalis together. Summary: Wynton thinks Herbie’s foray into pop is utter crap, but he can’t outright say it, because, well, Herbie is Herbie, and he’s sitting right there. It’s a pretty interesting read if you’re so inclined.

    This was around the same time Jan Hammer broke out with his Miami Vice electronic stuff; another heavy jazz guy (e.g. John Abercrombie “Timeless” 1974), although less famous, dipping his toe into a world of new toys and sounds.

  15. killian101 says:

    The natural progression of the Avant-garde jazz movement…keytars

  16. Anonymous says:

    The robots are Jim Whiting’s

  17. Anonymous says:

    And remember, kids, to embrace your keyboard heritage.

  18. TheRev says:

    Thanks for the great flashback. Everytime I listen to this song I remember watching this performance in grade school music class. I haven’t seen it since and it was still just as fantastic. I wish more of my 80s memories were the same.

  19. Dougall says:

    I always loved the exotic and innovative music video (which this stage performance echoes). The video is far more interesting than the stage show:
    Some time after its release I found out that the directors were my favorite art rock guys Lol and Kev (earlier of 10CC)
    who released my all time most loved concept album, “Consequences” (with a stunning guest appearance by Sarah Vaughn).
    If you have a few hours free, enjoy that album! My favorite line from the album… “It’s not a good sign when goldfish commit suicide” (delivered by Peter Cook).

  20. whisper dog says:

    Here he is a year later at the 1985 Grammys with Stevie Wonder, Thomas Dolby and Howard Jones. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZZEGHnAxEpo

  21. Pablissimo says:

    My wife just walked through the room

    Me: Hey Boing Boing’s got a Herbie Hancock live at the 1984 Grammies video up. I’m not sure why but…

    Her: Because it’s AWESOME!

  22. jetsetsc says:

    Nice. This is right about the time Kraftwerk stopped being insanely good. The torch had passed.

  23. Anonymous says:

    Saw it live on TV and taped it. Took it in to show and tell the next day, because of the moonwalking. I was 12 and in 6th grade. I must have watched it 300 times. (Watch , rewind, watch, rewind).

  24. bassplayinben says:

    all your keytar jokes are belong to Herbie Hancock

  25. Anonymous says:

    OMG!! He may be keytar syncing but… but its the almost mythical David Company’s Clavitar!

  26. Anonymous says:

    Dont miss julio Iglesias as well , front row before Brooke and Michael


  27. stAllio! says:

    correction: dude’s name is Grand Mixer DXT.

  28. Anonymous says:

    Only saw it the one time, back when it first aired. Seared Into My Brain. Don’t need to watch it again, but I will.

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