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Listed below are links to weblogs that reference The Box Tops - "The Letter" on Upbeat!:

» Applaudably awful lip-syncing by the Box Tops from Boing Boing
Watch The Box Tops sleep their way through their hit song, "The Letter," on Upbeat! Link... [Read More]

» Box Tops Perform Without Saying A Word! from No Signal Input
I don't think I've ever seen lip-syncing which was more obvious than this, is it so hard for bands to sing live or are they afraid of sounding crap outside of the recording studio? [Read More]

» The Box Tops - The Letter from smidigt.se
The Box Tops - The Letter (Quicktime, 9,4 MB) Vilken inlevelse! Svårt att tro att det är playback. Via Bedazzled!. ... [Read More]

» controlled by record producers from infobong.com
The other day bOINGbOING posted a link to this TV clip of The Boxtops lip-synching their 1967 hit "The Letter." Alex Chilton and the rest of the band are clearly unexcited about the promotional appearance and do a lousy job... [Read More]


Anonymous Bosch

Really funny!

Does anyone know what make of guitar the guy to screen-left of Chilton is playing, the black guitar? Maybe a Mosrite?

Gary Shell

Huh? Both guitar players are playing Fenders.

Ben Bradley

The black guitar is definitely a Fender Stratocaster, and the other a Telecaster.

Another funny thing is the organist is playing (actually more hamming it up than playing) what looks like a Hammond, with the drawbars above the keys, but the sound is that of a Vox or some similar less expensive but popular-in-the-'60's organ.


First of all, this was hilarious. I want to know the story behind this video, what was the band thinking? Second of all, I wouldn't judge them too harshly; my bet is they didn't want to do the lip synching but were forced to.

This reminds me of when Nirvana appeared on "Top of the Pops" and were forced to "mime" their hit song, "Smells Like Teen Spirit". Kurt Cobain sings a whole octave lower than normal and actually sticks the microphone into his mouth while singing; his right arm limply strums the guitar while his left hand just moves up and down the fretboard. Krist Novoselic just slides his fingers up and down the fretboard of his bass, eventually holding it in the air by the end of the video (while still playing every note! miraculous!) Dave Novaselic makes almost no attempt to play the drums, waving his hands in the air and laughing the whole time.

I'm pretty sure that's what was happening in this video... Watch the organ player... every time the camera focuses on him he stops playing and the singer laughs every time he sees it. Comedy gold... :D

P-E Fronning

Look!! No hands!

A bunch of healthy youngsters forced by the record company to appear on this show. They'd rather be outdoors hiking in the mountains (climbing as high as they can get).

Kevin MacNutt

As a huge fan of Alex Chilton through his 70's band, Big Star, I think I can lend some insight to the mood of this video. Chilton gave an interview in 1974 during a live broadcast Big Star concert on WLIR radio in New York (availble on the Big Star "Live" cd released in 1992) that touring with the Box Tops was "pretty scummy" and that they were completely controlled by record producers. By the time that the Box Tops appeared on Upbeat, it is safe to say he was pretty disenchanted with his career. In fact Chilton is notorious for goofing off and giving a half-assed performance in the moment of frustration (check out his post Big Star solo material for further proof of this). Chilton was also known for walking off the stage during a particularly poor Box Tops concert. I remember seeing a clip from this Upbeat appearence and absolutely cracking up since this is so typical of Chilton.


I've had a VHS of this performance for quite a while and it never fails to crack my friends up, particularly the play of expressions across Alex's cherubic mug, and the goofball keyboards player. Great to see it online for the edification of the online world.

mike "lurch" leech

this is indeed hilarious, the most half-baked (though one suspects full-baked) attempt at lip-synching ever. hey, why is bill playing guitar and not bass?


I don't think you can slight the band for this... the producers of the show that bands were given a segment in, were the ones that forced the guests to not play live..this irritated the band members to no end...

Rick Baverstock

Who is the keyboard player in this vid? He doesn't look familiar from any other Box Tops video...Also, what year is this from (they look more 'hairy' than they do in other 1967 videos)?

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