The Beat Goes On at the movies, part 2 … Beatles, Blues Brothers, Barbra and more

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Welcome to the second half of the soundtrack special edition of The Beat Goes On, featuring an eclectic variety of music from the movies, ranging from A Hard Day’s Night to The Blues Brothers and from South Pacific to Sex and the City.

The Beat Goes On is a new radio show, hosted by the editor of this very website, on Kennet Radio, a community radio station in Berkshire, England, on 106.7 FM (no static at all … well, not much). You can listen to the whole show online by following this link to Mixcloud.

If you don’t want to listen to the whole thing, this two-part blogpost contains a full playlist and cool links to all the music, with added film and video clips.

Enjoy the second half of the show!

Great theme tune. The show was going to be called The Alley Cats, and then Harry’s Angels, but they changed it to avoid confusion with Harry O. This brings back memories of heated playground discussions as to which one was our favourite. Mine was David Doyle.

Heatwave (initially Chicago’s Heatwave) were a class act, and this is one of the great records of the 1970s, composed by the late Rod Temperton, who went on to write Rock With You, Thriller and other classics for Michael Jackson. Boogie Nights has appeared in several movie soundtracks, including Eyes of Laura Mars and The Stud, but ironically not in Boogie Nights itself (lead singer Johnnie Wilder Jr, a devout Christian, objected on moral grounds).

Boogie Nights to Thriller: Rod Temperton, the soul genius most fans have never heard of

In the regular “Hope I Die Before the Band Gets Old” slot are Kool & The Gang, formed in 1964 as The Jazziacs and not just still in business more than 50 years later but, incredibly, with four original members, including main men Robert “Kool” Bell and his brother Ronald. Listen closely to this wonderful, all too brief clip from Saturday Night Fever and you will hear the Gang play a few bars of Streets of Cairo (the “snake charmer” song), which is even older than the band, dating from the 1890s.,

“Are you a mod or a rocker?” “I’m a mocker.” Funny, innocent, but slyly knowing, and still watchable today, A Hard Day’s Night captures the moment when Beatlemania (the original title of the film) captured the world’s imagination and The Beatles changed it for ever.

Want to know how to play the opening chord, the most famous guitar chord in history? John, Paul and George each had a crucial role. Keith Smart tells you exactly how they did it.

“You won’t have heard of them. It’s by a group called The Beatles”

“What’s New, Pussycat?”, the 1965 movie in which this appeared, was a greeting Warren Beatty used on the phone to his many girlfriends. Paul Jones of the Manfreds does a decent job on a fine Burt Bacharach-Hal David song that was not really suited to his style. Love’s punkier version was much better, and here’s amazing footage of Arthur Lee and friends (including Alban “Snoopy” Pfisterer on snare drum) miming to it on TV in 1966.

If the Kids are United, which reached No 9 on the UK charts exactly 40 years ago, was featured in the 1996 film When Saturday Comes, a poor man’s The Full Monty in which Sean Bean, improbably, propels Sheffield United to FA Cup glory by scoring a last-minute penalty against Manchester United. Blades fans, of whom I am one, still sing “Sheffield United will never be defeated” (not true, sadly) to this tune. But of course in Sheffield, we ‘ad it tough in them days …

Michael Palin, the only Yorkshireman, is the only one to get the accent right but it’s still a pretty funny sketch. And accurate.

Jennifer Hudson’s power-packed All Dressed in Love – written by Cee-Lo of Gnarls Barkley, MC Jack Splash from Plantlife and producer Salaam Remi – brings Sex and the City, the movie, to a suitable close. Sadly, they made a sequel in 2010; it gained seven Golden Raspberry nominations and three awards, including Worst Actress (for all four principal characters).

From the depths of The Damned to the top of the charts, Captain Sensible (Raymond Burns), introduced by John Peel and backed by guitarist Robyn Hitchcock and Dolly Mixture, in 1989 with his surprisingly likable version of the Rodgers and Hammerstein classic, from South Pacific.

“Parfait mélange” indeed: a hauntingly beautiful song, in any language, by the French singer, dancer and actor Guesch Patti, the title track of her 1995 album and the best thing in Peter Greenaway’s movie The Pillow Book, perhaps the ultimate example of his obsession with style over substance.

It’s 106 miles to Chicago … we got a tank full of gas … half a pack of cigarettes … it’s dark and we’re wearing sunglasses … HIT IT!

Jake and Elwood Blues at their best.

Great lyrics from an original Modern Lover and Talking Head: “Pretty girl, young man, old man, man with a gun, two people in love – the rules do not apply.” Like Sister Carol’s Wild Thing (see previous blogpost), this is from Jonathan Demme’s excellent 1986 black comedy Something Wild.

Now it’s time for Frank of the Month, another regular feature in the show. Last time we had Frank, the Amy Winehouse album. For The Beat Goes On soundtrack special it’s … Lieutenant Frank Drebin. Here are some of Leslie Nielsen’s best moments from The Naked Gun trilogy.

When I see five weirdos dressed in togas stabbing a guy in the middle of the park in full view of 100 people I shoot the bastards!

That was a Shakespeare in the Park production of Julius Caesar, you moron. You killed five actors – good ones.

The next edition of The Beat Goes On, later this month, will feature two hours of great music featuring only female artists, from Aretha to Ella, from Sister Sledge to The Slits. To whet your appetite, here’s Barbra Streisand.

Pass me a hanky, please. I think I’ve got something in my eye.

And that’s about it. But there is one more thing …

Listen to The Beat Goes On live at kennetradio.com – the next show will be broadcast on Wednesday 22 August from 9-11pm (21:00 to 23:00 BST).

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The Beat Goes On at the movies: from Bill Haley to Jack Black, the soundtrack of our lives

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The July edition of The Beat Goes On, the quirky radio show hosted by the editor of this website, was a soundtrack special featuring an eclectic variety of music from the movies, ranging from Casablanca to Pulp Fiction and from South Pacific to Saturday Night Fever.

Artists include The All Seeing I, Bill Haley and His Comets, The Commitments, The Dandy Warhols, The Monkees and many more. You can listen to the whole show any time online by following this link to Mixcloud.

If you don’t want to listen to the whole thing, this two-part blogpost contains a full playlist and cool links to all the music, with added film and video clips.

So settle back with a Royale With Cheese and a beer, and enjoy the show!

Brilliant video for The All Seeing I’s 1998 update of the theme song for this show, from their album Pickled Eggs and Sherbet. The All Seeing I also produced Britney Spears’ version of the Sonny Bono number, which will be played to kick off the August edition of The Beat Goes On.

Here are Pumpkin and Honey Bunny in Pulp Fiction. And here’s the great Dick Dale.

The Hendrix line “And you will never hear surf music again” (in Third Stone from the Sun, from Are You Experienced?) was a response to hearing that Dale, the King of the Surf Guitar, had cancer and had been given three months to live. But he survived to became a cult hero thanks to Tarantino’s decision to open Pulp Fiction with his 1962 recording of Misirlou. Dale is now 81. There’s a good 2010 interview with him here.

Another fine video, filmed in the now defunct Slabtown bar in Portland, Oregon. Bohemian Like You has featured in numerous movies and TV shows and was used in a highly successful Vodafone advertising campaign in 2001 (as a result of which the single was rereleased and rose to No 5 in the UK charts). Ford also used the song in advertising. Theresa May, the British prime minister (at the time of writing), walked off stage to Bohemian Like You at a Conservative Party conference, prompting its composer, Courtney Taylor-Taylor, to opine: “Why don’t these assholes have right-wing bands make them some right-wing music for their right-wing jerkoff politics? Oh, because right-wing people aren’t creative, visionary, or any fun to be around.” He’s not wrong.

Terence Stamp, Guy Pearce and Hugo Weaving strut their stuff to Ce Ce Peniston’s dance classic in Stephan Elliott’s funny, touching 1994 film The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert. If there’s such a thing as low camp, this is it.

It may not look that threatening today, but my father told me when he went to see Blackboard Jungle, teddy boys tried to smash up the cinema. (He may have been exaggerating a little.) This song has the distinction of being the opening number not just in Blackboard Jungle in 1954, but Rock Around the Clock (rushed out the following year) and American Graffiti in 1973. “Haley’s Rock-Roll Dance Biz Whiz” is still a great record, especially the guitar of Danny Cedrone – who died after a fall, two months after the recording, so never knew how iconic the song, or his contribution, were to become.

Now can I please have the attention of the class … today’s assignment: kick some ass! The best song in Andrew Lloyd Webber’s musical is not a Lloyd Webber composition: it was written by Sammy James Jr, of The Mooney Suzuki, and Mike White, who wrote the screenplay for School of Rock, the 2003 movie. The guys who play Dewey Finn in the stage show do a good job; it’s not their fault they’re not Jack Black. Here he is in the movie version of the song.

School of Rock report: Andrew Lloyd Webber gets a B+ but it’s A-stars all round for the kids

The Monkees have a regular slot in my show, People Say We Monkee Around, featuring some of their less well known songs (everyone’s heard Daydream Believer). A highlight of the band’s weird, wonderful 1968 movie Head, Carole King and Toni Stern’s haunting As We Go Along is beautifully performed by Micky Dolenz as Davy wanders about moodily. While you’re here, check out the sublime The Porpoise Song (King again, with Gerry Goffin) from the same film. You can even listen to King’s demo version of the song.

The Commitments are the house band of this website. (Full story here.) A terrific performance of the Wilson Pickett classic. But will he turn up to see them play?

In an attempted scam that sounds like the plot of a movie, Stretch – featuring a bloke from Curved Air and Elmer Gantry of the 60s outfit Elmer Gantry’s Velvet Opera – were put together to masquerade as Fleetwood Mac (who were otherwise engaged) on an American tour. They weren’t best pleased when the Americans rumbled them, and wrote Why Did You Do It? as a riposte to Mick Fleetwood. It became a big hit for them in 1975 and and appeared, a quarter of a century later, in Guy Ritchie’s crime caper Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels. Here’s a compilation of the best lines from the film. My favourite is: “You don’t look like your average horti-fucking-culturalist,” a tribute to the morphological versatility of the great English swearword.

Jonathan Demme’s slow-burning black comedy Something Wild (1986), one of the best films of the 1980s, boasts sexy, funny and scary performances from, respectively, Melanie Griffith, Jeff Daniels and Ray Liotta, and an amazing soundtrack of familiar and unfamiliar music. Jamaican reggae star Sister Carol (AKA Black Cinderella and Mother Culture) contributes this charming cover of Wild Thing.

If it’s December 1941 in Casablanca, what time is it in New York? Bogart and Dooley Wilson in a timeless scene from Casablanca. Leading into …

“Well, talk about bad taste!” The funniest scene from the funniest film ever made, though arguably less funny than it was in 1968, when no one could have imagined in their most dystopian nightmares that 50 years later there would be actual neo-nazis in power in parts of Europe and among the entourage of the President of the United States of America.

Tony Christie, 75 years old this year, gives a fine performance of Avenues and Alleyways, the theme from The Protectors, to perhaps the un-coolest audience of all time. Was it really like this in the 1970s? It was.

John Barry’s haunting Midnight Cowboy theme, beautifully performed by the great jazz harmonica player Toots Thielemans, brings the first hour of The Beat Goes On to a close.

Coming soon: the second half of the show, featuring The Beatles, The Blues Brothers, Barbra Streisand and lots more!

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The Beat Goes On (2): Pretenders, Monkees, Radiohead, Amy Winehouse and lots more

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Here’s the second half of the first The Beat Goes On, a new show presented by the editor of this very website.

The Beat Goes On was launched last week (Wednesday 27 June) on Kennet Radio, a community radio station in Berkshire, England, on 106.7 FM (no static at all … well, not much). You can listen to the first show online by following this link to Mixcloud.

If you don’t want to listen to the whole thing, this two-part blogpost contains a full playlist and cool links to all the music.

Welcome to the second half of the show!

The original lineup of The Pretenders in 1981 at the top of their game. Recorded in Paris – hence Chrissie’s exclamation “like Brigitte Bardot!” – and featuring brilliant interplay between Pete Farndon on bass and Martin Chambers on drums (guitarist James Honeyman-Scott is no slouch either). I remember when they appeared on Top of The Pops doing this: it was positively thrilling; Freeez made their debut with Southern Freeez on the same show. The coolest edition ever.

From their excellent 1967 album Headquarters. Davy Jones holds out longer than the others before lapsing into giggles, but then he was an actor who had appeared in Coronation Street. There actually was a Mr Dobalina: Peter Tork heard an airport announcer calling “Mr Dobalina, Mr Bob Dobalina” to his flight and thus, indirectly, giving him a kind of immortality, especially after he was sampled in …

Ice Cube’s cousin (real name Teren Delvon Jones) was 19 years old at the time of this recording, which as well as Zilch samples Stone to the Bone (James Brown), Gloryhallastoopid (Parliament) and Give It to You (Upp). Mistadobalina was a hit all over Europe, except in the UK. Britain out of step with the rest of Europe? Surely not.

One of the greatest and most influential singles of the 1960s, or indeed any era, and the first psychedelic hit (The Byrds released Eight Miles High a month later). Jeff Beck’s amazing solo was played on one string, the G, on a 1954 Fender Esquire guitar; he later recalled: “There was mass hysteria in the studio when I did that solo.” I estimate that I have listened to this record at least 2,500 times since its release in 1966, and it still sounds fresh and exciting. Everything about it is perfect but my favourite bit is the little thing Jim McCarty does after the chorus and guitar solo on his bass drum and hi-hat. Happy birthday Jim – 75 this month (on 25 July).

Poignant advice from Bill Callahan to his widow-to-be, including the great lines “Wink at the minister/blow kisses to my grieving brothers”. Funny, sad and moving track from the 2000 album Dongs of Sevotion (sic).

Now a couple of tracks by The Barbarians, one of the best 60s garage bands, perfectly combining the innocence and insolence characteristic of that genre.

Are You a Boy or Are You a Girl?, which reached No 55 in the US charts in 1965, was (like Moulty) co-written and produced by Doug Morris, now chairman of Sony Music Entertainment. In a blogpost for the Guardian, I wrote that it neatly satirised the older generation’s largely inaccurate claims that “you can’t tell the boys from the girls these days”.  Moulty, which reached No 102 in the charts in the following year, tells the story of one-handed drummer Victor “Moulty” Moulton, later to receive an honourable mention in the Ramones song Do You Remember Rock’n’Roll Radio? The Hawks, later to become The Band, backed Moulty on the recording.

The haunting, slightly off-kilter nature of the song is matched by the eerie quality of the video, shot by the band themselves on 25 April 1980, three weeks before Ian Curtis killed himself and a month before Love Will Tear Us Apart was released. The record, made at Strawberry Studios in Stockport – U2 were in the studio too, discussing a deal for their first album – was a hit in the UK on four separate occasions and was named Best Single of All Time by NME in 2002. Ian’s widow, Deborah, had “Love Will Tear Us Apart” inscribed on his memorial stone. The band taught Ian one chord so he could play guitar live on this song, an almost unbearably sad detail.

Wonderful live version of the track from Frank, her first album, named in part as a tribute to Frank Sinatra; Ol’ Blue Eyes was name-checked in a fine song, Half Time, that didn’t make the final cut of the record.

Fine track from the lovely 1966 album If I Were a Carpenter, composed by Jeffrey Stevens; the song, and Bobby Darin’s vocal, sound rather like Gene Clark of The Byrds. There’s a good live performance of this on YouTube but, unlike this version, it doesn’t include the amazing bagpipes.

The band formerly known as On A Friday give an astonishing performance of a song inspired, according to Thom Yorke, by Victorian ghost stories and The Stepford Wives. It was recorded at Tottenham House, a rundown stately home near Oxford; the band camped out in caravans as producer Nigel Godrich thought it would add to the atmosphere. It worked.

Although best known for Escape (The Piña Colada Song), Rupert Holmes has written dozens of hit songs and a Tony Award-winning musical, published two excellent novels, and released several brilliant albums. Songs That Sound Like Movies, a recently released three-CD set of his 1970s recordings for Epic, is highly recommended. Our National Pastime, from Widescreen (1974), his first album, is typical of Rupert’s wit and originality. The late Alice Playten plays Karen.

Endless Acrimony might have been a more appropriate title for an autobiographical number about The Beach Boys, but Bruce Johnston’s pretty ballad makes up with sincerity for what it lacks in historical accuracy. The harmony, if not endless, is lovely when Carl Wilson joins Bruce on the last verse and at the end. This is a track from Keepin’ The Summer Alive, the band’s 24th studio album, released in 1980.

Ronald Isley, at the age of 76, is in superb voice on this version of the great Marvin Gaye song. His brother Ernie and Carlos Santana play guitars on this track from the terrific  album Power of Peace, released in 2017 – an astonishing 63 years after the Isleys first recorded.

James Taylor, one of the world’s greatest Hammond organ players, brings The Beat Goes On to a close with a teaser for the next show, which will feature two hours of great music from movie and TV soundtracks.

Listen to The Beat Goes On live at kennetradio.com – the next show will be broadcast on Wednesday 25 July from 9-11pm (21:00 to 23:00 BST).

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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