I had a notion this week that I might do a ‘Film’ theme. Yes, 4tunes from the sound tracks of films. ‘That should be easy’, my naive and probably over tired brain decided. It was only when I actually sat down to start putting the list together that I panicked. Which films? how could I possibly even just choose 4 movies, and then how to select a song from the sound track that best reflects the film. There are literally millions of permutations and combinations. This is like the Everest of 4 tunes. What the good-god-damn was I thinking? Well, if you haven’t realized by now I am sometimes guilty of over thinking a situation. Some scenarios just require you to take a blind leap and grab as many shiny things as you can while you barrel through the store with the alarms blaring. This my friends, is one of those moments.
As long as I can remember the film Withnail and I has been etched into my consciousness. Its a bit of cliche for those of us from a particular generation and I won’t stop on the side of the road for too long in the pouring rain to demand the non-existent aspirin, in contemplation of its purpose. For some it is a work of genius. For others its a meandering, juvenile, plot-less, waste of 1hour and 48 minutes. I fall into the former camp. And whilst there are so many defining tunes on the sound track, the first track on the score is so strongly linked to this film that I can barely prevent myself from launching into the opening dialog whenever I hear it. King Curtis performs this cover of Procol Harum‘s hit Whiter Shade of Pale. King Curtis, real name Curtis Ousley, was killed in August 1971 when he got into an argument on the doorstep of his Manhattan apartment with a pair of drug dealers, who refused to move whilst he was trying to haul an air-conditioning unit through his doorway. What a pointless waste of a talented saxophonist. Long live the King in this and many other recordings. A coward you are Withnail, an expert on bulls you are not.
Next up from classic Brit gangster movie Lock Stock and two Smoking Barrels. Long before Guy Ritchie got entwined by mononymous, American, pop songstress, Madonna and lost the general respect of the British public, he produced this stylistic flick with so many of the Ritchie signature shots (slowdown/speed up, more slowdown / freeze frame / rinse repeat) but when this was released it was all new to us and we lapped it up. The sound track was equality stylish and peppered with tracks like this one. 18 with a Bullet by British singer, song writer, keyboard player, journalist and all round ‘fro packing beardy-boy William Peter Wingfield. This was a bit of a one hit wonder for the man, but he lent his talents to many other musicians and is still knocking around at a youthful 70.
If you like movies about musicians which also have remarkable soundtracks, then its unlikely you have missed Almost Famous. The semi-autobiographical film, written and directed by Cameron Crowe, concerning a teenager commissioned to write an article for Rolling Stone Magazine about life on the road with an aspiring rock band. There are some genuinely heartfelt moments in this film and Crowe uses music to great effect. The reconciliation of the band after Russel’s drug fueled walkabout (‘I’m a golden god’), to the tune of Tiny Dancer by Elton John was one such moment, and for that reason its on this list.
Finally, from the 1969 classic western with Paul Newman and Robert Redford, Butch and the Sundance Kid. I’ve chosen Raindrops Keep Falling on my Head by Burt Bacharach, who was responsible for the entire soundtrack. This song has a special place in my memory as it was one of a small collection of dusty 45’s that were my first introduction as a child to the concept of owning music that you could play at your leisure when ever you felt like it. Bizarrely, I have also been to the small town of Tupiza in Bolivia, near where, legend has it, Butch and Sundance met their end at the hands of the Bolivian army. Suffice to say Redford and Newman didn’t make it further into southern America than Mexico for the filming. I didn’t feel as if much could have changed in Tupiza since the 19th century. Certainly there would have been little to do in terms of recreating an authentic set for filming. This weeks blog picture is a photo I took from the back of a horse in Tupiza and shows all of the magnificent modern infrastructure which separates modern day Bolivia from the cowboy days of the past…
I hope you liked this small selection of movie tracks – if by any chance you haven’t seen any of the related films I could highly recommend them and probably a hundred more. We might need to sprint through this cornucopia of abundance a few more times before we have a respectable sample.
This weeks video clip is the Almost Famous scene. Ahh the mock 60’s are so much cleaner than their reality.