Twilight Zone – The Sixteen-Millimeter Shrine

★★★1/2  October 23, 1959 Season 1 Episode 4

If you want to see where we are…HERE is a list of the episodes.

This episode has more than a strong resemblance to the film Sunset Boulevard. Barbara Jean Trenton who is played by the great actress and director Ida Lupino is an aging actress who continually looks back at her old films and forgets the world has gone on. The ending has a good twist but something about the episode just doesn’t live up to some of the great ones. Saying that, it still is a very good episode…an average Twilight Zone is better than many other’s best shows. 

Martin Balsam makes an appearance as her agent Danny Weiss. We will see Martin again in the fourth season in a much scarier role. He was also in the 1985-87 reboot Twilight Zone. I remember him the most in 12 Angry Men and his appearances many 60s and 70s tv shows. 

Ida Lupino, who starred in this episode, would later direct The Twilight Zone: The Masks. She became not just the only woman to direct an episode of the The Twilight Zone, but also the only person to both star in an episode and direct one.

Ida Lupino has 42 credits to her name as a Director. 

This show was written by Rod Serling

Rod Serling’s Opening Narration: 

Picture of a woman looking at a picture. Movie great of another time, once-brilliant star in a firmament no longer a part of the sky, eclipsed by the movement of earth and time. Barbara Jean Trenton, whose world is a projection room, whose dreams are made out of celluloid. Barbara Jean Trenton, struck down by hit-and-run years and lying on the unhappy pavement, trying desperately to get the license number of fleeting fame.

Summary

Former queen of the silver screen, Barbara Trenton’s a woman who lives in her past – watching her movies from more than 25 years earlier. Her housemaid, Sally’s worried by her behavior, and tells Barbara’s friend, and agent Danny Weiss. He tries to make Barbara move on, even getting her a role in an upcoming film. But Barbara lives in the past and won’t accept that she’s older now

Rod Serling’s Closing Narration:

To the wishes that come true, to the strange, mystic strength of the human animal, who can take a wishful dream and give it a dimension of its own. To Barbara Jean Trenton, movie queen of another era, who has changed the blank tomb of an empty projection screen into a private world. It can happen in the Twilight Zone.

CAST

Rod Serling … Narrator (voice)
Ida Lupino … Barbara Jean Trenton
Martin Balsam … Danny Weiss
Jerome Cowan … Jerry Hearndan
Ted de Corsia … Marty Sall
Alice Frost … Sally

Twilight Zone – Mr. Denton on Doomsday

★★★★1/2  October 16, 1959 Season 1 Episode 3

If you want to see where we are…HERE is a list of the episodes.

I think very highly of this episode. The more I watch it the more I enjoy it. We travel to the old West for this episode. We meet the town drunk Al Denton who was brilliantly played by Dan Duryea. A gunfighter named Dan Hotaling played by a young Martin Landau is making a fool of Denton by making him sing “How Dry I Am” for whiskey. He picks on Denton one too many times.

The show also has a mystical character (but of course…it’s the Twilight Zone) named Henry J. Fate and he tries to help Denton to redeem himself. I can’t say enough about Dan Duryea’s acting in this episode. The transformation of Denton and the nice twist at the end makes this a great episode.

You get to know Al Denton and feel for him as he was an old gunfighter and it drove him to drinking…will he be forced into that line of work again?

This episode was written by Rod Serling

Rod Serling’s Opening Narration: 

Portrait of a town drunk named Al Denton. This is a man who’s begun his dying early—a long, agonizing route through a maze of bottles. Al Denton, who would probably give an arm or a leg or a part of his soul to have another chance, to be able to rise up and shake the dirt from his body and the bad dreams that infest his consciousness. In the parlance of the times, this is a peddler, a rather fanciful-looking little man in a black frock coat. [A revolver mysteriously appears on the ground next to Denton] And this is the third principal character of our story. Its function: perhaps to give Mr. Al Denton his second chance.

Summary

In the Old West, the drunkard Al Denton is bullied by the gunman Dan Hotaling to get some booze. The mysterious Henry J. Fate observes the humiliation and Al Denton finds a revolver on the street. When Dan sees Al Denton with a revolver in his hand, he challenges the drunk to a gunfight. Fate observes again and makes a movement with his hand that will change the life of Al Denton.

Rod Serling’s Closing Narration:

Mr. Henry Fate, dealer in utensils and pots and pans, liniments and potions. A fanciful little man in a black frock coat who can help a man climbing out of a pit—or another man from falling into one. Because, you see, fate can work that way, in the Twilight Zone.

CAST

Rod Serling … Narrator (voice)
Dan Duryea … Al Denton
Martin Landau … Dan Hotaling
Jeanne Cooper … Liz
Malcolm Atterbury … Henry J. Fate
Ken Lynch … Charlie
Arthur Batanide … Leader
Bill Erwin … Man
Robert Burton … Doctor
Doug McClure … Pete Grant

Twilight Zone – One for the Angels

★★★½   October 9, 1959 Season 1 Episode 2

If you want to see where we are…HERE is a list of the episodes.

This is a good episode of The Twilight Zone. It’s the first time we meet Death. He comes in different forms in the Twilight Zone. 73 year old Ed Wynn does a superb job as a salesman and a Santa Claus figure in the neighborhood. He is beloved by people but especially kids.

Murray Hamilton also is great as Mr. Death. He is very business like and he treats the job like any other job with deadlines and commitments. I must wonder what people thought in 1959 watching a show with Death stalking someone so businesslike.

Murray Hamilton is probably better remembered for his role playing Mr. Robinson in the 1967 film The Graduate.

Dana Dillaway who played Maggie: The scene where I was hit by the car was kind of morbid… I remember they kept spritzing the actor who was driving the car with a water spray bottle, who came around to see if I was okay while laying in the street… there is a publicity shot of me laying there and it’s kind of morbid!”

This show was written by Rod Serling

Rod Serling’s Opening Narration: 

Street scene: Summer. The present. Man on a sidewalk named Lew Bookman, age sixtyish. Occupation: pitchman. Lew Bookman, a fixture of the summer, a rather minor component to a hot July, a nondescript, commonplace little man whose life is a treadmill built out of sidewalks. And in just a moment, Lew Bookman will have to concern himself with survival – because as of three o’clock this hot July afternoon, he’ll be stalked by Mr. Death.

Lou Bookman is a street vendor; a pitchman, making a living selling what he can from his valise – radios, toys, ties and the like. After a long day, he returns to his shabby apartment to find someone waiting for him, someone he saw near where he had been selling that day. That person turns out to be Mr. Death who is there to tell Lou that his time on Earth has come to an end and that his “departure” will be at midnight. Lou tries to forestall his death by asking for a delay until he’s able to make a big sales pitch. It’s all a ruse however and Mr. Death shows him that his actions have consequences. As a result, Lou makes the pitch of his life.

Rod Serling’s Closing Narration:

Lewis J. Bookman, age sixtyish. Occupation: pitchman. Formerly a fixture of the summer, formerly a rather minor component to a hot July. But, throughout his life, a man beloved by the children, and therefore, a most important man. Couldn’t happen, you say? Probably not in most places – but it did happen in the Twilight Zone.

CAST

Rod Serling … Narrator (voice)
Ed Wynn … Lou Bookman
Murray Hamilton … Mr. Death
Dana Dillaway … Maggie Polanski
Jay Overholts … Doctor
Merritt Bohn … Truck Driver

Twilight Zone – Walking Distance… #1

Before we get to my number 1 episode…This has been so much fun I’m going to start a huge project. I want to review every Twilight Zone…all 156 episodes…so that will be next…my top 10 is not enough. I’ll start with S01E01 and work myself through and skip the 10 I’ve covered in this section. I’ve never rated shows or movies before but I will try that as well. 

This one gets a 5 out of 5 ★★★★★

Since ratings are subjective to who ever is going it…this is my system

★★★★★ This would be an exceptional episode…to me anyway
★★★★☆ This would be above the already high standards of the show
★★★☆☆ This would be a good to very good episode
★★☆☆☆ This would be just a little below average, the 4th season might see this
★☆☆☆☆ This would be a don’t watch…I don’t think this will ever be seen but I’m watching them all over to be sure

Now for my number 1 Twilight Zone episode! This one has my favorite element…Time Travel. How cool would it be to go back and meet your 11 year old self? Episodes 2-156 could change in my rankings but this one remains my favorite.

They really did this episode right. They followed through with everything. You were not wanting for answers at the end. It wasn’t just Martin who figured out he was back in time. It resolves it self nicely…with a valuable lesson. There are spoilers past this.

If you are new to the Twilight Zone this is a great one to start with…

Rod Serling’s opening narration: 

Martin Sloan, age thirty-six. Occupation: vice-president, ad agency, in charge of media. This is not just a Sunday drive for Martin Sloan. He perhaps doesn’t know it at the time, but it’s an exodus. Somewhere up the road he’s looking for sanity. And somewhere up the road, he’ll find something else.

Gig Young plays Martin Sloan who does a great job in this episode. Many people try to go back home but it’s never the same because of progress and change…Martin Sloan DOES go home and everything is the same…he even sees himself as a boy…and meets his parents…again. Also…watch out for a 4 year old Ron Howard…soon to be forever known as Opie on the Andy Griffith Show.

13 TV shows Ron Howard was on besides Happy Days and Andy Griffith

Rod Serling wrote this episode.

Martin Sloan (Gig Young), a 36-year-old executive, stops in a fuel station off an isolated country road. Not far away, 1.5 miles, is the sight of his hometown, Homewood, he’s very curious about all the kinds of things that shaped his childhood. Martin ventures to take a closer look, first he goes to an old shop where he used to get ice cream sodas. Martin is surprised to see the prices haven’t changed still a dime for a three scoop ice cream soda. Walking around Martin meets a kid, who is his old neighbor. It is then that he realizes he’s in 1934, when he was only 11-years-old. Things get complicated when he bumps into the young Martin, follows him to his house and meets with his parents. They won’t believe him when Martin says he’s in fact their grown up son. Later, Martin insists in talking with young Martin. He finds him on a carousel, where the child gets hurt falling. Martin will learn, after talking to his father, that every man has his own time and is perhaps better off not looking to the past.

Enough of my favorite episode…what is your favorite?

Rod Serling’s closing narration:

Martin Sloan, age thirty-six, vice-president in charge of media. Successful in most things but not in the one effort that all men try at some time in their lives—trying to go home again. And also like all men, perhaps there’ll be an occasion, maybe a summer night sometime, when he’ll look up from what he’s doing and listen to the distant music of a calliope, and hear the voices and the laughter of the people and the places of his past. And perhaps across his mind there’ll flit a little errant wish, that a man might not have to become old, never outgrow the parks and the merry-go-rounds of his youth. And he’ll smile then too, because he’ll know it is just an errant wish, some wisp of memory not too important really, some laughing ghosts that cross a man’s mind, that are a part of the Twilight Zone.

  • Gig Young as Martin Sloan
  • Frank Overton as Robert Sloan
  • Irene Tedrow as Mrs. Sloan
  • Michael Montgomery as Tweenage Martin
  • Ron Howard as Wilcox Boy
  • Byron Foulger as Charlie
  • Sheridan Comerate as Gas Station Attendant
  • Joseph Corey as Soda Jerk
  • Buzz Martin as Boy with Car
  • Nan Peterson as Woman in Park
  • Pat O’Malley as Mr. Wilson

My love of GODZILLA

No this is not a review of the new movie…just memories from a Godzilla fan. I will say though that I did enjoy the movie…The fight scenes are the best I’ve scene through this monster universe reboot…I felt like I was 10 again.

When I was a kid I loved monster movies. Huge monsters stomping through cities. My monster was and still is Godzilla. I watched all of those Japanese movies of the sixties and seventies and loved them. I will still watch one every once in a while. When I was around 11 I bought a monster book while on vacation in Florida. I took it to school and some jerk stole it. I would love to have that book back…so if you are out there…come on…give me the book back!

Godzilla Has A Bunch Of Ridiculous Movies That Actually Make King Of The  Monsters Look Sane - CINEMABLEND

My best friend growing up was named Ronald…he was and still is a huge Elvis fan and I am a huge Beatles fan (we both liked older music) and we would have good natured arguments over who was better. I still think I’m right!

Ok back to Monsters he was a Kong fan and Godzilla was my guy…another argument we would gladly have. After he sees the new movie we will probably have it again.

Godzilla Vs Kong Review | Movie - Empire

In 1998 a new Godzilla was in the theaters. I was so excited… normally I’m not a big fan of CGI BUT… with monster movies…oh yes! I could not believe what they did to my Godzilla…they made him a large sidewalk lizard. They changed his looks and sound. I didn’t think they would ever come out with anything again. At the time I did get some of the recent Japanese Godzilla movies and they were good.

1998

why is zilla 1998 so bad? - Godzilla Forum

In 2014 the movie Godzilla came out and I felt like a kid again. This was the Godzilla (minus the man in the suit) that I loved as a child…

We all know Kong connects with people and that is a great thing but Godzilla is just so cool with his atomic breath and dorsal plates. Godzilla looks at people like ants but as long as we don’t attack him…he is cool with us…except if you own tall buildings on the coast! If you do you better get a lot of insurance.

┐(◕﹏◕)┌

Here is Godzilla through the years.

Dr Seuss – The Sneetches

It only lasts around 12 minutes and it was squeezed in between Green Eggs and Ham and The Zax. They were packaged in a program called Doctor Suess On The Loose.

The Sneetches teaches us all that we are all the same no matter who we are or what we look like… and the stupidity of discrimination. I would wait all year for these 3 great segments…

There were two different types of Sneetches that live near the beach. The Star-Belly Sneetches have stars on their bellies. They believe that the star makes them more important than the Plain-Belly Sneetches who do not have stars. The Star-Belly Sneetches brag that they are the best on the beach and will not play games or socialize with those without the star.

sneetches.jpg

One day Sylvester McMonkey McBean arrives and announces that he can solve the problem for the Plain-Belly Sneetches for a small price. They agree to his offer. The Plain-Belly Sneetches enter a large machine and pop out with a star on the bellies. The Star-Belly Sneetches are angry because they no longer feel superior. They decide to pay Sylvester McMonkey McBean to take off their stars. The Sneetches pay to put on, take off, and put on the stars for the rest of the day.

Eventually, the Sneetches run out of money and Sylvester McMonkey McBean leaves with all their money. He leaves saying that a Sneetch never learns. However, the Sneetches did learn a lesson that day. They decide that no kind of Sneetch is better than another. They forgot about the stars and became friends.

A toast! Raise your marshmallow stick!

A toast! Raise your good fellow stick!

A toast to the silly gimmick-ick

That we have here and thar

Sound off and let the welcome ring

So what to your star-spangled thing?

A toast! Raise your marshmallow stick!

A toast! Raise your good fellow stick!

And pooh pooh pooh to your bellied star!

https://www.coursehero.com/lit/Selected-Works-of-Dr-Seuss/the-sneetches-summary/

Jim Dickinson – Dixie Fried

He hollered, rave on, children, I’m with you
Rave on, cats, he cried
It’s almost dawn, the cops are gone
Let’s all get Dixie fried

He was born James Luther Dickinson but most people knew him as Jim Dickinson. It doesn’t get much more southern than this album and the title track.

He worked at Memphis Sun Records and Ardent Studios in the 1960s on, to sessions with the Rolling Stones (piano on Wild Horses at Muscle Shoals), Ry Cooder and Bob Dylan. He also played with his roots band Mud Boy & The Neutrons and the Dixie Flyers.

Dickinson produced recordings for performers as diverse as Willy DeVille, Green on Red, Mojo Nixon, Tav Falco’s Panther Burns, Toots and the Maytals and Screamin’ Jay Hawkins.

In the 70s he produced Big Star’s 3rd Sisters/Lovers album and in the 80s The Replacements Please To Meet Me album in Memphis.

In 1971 he started to focus on production work, producing and appearing on Ry Cooder’s acclaimed Into The Purple Valley and Boomer’s Story albums. Atlantic offered him a chance to record a solo album, and his debut Dixie Fried came out in 1972. It gave him the chance to present his own off-beat take on southern roots music, resulting in an album full of R&B and country.

The song was written by Carl Perkins and Howard “Curley” Griffin.

So if you want… sit back and sip some Tennessee Straight Sour Mash Whiskey and get Dixie Fried.

Dixie Fried

On the outskirts of town, there’s a little night spot
Dan dropped in about five o’clock
Took off his jacket, said, the night is short
He reached in his pocket and he flashed a quart

He hollered, rave on, children, I’m with you
Rave on, cats, he cried
It’s almost dawn, the cops are gone
Let’s all get Dixie fried

Well, Dan got happy and he started raving
He pulled out a razor, but he wasn’t shaving
And all the cats knew to jump and hop
‘Cause Dan was raised in a butcher shop

He hollered, rave on, children, I’m with you
Rave on, cats, he cried
It’s almost dawn, the cops are gone
Let’s all get Dixie fried

Well, the cops heard Dan when he started to shout
They all ran in to see what it was about
And I heard him holler as they led him away
He turned his head and this is what he had to say

He hollered, rave on, children, I’m with you

Rave on, cats, he cried
It’s almost dawn, the cops are gone
Let’s all get Dixie fried

Now, Dan was the bravest man that we ever saw
He let us all know, he wasn’t scared of the law
The black dog barked, but the boy didn’t flinch
He said, it ain’t my fault, hon, that I been pinched

He hollered, rave on, children, I’m with you
Rave on, cats, he cried
It’s almost dawn, the cops are gone
Let’s all get Dixie fried

Now, Dan was the bravest man we ever saw
He let us all know he wasn’t scared of the law
And I heard him holler as they led him away
He turned his head and this was what he had to say

He hollered, rave on, children, I’m with you
Rave on, cats, he cried
It’s almost dawn, the cops are gone
Let’s all get Dixie fried

Yeah, it’s almost dawn, the cops ain’t gone
And I’ve been Dixie fried

The Sweeney

It’s funny how we find music, movies, and TV Shows. As I’ve said before I first watched a TV show in 2007-2008 called Life On Mars and not only was the show great but I also found some music I never heard before. The show was about Sam Tyler…a 2006 cop that got hit by a car and woke up in 1973. It remains one of my favorite shows of all time.

Life On Mars was based on a UK seventies cop show… this show… called The Sweeney. It took me a few years but I decided to check The Sweeney out. I love it. It’s gritty, dirty, and realistic. No cop shows at the time in America could be compared to this one. Shows like Kojak were more sanitized than The Sweeney. Filmed right on the streets of London, with plenty of graphic violence, the series nearly defines the expression “gritty drama.”

Many episodes had a bittersweet ending, with perhaps one villain caught, but justice rarely served for everyone, and plenty of loose ends as the credits rolled. And you could count on the heroes getting a pretty good thrashing in most episodes, though they gave as good as they got in fights.

The two main characters were Jack Regan (John Thaw) and George Carter (Dennis Waterman). Jack was Detective Inspector Regan who had little regard for protocol and would not think twice about getting criminals legally or otherwise. Detective Sargant George  Carter worked under Regan and tended to go more by the rules and was sometimes Regan’s conscious…when he listened.

As the series went along you could see the characters grow and even Regan started to go more with the guidelines. It’s a great show and the writing from episode to episode is consistent.

The show ran from 1974 through 1978 with 54 episodes plus two full length movies released in 1977 and 1978.  Although it was extremely popular, a combination of high production costs and creator burnout meant that it only lasted for four years.

For those of you who have seen Life On Mars…Gene Hunt was Regan…Hunt was more bombastic but the thread is there between the two. I could even draw comparisons to Sam Tyler and Carter trying to convince their boss to do the right thing. Life On Mars even used a Ford Capri as The Sweeney did.

This show would probably be an HBO series now if it were produced today…give it a try.

Bo Diddley – Who Do You Love?

I remember this song as a teenager by George Thorogood. Bo Diddley was a little funkier than his rock and roll peers. He developed that wonderful riff that will live on forever where ever rock and roll is played. I could play this over and over on the guitar and never get tired of it. You can be a beginner at guitar but once you learn this…it sounds better than any other riff you can play…you can play it soft or loud…it doesn’t matter. The riff or  beat has been called “The Bo Diddley Beat.”

The rhythm to this version is just infectious. Bo Diddley (Ellas McDaniel) wrote this song. It was released in 1956 but did not reach the charts…that boggles the mind.

In 2004, Rolling Stone magazine ranked Bo Diddley’s original song at number 133 on their list of the “500 Greatest Songs of All Time.”

You can be cool… but not Bo Diddley playing his square guitar cool… great guitarist and showman.

I always loved his square guitar. He built a guitar that looked like no other. He designed and constructed a custom built square shaped guitar for himself, he then commissioned Gretsch Guitars and Kinman Guitar Electrix to build further custom built square shaped models for him.

Solid Body :: G6138 Bo Diddley, "G" Cutout Tailpiece, Ebony Fingerboard,  Firebird Red

From Songfacts

The title is a play on the word “Hoodoo,” which is a folk religion similar to Voodoo and also popular in the American South. Many blues musicians mentioned Hoodoo in their songs and like Diddley, conjured up images of the skulls, snakes and graveyards.

George Thorogood And The Destroyers recorded a popular cover on their 1978 album Move It On Over. In 1982, Diddley appeared in Thorogood’s video for “Bad To The Bone.” It was good timing, since MTV was new didn’t have many videos.

British blues rockers Juicy Lucy had a #14 hit in the UK in 1970 with their version of this song.

Who Do You Love?

I walk forty-seven miles of barbed wire
I use a cobra snake for a necktie
I got a brand new house on the roadside
Made from rattlesnake hide
I got a brand new chimney made on top
Made out of a human skull
Now come on take a walk with me, Arlene
And tell me, who do you love?

Who do you love?
Who do you love?
Who do you love?
Who do you love?
Who do you love?

Tombstone hand and a graveyard mind
Just twenty-two and I don’t mind dying

Who do you love?
Who do you love?
Who do you love?
Who do you love?

I rode a lion to town, used a rattlesnake whip
Take it easy Arlene, don’t give me no lip

Who do you love?
Who do you love?
Who do you love?
Who do you love?

Night was dark, but the sky was blue
Down the alley, the ice-wagon flew
Heard a bump, and somebody screamed
You should have heard just what I seen

Who do you love?
Who do you love?
Who do you love?
Who do you love?

Arlene took me by my hand
And she said ooo-wee, Bo, you know I understand

Who do you love?
Who do you love?
Who do you love?
Who do you love?

Sunset Boulevard

Hanspostcard is hosting a movie draft from 12 different genres…this is my Film Noir entry.

Sunset Boulevard. fulfills my Film Noir portion of the draft.

I didn’t find this movie until the 90s. In the late eighties I was watching and reading about every silent movie and artist that I could. Clara Bow, Buster Keaton, and Charlie Chaplin were at the top of my list.

In a  Keaton book I saw this as a film credit. I then read some about the great Billy Wilder, director, screenwriter, and producer,  and I had to watch it. The movie did not disappoint. Buster’s part was nothing more than a cameo but the movie more than made up for it. It’s funny how we find some movies.

Just a little of the plot… Within two minutes of watching  you see the end of the movie in front of you…then you see the harrowing journey there.

Screenplay writer Joe Gillis was desperately trying to sell his stories but Hollywood did not want to listen. Joe had talent but he wasn’t trying to write something great…just something that would sell. He was going to have to return to home to Dayton Ohio a failure if something didn’t happen and soon. His car was getting repossessed and he was trying to hide it just for a little while. While being chased by creditors he parks it in a decrepit old mansion. Little did he know that former silent movie star Norma Desmond still lived there.  She used to be a big (“I am big it’s the pictures that got small”) star.

Joe Gillis ended up being invited to stay to edit Norma’s film screenplay that she wrote. That screenplay was going to be her return to film.  One thing leads to another and Joe ends up being a kept man and he doesn’t like it one bit. As time goes by life at Norma’s mansion…it gets darker and darker. Joe is stuck there working on Norma’s horrible screenplay while playing the good boy. He gets new clothes, perks, and is not wanting for anything…except freedom. There is a price to be paid for being kept by Desmond. He sneaks out and sees a young girl who he writes with and falls for but cannot break Norma’s grip.

The star of this movie without a doubt is Gloria Swanson as Norma Desmond. When we first meet Norma we think she is just an over the top egocentric former silent era actress. Slowly we see what a psychotic existence she lives and it only gets worse.

Norma still thinks she is adored by millions. Her chauffer Max Von Mayerling helps perpetuate this lie. We find out why as the movie goes along and it is shocking. It will blow up in his face but he never quits building her up.

The final scene is chilling. Norma Desmond in a catatonic state asking for a closeup. Her eyes alone will send a shiver down your spine.

The movie is full of great actors and actresses. The focus is on William Holden, Gloria Swanson, and Erich Von Stroheim. Holden was a great actor who appeared in movies such as The Bridge on the River Kwai, Stalag 17, and the Wild Bunch.

Erich Von Stroheim plays Max and in the twenties Erich was a silent movie actor but best remembered as an avant-garde director in the 1920s.

Gloria Swanson was a very successful silent movie actress who made a successful move to sound pictures. She also appeared on Broadway in the 40s and 50s. She started many production companies in the 1920s and 30s.

The movie was released in 1950. By 1950 the first great silent film stars of the 20s were aging and there was interest in knowing what happened to them. The Norma Desmond character was thought to be a composite of Mary Pickford who lived her life in seclusion, Clara Bow who had a mental illness as well as some other silent greats. The name was a combination of silent-film star Norma Talmadge and silent movie director William Desmond Taylor who was mysteriously shot and killed…and unsolved to this day.

The movie was written by Charles Brackett and Billy Wilder. It was directed by Billy Wilder and released in 1950.

I’ve never been a fan of the powerful  Louis B. Mayer, the co-founder of MGM. He mistreated a number of artists, one being Judy Garland. After screening this movie he berated Billy Wilder in front of a  crowd of celebrities, saying, “You have disgraced the industry that made and fed you! You should be tarred and feathered and run out of Hollywood!” Upon hearing of Mayer’s outburst, Wilder strode up to the mogul and told him “I am Billy Wilder, Go f**k yourself.” My respect for Wilder grew from there.

This movie is one of the greats. It’s a movie that anyone who is a film fan must watch.

“Alright, Mr. DeMille, I’m ready for my close-up” 

Yes she was indeed ready…she spent years getting ready for her final starring role. Just not the role you would think.

Cast

  • William Holden – Joe Gillis
  • Gloria Swanson – Norma Desmond
  • Erich Von Stroheim – Max Von Mayerling
  • Nancy Olson – Betty Schaefer
  • Fred Clark – Sheldrake
  • Lloyd Gough – Morino
  • Franklin Farnum – The Undertaker
  • Larry Blake – Finance Man
  • Charles Dayton – Finance Man
  • Cecil B. DeMille – Himself
  • Creighton Hale – Creighton Hale
  • Arthur Lane -Arthur Lane
  • John “Skins” Miller – Hog Eye
  • Billy Sheehan – 2nd Assistant Director
  • Archie Twitchell
  •  Jack Webb – Artie Green
  • Sidney Skolsky – Himself
  • Eddie Dew – Assistant Coroner
  • Tommy Ivo – Boy
  • Kenneth Gibson – Salesman
  • Ruth Clifford – Sheldrake’s Secretary
  • Bert Moorhouse – Gordon Cole
  • E. Mason Hopper – Doctor/Courtier
  • Virginia Randolph –  Courtier
  • Al Ferguson -Phone Standby
  • Stan Johnson – 1st Assistant Director
  • Julia Faye – Hisham
  • Gertrude Astor -Courtier
  • Frank O’Connor – Courtier
  • Ralph Montgomery – First Prop Man
  • Eva Novak – Courtier
  • Bernice Mosk – Herself
  • Gertrude Messenger – Hair Dresser
  • John Cortay – Young Policeman
  • Robert E. O’Connor – Jonesy
  • Buster Keaton – Buster Keaton

Creedence Clearwater Revival – Proud Mary

I love this song by Creedence but it’s probably the song I seek out the least…only because I’ve probably heard it the most. If I hear it on the radio I like it though all over again. This song was the game changer for CCR.

Fogerty refused to play his Creedence songs that he wrote for years because of bitter memories and bad contracts he signed with Creedence. He didn’t think about relenting until a stage appearance on February 19. 1987 with Dylan and George Harrison at a Taj Mahal concert at the Palomino, a Los Angeles club.

Dylan told him ‘Hey, John, if you don’t do these tunes, the world’s going to remember “Proud Mary” as Tina Turner’s song.” That got John thinking that ignoring his back catalog probably harmed his career and started to play those songs again.

When CCR recorded this song, John Fogerty wasn’t happy with the harmony vocals so when the band was at dinner…he recorded them himself and overdubbed them onto the track. This caused further tension in his already tension filled relationship with his bandmates.

The song was on Bayou Country released in 1969 and it peaked at #7 in the Billboard Album Charts, #14 in Canada, and #62 in the UK.

The song peaked at #2 in the Billboard 100, #2 in Canada, #8 in the UK, and #3 in New Zealand.

The song came together on the day that John Fogerty got his discharge papers from the US Army. Fogerty had been drafted in 1966 and was part of a Reserve unit, serving at Fort Bragg, Fort Knox, and Fort Lee. His discharge papers came in 1967.

John Fogerty: “The Army and Creedence overlapped, so I was ‘that hippie with a record on the radio.’ I’d been trying to get out of the Army, and on the steps of my apartment house sat a diploma-sized letter from the government. It sat there for a couple of days, right next to my door. One day, I saw the envelope and bent down to look at it, noticing it said ‘John Fogerty.’ I went into the house, opened the thing up, and saw that it was my honorable discharge from the Army. I was finally out! This was 1968 and people were still dying. I was so happy, I ran out into my little patch of lawn and turned cartwheels. Then I went into my house, picked up my guitar and started strumming. ‘Left a good job in the city’ and then several good lines came out of me immediately. I had the chord changes, the minor chord where it says, ‘Big wheel keep on turnin’/Proud Mary keep on burnin” (or ‘boinin’,’ using my funky pronunciation I got from Howling’ Wolf). By the time I hit ‘Rolling, rolling, rolling on the river,’ I knew I had written my best song. It vibrated inside me. When we rehearsed it, I felt like Cole Porter.”

John Fogerty liked Ike and Tina’s version: “When it ended, if they had a camera and came back to me it’d be like, when Shrek and the donkey go to Far, Far Away and they push the button for that little arcade machine and it tells the whole story of their town! And the Donkey’s like [Eddie Murphy impression] ‘Let’s do that again!’ That’s how I felt when that ended. I loved it, and I was so honored. I was like, ‘Wow, Ike and Tina!’ I had actually been following their career for quite some time. Way back in the day, when Janis and Grace Slick started to get known by the kids who were my age, I’d be like, ‘Man, Tina Turner, c’mon!’ She finally got her due, but for a while there, she wasn’t noticed. It was a really good version, and it was different. I mean, that’s the key. Instead of the same thing, it was really exciting.”

From Songfacts

In the beginning, “Proud Mary” had nothing to do with a riverboat. Instead, John Fogerty envisioned it as the story of a woman who works as a maid for rich people. “She gets off the bus every morning and goes to work and holds their lives together,” he explained. “Then she has to go home.”

It was Stu Cook who first introduced the riverboat aspect of the song. The idea came to him as the group watched the television show Maverick and Stu made the statement, “Hey riverboat, blow your bell.” John agreed that the boat seemed to have something to do with the song that had been brewing in his mind for quite some time, waiting to take conscious shape. When he wrote the music, he made the first few chords evoke a riverboat paddlewheel going around. Thus, “Proud Mary” went from being a cleanup lady to a boat.

Fogerty wrote the lyrics based on three song title ideas: “Proud Mary,” “Riverboat,” and “Rolling On A River.” He carried around a notebook with titles that he thought would make good songs, and “Proud Mary” was at the top of the list.
So it was that an all-American classic was born from the pressure-cooker atmosphere of the late 1960s. Fogerty suspected right away that his “Tin Pan Alley” song was a radio-friendly hit, and he was right. The song hit #2 in the US, reached #8 in the UK, and #1 in Austria.

This was the first of five singles by Creedence that went to #2 on the US chart; they have the most #2 songs without ever having a #1.

Despite popular belief, John Fogerty was not writing from experience when he wrote this. Thanks to his military commitment, he hadn’t ventured further east than Montana. After the song was recorded, he took a trip to Memphis so he could finally see the Mississippi River.

The original CCR version peaked at #2 in March 1969. In June, Solomon Burke’s rendition hit #45. His was the first to include a spoken into:

I know a lot of you folks would like to know what the old Proud Mary is all about
Well, I’d like to tell you about her
She’s nothing but a big old boat
You see, my forefathers used to ride the bottoms of her as stokers, cooks, and waiters
And I made a vow that when I grew up, I’d take a ride on the old Proud Mary
And if you’d let me, I’d like to sing about it

Burke then sings, “looking for a job in the city,” as opposed to “left a good job in the city.”

This was a #4 hit in the US for Ike & Tina Turner in 1971, and a highlight of their live shows. Tina Turner recalled in an interview with Rolling Stone magazine in 1971 how they came to record this on their Workin’ Together album: “When we cut the album, we were lacking a few tunes, so we said ‘Well, let’s just put in a few things that we’re doing on stage. And that’s how ‘Proud Mary’ came about. I had loved it when it first came out. We auditioned a girl and she had sung ‘Proud Mary.’ This is like eight months later, and Ike said, ‘You know, I forgot all about that tune.’ And I said let’s do it, but let’s change it. So in the car Ike plays the guitar, we just sort of jam. And we just sort of broke into the black version of it. It was never planned to say, ‘Well, let’s go to the record shop, and I’d like to record this tune by Aretha Franklin’… it’s just that we get it for stage, because we give the people a little bit of us and a little bit of what they hear on the radio every day.”

“Proud Mary” attracted 35 covers in the year 1969 alone. Over 100 have been made since.

These are the US charting versions:

Creedence Clearwater Revival (#2, 1969)
Solomon Burke (#45, 1969)
Checkmates, Ltd. feat. Sonny Charles (#69, 1969)
Ike & Tina Turner (#4, 1971)
Glee Cast (#115, 2009)

The line, “Pumped a lot of pain down in New Orleans” is actually “Pumped a lot of ‘Pane,” as in propane. He was pumping gas.

The Checkmates, Ltd. did a horn-powered, gospel inflected version of this song that was produced by Phil Spector and featured Sonny Charles on lead vocals. Running 4:30, it’s substantially longer than the 3:07 original, and went to #69 in November 1969.

This arrangement was clearly an influence on the Ike & Tina Turner version, which they started performing soon after. There was speculation that Spector, who produced Ike & Tina on their 1966 single “River Deep – Mountain High,” brought this version to Ike Turner’s attention.

Fogerty came up with the famous chord riff on guitar when he was playing around with Beethoven’s “5th Symphony.” That one goes “dun dun dun duuunnnnn…,” but Fogerty thought it would sound better with the emphasis on the first note, which is how he arrived at “do do do do.”

This part reminded him of the paddle wheel that impels a riverboat. “‘Proud Mary’ is not a side-wheeler, it’s a stern-wheeler,” he explained.

Even though Creedence Clearwater Revival was from El Cerrito, California, many people thought they were from New Orleans or some other part of the South because of their swamp rock sound. They helped feed the rumor by naming their second album Bayou Country.

Tina Turner recorded a solo version for her 1993 album What’s Love Got To Do With It, which was the soundtrack to her biopic of the same name. In the film, it was lip-synced by Angela Bassett and Laurence Fishburne (who played Ike and Tina), but on the recording, Tina’s sax player Tim Cappello did Ike’s bass vocals. By recording her own version with no trace of Ike, it made sure he could not profit from its use in the film or soundtrack – an important distinction considering Tina’s accusations of spousal abuse.

When Tina performed the song live, she would usually do a variation on the spoken part, but without the male vocal.

Ike & Tina Turner’s version charted for the first time in the UK on the chart dated October 2, 2010 after it was performed on X-Factor by auditioneees Diva Fever. This version was credited to Tina Turner only.

Ike and Tina performed their version on the Season 2 premiere of Soul Train in 1972, becoming the first big act to appear on the program. The show became very popular its first season because of the dancers, but they were able to book many famous guests in subsequent seasons.

The occasion didn’t inspire Fogerty to start regularly performing CCR songs again, but it did break it for that one evening as four legends of rock jammed together.

According to the book Bad Moon Rising, Bob Dylan called “Proud Mary” his favorite song of 1969.

A film about a hitwoman titled Proud Mary was released in January 2018. Not only does the action movie take its name from the song, but altered lyrics from the tune appear on the poster promoting it, with the tagline, “Killing for the Man every Night and Day.”

John Fogerty took to Twitter to complain:

“I wrote the song ‘Proud Mary’ 50 years ago, and I was very excited to have written such a good song. In fact, it was my very first good song.

My songs are special to me. Precious. So it irks me when people seek to capitalize on the popularity of my music and the good will it has earned with the public for their own financial gain. Over the years, I have often found myself directly opposed to these uses.

This movie has nothing to do with me, or my song. They simply picked the title and wrote a completely fictitious story around it.”

He added: “No one ever asked me about using my song this way, or even about the meaning of Proud Mary.”

The film, as well as the trailer, features the Tina Turner version of the song. Fogerty lost the rights to his CCR songs in 1973, so there was nothing he could do about having a cover version of the song used in the film.

Leonard Nimoy, who played “Mr. Spock” on Star Trek, recorded an infamous cover of this song. Near the end, he sings the chorus Elmer Fudd style – “Big wheel keep on toynin’, Pwoud Mawy keep on boinin’…” It is included on a CD called Golden Throats.

This song was used to disastrous effect to open the 1989 Academy Awards ceremony in a bit where host Rob Lowe sang it with an actress playing Snow White, with the lyrics changed to be about Hollywood:

Klieg lights keep on burnin’
Cameras keep on turnin’
Rollin’ Rollin’
Keep the cameras rollin’

Proud Mary

Left a good job in the city
Workin’ for the man ev’ry night and day
And I never lost one minute of sleepin’
Worryin’ ’bout the way things might have been

Big wheel keep on turnin’
Proud Mary keep on burnin’
Rollin’, rollin’, rollin’ on the river

Cleaned a lot of plates in Memphis
Pumped a lot of pane down in New Orleans
But I never saw the good side of the city
‘Til I hitched a ride on a river boat queen

Big wheel keep on turnin’
Proud Mary keep on burnin’
Rollin’, rollin’, rollin’ on the river
Rollin’, rollin’, rollin’ on the river

If you come down to the river
Bet you gonna find some people who live
You don’t have to worry ’cause you have [if you got] no money
People on the river are happy to give

Big wheel keep on turnin’
Proud Mary keep on burnin’
Rollin’, rollin’, rollin’ on the river
Rollin’, rollin’, rollin’ on the river

Rollin’, rollin’, rollin’ on the river
Rollin’, rollin’, rollin’ on the river
Rollin’, rollin’, rollin’ on the river

Nirvana – Smells Like Teen Spirit

This song is for Song Lyric Sunday for Jim Adams’s blog. This week’s prompt is Odor/Scent/Smell/Taste… Good Morning to everyone!

A friend of mine moved to Seattle in the early 90s for a job. He called me at some point and told me about the music scene there and something big was happening. He said he had just seen a band in a dingy club with a left handed blonde guitar player who had a strong voice named Nirvana.

I was the same age as Kurt Cobain. When this song came out it was more than popular. It was instantly embedded into the culture. I did like the rawness of it but I would have never guessed it would have been so popular. I just didn’t click with grunge music. I did like the rawness of it…but usually not the songs as much.

When I first heard it…what did I think of? More Than a Feeling by Boston.

Kathleen Hanna, the lead singer of the group Bikini Kill, gave Cobain the idea for the title when she spray painted “Kurt Smells Like Teen Spirit” on his bedroom wall after a night of drinking and spraying graffiti around the Seattle area. In his pre-Courtney Love days, Cobain went out with Bikini Kill lead singer Tobi Vail, but she dumped him. Vail wore Teen Spirit deodorant, and Hanna was implying that Cobain was marked with her scent.

Kurt Cobain said that he was trying to write the ultimate pop song. He said he was basically trying to rip off The Pixies.

The video was just as famous as the song. The shoot took more like 12 hours, with the extras ordered to sit in the bleachers and look bored while the song played over and over. The director Samuel Bayer said that nobody wanted to be there for more than a half hour, and he needed them for 12 hours. By the 11th hour when the band had had it with the shoot and the kids were so angry, they said, ‘Can we destroy the set?'”

Bayer let the kids come down and form a mosh pit, and with all that pent-up energy they proceeded to smash up the set. This impromptu and genuine destruction provided a nice finale for the clip.

The video was inspired by the movie and song Rock And Roll High School by the Ramones, and was also influenced by a 1979 movie called Over the Edge, which was a favorite of Cobain and showed rebellious kids destroying a high school.

The song peaked at #6 in the Billboard 100, #9 in Canada, #7 in the UK and #1 in New Zealand.

Butch Vig (Producer): “Even though we’re not really sure what Kurt is singing about, there’s something in there that you understand; the sense of frustration and alienation. To me, ‘Smells Like Teen Spirit’ reminds me a little bit of how Bob Dylan’s songs affected people in the ’60s. In a way, I feel the song affected a generation of kids in the ’90s. They could relate to it.”

From Songfacts

Hanna explained that early in the night, she was Cobain’s lookout as he spray pained “God Is Gay” on the wall of a religious center that they believed was posing as an abortion clinic and telling women they would go to hell if they aborted their child. They got quite inebriated that night, and Hanna said, “We ended up in Kurt’s apartment and I smashed up a bunch of s–t. I took out a Sharpie marker and I wrote all over his bedroom wall – it was a rental so it was really kind of lame that I did that. I passed out with the marker in my hand, and woke up hung over.” Six months later she got a call from Cobain, asking her if he could use what she wrote on the wall for a lyric. Said Hanna, “I thought, how is he going to use ‘Kurt Smells Like Teen Spirit as a lyric?”

Cobain didn’t know it when he wrote the song, but Teen Spirit is a brand of deodorant marketed to young girls. Kurt thought Hanna was complimenting him on his rebellious spirit, as someone who could inspire youth. Sales of Teen Spirit deodorant shot up when this became a hit, even though it is never mentioned in the lyrics.

This was the first “alternative” song to become a huge hit, and in many ways it redefined the term, as “alternative” implies lack of popularity and the song was embraced by the mainstream. In an effort to save the label for acts like Porno For Pyros and Catherine Wheel, some industry folk referred to the genre as “modern rock,” which became a common radio format. “Alternative” became more of a catchall for music played by white people that didn’t fit the pop or country formats, and Nirvana quickly became a “classic alternative” band.

With this track, Nirvana helped ignite the grunge craze, which was characterized by loud guitars, angst-ridden lyrics, and flannel. Grunge was a look and sound that was distorted and emotive, led by bands coming out of the Northwest. Pearl Jam and Soundgarden were other top grunge bands of the era. Cobain would often dismiss the term as a meaningless label when asked about it in early interviews, but their bass player Krist Novoselic explained that it was a growling, organic guitar sound that defined it.

Cobain said he wrote this song because he was feeling “disgusted with my generation’s apathy, and with my own apathy and spinelessness.” This feeling of detachment is what led to lyrics like “Oh well, whatever, nevermind.” Krist Novoselic added: “Kurt really despised the mainstream. That’s what ‘Smells Like Teen Spirit’ was all about: The mass mentality of conformity.”

The video was a huge hit on MTV. The concept was “Pep Rally from Hell,” and it was shot at Culver City Studios in California on August 17, 1991, directed by Samuel Bayer, who was a 1987 graduate of the New York City School of Visual Arts. The kids were recruited at a show the band played two days earlier at The Roxy Theater in Los Angeles, where flyers were handed out saying, “Nirvana needs you to appear in their upcoming music video. You should be 18-25 year old and adopt a high school persona, i.e. preppy, punk, nerd, jock. Be prepared to stay for several hours. Come support Nirvana and have a great time.”

According to Bayer, Cobain was getting very frustrated with the shoot, but Bayer needed another take. Cobain channeled his frustration into the performance that you see near the end of the video, where he is screaming and mashing his face near the camera. It was great acting trigger by his real anger.

Bayer did the first edit of the video, which Cobain didn’t like – he used a principal character in a lot of shots and cut it too literal, with the music synching up to the playing. Cobain worked with him to recut the video and make it much more surreal, inserting his crazy look as the second to last shot, and making sure that for his guitar solo, his hands were in the wrong place on the guitar.

The girls who played the cheerleaders in the video were originally supposed to be very fat and unattractive (Cobain’s idea). The director Samuel Bayer did not like this idea, but still allowed the cheerleaders to have “sleeve” tattoos and the symbol for anarchy on their shirts. He says he recruited them from a local strip club, which helps explain their unorthodox cheers. >>

Weird Al Yankovic did a parody of this called “Smells Like Nirvana.” He shot his video in the same gym with the same janitor, but in his video, the janitor was wearing a tutu. Cobain said he was flattered by the parody: “I loved, it, it was really amusing.”

The distinctive bridge was originally at the end of the song. Producer Butch Vig had them move it to the middle.

A lot was made of Cobain being a spokesperson for Generation X when this song became a hit. Cobain responded by saying, “I don’t have the answers for anything. I don’t want to be a f–king spokesperson.”

Producer Butch Vig explained, “That ambiguity or confusion, that’s the whole thing. What the kids are attracted to in the music is that he’s not necessarily a spokesman for a generation. He doesn’t necessarily know what he wants but he’s pissed. It’s all these things working at different levels at once. I don’t exactly know what ‘Teen Spirit’ means, but you know it means something and it’s intense as hell.”

The line, “Here we are now, entertain us,” was something Cobain used to say when he entered a party.

In a sign of the cultural apocalypse, the February 20, 1992 issue of Rolling Stone magazine featured the cast of the TV show Beverly Hills 90210 with the tag line “Smells Like Teen Spirit,” turning Kurt Cobain’s diatribe against the culture of conformity into a convenient headline for a story about a TV series about rich kids. Here’s the cover.

For a while, MTV refused to air the video. When they finally did, it was on their alternative show 120 Minutes. When the song became a hit, the video went into hot rotation.

The album cover shows a baby swimming toward a dollar bill. Cobain and Nirvana bass player Krist Novoselic had seen a documentary on underwater birth and wanted to use that image on the cover. Pictures of babies being born underwater were too gross, so they hired a photographer to take some underwater shots during a water babies class. The baby they chose was Spencer Elden, who was 4 months old at the time.

At many of their later shows, Nirvana did not play this song, helping root out the people coming just to hear a hit.

Courtney Love deliberated a long time before allowing this to be used in the 2001 movie Moulin Rouge. Dave Grohl and Krist Novoselic, who along with Love control the Nirvana catalog, claimed Love was trying to get the title role in the movie, which went to Nicole Kidman.

The song was later used in the 2011 movie The Muppets (where it is performed to a captive Jack Black by The Muppet Barbershop Quartet), and in the 2015 film Pan, where it is sung by a large group of rebellious child slaves. It’s use in this last film was, er… panned by Entertainment Weekly, which wrote, “The song’s satirical lyrics make an already gauche movie even dorkier.”

The opening guitar part is a small variation on the main riff of Boston’s “More Than A Feeling.” This was noted by a Rolling Stone magazine writer years later, but not as an accusation of plagiarism. Influences and similarities like this are everywhere in rock music. 

The Nevermind album title is taken from the song’s lyric: “And I forget just why I taste / Oh yeah, I guess it makes me smile / I found it hard, it’s hard to find / Oh well, whatever, never mind.”

Dave Grohl recalled to Mojo magazine March 2011: “‘Teen Spirit’ definitely established that quiet/loud dynamic thing that we fell back on a lot of the time. It did become that one song that personifies the band. But the video was probably the key element in that song becoming a hit. People heard the song on the radio and they thought, ‘This is great,’ but when kids saw the video on MTV they thought, ‘This is cool. These guys are kinda ugly and they’re tearing up their f–king high school.’ So I think that had a lot to do with what happened with the song.

But do I think it’s the greatest single of all time? Of course not! I don’t even think it’s the greatest Nirvana single. And compared to Revolution by The Beatles or God Only Knows by The Beach Boys?! Give me a break! Smells like Teen Spirit was a great moment in time… but there’s better.”

A version by Miley Cyrus performed by the pop singer on her Gypsy Heart tour topped Rolling Stone’s 2011 reader list of the top 10 Worst Cover Songs of All Time. It was so bad that it even outranked Britney’s much-maligned version of “I Love Rock and Roll!”

Tori Amos did a popular cover of this song in 1992 that Nirvana sometimes played as their introduction music when they took the stage.

Amos was on tour when Cobain died in 1994 and performed her version two days later at a show in Dublin. Patti Smith also recorded the song for her covers album Twelve.

The song was re-released as a limited edition 7-inch vinyl single in December 2011 for an online campaign to get it to the Christmas number one in the UK Singles Chart. However, the track only reached #11 – four places lower than the peak originally scaled by the song 20 years previously.

Jay-Z disfigured some lines from this song on his 2013 track “Holy Grail,” where he raps about the price of fame:

I know nobody to blame
Kurt Cobain, I did it to myself
And we all just entertainers
And we’re stupid and contagious

Kurt Cobain, Dave Grohl and Krist Novoselic, who are the songwriters credited on “Smells Like Teen Spirit,” were all included on the writer’s credits to “Holy Grail” because of the interpolation. When “Holy Grail” debuted at #8 on the Hot 100, it gave Cobain and Novoselic their first Top 10 writing credits since “Smells Like Teen Spirit” charted. (Dave Grohl charted a number of times with Foo Fighters.)

When Nirvana was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2014, the surviving members performed a selection of songs with various female singers. For this song, Joan Jett joined them. The following year, Jett was inducted into the Rock Hall.

Television, and particularly MTV, have always been the domain of pretty people with trendy looks. With the “Smells Like Teen Spirit” video, Nirvana made it possible for people with a less traditional look to get on the network, including Matt Pinfield, an influential disc jockey with a classic “face for radio.” Soon after this video was released, MTV started giving him gigs, and eventually make him host of their show 120 Minutes. In a Songfacts interview with Pinfield, he said: “It opened the door for people not needing to have a certain look. You could do what you wanted to do. On a personal level, it certainly opened the door for me to do television.”

How do the Pixies feel about this song, which they inspired musically? When Songfacts posed that question to their frontman, Black Francis, his answer echoed Kurt Cobain’s take on music and inspiration. “It certainly was very popular,” he said. “It was catchy. I don’t really get involved in so-called discussion or whatever, because from my point of view, it’s just band stuff. Some musicians or some bands say, ‘They were influential on me.’ Sometimes you can hear it, sometimes you can’t, but that’s just the way it works.

It’s not a big mystery. At the end of the day, everyone is just a musician. We’re all just working musicians. We all play different styles. That’s who we are: We’re just a bunch of music geeks. Or proactive music listeners that are so proactive we actually feel the need to do it ourselves.”

Smells Like Teen Spirit

Load up on guns, bring your friends
It’s fun to lose and to pretend
She’s over bored and self assured
Oh no, I know a dirty word

Hello, hello, hello, how low? [x3]
Hello, hello, hello!

With the lights out, it’s less dangerous
Here we are now, entertain us
I feel stupid and contagious
Here we are now, entertain us
A mulatto
An albino
A mosquito
My libido
Yeah, hey, yay

I’m worse at what I do best
And for this gift I feel blessed
Our little group has always been
And always will until the end

Hello, hello, hello, how low? [x3]
Hello, hello, hello!

With the lights out, it’s less dangerous
Here we are now, entertain us
I feel stupid and contagious
Here we are now, entertain us
A mulatto
An albino
A mosquito
My libido
Yeah, hey, yay

And I forget just why I taste
Oh yeah, I guess it makes me smile
I found it hard, it’s hard to find
Oh well, whatever, never mind

Hello, hello, hello, how low? [x3]
Hello, hello, hello!

With the lights out, it’s less dangerous
Here we are now, entertain us
I feel stupid and contagious
Here we are now, entertain us
A mulatto
An albino
A mosquito
My libido

A denial! [x9]

Slade – Merry Christmas Everybody

Merry Christmas Everybody… for all of the UK readers…I know I know…you are so tired of it. I’ve only heard it for the past two years or so. One of the comments from the past … (NO not that song again!)… there are a few Christmas songs along with Alices Restaurant that I reblog every year…and this is one of them.

This is fast becoming my favorite rock Christmas song second only to John Lennon’s Happy Xmas (War Is Over)

This is a great Christmas song that was released in 1973 and ever since it re-enters the charts every December in the UK. The song never hit in America but it went to #1 in the UK Charts. I first heard it on a Doctor Who episode in the mid-2000s and have liked it ever since.

This went straight in at #1 in the UK, selling over 300,000 copies on the day of its release, making it at the time the fastest ever selling record in Britain. It eventually became Slade’s best-ever selling single in the UK, selling over a million copies.

In the UK this has become a standard, and it is usually reissued in its original form each Christmas. On several occasions, the song has re-entered the Top 40.

UK copyright collection society and performance rights organization PRS For Music estimated in 2009 that 42 percent of the earth’s population has heard this tune.

The song was written by Noddy Holder and Jim Lea of Slade. It was produced by Chas Chandler formerly of the Animals.

From Songfacts.

This was based on a psychedelic song, “My Rocking Chair,” which Noddy Holder wrote in 1967. In 1973 the Slade vocalist decided to convert it into a Christmas song after a night out drinking at a local pub. He and the band’s bass player and co-writer Jimmy Lea camped out at Noddy’s mother’s house and got down to changing the lyrics to make them more Christmassy. Jimmy Lea incorporated into the verse parts of another song which he was then writing and Noddy re-wrote the words incorporating different aspects of the Christmas holiday season as they came to mind.

When Noddy Holder wrote the line “Look to the future now, it’s only just begun,” he had in mind the strikes that were blighting Britain at the time. He told the Daily Mail On Sunday November 10, 2007: “We’d decided to write a Christmas song and I wanted to make it reflect a British family Christmas. Economically, the country was up the creek. The miners had been on strike, along with the gravediggers, the bakers and almost everybody else. I think people wanted something to cheer them up – and so did I. That’s why I came up with the line.”

The harmonium used on this is the same one that John Lennon used on his Mind Games album, which was being recorded at the studio next door.

This was recorded at the Record Plant studios in New York while the band were on a tour of the States in the summer of 1973. When they recorded the vocals, they sang the chorus on the stairs in order to achieve the echo that they required. Guitarist Jimmy Lea recalled to Uncut magazine in 2012: “All these Americans were walking past in their suits thinking we were off our rockers singing about Christmas in the summer.”

Producer Chas Chandler opened the song with a howl recorded during some of Noddy Holder’s vocal exercises.

A few months before Slade recorded this song, drummer Don Powell was badly injured in a car crash. Though his physical recovery was quick, the mental scars took longer to heal. Noddy Holder explained to The Daily Mail December 18, 2009: “The doctors told us to get him playing drums again as soon as possible to boost his confidence. But he was suffering from short-term memory loss – he could remember our old songs, but not the new ones. So, instead of recording live, we built up Merry Xmas Everybody layer by layer. That gave it a more poignant, restrained sound. It was something new for us. But the fates were with us and it became our biggest hit.”

Noddy Holder explained to Q magazine January 2013 how the song was originally inspired by The Beatles: “I wrote the original verse with the lyrics, ‘Buy me a rocking chair, I’ll watch the world go by. Bring me a mirror, I’ll look you in the eye,’ in 1967 in the aftermath of The Beatles’ Sgt Pepper,” he said. I was being psychedelic. Dave (Hill) wrote another part to the song but it didn’t work so we put it away. Then in 1973 he remembered my verse one day when we were trying to write a Christmas single. We changed the words to, ‘Are you hanging up your stocking on the wall?’ and the rest fell into place.”

Noddy Holder’s earliest childhood memory served as inspiration for one of the song’s lines. He recalled to the Mail On Sunday’s Live magazine: “As a lad we used to knock sleds with old orange boxes and go tobogganing down this big old quarry in the snow at Christmas. It was the inspiration for the line ‘are you hoping that the snow will start to fall.’”

I want that hat he starts off with… in this video…very subtle.

Merry Christmas Everybody

Are you hanging up a stocking on your wall?
It’s the time that every Santa has a ball
Does he ride a red nosed reindeer?
Does a ‘ton up’ on his sleigh
Do the fairies keep him sober for a day?

Chorus:
So here it is merry Christmas
Everybody’s having fun
Look to the future now
It’s only just begun

Are you waiting for the family to arrive?
Are you sure you got the room to spare inside?
Does your granny always tell ya that the old are the best?
Then she’s up and rock ‘n’ rollin’ with the rest

Chorus:
So here it is merry Christmas
Everybody’s having fun
Look to the future now
It’s only just begun

What will your daddy do
When he sees your Mama kissin’ Santa Claus?
Ah ah

Are you hanging up a stocking on your wall?
Are you hoping that the snow will start to fall?
Do you ride on down the hillside in a buggy you have made?
When you land upon your head then you’ve been slayed

Chorus (4x)
So here it is merry Christmas
Everybody’s having fun
Look to the future now
It’s only just begun

“The Perfect Pop Song”

I found this article about The Max Planck Institute in Germany conducting a study on the perfect pop song… the winner was Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da

As everyone here knows I’m a huge Beatles fan…but this one? I couldn’t disagree more with their conclusion but it is interesting on how they made the choice… I posted a couple of links.

‘Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da’ is the most perfect pop song ever, science proves

The Beatles ‘Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da’ is “the perfect pop song”, according to science

Over The River And Through The Wood

Happy Thanksgiving to all of you who celebrate it. I thought this would be a cool traditional song/poem to trace back.

“Over the River and Through the Wood” was originally published in 1844 as a poem written by Lydia Maria Child. It celebrates Lydia’s childhood memories of visiting her grandparents.

The poem was published in her book of poems called Flowers for ChildrenVolume 2, and was originally titled “The New-England Boy’s Song about Thanksgiving Day.” The poem was set to music by an unknown composer, and over the years many children have grown up singing the song in school or community holiday programs.

The song became popular after the Civil War. By the turn of the century it was a classroom standard.

The house of which she wrote, Grandfather’s House (the Paul Curtis House), is located at 114 South Street in Medford, Massachusetts. It was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1975.

The original poem by Lydia Maria Child.

Over the river, and through the wood,
    To grandfather’s house we go;
        The horse knows the way,
        To carry the sleigh,
    Through the white and drifted snow.

Over the river, and through the wood,
    To grandfather’s house away!
        We would not stop
        For doll or top,
    For ‘t is Thanksgiving day.

Over the river, and through the wood,
    Oh, how the wind does blow!
        It stings the toes,
        And bites the nose,
    As over the ground we go.

Over the river, and through the wood,
    With a clear blue winter sky,
        The dogs do bark,
        And children hark,
    As we go jingling by.

Over the river, and through the wood,
    To have a first-rate play —
        Hear the bells ring
        Ting a ling ding,
    Hurra for Thanksgiving day!

Over the river, and through the wood —
    No matter for winds that blow;
        Or if we get
        The sleigh upset,
    Into a bank of snow.

Over the river, and through the wood,
    To see little John and Ann;
        We will kiss them all,
        And play snow-ball,
    And stay as long as we can.

Over the river, and through the wood,
    Trot fast, my dapple grey!
        Spring over the ground,
        Like a hunting hound,
    For ‘t is Thanksgiving day!

Over the river, and through the wood,
    And straight through the barn-yard gate;
        We seem to go
        Extremely slow,
    It is so hard to wait.

Over the river, and through the wood,
    Old Jowler hears our bells;
        He shakes his pow,
        With a loud bow wow,
    And thus the news he tells.

Over the river, and through the wood —
    When grandmother sees us come,
        She will say, Oh dear,
        The children are here,
    Bring a pie for every one.

Over the river, and through the wood —
    Now grandmother’s cap I spy!
        Hurra for the fun!
        Is the pudding done?
    Hurra for the pumpkin pie!