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.

Creedence Clearwater Revival – Hey Tonight

Hey Tonight is the B-side of “Have You Ever Seen the Rain,” the first single Creedence Clearwater Revival released in 1971 and the last the band launched as a quartet. Both single cuts also appear on the Pendulum album. What terrific singles this great band produced like clockwork.

This is yet another song that has the character “Jody” in it. Songs like It Came Out Of The Sky, Hey Tonight, and a solo Fogerty song called Almost Saturday Night. He has never said one way or another if it was based on someone or just sounded good in the song…probably the latter.

John Fogerty wrote “Hey Tonight” and the band rehearsed it before the group hit the studio in 1970. Fogerty thought the song was one of the better ones on the album despite the fact it was written in while the band was in turmoil at that time.  Creedence Clearwater played “Hey Tonight” live for a first time at the private party the band held to music writers at Cosmo’s Factory on December 12th, 1970.

John not only wrote, sings and plays guitar on every track, he also overdubbed organ and saxophone (which he played himself) on some of the songs.

Have You Ever Seen The Rain?/Hey Tonight peaked at #9 in the Billboard 100 and #1 in Canada in 1971.

This video below is not a real video to the song but it shows some footage I haven’t seen before of the band as a trio after Tom quit. The song is right below this one. 

Hey Tonight

Hey, Tonight,
Gonna be tonight,
Don’t you know I’m flyin’
Tonight, tonight.
Hey, c’mon,
Gonna chase tomorrow
Tonight, tonight.

Gonna get it to the rafters,
Watch me now.
Jody’s gonna get religion
All night long.

Hey, c’mon,
Gonna hear the sun
Tonight, tonight.

Gonna get it to the rafters,
Watch me now.
Jody’s gonna get religion
All night long.

Aaaah!
Hey, Tonight,
Gonna be tonight,
Don’t you know I’m flyin’
Tonight, tonight.
Tonight, tonight.

Big Star – Life Is White

Love this driving song by Big Star. It was on Radio City, their second album. Some say it is a response to the Chris Bell song off the first album called My Life Is Right…or a message to his girlfriend Diane (Don’t like to see your face Don’t like to hear you talk at all) that he was splitting with at the time.

After the failure of their first album, singer/songwriter guitar player Chris Bell quit Big Star. Alex Chilton didn’t know if Big Star was going to make another album. He continued making demos because he could always do a solo album. The two other members, drummer Jody Stephens and bass player Andy Hummel wasn’t sure either what was going to happen. They had talked about ending the band.

Their record company Ardent was under the Stax umbrella. They sent out invitations to all of the major rock journalists of the day in 1973. They invited them to Memphis to see Ardent’s roster of bands but most of all Big Star. The rock writers loved Big Star. Many legendary writers were there including Lester Bangs.

Stax agreed to foot the bill, which amounted to $40,000 to fly in more than one hundred rock critics from across the U.S. and U.K., put them up at the Holiday Inn, wine and dine them, bus them to Memphis landmarks like Graceland, and, on the final night, knock them out with a showcase at Lafayette’s Music Room, featuring Skin Alley, Larry Raspberry and the High-Steppers, and Big Star.

As writers from California (Shaw, Gene Sculatti, and Cameron Crowe), the New York City area (Richard Meltzer, Andy Shernoff, Gary Kenton, Pete Tomlinson, Lenny Kaye, and Nick Tosches), upstate New York (Billy Altman), Austin (Chet Flippo), Detroit (most of Creem’s staff, including Lester Bangs and Jaan Uhelszki), and the U.K. (Simon Frith, Ben Edmonds, and Pete Frame) signed on, Big Star was persuaded to play the gig.

The writers sat through the other bands and by the time Big Star took the stage, around midnight, they were well lubricated. Big Star couldn’t have had a more receptive audience. Rock critics are not known to dance but they were all on the floor and some has since called the performance by Big Star magic. Some called it the greatest performance and sound they ever heard. That night is what convinced Big Star to stay together and finish their second album Radio City. They played most of the first album, some covers, and a few songs they had worked on including Life Is White.

What I question is…Stax would give money for things like this but could not distribute records?

Alex had the quote below while he was in Big Star. What he said foretold Big Star’s future. It would be years later before the album would sell anything and get noticed. They would make one more album…Big Star Third/Sister Lovers before ending it.

Alex Chilton: “The important thing is to make a good record,” “because if you make a good record, it doesn’t matter what happens. It’s going to sell from then on to some degree, even though it doesn’t sell anything when it comes out and is a big disappointment to everybody. If it’s really good, people are going to want it from then on, and that’s the important thing. It might take five or ten years for it to pay off—or it might take twenty years, and you might be dead when it pays off. If it’s good, it’s going to pay off for somebody, sometime.”

Life Is White

Don’t like to see your face
Don’t like to hear you talk at all
I could be with Ann
But I’d just get bored

Can’t even bring myself to call
And I don’t want to see you now
‘Cause I know what you lack
And I can’t go back to that

Whatever’s all the same
Now there’s nobody to know
And I can’t recall, recall your name
All I can say is so

And I don’t want to see you now
‘Cause I know what you lack
And I can’t go back to that

Your life is white
And I don’t think I like
You hanging around

Don’t like to see your face
Don’t like to hear you talk at all
I could be with Ann
But I’d just get bored

Can’t even bring myself to call
And I don’t want to see you now
‘Cause I know what you lack
And I can’t go back to that now

Moody Blues – Tuesday Afternoon

Tuesday Afternoon was on the classic concept album Days of Future Passed which was released in 1968. This song was released as a single and was the second single from Days of Future Passed (the first being “Nights in White Satin“). It was backed with a song called “Another Morning”.

Ever since I heard the intro on Strawberry Fields I’ve loved the mellotron. This song uses the instrument. I did read where it was hard to keep running because it used a series of tape loops and you played it by a keyboard.

Mike Pinder was the keyboard player for the Moody Blues and a founding member. He used to work for a company called Streetly Electronics, which made the instrument. He was one of the few musicians who could keep the  device operational, and The Moody Blues became the first high-profile band to use it in live performances. It wasn’t always smooth… one their first American tour, the Mellotron burst open, spewing its tape out the back. After a break Pinder repaired the machine and the show continued on.

The “London Festival Orchestra”, which was the name Decca Records gave to their collection of classical musicians, played on this track. The original idea for the album was to record a rock version of a classical piece called “New World Symphony” by Dvorak.

The song peaked at #12 in the Billboard 100 and #24 in Canada in 1968.

Justin Hayward: “I sat down in a field, smoked a funny African cigarette, and that song just came out. It was a Tuesday afternoon.”

Days of Future Passed [Expanded Version]

From Songfacts

Justin Hayward had a dog named Tuesday, but the song has nothing to do with the pooch. In his Songfacts interview, Hayward explained: “It just so happened we were sitting in the field together, that’s all. But it was a Tuesday afternoon and I did smoke a joint and it was down there where I come from in the West Country and this song just came out.”

On the album, this was listed as “Forever Afternoon (Tuesday?)” at the insistence of producer Tony Clarke.

Hayward was earning a living playing music by the time he was in his late teens, so unlike most working stiffs for whom Tuesday afternoon was a time to knuckle down and get some work done, that part of the week could be quite relaxing for him. “I did think about that and about being someone who’s been lucky enough never having to do a proper job,” he told us. “I wasn’t hampered by any of that kind of stuff.”

This song uses a Mellotron. The instrument is a keyboard which triggers taped loops of a chosen instrument recorded at different pitches. It is not synthesized sound, but actual instrument recordings. In this song the recorded loops were strings. The strange and unique quality of the sound comes from the warble in the tape loops as they play back.

Tuesday Afternoon

Tuesday afternoon
I’m just beginning to see
Now I’m on my way
It doesn’t matter to me
Chasing the clouds away

Something calls to me
The trees are drawing me near
I’ve got to find out why
Those gentle voices I hear
Explain it all with a sigh

I’m looking at myself reflections of my mind
It’s just the kind of day to leave myself behind
So gently swaying through the fairyland of love
If you’ll just come with me you’ll see the beauty of
Tuesday afternoon
Tuesday afternoon

Tuesday afternoon 
I’m just beginning to see
Now I’m on my way
It doesn’t matter to me
Chasing the clouds away

Something calls to me
The trees are drawing me near
I’ve got to find out why
Those gentle voices I hear
Explain it all with a sigh

Replacements – The Ledge

This song was one of the most pivotal songs in their career. MTV’s refusal to play it hurt the chances of the album Please To Meet Me… which The Replacements released in 1987. The album was critically praised as were most of their other albums. With no MTV or radio support, the single didn’t go anywhere.

This song had radio potential and their record company Sire was gearing up a campaign but the song is about suicide and MTV would not touch it. A month before the album was released, the Bergenfield Suicide Pact (4 New Jersey teens took part in a suicide pact) happened. It understandably got a lot of press. Paul Westerberg was not happy with the decision. “MTV feels the lyrics are detrimental to the youth of America,” said Westerberg  “But for them to play Mötley Crüe and not play our video … if it had a bunch of sexist bullshit, they would’ve played it. But if it’s something deeper, if it’s emotions, it’s taboo.”        

The song hinted at Paul Westerberg’s own teenage overdose attempt and the suicide of his high school friend John Zika. Sitting home in the fall of 1986, he wrote The Ledge in forty-five minutes, from the perspective of a jumper looking down at a gathering crowd below.

It was recorded in Memphis with Jim Dickinson producing. The band worked as a trio as Bob Stinson was let go by this time. After the album was finished they would get Bob “Slim” Dunlap on lead guitar.

Paul Westerberg:  It’s written not necessarily out of personal experience because I’m still here. It’s an observation. And if anyone wants to read anything into it other than that, then that’s their problem. And the lyrics, they just came. I didn’t have to sit, I didn’t have to think. It was just wham wham wham, I turned on the little tape recorder, I had it on an ironing board. And it was partially out of the way I had felt at certain times in my life. I figure if you’re gonna kill yourself, you kill yourself, but I had tried to commit suicide once I think when I was younger and I can still feel how I felt then. I mean not like now that I’m totally a-ok and the happiest guy in the world, I’m doing fine, but I can feel for people that feel totally lost and have no one to turn to. So it was written sort of half of my own experience and half of maybe me trying to feel how it is to be up there on the ledge. And it’s not written in any way to condone that kind of stuff. Obviously it’s bullshit, it’s wrong, but to someone who does it…

The Ledge

All eyes look up to me
High above the filthy streets
Heed no bullhorn when it calls
Watch me fly and die, watch me fall

I’m the boy they can’t ignore,
For the first time in my life, I’m sure
All the love sent up high to pledge
Won’t reach the ledge

Wind blows cold from the west
I smell coffee, I smell doughnuts for the press (on their breath?)
A girl that I knew once years ago
Is tryin’ to be reached on the phone

I’m the boy she can’t ignore,
For the first time in my life, I’m sure
All the love sent up high to pledge…

(Repeat)

Priest kneels silent, all is still
Policeman reaches from the sill
Watch him, watch him try his best
There’ll be no medal pinned to his chest

I’m the boy they couldn’t ignore,
For the first time in my life, I’m sure

(Repeat)

I’m the boy for the last time in my life

All the love that they pledge
For the last time will not reach the ledge…

Twilight Zone – The Howling Man… #2

I’m going to write about my top 10 favorite TZ episodes in the next few weeks…Most of the Twilight Zones are like songs to me…to be enjoyed over and over. The Twilight Zone is not really an ordinary TV show. It’s THE TWILIGHT ZONE. This is my personal choice for #2 on my list…Next week my number one.

I wish now I would have just reviewed every Twilight Zone episode…this is a fun gig!

If you haven’t seen this episode…it will have spoilers…just so you know.

This one is not one of the comedic episodes…it is deadly serious, haunting and chilling. The Howling Man doesn’t have a lot of action but you feel sorry for David Ellington…he realized too late that he has set the devil loose in the world. The special effects of the ragged looking man turning into the devil was spot on. It would look good now in todays time. One well known actor was in this one, John Carradine played Brother Jerome.

Rod Serling’s Opening Narration: The prostrate form of Mr. David Ellington, scholar, seeker of truth and, regrettably, finder of truth. A man who will shortly arise from his exhaustion to confront a problem that has tormented mankind since the beginning of time. A man who knocked on a door seeking sanctuary and found, instead, the outer edges of The Twilight Zone.

David Ellington recounts a story, one that began just after the end of World War I. He was hiking in Europe when he sought refuge during a violent rain storm. The residence is isolated and its head, Brother Jerome, tells him he cannot stay. Ellington is ill however and during his short stay meets someone who is being kept prisoner and howls constantly through the night. Ellington believes the Howling Man is being kept there for no good reason but Brother Jerome tells him of the man’s true nature. The decision Ellington makes will haunt him for the rest of his life.

Rod Serling’s Closing Narration: Ancient folk saying: “You can catch the Devil, but you can’t hold him long.” Ask Brother Jerome. Ask David Ellington. They know, and they’ll go on knowing to the end of their days and beyond — in the Twilight Zone.

CAST

  • H.M. Wynant as David Ellington
  • John Carradine as Brother Jerome
  • Robin Hughes as The Howling Man
  • Frederic Ledebur as Brother Christophorus
  • Ezelle Poule as Housekeeper

George Thorogood – Wanted Man

Wanted Man was written by Bob Dylan and it is a favorite of mine. I first heard it by George Thorogood. The first time I heard it was not the studio version that George did…it was when he played it on the 30th Anniversary Bob Dylan concert held in 1993. George’s version of Wanted Man was left off of the CD for some reason…but I knew I had to find that Dylan song as soon as I heard it.

This was pre-internet and I finally found out that Dylan never recorded it for an album. To this day I’ve never heard a version of only Bob singing it… not even a demo of just him.

From what I’ve read about the song Bob Dylan wrote Wanted Man for Nashville Skyline but no complete version of the song was recorded at those sessions. Johnny Cash covered the song and he announced it as a song that him and Dylan wrote together but the records show that Dylan copyrighted it according to a couple of websites.

Cash debuted “Wanted Man” on his 1969 live album, At San Quentin, and would later release a studio version.

George Thorogood released his version on his 1982 Bad To The Bone album released in 1982. The word play in this song is great.

Below I have George’s version of course but I also have Johnny Cash and Bob Dylan demo of the song.

Wanted Man

Wanted man in California
Wanted man in Ohio
Wanted man in Kansas City
Wanted man in Buffalo

Wanted man in Oklahoma
Wantd man in old Cheyenne
Wherever you might look tonight
You might see this wanted man

Well, I might be in Colorado
Or Georgia by the sea
Workin’ for some man who may not know who I might be
Yeah, and if you see me comin’
And you know who I am
Don’t you breathe it to nobody
Cause you know I’m on the lam

Wanted man by Lucy Watson
Wanted man by Jeannie Brown
Wanted man by Nelly Johnson
Wanted man in this Tex town

And I’ve had all that I’ve wanted
Of a lot of things I’ve had
And a lot more than I’ve needed
Of some things that turned out bad

Well, I got sidetracked in El Paso
Stopped to get myself a map
I went the wrong way into Juarez
With Juanita on my lap
And I went to sleep in Shreveport
Woke up in Abilene
Wonderin’ why the hell I’m wanted
At some town halfway between

Wanted man in Albuquerque
Wanted man in Baton Rouge
Wanted man in Tallahassee
Wanted man in Syracuse

And there’s somebody sent to grab me
Anywhere that I might be
Wherever you might look tonight
You might get a glimpse of me

Wanted man in California
Wanted man in Ohio
Wanted man in Kansas City
Wanted man in Buffalo
Wanted man in Oklahoma
Wanted man in old Cheyenne
Wherever you might look tonight
You might see this wanted man

Twilight Zone (Bonus) 1985 – Dealers Choice

I’m not counting the Twilight Zone reboots in my top 10 but this is a fun 1985 Twilight Zone. It has a younger Morgan Freeman along  with original SNL alumni Garret Morris…along with Dan Hedaya, Barney Martin,  and M. Emmet Walsh.  This version of the Twilight Zone is hit and miss. There are a few that are really good. I would not compare anything to the original though.

Some very good character actors and the episode is a fun one. I found the complete episode online…if you have 20 or so minutes give it a try.

Five men playing poker…not unusual right?  However, one of the men is the devil himself, masquerading as an acquaintance of one of them.  He’s there to collect the soul of one of the men, but which one?  As the personalities of the men gradually come out, it’s clear that Pete is the one the Devil is there to collect. Pete tries to bet his way out of going with Nick, hoping to beat the Devil at his own game.

CAST

Morgan Freeman – Tony
Dan Hedaya – Nick
M. Emmet Walsh – Pete
Garret Morris – Jake
Barney Martin – Marty

Rolling Stones – Sad Sad Sad

Out of all of the tracks on Steel Wheels…this one sounded like the old Stones. The open G chord that Keith Richards made famous is in full display on the intro.  This is the first track from Steel Wheels, an album that brought The Stones back together.

With the album Dirty Work, the Stones did look like it could be over. Jagger and Richards were not getting along. They took shots at each other in the press. Jagger released two albums, She’s The Boss and Primitive Cool. Keith Richards also released a solo album…a very good album  Talk Is Cheap.

Keith and Mick finally took time out to talk to each other and get the band back together. Bill Wyman, Charlie Watts, and Ron Wood joined them and this would be Bill’s last album and tour. Bill has had musical projects since then and he has rejoined the Stones onstage a few times.

The song peaked at #14 in the Mainstream Rock Tracks in 1989. Mixed Emotions was the big hit off of the album.

Charlie Watts helped write this, but as was custom for The Stones, it was credited only to Jagger/Richards.

From Songfacts

The horns were played by the Brass ensemble The Kick Horns.

Ron Wood played bass. Bill Wyman, The Stones bassist, had to deal with the press after announcing his engagement to 18-year-old Mandy Smith, and was not available. Wyman and Smith divorced soon after their marriage.

Sad Sad Sad

Fling you out into orbit
No one’s gonna hear you shout
And fools ain’t gonna follow
You don’t need to sleaze about

Now you’re sad sad sad
Sad sad sad
Sad sad sad
But you’re gonna be fine

The elephant’s in the bedroom
Throwing all his weight about
And I’m locked in the bathroom
Your screams are gonna drown me out

Now you’re sad sad sad
Sad sad sad
Sad sad sad
But you’re gonna be fine

Oh, yeah

I got a cold chill
I get a cool thrill
Are you ready for the gilded cage?
Are you ready for the tears of rage?
Come on baby, don’t let them drown you out

Sad sad sad
Bad bad bad
Sad sad sad
But you’re gonna be fine

Sad sad sad
Sad sad sad
Sad sad sad
But you’re gonna be fine

You’re gonna be fine
You’re gonna be fine
You’re gonna be fine fine fine fine
You’re gonna be fine fine fine fine
Fine fine fine fine

Ooh, yeah
Ooh, yeah
Ooh, yeah
Gonna be fine fine fine fine
Fine fine fine fine
Fine fine fine fine

Chris Bell – You and Your Sister

When people think of Big Star…when people do think of Big Star…Alex Chilton comes up more often than anyone else. That is not an over sight really because he was on all of their albums. The sound Big Star had largely originated from founding member Chris Bell. Alex and Chris wrote most of the first album and they modeled themselves after Lennon and McCartney. Their first album  was praised by practically everyone but not distributed…people wanted the album but the album was not in the stores so it failed. Chris left the band not long after that failure.

Chris went into a depression but Alex carried on with Big Star making two more albums.

Chris visited and stayed in England off and on and recorded some solo material but a record deal never materialized while he was there. He brought some recordings over that he made in Memphis and Geoff Emerick mixed it for him. Geoff was the engineer for the Beatles. The song that he mixed was I am the Cosmos. Chris would continue to record some in Memphis through the mid to late seventies.

In fall of 1978 he got a call from Car records and they wanted to release a single with a song called  I am the Cosmos with You and Your Sister as the B side.  It was the only solo release Chris would see in his lifetime. Unfortunately, Chris didn’t get to enjoy it long. He died in a car wreck on December 27, 1978. He was only 27 years old.

When he recorded You and Your Sister he got Alex Chilton to sing harmony vocals with him.

By the way…if you haven’t heard I Am The Cosmos give it a listen. It’s a layered, lush,  almost perfect pop song. I hope you enjoy this song.

14 years after his death in 1992  Rykodisc released Chris Bell’s solo album from the songs he recorded including the two songs on this single.

You and Your Sister

They say my love for you ain’t real
But you don’t know how real it feels
All I want to do
Is to spend some time with you
So I can hold you, hold you
Your sister says that I’m no good
I’d reassure her if I could
All I want to do
Is to spend some time with you
So I can hold you, hold you
Plans fail every day
I want to hear you say
Your love won’t be leaving (Run run, run run)
Your eyes ain’t deceiving (Run run, run run)
Fears will soon fade away
Smile now, don’t be afraid
All I want to do
Is to spend some time with you
So I can hold you, hold you
And let me whisper in your ear
Don’t you worry, they can’t hear
All I want to do
Is to spend some time with you
So I can hold you

Blasters – Long White Cadillac

A perfect road trip song from the 1983 album “Non-Fiction.” You’ll want to go out and buy a long white Cadillac and drive it on a long lost highway.

Image result for the Blasters - 1983

Dave Alvin wrote this song….The song is about the night Hank Williams died in back of a car. He died somewhere between Bristol, Tenn., and Oak Hill on the way to a New Year’s Day 1953 show in Canton, Ohio.

The Blasters play what I would call rockabilly with some Americana thrown in. One description I found was rockabilly, early rock and roll, punk rock, mountain music, and rhythm and blues and country…but in short…they rock.

Dave Alvin was the main songwriter and he left the band in 1986 because of tensions with his guitarist Blaster member brother Phil. The band is still going and Dave has reunited a few times with them on albums and tours.

Dwight Yoakum recorded a version of this song in 1989 for his first greatest hits package Just Lookin’ for a Hit.

Long White Cadillac

Night wolves moan
The winter hills are black
I’m all alone
Sitting in the back
Of a long white Cadillac

Headlights shine
Highway fades to black
I’ll take my time
In a long white Cadillac
In a long white Cadillac

Sometime I blame it on a woman
Why my achin’ heart bleeds
Sometimes I blame it on the money
Sometimes I blame it on me

Train whistle cries
Lost on its own track
I’ll close my eyes
I’m never coming back
In a long white Cadillac

Night wolves moan
The winter hills are black
I’m all alone
Sitting in the back
Of a long white Cadillac

One time I had all that I wanted
But it just skipped through my hands
One time I sang away the sorrow
One time I took it like a man

Headlights shine
Highway fades to black
It’s my last ride
I’m never coming back
In a long white Cadillac

Chaplin (1992)

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

This fulfills my biographical genre. I started to get into silent movies in the late eighties. It started with a book on Clara Bow and it mushroomed from there. By 1992 I was ordering silent movies on VHS from New York and bootlegs where ever I could get them. The actors and actresses that got my attention were Clara Bow, Buster Keaton, Douglas Fairbanks Sr, Mary Pickford, and Charles Chaplin.

In 1992 I had just settled into my small Laverne and Shirley basement studio apartment when this movie was released. It was perfect timing because this was the peak of my silent movie interest. I would get USA Today everyday to check my Dodgers box scores and I read about this movie coming out. There was an advertisement where you could make a 99 cent phone call (per minute) to listen to some of the movie on the telephone. Yes I was that desperate (sucker) to do just that… to hear some of the movie…it was a different time.

I had read where Johnny Depp was up for the role and I thought he would have been the perfect person to play Chaplin. I was totally wrong…the perfect actor to play Chaplin was the one who got the role…Robert Downey Jr. He became Chaplin on the screen. He went as far as learning to play tennis left handed.

Robert Downey Jr. had a terrific cast surrounding him. Chaplin’s own daughter (Geraldine Chaplin) played Chaplin’s mom in the movie. Dan Aykroyd portrayed Mack Sennett, and Kevin Kline plays Douglas Fairbanks Sr. It was also directed by the great Richard Attenborough.

The movie starts with an 8 year old Chaplin taking the stage to sing after his mentally disturbed mom was booed off. Chaplin’s childhood was straight out of a Dickens novel. With help from his older brother Syd he got a job with a vaudeville unit ran by Fred Karno. He also met his first love Hetty Kelly who would shape his love interest for the rest of his life. His brother Syd worked as his manager when Chaplin got famous. In the beginning Syd was much more well known than Charlie…until the little tramp appeared.

The movie moves fast…sometimes a little too fast. All through the movie he is talking to an editor (Anthony Hopkins) about his then new (1964) autobiography and that is how they move the movie along. I wanted to see more about certain movies I’d enjoyed but they did have a lot to cover. They manage to touch on some of his political problems like with J. Edgar Hoover and when he made The Great Dictator.

The movie follows Chaplin through his movies, personal life,  and his politically rough waters. As with any movie about a historical figure…things will be missed, wrong, and forgotten but the movie hits the high spots of his life.

If you  really want to know about Chaplin read Chaplin: His Life and Art by David Robinson or watch one of the many documentaries on him. Chaplin was a complicated man…too complicated to be summed up in a two hour motion picture…but it was a great try. After reading so many books, what I wanted would have taken a 6 hour movie…so this is a good introduction to Chaplin.

The movie was very enjoyable and you do get the highs and lows of Charles Spencer Chaplin. You also get a hell of a good acting job from Robert Downey Jr. The movie also combines shots of the real Chaplin in his movies. Sitting in the theater it was magical…near the end of the movie they show real Chaplin clips as seen on an award show in 1972. The laughter in the theater was the loudest I’ve ever heard before or since… the Tramp still drew laughs in 1992 and he still does in 2021.

After watching this movie you will probably want to watch some Chaplin movies…that would be the best outcome…if you haven’t watched any…you are missing a true artist who not only starred but wrote, directed, and produced.

Cast

  • Robert Downey Jr. as Charlie Chaplin
    • Hugh Downer as Charlie age 5
    • Thomas Bradford as Charlie age 14
  • Marisa Tomei as Mabel Normand
  • Geraldine Chaplin as Hannah Chaplin
  • Paul Rhys as Sydney Chaplin
    • Nicholas Gatt as Sydney age 9
  • John Thaw as Fred Karno
  • Moira Kelly as Hetty Kelly, Charlie’s first love / Oona O’Neill
  • Anthony Hopkins as George Hayden
  • Dan Aykroyd as Mack Sennett
  • Penelope Ann Miller as Edna Purviance
  • Kevin Kline as Douglas Fairbanks
  • Matthew Cottle as Stan Laurel
  • Maria Pitillo as Mary Pickford
  • Milla Jovovich as Mildred Harris
  • Kevin Dunn as J. Edgar Hoover
  • Deborah Moore as Lita Grey
  • Diane Lane as Paulette Goddard
  • Nancy Travis as Joan Barry
  • James Woods as Joseph Scott
  • Francesca Buller as Minnie Chaplin
  • David Duchovny as Roland Totheroh

Monkees – What Am I Doing Hanging Round?

This is a really good song by the Monkees. It was co-written by guitarist Michael Nesmith and it was an album track. If you watched a lot of their shows on reruns like I did…I knew their album tracks by heart. This would have been a good single. It has a great country/rock sound like most of his songs do.

It was on the album Pisces, Aquarius, Capricorn & Jones Ltd. that peaked at #1 in the Billboard 100, #2 in Canada and #5 in the UK in 1967.

Owens “Boomer” Castleman was the co-writer on this song and was a member of The Survivors, a pre-Monkees group that included Michael Nesmith, Bill Chadwick, Michael Martin Murphey, and John London.

What Am I Doing Hanging Round?

Just a loud mouth Yankee I went down to Mexico.
I didn’t have much time to spend, about a week or so.
There I lightly took advantage of a girl who loved me so.
But I found myself a-thinkin’ when the time had come to go…

[Chorus:]
What am I doin’ hangin’ round?
I should be on that train and gone.
I should be ridin’ on that train to San Antone,
What am I doin’ hangin’ round?

She took me to the garden just for a little walk.
I didn’t know much Spanish and there was no time for talk.
Then she told me that she loved me not with words but with a kiss.
And like a fool I kept on thinkin’ of a train I could not miss…

[Chorus]

Well it’s been a year or so, and I want to go back again.
And if I get the money, well I’ll ride the same old train.
But I guess your chances come but once and boy I sure missed mine.
And still I can’t stop thinkin’ when I hear some whistle cryin’….

[Chorus]

AC/DC – Whole Lotta Rosie

This is one of the first AC/DC songs I was familiar with when I was around 11 years old. My older cousin was a huge fan and would play the live If You Want Blood You’ve Got It album constantly. It was a few years later before I heard the studio version of the song.

As with most of their songs it started with an excellent guitar riff and doesn’t relent.

The song was originally on the Let There Be Rock album released in 1977. It was released as a single in 1978 as a live cut and didn’t do much but then the live cut was reissued again in 1979 and peaked at #36 in the UK in 1980.

This song is about a large woman that lead singer Bon Scott had relations with early in the band’s career. I’ll let Bon and Angus tell the tale.

Bon Scott: “We were all staying in the same hotel and this chick Rosie lived across the road. She was so big she sort of closed the door and put it on ya’, half your body, and she was too big to say no to. Then she used to look up and see what band was in town and say “hi over there boys” and we’d go over and have a party. She came to one of our shows, she was from Tasmania actually, and she was in the front row. She was like 6’2 and like 19 stone 12 pounds (around 266lbs). That girl was some mountain. So you can imagine the problems I had. So I just sorta had to succumb … I had to do it. Oh my God, I wish I hadn’t.”

Angus Young: We’d been in Tasmania and after the show [Bon Scott] said he was going to check out a few clubs. He said he’d got about 100 yards down the street when he heard this yell: ‘Hey! Bon!’ He looked around and saw this leg and thought: ‘Oh well!’ From what he said, there was this Rosie woman and a friend of hers. They were plying him with drinks and Rosie said to him: ‘This month I’ve slept with 28 famous people,’ and Bon went: ‘Oh yeah?!’ Anyway, in the morning he said he woke up pinned against the wall, he said he opened one eye and saw her lean over to her friend and whisper: ’29!’ There’s very few people who’ll go out and write a song about a big fat lady, but Bon said it was worthy.

From Songfacts

 In a 1976 interview with the band for Sounds magazine, their guitarist Malcolm Young prodded Scott to tell the story about “the fat one.” Scott explained that backstage at a show in Australia, a rotund woman they called “Big Bertha” came forward when he asked, “Who wants it?” Too frightened to refuse, he did the deed with Bertha, who then called to her friend, “that’s the 37th this month,” and produced a black book where she recorded her conquests. Scott turned the incident into a song, this time naming the woman “Rosie.”

In their early days, the band shared a house in Australia where lots of unsavory incidents occurred. This gave them material for songs like this one and “The Jack.” Bon Scott had great affection for the full-size girls, and occasionally put his conquests in his songs. Another song on the album, “Go Down,” mentions Ruby Lips, who is another real person. This is confirmed in the Let There Be Rock liner notes.

The music is based on the Chuck Berry song “No Money Down.” 

Originally released on the Let There Be Rock album, this song didn’t get much publicity until AC/DC re-released it a year later on If You Want Blood, You Got It when the band became internationally popular.

This song was covered and performed live by Guns N’ Roses. Nearly a decade later, Axl Rose cited an article in Melody Maker comparing the original AC/DC lineup to Guns N’ Roses as the inspiration for covering this song.

Originally, there were two versions of this song. The first was called “Dirty Eyes” and was eventually released in 1997 on the Bonfire boxed set.

Whole Lotta Rosie

Wanna tell you story
About woman I know
When it comes to lovin’
She steals the show
She ain’t exactly pretty
Ain’t exactly small
Fourt’two thirt’ninefiftysix
You could say she’s got it all

Never had a woman
Never had a woman like you
Doin’ all the things
Doin’ all the things you do
Ain’t no fairy story
Ain’t no skin and bones
But you give it all you got
Weighin’ in at nineteen stone
You’re a whole lotta woman
A whole lotta woman
Whole lotta Rosie
Whole lotta Rosie
Whole lotta Rosie
And you’re a whole lotta woman

Honey you can do it
Do it to me all night long
Only one who turn me
Only one who turn me on
All through the night time
Right around the clock
To my surprise
Rosie never stops
She was a whole lotta woman
Whole lotta woman
Whole lotta Rosie
Whole lotta Rosie
Whole lotta Rosie
A whole lotta woman

Whole lotta woman
Whole lotta woman
Whole lotta Rosie
Whole lotta Rosie
Whole lotta Rosie
Whole lotta woman-man-man yeah
Whole lotta Rosie
Whole lotta woman
Whole lotta woman

Replacements – Swingin’ Party

Bring your own lampshade
Somewhere there’s a party

This song has just a slight early sixties vibe and shows their expanding repertoire.

Paul Westerberg has said Swingin Party drew on Sinatra’s version of Rodgers and Hart’s standard “Where or When” and The Springfield’s “Flying on the Ground Is Wrong.” It had a trace of Frank and Nancy Sinatra’s “Somethin’ Stupid” and Brian Hyland’s “The Joker Went Wild.” He said if you steal from everything nobody can put a finger on you.

The song’s oscillating rhythms and guitars provided a perfect backdrop for the lyrics.

This song was on their 4th studio album Tim. Yes, they named the album Tim which is pretty funny. It would be the last album founding member and lead guitarist Bob Stinson worked on.

Paul Westerberg: “We named it Tim for no reason at all”.This was the first time we named an album after it was done.We sat around a bar,we were gonna call it Whistler’s Mammy,Van Gogh’s Ear,or England Schmingland.”I think I said Tim and we sat and laughed for a few minutes and then we said,”Why not?”

Paul Westerberg: “One of the reasons we used to drink so much is that it was scary going up onstage. That’s one of the things ‘Swingin Party’ is all about” “The funny thing is, people think you must have all this confidence to get up onstage.”

New Zealand singer Lorde covered Swingin Party”= as the B-side to her second single, “Tennis Court.” The song peaked at #10 in the New Zealand singles chart in 2013.

Swingin’ Party

Bring your own lampshade
Somewhere there’s a party
Here it’s never ending
Can’t remember when it started
Pass around the lampshade
There’ll be plenty enough room in jail

If being alone’s a crime I’m serving forever
Being strong’s your kind
I need help here with this feather
If being afraid is a crime
We hang side by side
At the swingin’ party down the line

On the prairie pavement
Losing proposition
Quitting school and going to work
And never going fishing
Water all around
Never learn how to swim now

If being alone’s a crime I’m serving forever
Being strong’s your kind
Then I need help here with this feather
If being afraid is a crime
We hang side by side
At the swingin’ party down the line
At the swingin’ party down the line

Bring your own lampshade
Somewhere there’s a party
Here it’s never ending
Can’t remember when it started
Pass around the lampshade
There’ll be plenty of room in jail

If being alone’s a crime I’m serving forever
Being strong is what you want
Then I need help here with this feather
If being afraid is a crime
We hang side by side
At the swingin’ party down the line
At the swingin’ party down the line
Catchin’ time
At the swingin’ party down the line