August 14, 2015 - Man from U.N.C.L.E. Movie Offers Diverse Collection of Domestic and International Music
The Man from U.N.C.L.E. has finally entered the 21st century with Henry Cavill starring as Napoleon Solo and Armie Hammer as Illya Kuryakin. But the current film's music soundtrack is firmly planted in the era of the "United Network Command for Law and Enforcement," though the wide variety of selections have retooled the tone of the vintage NBC television series. Several international recordings, all going back at least 45 years, are featured, including German singer Suzanne Doucet's bossa nova shuffle "Bunter Drachen" ("Colorful Dragon") and Brazilian Tom Zé's category-defying "Jimmy, Renda-Se." Pop culture pixie Rita Pavone leads a lineup of Italian singers with one of her mid-'60s German-language songs, "Wenn Ich Ein Junge Wär" ("If I Were a Boy"). Luigi Tenco's "Il Mio Regno" ("My Kingdom") from 1961 and composer-conductor Stelvio Cipriani's "Viaggio Nella Prateria" ("Journey on the Prairie") from the 1967 Italian western Un Uomo, Un Cavallo, Una Pistola (A Man, a Horse, a Gun) supply background for the set-in-Italy action flick.
A more familiar array of U.S. acts round out the movie's diverse musical pastiche: Solomon Burke's '62 hit "Cry to Me," "Compared to What" by Roberta Flack from her 1969 album First Take, Louis Prima's swingin', gruntin' '56 single "5 Months, 2 Weeks, 2 Days," Nina Simone's "Take Care of Business" from her I Put a Spell on You LP and the '68 "Banana Freak Out" by conga player George Guzman. All this in addition to a logical choice, Jerry Goldsmith's "(Theme from) The Man from U.N.C.L.E.," as performed by Hugo Montenegro on the half-century-old RCA Victor TV soundtrack album.
July 12, 2015 - Minions Take Over Theaters, Soundtrack Draws From Rock, TV Themes and Classical Masterworks
Those mischievous saffron-hued Minions have graduated from the Despicable Me movies with a box office blockbuster of their own, packed with monster mid- to late-'60s hits. The Turtles' often-heard "Happy Together" kicks off the proceedings, followed by The Rolling Stones' "19th Nervous Breakdown," "I'm a Man" by The Spencer Davis Group, "Break on Through" by The Doors and a quick shot of the Jimi Hendrix rocker "Foxey Lady." Also featured: The Kinks' "You Really Got Me," Box Tops chart-topper "The Letter," "My Generation" by The Who, "Got to Get You Into My Life" by The Beatles and Donovan's ode to banana peels, "Mellow Yellow." Several clever television themes enhance the comic madness, including Edwin Astley's music from The Saint starring Roger Moore and familiar title tunes from Bewitched and The Monkees, plus classical faves: Richard Wagner's "Ride of the Valkyries" and Sergei Prokofiev's "Peter and the Wolf."
July 1, 2015 - Me, Earl, the Dying Girl and Oldies Galore, Brother Ray and Ted "Mess Around"
Me and Earl and the Dying Girl has indie film followers buzzing; detail-oriented music fans are working overtime to keep track of all the vintage instrumentals sprinkled throughout the movie. A pair of mid-'60s western themes by Ennio Morricone, "For a Few Dollars More" and "Navajo Joe," are in the mix, Alfred Hitchcock's notorious 1958 thriller Vertigo is represented with "Scene D'Amour" by composer Bernard Herrmann, and parts of Jean Constantin's 1959 score for Francois Truffat's career-launching The 400 Blows contributes to the audio backdrop. Add in classical selections from Antonio Vivaldi, Richard Wagner, Johann Sebastian Bach and Jacques Offenbach in addition to a pair of vocals: Roy Orbison's 1963 hit "In Dreams" and the '69 Midnight Cowboy smash "Everybody's Talkin'" by Nilsson.
So when is the best time to "Mess Around" with Ray Charles? Any time! His early Atlantic recording makes its latest appearence in Ted 2; the bear is back and he's rockin' with Ray!