Way Back 2019

September 30, 2019 - Album Cuts Highlight Hustlers and Rambo, Zellweger Sings Judy's Signature Tunes

Filmmakers are digging deeper for vintage music to complement their work and some unexpected album cuts have surfaced. Rambo: Last Blood, the fifth installment of the popular series starring Sylvester Stallone, includes "Five to One," the final track on The Doors' chart-topping 1968 album Waiting For the Sun. Comedy-crime-drama Hustlers with Jennifer Lopez works in three over-half-a-century-old album tracks, starting with Scott Walker (one of The Walker Brothers gone solo) and his song "Next" from Scott 2, another number one album from '68, only this one topped the U.K. charts. The title track from the 1965 album "The Best Years" by Charlie Rich is also featured, as well as a somewhat mysterious ballad by husband-and-wife team Birdlegs and Pauline, "Mist of a Dream," from an obscure 1964 album, Birdlegs (the song was in another recent film, the Oscar-winning If Beale Street Could Talk). The Hustlers track list also includes a few major hits, two of them by The 4 Seasons ("Dawn (Go Away)" and "Rag Doll," both from '64), the other a 1961 classic by Ben E. King ("Stand By Me").

Hillbilly music in the form of the 1955 hit "Why Baby Why" by Red Sovine and Webb Pierce fits incongruously into the universe-spanning science fiction epic Ad Astra starring Brad Pitt. In stark contrast, Judy stars Renee Zellweger portraying the beloved Judy Garland, with Renee's renditions of many of the singer's great hits, among them "Over the Rainbow," "Zing! Went the Strings of My Heart" and "The Trolley Song."

September 12, 2019 - Jamies and Wray Hawk Taste-Bud Stimulators, Oldies Galore in Angry + Scary + Action Movies

As the hot weather season draws to a close, we're reminded that "...the easiest way to enjoy summer" has been with a McDonald's Quarter Pounder; the point has been pounded for a couple of months now with extra oomph from The Jamies' 1958 hit "Summertime, Summertime." Perhaps your fast food goes down well with a sip or three of Jack Daniel's; an advert set to Link Wray's groundbreaking '58 rock hit "Rumble" has frequently aired on home screens, often on sports shows, occasionally adjacent to the burger commercial.

Recapping the late summer box office, we find "Happy Together" by The Turtles playing on the soundtrack of The Angry Birds Movie 2, the song's umpteenth insertion into a big screen pic or TV show in the somewhat short stretch of five years, which explains why it's stuck in your head. Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark features bubblegum gem "Quick Joey Small (Run Joey Run)" by singer Joey Levine fronting The Kasenetz-Katz Singing Orchestral Circus; the freaky flick also has two takes on "Season of the Witch," Donovan's 1966 original and a new version by gloom-specialist Lana Del Rey. Ready or Not, a difficult-to-classify comedy-drama-horror-mystery-thriller, is far from being the first film to make out-of-context use of The Righteous Brothers' classic recording of "Unchained Melody," but the track-pickers get bonus points for choosing Chuck Jackson's mostly-overlooked '67 rendition of a song made famous by Elvis, "Love Me Tender." Angel Has Fallen, the latest action flick in a political setting, squeezes in one cool protest song, "For What it's Worth" by The Buffalo Springfield.

July 25, 2019 - Breaking Down and Plugging the Music of Once Upon a Time...in Hollywood

Writer-director Quentin Tarantino's Once Upon a Time...in Hollywood, starring Leonardo DiCaprio, Brad Pitt and a who's-who of top-rank actors, runs two hours and 41 minutes and features about two dozen musical selections from the film's 1969 setting and several years prior. Hits of that year include "Ramblin' Gamblin' Man" by The Bob Seger System, "Son of a Lovin' Man" by The Buchanan Brothers (actually nonfamilial musicians Terry Cashman, Tommy West and Gene Pistilli), "Brother Love's Travelling Salvation Show" by Neil Diamond and "Mr. Sun, Mr. Moon," one of three by Paul Revere and the Raiders with the earlier "Hungry" and "Good Thing." In addition, British hard rock band Deep Purple has two top 40 singles on the soundtrack: "Hush" and a cover of Diamond's "Kentucky Woman."

Other diverse 1968 selections further heighten the dymanic appeal of Once Upon a Time: "Mrs. Robinson" by Simon and Garfunkel, "Bring a Little Lovin'" by Spanish band Los Bravos, Memphis-based quintet The Box Tops' "Choo Choo Train," Jose Feliciano's "Light My Fire" flip "California Dreamin'," the psychedelic Motown-meets-Long Island sound of Vanilla Fudge in a special Tarantino-produced edit of "You Keep Me Hangin' On" and "Hector," a zany instrumental/spoken jam by The Village Callers, one of L.A.'s notorious Eastside groups. Summer '67 is represented by Buffy Sainte-Marie's take on the Joni Mitchell-penned "The Circle Game," while The Mamas and the Papas provide the flavor from 1966 with "Straight Shooter," preceded by two '65 smashes, "Treat Her Right" by Roy Head and the Traits and "Jenny Take a Ride!" by Mitch Ryder and the Detroit Wheels, finally winding up with Dee Clark's 1959 Diddley-dancer "Hey Little Girl."

Beyond all this, the movie has many esoteric and/or nostalgic songs and sound bites sprinkled throughout, including weird film tunes "Paxton Quigley's Had the Course" by Chad and Jeremy (from Three in the Attic), "Don't Chase Me Around" by Robert Corff (top-billed star of director Roger Corman's Gas-s-s-s), the theme from Dinamite Jim by Alessandro Alessandroni and his group I Cantori Moderni, moving past the other end chronologically (1972!?) with "Miss Lily Langtree" by Maurice Jarre (from The Life and Times of Judge Roy Bean). Vintage commercials are wedged in along with airchecks of 93/KHJ radio Boss Jocks Robert W. Morgan, Humble Harve and The Real Don Steele...and Neal Hefti's "Batman Theme" caps it all off. Everything mentioned above (except one or two missing songs...licensing snafu?) is packed into the Once Upon a Time...in Hollywood soundtrack album...go get it!


Rag Doll Rumble Mr. Sun, Mr. Moon Kentucky Woman You Keep Me Hanging On Treat Her Right Hey Little Girl Batman Theme