Way Back 2021

June 21, 2021 - Elvis, Van, Lesley and Pan Stand Out on Screens Large and Small

Box office horror hit The Conjuring: The Devil Made Me Do It borrows musical themes and cues from several similarly scary hit films of the last few decades, throwing in a pair of further-reaching end-of-the-'60s classics: "Suspicious Minds" by Elvis Presley and Van Morrison's Moondance album cut "Brand New Day." Lesley Gore's groundbreaking '64 feminist hit "You Don't Own Me" neatly-but-gruesomely wraps up the season's final Handmaid's Tale episode as a theme-of-sorts for a revenge-driven group of about two dozen former maids who take justice into their own hands. A more civilized form of defiance from the 1954 Broadway musical Peter Pan is hinted at in a current commercial for Airbnb Hosts: Mary Martin, in her Tony award-winning role as Peter, is heard singing "I Won't Grow Up" with several of the show's child actors. Millions of young fans have echoed the sentiment.

May 30, 2021 - Cruella Bops, Johnny Unintentially Inspires Crime, Drifters Dispense Ketchup

Disney's Cruella hit theaters this weekend with enough fun songs by milestone artists to match the number of spots on each dalmation. Hit tunes not previously revealed include "Inside - Looking Out" by The Animals, Nancy Sinatra's version of Cher's 1966 hit "Bang Bang (My Baby Shot Me Down), "Five to One" by The Doors (from their 1968 album Waiting For the Sun), "Whisper Whisper" by The Bee Gees (from their 1969 album Odessa), Georgia Gibbs' 1953 recording of Cole Porter's "I Love Paris," Ken Dodd's 1960 debut U.K. hit "Love is Like a Violin" and Nina Simone's long-lingering "Feeling Good" from '65. In addition, there are 1970-'80 hits on the soundtrack by Plastic Bertrand, The Ramones, Supertramp, The Ohio Players, Queen, Electric Light Orchestra, Ike and Tina Turner, The Clash and Blondie.

The recent season finale of NBC's Montana-set crime drama Big Sky gave prominent positioning to the 1957 Johnny Mathis classic "Chances Are" - it appears to be a favorite of serial killer Ronald (unsettlingly portrayed by actor Brian Geraghty). Speaking of favorites, America's popular condiment, Heinz Ketchup, has a current commercial featuring the 1960 hit by The Drifters (Lead vocalist: Beb E. King), "This Magic Moment."

May 12, 2021 - Cash and Orbison Get Movie and TV Play, Doris, Nancy, Connie and Jimi Heighten Cruella's Devilish Appeal

"Folsom Prison Blues" by Johnny Cash is featured in the current number one box office film, crime drama Wrath of Man. "In Dreams" is the title of the most recent chapter of AMC's Fear the Walking Dead; the hit song of the same title by Cash's former Sun Records labelmate Roy Orbison is heard in bits and pieces throughout the episode.

Cruella, Disney's latest live-action spinoff of the 101 Dalmatians franchise, stars Emma Stone as a young Cruella de Vil. The film, set for release May 28, includes Doris Day's 1965 Latin For Lovers LP track "Perhaps, Perhaps, Perhaps" (currently heard in promotional trailers), as well as "These Boots Are Made for Walkin'" by Nancy Sinatra, "Who's Sorry Now" by Connie Francis, "Voodoo Child" by The Jimi Hendrix Experience and the "Cruella de Vil" theme song (written by Mel Leven, a frequent composer of music for Walt Disney productions), introduced in the 60-year-old animated original, One Hundred and One Dalmatians.

April 28, 2021 - Aretha, Carole, Grateful Dead and Herman's Hermits Are in the TV Mix, Kitty Wells Sings for the iPhone

Season four of The Handmaid's Tale has finally premiered on Hulu and the first episode features classic songs like Aretha Franklin's 1968 hit "I Say a Little Prayer" (composed by Burt Bacharach and Hal David) and Carole King's version of her song "(You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman" (originally recorded by Aretha in '67), as well as a 1970 album cut by The Grateful Dead, "Ripple" ('There is a road, no simple highway...between the dawn and the dark of night').

Meanwhile, Herman's Hermits' 1964 hit "I'm Into Something Good" (also written by King and Gerry Goffin) provides some against-type musical whimsy on promo spots for ABC-TV's intense Montana-set crime drama Big Sky. Apple strays furthest from the pack with a commercial for the iPhone featuring Kitty Wells' 1956 country hit "Searching (For Someone Like You)."

April 21, 2021 - Sunshine, Rainbows, Bad Love and Civil Rights Struggles: Sifting Through the '60s Six Decades Later

Wild man Wilson Pickett has a calmer-than-usual song currently making the rounds for Walmart; 1967 album cut "Hello Sunshine" praises springtime's arrival ('...it's been dark such a long time!') while a colorful commercial for Adobe Photoshop challenges 4K resolution to the sound of The Rolling Stones' appropriately trippy hit from the same year, "She's a Rainbow."

Daniel Kaluuya is your best bet this Sunday to win the Best Supporting Actor Oscar for his detailed turn as late-'60s Black Panther chairman Fred Hampton in Judas and the Black Messiah. "Love's Gone Bad" by white Motown diva Chris Clark and civil rights anthem "Keep on Pushing" by The Impressions are among the historic '60s hits heard in the film.

April 3, 2021 - Pop Songs Go Along with Godzilla and Kong, S'mores, Banking and...Nobody

Godzilla vs. Kong, which pits the 1950s superstar monster against the 1930s superstar monster for the umpteenth time, has opened to the best box office figures of the year thus far. The film itself opens with King Kong awakening to Bobby Vinton's hit 1963 rendition of Johnnie and Joe's "Over the Mountain (Across the Sea)." Our guy 'Zilla, on the other hand, has no comparable tendency towards soothing romantic music.

The previous week's top-grossing film, meanwhile, is stacked with pop and rock hits. Nobody, a crime thriller starring Bob (Better Call Saul) Odenkirk, gets in gear with Louis Prima's 1956 medley of "Just a Gigolo" and "I Ain't Got Nobody," then follows Bob as he takes his lumps (and dishes some out) while optimistic '60s songs are heard by Louis Armstrong ("What a Wonderful World"), Gerry and the Pacemakers ("You'll Never Walk Alone") and Andy Williams ("The Impossible Dream"), in addition to Nina Simone's great mid-'60s recording of "Don't Let Me Be Misunderstood."

A pair of commercials strike different moods: Eddie Cochran's '58 rocker "C'mon Everybody" sets the tone for a Hershey's chocolate-and-marshmallow party ("Enjoy s'more good times together!"), while the current Coldwell Banker spot depicts people in many walks of life singing along with Simon and Garfunkel's wistful '66 classic, "Homeward Bound."


Suspicious Minds You Don't Own Me Chances Are These Boots Are Made for Walking She's a Rainbow Love's Gone Bad Over the Mountain (Across the Sea)d