November 26, 2015 - Redding's Merry, Simone's Somebody, Presley Rocks Prison, Guaraldi Pops Peanuts, Bond's '62
Theme Still Rules
The holiday movie season is well under way and older sounds are supplying a fair share of the musical backdrop. Love the Coopers (a generational comedy headed by Diane Keaton and John Goodman) features Otis Redding's superb rendition of "Merry Christmas Baby" and Nina Simone's 1969 take on "To Love Somebody," The Bee Gees' 1967 ode to amor, in addition to three vintage songs by Bob Dylan: "Girl From the North Country" (1963) and two of his '70s recordings, "If Not For You" and "Buckets of Rain."
The Peanuts Movie recycles classic 1960s Vince Guaraldi Trio tunes from the Charlie Brown TV specials: "Skating," "Linus and Lucy" and sing-along seasonal favorite "Christmas Time is Here." In The 33, a true-life mining disaster drama starring Antonio Banderas, the 1957 smash "Jailhouse Rock" by Elvis Presley figures into the story...while Monty Norman's original "James Bond Theme" (first heard 53 years ago in Dr. No) has its obligatory (you could say traditional) moment in Spectre, the latest Bond blockbuster.
November 8, 2015 - Cruisin' to Miles, Pill Poppin' with Sly, Playin' Video Games Endorsed by Dion and the Stones
Ever feel like you're riding around with Matthew McConaughey in his Lincoln MKX? Sure you do, if you watch a lot ot TV without muting the commercials. And just what is that classy jazz tune you and Matt are easin' back to as you cruise over the bridge late at night? It's "Au Bar du Petit Bac," recorded in Paris, France in 1957 by trumpet legend Miles Davis.
An oddly remixed version of Sly and the Family Stone's 1969 hit "Everyday People" is being featured in a spot for Farxiga medication. Video game makers continue to creatively juxtapose half-century-old songs with violent, youth-oriented sci-fi images; a commercial for Fallout 4 turns "The Wanderer" by Dion into a sonic backdrop for a post-apocalyptic world, while an ad for Call of Duty: Black Ops 3 places The Rolling Stones' slightly more appropriate "Paint It Black" in a futuristic action setting.
October 13, 2015 - Brenton, Brenda and the Marvelettes Invade TV Ads, Fogerty and CCR "Fortunate" in More Ways Than One
Brenton Wood's once-familiar hit "The Oogum Boogum Song" is gaining audience impressions anew on actress Lake Bell's current commercial for the Apple Watch. Dogs and cats are apologizing for their "carpet mistakes" while "I'm Sorry" by Brenda Lee plays for Stainmaster Pet Protect; it's doubtful "Little Miss Dynamite" foresaw the song's use in this way when it was number one 55 years ago. The Marvelettes' 1967 hit "The Hunter Gets Captured by the Game" has found a provocative outlet on a commercial for Decadence, a new Marc Jacobs fragrance.
Last week, John Fogerty's autobiography Fortunate Son: My Life, My Music hit book shelves. This week, two contestants on The Voice sang the 1969 Creedence Clearwater Revival rocker in a battle round. Fogerty's protest song has surfaced often in recent years; this summer it was featured on the HBO series The Brink starring Jack Black and Tim Robbins.
October 2, 2015 - Big Screen Songs by Ray, Stan, Astrud, Patsy and Animals Overshadowed by Small Screen Bandage-Leg Dog
The Intern, starring Robert DeNiro and Anne Hathaway, makes use of three great songs from the '50s and '60s: "Deed I Do" by Ray Charles, bossa nova classic "The Girl From Ipanema" by sax man Stan Getz and Brazilian singer Astrud Gilberto, and memorable movie melody "You Were Meant For Me," sung by Gene Kelly (to Debbie Reynolds) in 1952's Singin' in the Rain. The well-exposed "Walkin' After Midnight" by Patsy Cline pops up in an unexpected place, the sci-fi sequel Maze Runner: The Scorch Trials. True crime film Black Mass, starring Johnny Depp, features a creatively-chosen selection of songs from the '40s through the '80s, with just one 1960s hit: "Don't Bring Me Down" by The Animals.
Will Forte expertly illustrates why we refer to TV as the "Boob Tube" on his Sunday evening comedy of isolation, The Last Man on Earth. Two disparate '60s hits came together on the season premiere of the Fox series: "Till the End of the Day" by The Kinks and "I Wish I Were a Princess" by Little Peggy March. Then there's the topper, the current commercial for Amazon Prime featuring a cute dog with a bandaged leg set to the strains of "Wand'rin' Star" by Lee Marvin from the 1969 musical comedy Paint Your Wagon.
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