Way Back 2016

October 10, 2016 - Simone's "Fruit" Powers Birth of a Nation, Bridget Jones Songs Keep it Light

Nate Parker's The Birth of a Nation, which bears the same title as the controversial and extremely popular 101-year-old film by D.W. Griffith, suggests this different-but-connected production is an important work of art, indicated in part by the inclusion of "Strange Fruit" by Nina Simone from her 1965 Philips album Pastel Blues (the song was famously recorded by Billie Holiday in 1939). Simone's profoundly moving recording is also featured in a trailer for the film, which went into wide release this past weekend.

Bridget Jones's Baby, the third installment in the rom-com movie series starring Renee Zellweger, rocks the cradle with vintage hits by Dionne Warwick ("Walk on By"), Marvin Gaye ("I Heard it Through the Grapevine" and "Let's Get it On"), Dean Martin ("That's Amore") and The Ronettes ("Sleigh Ride," a few months early). This next item comes way late: I've been binging on first season episodes of Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt, the Netflix comedy starring Ellie Kemper. The show has a soft spot for LaVern Baker; her hits "Tweedlee Dee" and "Get Up Get Up (You Sleepy Head)" are both heard, in addition to The Five Blobs' theme from the 1958 movie "The Blob" playing in the background of a Halloween scene.

I Heard it Through the Grapevine Tweedlee Dee The Blob