Way Back 2023

June 6, 2024 - Nat "King" Cole Leads a Surge of Classic Songs in Film and Television

Several pop standards and classic jazz tunes of the '50s and early '60s can be heard in current box office films: Dean Martin fave "That's Amore" is back, this time in The Garfield Movie. Actor-director Chris Pine's Poolman features "Los Angeles Blues" from Peggy Lee's 1962 Quincy Jones-produced album Blues Cross Country. Live/animated fantasy film If includes cherished N.Y. celeb Blossom Dearie's notable 1957 recording "Deed I Do" and one of Nat "King" Cole's best-known hits, "L-O-V-E." Two more songs by Cole boost his current coverage: "Those Lazy-Hazy-Crazy Days of Summer" is in a high-rotation Walmart commercial, while "Orange Colored Sky," his 1950 collab with pianist Stan Kenton, is heard in Fallout, an apocalyptic and, it seems, musically-frozen-in-time series on Amazon Prime; "Don't Let the Stars Get in Your Eyes" by Perry Como is another of several mid-20th century hits on its soundtrack.

Jay and the Techniques' 1967 smash "Apples, Peaches, Pumpkin Pie" has been swirling in the air wherever TVs are turned on in a "teaser" (as opposed to a longer trailer) for the upcoming Netflix film Hit Man. Horror entry The Strangers Chapter 1 uses The Moody Blues' rock classic "Nights in White Satin" to drive home an important message: avoid having your car break down in a small, remote town! Meanwhile, two more commercials have been enhanced: The Harptones' great 1955 ballad "Life is But a Dream" can be heard in a series of ads for Gucci Guilty fragrances...and "Happy Together" by The Turtles is back again on a spot for American Express.

May 10, 2024 - The Long Game: '50s Blasts from an Unsung Past

Of all the recent releases in theaters, The Long Game has the most unusual and interesting song track. A true story about a group of teenage Mexican caddies-turned-golfers in Texas who become underdogs in their quest to compete in the state championship, its 1950s setting is underscored by several regional hits (none of which made it big on a national basis), all originally issued between 1954 and '59. These largely-unknown pleasures included rock and roll tunes ("Bye Bye Baby" by Louisianan Roy Perkins, "Birddoggin'" by North Carolinan and eventual hitmaker Billy "Crash" Craddock and "Round and Round" by Arkansan Andy Starr), rhythm and blues songs ("Jelly Roll Man" by Texan Bill Simpson, "It's Time to Rock" by South Carolinan Georgia Harris and The Hy-Tones Quartet, nonsense dance track "Sha-Ba-Da-Ba-Doo" by Los Angeles trio The Jac-O-Lacs and "From Me," a ballad by Baltimore-based quartet The Plants, who backed Baby Washington on some of her early recordings), plus a couple of uptempo instrumentals ("Piccadilly Circus" by hot sax blower Smiling John Pickens and, as a bonus, "Big Noise From Winnetka," the drumming, whistling late-'30s original jam by Bob Crosby and his Bob Cats). The Long Game is enjoying positive reviews and is worth seeing for the music alone.

TV commercials that get into your head and won't leave: Etta James' classic "Something's Got a Hold on Me" is getting widespread exposure - again - on a tasty commercial for Dave's Hot Chicken, while a spot for the NBA, "Playoff Mode: It's a Thing," includes the 'na-na-na-na-na' snippet from Wilson Pickett's 1966 hit "Land of 1000 Dances."

April 13, 2024 - Jim Reeves, Tommy Edwards, Everlys and Sinatra Enchant Theaters and Home Entertainment Systems

Soothing sounds: a cordial pop-country classic kicks off current cinema champ Gozilla x Kong: The New Empire. Jim Reeves' 1964 hit "Welcome to My World" is part of a trend of light pop standards that have been included in recent installments of both monsters' franchises. Tommy Edwards' 1958 chart-topper "It's All in the Game" counters the frantic pace of the Irish action/war film In the Land of Saints and Sinners starring Liam Neeson.

Two classic tracks have surfaced recently in the terrain of television commercials: "All I Have to Do is Dream" by The Everly Brothers brightens a spot for Car Gurus, while Michelob Ultra has chosen "Come Fly With Me" by Frank Sinatra for the soundtrack of its latest ad.

Those Lazy-Hazy-Crazy Days of Summer Apples, Peaches, Pumpkin Pie Happy Together Something's Got a Hold on Me Land of 1000 Dances It's All in the Game Come Fly With Me