Way Back 2018

June 30, 2018 - Jurassic World, Incredibles 2, Ocean's 8 and Hereditary Pluck Random Blasts From the Past for Current Consumption

The big box office movies of the last few weeks have each reached for some very vintage and somewhat unusual musical selections. Current topper Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom does its part to bring New Orleans queen Irma Thomas's trendy "Anyone Who Knows What Love Is (Will Understand)" to new heights of exposure while also choosing a 1969 Creedence Clearwater Revival gem from Willy and the Poor Boys, "Don't Look Now (It Ain't You or Me)."

The Incredibles 2 is working its way towards a half billion bucks in domestic receipts, a good sign for the music of Jule Styne, composer of "The Party's Over," first heard in the 1956 Judy Holliday-headlined Broadway musical Bells Are Ringing; Nat "King" Cole's recording of the song is part of the latest Pixar blockbuster, along with "Suspense" by composer-pianist Bernardo Segall (from the 1959 film The St. Louis Bank Robbery starring Steve McQueen) and the theme music of '60s-era TV series The Outer Limits (composed by Dominic Frontiere) and Jonny Quest (by Hanna-Barbera staff tunesmith Hoyt Curtin).

Ocean's 8 paints with a pastiche of fabulous pop culture songs, including number one smashes "These Boots Are Made For Walkin'" by Nancy Sinatra and "The Doggie in the Window" by Patti Page, plus the 1959 trad-jazz hit by Chris Barber's Jazz Band, "Petite Fleur." Finally, Hereditary does what so many horror flicks have done, taking a perfectly wonderful piece of music, in this case "Both Sides Now" by folk legend Judy Collins, and using it to creep people out, risking ruining our enjoyment of the song for years to come!

June 3, 2018 - Adrift Soundtrack Has an International Flavor, Evie Sands, Flamingos, Otis and Brenton Impact Movies, TV

Shailene Woodley's latest star turn in Adrift, a sail-across-the-ocean love story with a heavy dose of disaster, offers the most diverse mix of vintage music of any current box office film. To start with, there's "Flamenco Sketches" by boss trumpeter Miles Davis (from his benchmark 1959 album Kind of Blue) and "I'm Old Fashioned" by sax whiz John Coltrane. Brazilian song "La Chanson d'Orphée" (familiar in English as "A Day in the Life of a Fool") by François Llenas, Antonio Maria and Luiz Bonfá, along with other international selections like "Pakakina" by Polynesian ukulele player Marie Mariterangi, make this soundtrack one of the more compelling in recent memory.

A couple of excellent oldies pop up in lighter-fare films: Life of the Party, the latest comedy starring Melissa McCarthy, features a previously-overlooked gem, "You've Got Me Up Tight," from a 1965 Blue Cat single by Evie Sands. Breaking In, an action thriller starring Gabrielle Union, works The Flamingos' famous '59 smash "I Only Have Eyes For You" into the background. By way of the antenna, Otis Redding's "Hard to Handle" has gained audience impressions thanks to its use on a Pine-Sol spot, while Macy's keeps "The Oogum Boogum Song" going; the 1967 Brenton Wood hit makes its third recent appearance on a TV commercial.

April 18, 2018 - Etta James, Bobby Hebb, Isleys Melodize Telly, Jimmy Dean Speaks, Nina Simone Supplies Score for Acrimony

That massive high definition (or 4K) TV screen hanging on or standing directly in front of your wall is doing its part to keep certain 1960s soul classics sounding fresh and vibrant. Etta James' often-sampled "Something's Got a Hold on Me" is making the rounds again on a commercial for the Citi Mobile App; Bobby Hebb's big summer '66 hit "Sunny" is on an ad for Indeed ("We help people get jobs!") and The Isley Brothers continue to hustle the "It's Your Thing" option, this time in connection with Rocket Mortgage by Quicken Loans. In addition, Jimmy Dean's voice, from previous commercials for those always-tasty servings of Jimmy Dean Sausage, can be heard on two current spots in the series...set to the background harmonica riff from "The Cajun Queen," the 1962 sequel to his chart-topping "Big Bad John."

Tyler Perry's Acrimony, starring Taraji P. Henson, offers a treat for Nina Simone fans. No less than eleven examples from her backlog of outstanding recordings, including "Don't Let Me Be Misunderstood," "I Put a Spell on You," "See-Line Woman, "I Wish I Knew How It Would Feel To Be Free" and the 1964 "live in New York" version of her biggest hit, "I Loves You, Porgy," set the tone for the entire film.


These Boots Are Made For Walkin' The Doggie in the Window Something's Got a Hold on Me Sunny It's Your Thing I Put a Spell on You