Way Back 2022

March 25, 2022 - Catching Up on the '50s and '60s Hits Featured in Current Academy Awards Films

Several of this year's leading Oscar films feature hit songs of the '50s and mostly '60s that factor into the enjoyment of the films and occasionally make poignant statements. Best picture nominee CODA (an inspiring, humorous and heartwarming story about a non-handicapped teenager and her otherwise hearing-impaired family) has one song that plays an important part in the storyline: "You're All I Need to Get By," the 1968 hit by Marvin Gaye and Tammi Terrell, factors into no less than three scenes including the film's climax. In addition, the proceedings kick off with "Something's Got a Hold on Me" by Etta James...an excellent way to start a movie!

Best Pic nom King Richard serves up some '68-'70 soul jams ("Engine Number 9" by Wilson Pickett, "California Dreamin'" by Bobby Womack, The Meters' '69 instrumental "Cissy Strut" and a solidly serious Bob Dylan number, "I Shall Be Released," sung by Nina Simone. Add those to a wildcard 1962 recording, "The Love You Gave," by 16-year-old Dolly Parton with The Merry Melody Singers.

Other top nominees go outside expected parameters: Belfast tunes include "High Noon (Do Not Forsake Me)" by Tex Ritter, "How to Handle a Woman" by Richard Harris (from the 1967 musical film Camelot) and several classics by Van Morrison including "Wild Night." End-of-the-world comedy thriller Don't Look Up squeezes in the 1967 Four Tops hit "Bernadette." "Let the Sunshine In" by The 5th Dimension is used for effect in ...tick...tick...BOOM!, while creators of The Eyes of Tammy Faye have given in to an obvious song choice temptation: "These Eyes" by The Guess Who.

One non-Academy Awards-related song (well, it actually is, but from a different year) is being featured in promos for the upcoming season of AMC's Better Call Saul: "The Days of Wine and Roses" by Andy Williams, which won composer Henry Mancini a 1963 Oscar for Best Original Song.

March 16, 2022 - Films, TV, Commercials Inhabited by Tokens, Peggy, Doors, Stones, Dino, Young-Holt, Pickett, Sly, Flamingos

At the box office: Channing Tatum flick Dog works in a couple of vintage tracks: '61 number one "The Lion Sleeps Tonight" by The Tokens and a 1962 Peggy Lee recording, "San Francisco Blues." Promos for Morbius, an upcoming Marvel super hero/vampire movie starring Jared Leto, feature "People Are Strange" by The Doors. On television: "You Can't Always Get What You Want" by The Rolling Stones played a big part in an American Idol audition segment while another Stones hit, "Paint It Black," kicked off the new CBS reality series Beyond the Edge.

In the realm of TV commercials: Dean Martin's version of "Mambo Italiano" stunts for Airbnb, "Soulful Strut" by Young-Holt Unlimited enhances a Vizzy Hard Seltzer spot, "Land of 1000 Dances" by Wilson Pickett energizes Samsung Galaxy and Sly and the Family Stone sends a message from ZipRecruiter: "Thank You (Falettinme Be Mice Elf Agin)." Finally, there's this request: "Alexa, play our favorite song"...and that song is "I Only Have Eyes for You" by The Flamingos!

March 11, 2022 - Mrs. Maisel's Eight-Episode Season is Stuffed with Maximum Musical Merriment

Season four of Amazon Prime's The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel has unfolded over the last three weeks with 30-some-odd song selections covering eight installments. Much of the music focuses on the dynamic intros and/or opening bars from a wide variety of selections. Set in 1960, the New York pop vibe of the era is well represented by Louis Prima, Rosemary Clooney ("Fuzzy Wuzzy (Wuz a Bear)"), Blossom Dearie, Doris Day ("Nice Work if You Can Get It"), Jo Stafford, Count Basie, Perry Como ("Magic Moments"), duo Judy Garland and Fred Astaire, trio Frank, Sammy and Dean and a dose of Jackie Gleason's instrumental romanticism. Broadway numbers include Eddie Foy's Pajama Game opener "Racing With the Clock" and Eileen Rodgers' Oh Captain! curiosity "Femininity."

The rock and roll and teen tunes of the time are represented by Eddie Cochran ("Somethin' Else"), Connie Francis ("Stupid Cupid"), Barrett Strong ("Money (That's What I Want)"), Brian Hyland ("Itsy Bitsy Teenie Weenie Yellow Polkadot Bikini"), The Everly Brothers ("So Sad (To Watch Good Love Go Bad"), Patience and Prudence ("The Money Tree"), Anita Bryant ("In My Little Corner of the World") and Annette ("Pineapple Princess"). Occasional post-1960 hits ("Last Kiss" by J. Frank Wilson and the Cavaliers and "Here Comes Heaven" by Eddy Arnold) have worked their way into the show, usually over closing credits. Based on Mrs. Maisel and other top-notch home screen offerings, the inclusion of "TV is the Thing (This Year)," Dinah Washington's reaction to America's favorite pastime of the early 1950s, could very well describe the early 2020s too.

March 2, 2022 - Pam & Tommy Creators Pick Perplexing Songs for the Miniseries' Soundtrack...Good for Them!

Hulu's Pam & Tommy miniseries is a parody of the excessiveness of the '90s rock star lifestyle (among other things that make up the series' narrative). The story, set in the specific world of Mötley Crüe drummer Tommy Lee during his marriage to Playboy model and Baywatch star Pamela Anderson, apparently has room for many classic recordings from previous eras...at least that's the way the show's creators are playing it. Dusty Springfield, for example, rates two inclusions on the series' soundtrack: 1967 hit "What's it Gonna Be" and her cover of Bobby Hebb's '66 classic, "Sunny."

Several song choices are quite surprising, such as The King and I's "Getting to Know You" by Marni Nixon (lip-synced by Deborah Kerr in a scene from the Oscar-winning 1956 film). Major hits like "Nowhere to Run" by Martha and the Vandellas, "Hurdy Gurdy Man" by Donovan and "Different Drum" by folk-rock group Stone Poneys featuring Linda Ronstadt have their moments. Pop divas Peggy Lee ("That's My Style") and Shirley Bassey ("Spinning Wheel") are featured. Cass Elliot (Make Your Own Kind of Music") and Janis Joplin ("Kozmic Blues") are part of the mix. A 180-degree turn occurs with Frankie Avalon's 1962 hit "You Are Mine." An international recording ("Te Pedia Tou Pirea," better known as the theme from the 1960 film Never on Sunday sung by its star, Melina Mercouri) and a cool R&B track ("You Are the Man" by Inez and Charlie Foxx) add to the diversity. And who could have guessed Billy Ward and the Dominoes' 1957 hit "Stardust" would close an episode in dramatic fashion?

These are, for the most part, very unlikely song choices that won't gel for every viewer. But series creator Robert Siegel and others involved in picking the soundtrack's music deserve some props for "outside the box" thinking.

February 20, 2022 - Big Sports Week Set to the Sounds of Simone, Sinatra, Ruffin, Jefferson Airplane and Tom Jones

More Olympics oldies: Nina Simone's ten minute masterpiece "Sinnerman" and two Frank Sinatra tracks ("I'm Gonna Live Till I Die" and his signature tune "My Way") blend well with the world's best male solo skaters; David Ruffin's 1969 cover of Jackie DeShannon's hit "Put a Little Love in Your Heart" ran throughout the week on a promo spot. One commercial/promo seen frequently during NBC's coverage touted streaming app Peacock's "Originals to Love," accompanied by Jefferson Airplane's 1967 hit "Somebody to Love."

Keeping up with the...Jonases? "Family members" Tommy Lee Jones, Rashida Jones and Leslie Jones race in the snow (in their Toyota Tundras) while "It's Not Unusual" by Tom Jones plays (on all their radios?); Nick Jonas throws a wrench into the works on this year's hottest Super Bowl commercial.

February 5, 2022 - The Beatles' Get Back Hits IMAX in Shortened Form, Big E and Fab Four Get Olympic Skating Play

The Beatles: Get Back - The Rooftop Concert is now playing on IMAX theater screens for anyone interested in simulating the up-close vantage point a handful of lunchtime onlookers witnessed that January day more than 53 years ago. The extended experience, of course, is the 468-minute miniseries Get Back, streaming on Disney+. Hundreds of songs, short and longer, are part of that eavesdroppers' paradise for diehard Beatles fans and anyone else who's ever enjoyed the band's music.

Meanwhile, the Olympics are under way in Beijing and the skaters are accompanied by the usual mixture of classical works and more recent hits. Two oldies-but-goodies have been heard so far during the competition, one by each of the most obvious supertarstars of the era: "Trouble" by Elvis Presley (from the soundtrack of his 1958 cinema favorite King Creole) and "Let it Be" by the aforementioned Fab Four (from their film of the same title, its original footage presented anew in the two forms mentioned above).

January 11, 2022 - A Strong Song Selection Highlights Licorice Pizza, Steppenwolf, Temptations and Eddy Arnold Heard on Tube

Paul Thomas Anderson's latest film, the coming-of-age romantic comedy Licorice Pizza, is getting lots of love from movie reviewers (the New York Film Critics Circle awarded Anderson their Best Screenplay award) and major awards groups (four Golden Globe nominations and a whopping eight from the Broadcast Film Critics, both citing lead actors Alana Haim and Cooper Hoffman). Set in 1973, there are many guilty audio pleasures of the '60s and early '70s on the soundtrack...and hits, too. Included are Sonny and Cher's "But You're Mine" from 1965, Clarence Carter's 1968 smash "Slip Away" and other unexpected delights from Nina Simone ("July Tree," from her '65 LP I Put a Spell on You), Mason Williams ("Greensleeves," an instrumental follow-up to his '68 hit "Classical Gas"), Donovan and the Jeff Beck Group ("Goo Goo Barabajagal (Love is Hot)") and Taj Mahal ("Tomorrow May Not Be Your Day").

"Born to Be Wild" by Steppenwolf, the classic rocker heard often on recent TV commercials, is being cranked up this time to promote NBC's new comedy series American Auto. A couple of commercials have vintage tunes on their soundtracks: "Get Ready" by The Temptations on spots for Ford and Eddy Arnold's chart-topping 1955 country hit "The Cattle Call" for Zillow.


Something's Got a Hold on Me The Lion Sleeps Tonight People Are Strange Paint It Black Soulful Strut Land of 1000 Dances So Sad (To Watch Good Love Go Bad) In My Little Corner of the World Pineapple Princess What's it Gonna Be Different Drum You Are Mine Never on Sunday King Creole