Chart Music Through The Years – 1964

Yes! Back thanks to an almost universal lack of demand, I stretch back the scalp of time and feast upon the mushy innards of the past – in this instance I return to the UK music charts. If you’re interested, you can read my original post here – https://carlosnightman.wordpress.com/2015/10/22/the-uk-top-40/

Greetings, Glancers! We go back approximately 20 years before I was born to check out what the kids were listening to in October 1964. 1964, if you know your music history, was a seminal year. The Beatles landed in the US for the first time, TOTP was shown for the first time in The UK, Keith Moon joined The Who, The Rolling Stones released their first album, Sam Cooke, died, and a bunch of hit songs were released, some of which we’ll cover below.

Elsewhere in the world, Charlie And The Chocolate Factory was published, Cuba and the US arsed about, Cassius Clay beat Sonny Liston, the first Ford Mustang was created, Nelson Mandela went to prison, and many riots and protests abounded all around the globe. It was a British invasion in most areas of culture – from music to movies to fashion and sport. I’m actually shocked that the Top 10 below doesn’t contain a single Beatles song but it does contain a mixture of new rock groups, Motown, and holdovers from the era which was on its way out. I know a few of these and as always I’ll probably recognise others once I hit play. So let’s hit play!

  1. Roy Orbison: Oh Pretty Woman

Oh right. I thought it might be this, but I never realised it was actually called ‘Oh Pretty Woman’. Isn’t it just ‘Pretty Woman’? Either way, it’s a timeless pop song. Obviously it’s routed in the 50s, but it’s basically perfect. What more could you need from a pop song – you can sing along easily, you recognize it by hearing any single second, it’s instantly catchy, and there isn’t a note out of place.

2. Herman’s Hermits: I’m Into Something Good

I bet this is the ham song, right? Denny’s ham? That’s an Irish reference which only Irish readers are going to get. It’s happy clappy anyway. Everyone knows this though, another timeless one, more flawless pop. It’s a little bit Beach Boys, what with those harmonies, but there’s something a bit more quirky to it. Apparently the scum sing this at their games. Yeah, like they have anything to sing about these days. Anyway, another good song.

3. The Supremes: Where Did Our Love Go

It’s pretty woman again, with that steady clappy intro. Seriously, compare these three songs with any three songs int he charts today. No comparison right? Sure they’re a little twee and innocent, but musically, melodically, vocally these songs wipe the floor with any of today’s chart wank. Plus, you already know this song. Even if you’ve never heard it, you know it. Today’s songs won’t last. For proof of that, the chart songs of 10 years ago haven’t lasted. This shit is over 50 years old and it’s still awesome. Too short though and doesn’t have a lot of (any) variety.

4. 

Julie Rogers: The Wedding

I have no idea what this is, so I’ll assume it’s Country. Nope, doesn’t sound Country. Well, the vocals could be, musically not really. Musically this is incredibly old fashioned. There’s a slight touch of Shirley Bassey here. Ave Maria. Strings. Explosion. Yeah, I’ve never heard this. Love how the drummer is going batshit. Vocals blasting away. I’m not sure what this is, but I can’t help but enjoy it just because of the sheer power of the performances. It’s not as catchy as the ones above but the gal and her gang knock it out of the park.

5. The Four Seasons: Rag Doll

Bum bum-bum. Bum bum-bum. More Beach Boys. What movie is this in….it’s all lovely. It sounds familiar but I don’t think I’ve heard it. Those highs are just on the right side of grating. Those oohs are damn catchy. The guitars are weird, can’t really hear them in this mix. The highs are making me think of Jim Carrey in The Cable Guy – the Star Trek bit? yeah, you know.

6. The Bachelors: I Wouldn’t Trade You For The World

Jeepers, more ooh-oohs. Ha ha, even trying to sound like The Beatles vocals. For about two seconds. It’s a little bit Country. Throw in some strings and I don’t care. The lyrics are cheesy as a tramp’s toe. Instrumental. Vocal disaster for last note. Yeah, fine, it’s another decent song but a little (bit) bit too simpering and soft.

7. The Searchers: When You Walk In The Room

Should this be ‘walk into the room’. Or is this just about someone walking around in a room. Like ‘when you walk in the room you keep blocking the TV, sit the fuck down cos I’m trying to watch Jessica Jones’?  BassThere’s the guitar. I know that riff. More harmonies, more melodies. It’s another toe tapper alright. The Youtube comments on these songs are hilarious – ‘this is REAL music, not like today’s crap’. I’ve already made that point too of course. The difference is I don’t care, or don’t want to care about the age or the genre – I just want it to be good – doesn’t matter if it’s a day old or five decades – good is good. This is good. There is less good in today’s charts. But it’s okay, as there is plenty of good outside the charts.

8. The Animals: I’m Crying

Ha ha, this guy’s Youtube channel is ‘Back When Music Was Good’. What’s the point in even being alive if you believe that? Yeah, go back to the 60s with your wars, rampant unemployment, lack of rights, and no internets. Actually that sounds exactly like 2017 apart from the internets. It’s a fast paced boyo, with organ and deep vocals, and yet it isn’t The Doors. It has an edge, as you’d expect from The Animals, it’s a little bit manic, but it lacks some melody outside of the ahh ahhs. Still, another good’un.

9. The Hollies: We’re Through

Everyone loves The Hollies, right? Listen to that guitar, great stuff. A fast paced rocker like early Beatles covers, this is frantic in every sense – the vocals wobble all over the place, the guitar and bass wrestle for attention, and the drums chatter away like the teeth of a frostbitten fool. It’s isn’t their most catchy or immediate song, but still good.

10. Jim Reeves: I Won’t Forget You

Well, I knew it couldn’t last. Still, this isn’t as horrible as I was forgetting. It’s pretty bleak even with the sentiment. Pure, clean vocals. It’s very plain and easy, a little bit Country, a little bit Calypso, very slow and simple, and there’s always going to be a market for it. Not my thing, but it’s harmless.

Well, that was very good – probably the best Top Ten I’ve covered yet in this series of posts. I’m not going to bother posting an alternate Top 10, partly because I don’t know enough about the other songs released, and partly because any alternate top 10 would include some of the artists above anyway. The obvious other recommendations would be The Beatles – take your pick from I Want To Hold Your Hand, A Hard Day’s Night, Can’t Buy Me Love – and also throw in some Beach Boys, Stones, Kinks etc. There’s something for everyone up above, except idiots, and even then some of the songs here are good enough to even interest the most staunch idiot.

Let us know in the comments which of the songs above you love, and if any other hits or otherwise from 1964 float your yacht!

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Nightman’s Favourite Films Of The 1980s – Stats Roundup

Greetings, Glancers! So, older readers of my Oscars posts may recall that I tried to give some stats at the end of the year. It became too difficult to gather metrics and I become too lazy, and lo the posts migrated to the Hades Of Blogs like so many before. The same will likely happen to these summary posts – where I give some ‘interesting’ stats on my favourite films of each decade. It doesn’t mean anything, you won’t gain any insight or pleasure from reading them, and they will be painful to write. Why do it? Well shucks, I’ve always had a thing for hurting myself. ‘Enjoy’!

Number Of Best Picture Nominees: Five (Out of a possible fifty)

Number Of Best Picture Winners: One (Out of a possible ten)

Number Of Movies In The Top Ten Grossing of The Year: Twenty nine (Out of a possible one hundred)

Number Of Movies Which Were The Top Grosser: Five (Out of a possible ten)

Well… this was the decade when The Academy began making truly bizarre choices when it came to Best Picture. When it came to most of the big categories actually, and it’s something they haven’t ever really recovered from. I’m not saying that just because this was the decade I grew up in and therefore have a lot of childhood association to the films I’ve picked as favourites – I do feel that many of the films in my Top Tens were far more deserving of critical attention, and in many cases that acclaim has come in the years and decades since.

This was certainly a decade when cinema as pure entertainment was perfected – we have more classics per genre than any other decade, and directors and writers must have been allowed a degree of freedom and creativity never seen before or since which led to many wacky ideas and films which you couldn’t believe would have ever seen the light of day at any other time. Naturally this meant we got an unprecedented level of crap too, and even some of those are beloved by me, but by and large it’s the decade when my favourite filmmakers and stars hit their peak. You may be wondering then why I only picked 29 out of the top 100 grossing films – well, we had a high rate of romances and comedies too which, while I like many of them, weren’t strong enough for me to put on my lists. While, as you’ll see below, there weren’t many foreign films causing my grossing figures to be low, there were a lot of cult hits and sequels that I love which didn’t make as much money as the originals.

Movies By Country In My Top 10:

USA: Ninety one

UK: Sixteen

Italy: One

Japan: Three

France: One

Australia: One

Canada: Two

HK: Five

The USA dominates again, to a ridiculous degree. While a lot of that is due to me mainly being exposed to Hollywood movies in my childhood, I still watched plenty of foreign stuff too. While those were mainly martial arts movies, few of those were strong enough to make my lists. The UK is really only here for Bond now but had plenty of crossover hits, Japan had still mostly fallen away even though there were plenty of Japanese animated movies I liked they were again rarely strong enough to penetrate the top ten.

Movies By Director:

John Carpenter: Seven

John Glen: Four

David Cronenberg: Four

 

Steven Spielberg: Two

John Landis: Two

David Lynch: Two

James Cameron: Two

Sam Raimi: Two

Francis Ford Coppola: Two

Stanley Kubrick: Two

Brian De Palma: Two

Jerry Paris: Two

Walter Hill: Two

George A Romero: Two

Richard Donner: Two

Robert Zemeckis: Two

John McTiernan: Two

Tim Burton: Two

John Woo: Two

John Hughes: Two

Sylvester Stallone: Two

Oliver Stone: Two

Rob Reiner: Two

Ivan Reitman: Two

 

John G Avildson: x

Tobe Hooper: x

Akira Kurosawa: x

Walter Murch: x

Robert Harmon: x

Martin Scorsese: x

Joe Dante: x

Ridley Scott: x

Tony Scott: x

George Miller: x

Russell Mulcahy: x

John Milius: x

Ted Kotcheff: x

Barry Levinson: x

George P Cosmatos: x

Alan Parker: x

Martin Brest: x

Gerald Scarfe: x

Cliver Barker: x

Paul Michael Glaser: x

Joel Schumacher: x

Paul Verhoeven: x

Chuck Russell: x

Jim Drake: x

Kathryn Bigelow: x

Larry Cohen: x

Irvin Kershner: x

John Hough: x

Mark L Lester: x

Ching Siu-Tung: x

Bruce Robinson: x

Ringo Lam: x

Vincent McEveety: x

Hayao Miyazaki: x

Arthur Hiller: x

Ruggero Deodato: x

Desmond Davis: x

Sidney J Furie: x

Wes Craven: x

John Huston: x

Mary Lambert: x

Stephen Herek: x

Ron Howard: x

Michael Lehmann: x

Christopher Cain: x

Katsushiro Otomo: x

Newt Arnold: x

Tony Randel: x

Richard Marquand: x

John Badham: x

Luc Besson: x

Jackie Chan: x

Sammo Hung: x

Hugh Wilson: x

One hundred films, seventy eight directors. When people think of the 80s, they usually say it was Spielberg’s decade, or belonged to John Hughes. I was never a massive fan of the more mainstream John Hughes films and while Spielberg was everywhere in the 80s, people may forget that he didn’t always direct many of the films he was associated with. For me, the decade belonged to John Carpenter. Ten years, seven top ten movies – that’s pretty unprecedented. Then again, I am biased as Carpenter is my favourite director of all time. The numbers don’t lie though, and he’s way out on top. While we have a large list of directors with only one hit on my lists, a number of those single hits happened to me my first or second film of the year, and we have plenty of stalwarts with a deuce. Only coming close to Carpenter are John Glen, who directed every Bond film of the 80s, and David Cronenberg with his terrific run of classics.

Let us know your thoughts in the comments!

Best Actor – 1974

Official Nominations: Art Carney. Albert Finney. Dustin Hoffman. Jack Nicholson. Al Pacino.

Another of the great WTFs in the history of The Academy sees Art Carney – dead last in the category by anyone’s reckoning, winning. Having said that, it’s still a good performance, worthy of a nomination, but it’s totally a nomination and win purely for the fact he had been around so long. He plays an elderly man who with his cat whose home is taken from him. He decides to travel across America with his cat to get to LA and one of his sons, but it’s more about the journey, the people he meets, the quirky situations. I feel like this should be more of a cult movie and it feels like the sort of thing hipsters would love – good film, good performance.

Almost everything else here is legendary. Albert Finney’s performance in Murder On The Orient Express is fine again, surrounded by a stellar cast, but I think we all know the real Poirot is David Suchet. It’s one of the most famous novels and mysteries of all time, and a very successful, authentic version. Dustin Hoffman is incredible as Lenny Bruce, a performance which hurries back and forth between an energetic force of nature coming up in the world, and an addict in the throes of depression and excess. Jack Nicholson gives yet another defining performance in Chinatown as a dogged PI sucked into intrigue, romance, and danger. Finally, Pacino gets another nomination, this time in The Godfather II. You already know it, it’s fantastic. Last year for me it was between Nicholson and Pacino. That time I picked Pacino, but we’ll flip it now and give it to Jack.

My Winner: Jack Nicholson

My Nominations: Jack Nicholson. Al Pacino. Dustin Hoffman. Gene Wilder. Gene Hackman.

Three of the official nominees cross over, leaving two new choices who arguably deserve to have officially replaced Carney and Finney. Interestingly, both Wilder and Hackman appear in Young Frankenstein, but it’s Wilder’s wide-eyes, manic comedic masterclass which gets the nod, while Hackman’s geeky voyeur introvert who grows increasingly paranoid is, for me, the best thing about The Conversation. 

My Winner: Jack Nicholson

Let us know in the comments who you pick as the Best Actor of 1974!

Nightman’s Top Ten Films Of 1989

Greetings, Glancers! We continue my new series of posts which will detail my favourite films of every year since 1950. Why 1950? Why 10? Why anything? Check out my original post here. As with most of these lists the numbering doesn’t really matter much, though in most cases the Number 1 will be my clear favourite. As I know there are plenty of Stats Nerds out there, I’ll add in some bonus crap at the bottom but the main purpose of these posts is to keep things short. So!

10: The Killer (HK)

9: Uncle Buck (US)

8: Born On The Fourth Of July (US)

7: Kiki’s Delivery Service (Japan)

6: See No Evil, Hear No Evil (US)

5: Licence To Kill (US/UK)

4: Pet Sematary (US)

3: Back To The Future Part II  (US)

2: Bill And Ted’s Excellent Adventure (US)

1: Batman (US)

How Many Of My Films Were In The Top 10 Grossing Of The Year: Three

How Many Of My Films Were Nominated For the Best Picture Oscar: One

The Wailing

Before I saw The Wailing I had seen it described as one of the scariest Asian movies of the decade – that sort of widespread feedback is enough to get me excited and wary at the same time, and by thirty minutes in to the movie I was wondering if I had accidentally selected another Korean movie with the same name, a comedy caper which was nevertheless entertaining. That’s what most of the reviews don’t tell you – The Wailing isn’t just a horror movie – it’s a comedy, it’s a drama, and it’s a tragic character study which will suck you in and spit you out if you allow yourself to be swallowed.

There’s a certain cultural divide you have to be prepared for when going into most foreign cinema. Sometimes an Asian film can be straight enough and universal enough to be fully understood by any viewer, and sometimes there can be quirky moments or pieces of dialogue or character traits which seem alien. Most of the time if the film is good enough, interesting enough, these can be overlooked or even enhance our viewing and become something a Western viewer looks forward to. When you watch a film with a certain historical or political context, or in the case of The Wailing, with numerous instances of Asian folklore, it can become a little overwhelming. I’ll admit to feeling a little lost in places while watching The Wailing – coming from someone who considers themselves a seasoned viewer of Asian Cinema. I feel like I can’t give an adequate synopsis of the plot due to this, and also due to wanting to avoid spoilers/mystery. All you need to know is that it’s about a small Korean town/village policeman and father who is investigating a mysterious sickness which has been sweeping through the town, coinciding with the arrival of a Japanese man.

The film has received universal acclaim from critics and I can say that I thoroughly enjoyed it too, even if I didn’t absorb everything I could have on first viewing. I suspect more of the puzzle pieces will become clear on a second viewing, possibly uncovering more of the Asian folklore and nods to Christianity. The film passes two and a half hours long and I feel like some of the early scenes could have been saved to get the film closer to a 120 minute run time. 150 mins plus is a long time for a horror film to retain scares and dread and threat and that opening half an hour or so almost feels like a different film, with bumbling keystone cop antics at loose character info eventually giving way to the procedural, the macabre, the horror. Mystery and myth intertwine and a father who seems careless and distant is forced to reevaluate his life and priorities in a race against time, but deception and intrigue seem to thwart him at every turn. Is it scary? There are moments, set pieces, both early on and towards the end which will scare or chill, but once the main plot picks up steam it is that sense of unearthly dread and tension which will get under your skin. The film is so well acted, so beautifully crafted, that it should unnerve even the most hardcore horror viewer – just don’t go in expecting jump scares and knife attacks. Expect the unexpected, expect provocation, and expect lots of reading up on the film after watching. I expect you’ll love it.

You Love Us

Generic Ratings: 1: Crap. 2: Okay. 3: Good. 4: Great

Ostensibly where it all began, the song where the band truly announced itself to the world, looking every inch like a band nobody wanted and instead claiming to be the band everyone needed, the band to save the world or implode trying. Hated by other artists, feeding off the finger-pointing and setting themselves clearly apart from every other act in the world, they unleashed this torrent of seductive, caressing hatred, mocking fans, mocking themselves, and looking like they were having the most fun in the world, living the rock and roll dream while admonishing it for the nightmare it truly was. It’s a fast paced, chugging rock behemoth that didn’t sound like anything on the airwaves, Bradfield’s sneering vocals and lightning fast guitars, Edwards and Wire’s luscious stares and snarling wit, and Moore’s marching band percussive attack, it’s one of the classic statements in all of rock music. Looking at it as a song on its own merits, it is fairly simple stuff with a plain verse chorus attack, but there is such joy in the melody, in the unashamedly big chorus, and such brilliance in the final, Paradise City style instrumental blow out, that it can’t be avoided, or disliked.

The first link below is the album version – in my opinion the best version. There have been multiple versions of the song, each one with slight notable variances, so try all the links below and find your favourite. There was also a ‘new’ version a few years back but I can’t find a good link to it.

You Love Us: 4/Great

Video

Heavenly version

Stars N Stripes Mix

Misheard Lyrics:

  1. Our voices are furry
  2. Realize and won’t be bought
  3. Honestly we can never be loved
  4. Throw some mess into your face
  5. Your lessons drill in heaven instead
  6. Parliament you flick like C4 (?)
  7. Your life a cycle holocaust/you love a psycho holocaust

Actual Lyrics:

  1. Our voices are 4Real
  2. We realised and won’t be mourned
  3. Understand we can never belong
  4. Throw some acid onto your face
  5. Your lessons drill inherited sin
  6. Parliament’s a fake life saver
  7. Your life is like a holocaust