The second Manics cover song I ever heard. The first was Bright Eyes, which is both a better song and a better cover. It’s another idiosyncratic cover of a classic song, you’d almost think the band were a bunch of hipsters for covering something like this. Then again, they’ve always liked Butch Cassidy And The Sundance Kid – the film being name checked in popular B-Side Sepia. This was the band’s first recording after Richey’s disappearance, contributing to the War Child Charity album. It’s an authentic, touching cover and depending on the day I like it more than at other times. I don’t have anything bad to say about it, it’s just one of those songs that I’m too familiar with that I feel locked in by it’s all pervading fame and therefore want nothing to do with it. James does a great job belting out certain phrases with typically Manic phrasing, and it has some sweet horn play in the middle to hint at what would come in their next album. It’s a decent cover, but not one I particularly want to hear again.
Raindrops Keep Falling On My Head
Best Original Song – 1969
Official Nominations: Raindrops Keep Falling On My Head – Butch Cassidy And The Sundance Kid. Come Saturday Morning – The Sterile Cuckoo. Jean – The Prime Of Miss Jean Brodie. True Grit – True Grit. What Are You Doing The Rest Of Your Life – The Happy Ending.
The winner this year is a timeless hit by Burt Bacharach and Hal Davis, one which evokes plenty of images from the movie it was written for, but one which works just as well outside of the film, even for those who aren’t aware the film exists. Charming, melancholy, and hopeful, it’s a well deserved winner. Come Saturday Morning, performed by The Sandpipers feels like a Simon & Garfunkel track, with gentle folk sounds and pleasant harmonies – acoustic guitars and flutes are prominent, and while breezy it lacks a a key hook.
Jean starts like one of those whining ballads from countless movies from previous decades, but once the verse starts it becomes something better. It does veer close to those awful ballads once the additional singing voices join, but largely stays clean, though again it lacks a hook – it also doesn’t seem to fit with the characters of Jean Brodie. True Grit also falls foul of almost striking those vintage notes, but again the vocals manage to raise the song above the unfortunate instrumentation – it’s a decent performance from Glen Campbell, Bernstein’s music is fine but once again there isn’t anything memorable. The Bergmans and Michel Legrand pick up another nomination and create another widely covered song in What Are You Doing The Rest Of Your Life – it’s a smooth ballad with sparse arrangement, an okay verse which gets worse as the music and vocals crescendo – more forgettable stuff.
My Winner: Raindrops Keep Falling On My Head.
My Nominations: Raindrops Keep Falling On My Head – Butch Cassidy And The Sundance Kid. Change Of Habit – Change Of Habit. Ballad Of Easy Rider – Easy Rider. Wand’rin’ Star – Paint Your Wagon. Get A Bloomin’ Move On – The Italian Job. Do You Know How Christmas Trees Are Grown – On Her Majesty’s Secret Service.
Only My Winner makes it over to my list of nominations, joining one of The King’s last decent songs from one of his last movies. Change Of Habit is one of his better movie songs, funky, with a solid rock beat and strong vocal performance – no gimmicks and with a nice distorted lead guitar riff. It sounds both modern and like something you would expect to see in a late 70s US detective show. Great drums in the final section. As great as the soundtrack to Easy Rider is, most of its songs were not written for the movie and were taken from previous seminal 60s movies. Roger McGuinn’s track evokes all of the themes from the movie without the drug-haze. It has a timeless 60s folk edge, a sense of hope and freedom, and still feels powerful today.
Wand’rin’ Star from Paint Your Wagon is a strange one – it has all of the humming voices and guitars you would expect in a Spaghetti Western song, but it is given a grandiose all American twist with gorgeous strings and downbeat, growling, almost spoken vocal by Lee Marvin. Many will be put off by the vocals, but the melodies are still catchy. Adding some British groove to the mix is Get A Bloomin Move On, a painfully catchy track which I can’t love 100% because rhyming slang and Cockney accents piss me off – the song feels like a lost Beatles track with tonnes of varying, overlapping sections and a myriad of instruments and moments destined to chant at football games. Most people remember We Have All The Time In The World from On Her Majesty’s Secret Service, but I personally cannot stand that song and feel it is one of the most depressing dirges ever penned. I feel, even though it’s a little twee, that Do You Know How Christmas Trees Are Grown is the vastly superior song – it doesn’t really have anything in common with the film (aside from snow) but it’s all lovely and the main line demands you to sing along. Of course it works well as a festive standalone song.
My Winner: Raindrops Keep Falling On My Head.
Let us know in the comments what your favourite movie song of 1969 is!
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