Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Things are gonna get easier...

After reading Malagueta and Meet Me in Montauk's "song of the day" posts, I've been reflecting on why we gravitate toward the music we love. Yesterday I read a blog entry on the joys of watching films that was posted nearly two years ago (http://flat5ive.blogspot.com/) that caused me to do some further reflecting. Finally, this morning I decided to poke around the web for some song lists and came across this one: http://www.rollingstone.com/news/coverstory/500songs , which I vaguely remember reading (or reading about) when it first came out several years ago but which is newly controversial any time you start judging the songs that appear against the ones that don't.

I tell you all of this to provide the genesis of this blog entry (whether you want it or not!) When I got to #392 on the Rolling Stone list, "O-o-h Child" by The Five Stairsteps, I started thinking about Meet Me in Montauk's definition of hip. How would children born in a later era know about many of these "greatest songs of all time"? Either their parents (or other older friends or family members) had introduced them to these gems or, as often has happened to me over the years, they "discovered" them through a film. The above video has already revealed to you where I first heard "O-o-o Child," though I don't know if I ever knew it was performed by a group called The Five Stairsteps before perusing the list this morning. I'll never forget sitting in the theater, hearing that song, and watching the images on the screen. I became an instant (and lifelong) fan of Laurence ("don't call me Larry") Fishburne, Cuba ("I'll never make another good movie") Gooding and John ("I'll never make as good a movie") Singleton. More than those impressions, however, was the impression the song made. I have never been able to hear a bar of it without thinking of Boyz N the Hood.

This is also true for Dusty Springield's "Son of a Preacher Man" (#240 and forever associated with Pulp Fiction and Uma Thurman), "You've Lost that Lovin Feelin" (#34 and forever associated with "Top Gun" Tom Cruise serenading Kelly McGillis), and "You Can't Always Get What You Want" (#100 and forever associated with the opening scene of The Big Chill). Now, I know some of you will be incredulous that I heard these songs for the first time in the context of the films I just mentioned. Sue me. I'm sure some of you were introduced to songs through films. And I'm not talking about songs that were written for films; that's another blog entry entirely (for instance, I didn't know until years later that "Moon River" was written for Breakfast at Tiffany's, though I'll always choose to picture Big and Carrie dancing to it in an empty NY apt.)

If you choose to watch the Sex and the City clip, you can consider it a preview to future postings I may do on "best male tv characters of all time," "best tv couples of all time," and "Funniest supporting characters [Samantha "Why would anyone leave NY" Jones and Miranda "No" Hobbes] of all time."

In the meantime, I'd love to learn about your strongest film/song associations. Please share. :-)


Anonymous said...

I love the associations of songs to other things in life - other times, places, events. I heard something just the other day that took me back to my undergrad days.
For me, "Moon River" is a very strong association because "Breakfast at Tiffany's" is one of my favorite movies. The song
"Wherever you Will Go" by The Calling makes me think of "Kate & Leopold" because it was used in the trailer, and it makes me think of "Love, Actually" because it was used in the Wisconsin bar scene. Another really strong one for me is "Shipping Up to Boston" by the Dropkick Murphy's. It was used in "The Departed" (one of my favorite movies of all time).

By the way, when you do your funniest supporting characters list, you must include Barney from "How I Met your Mother." Neil Patrick Harris has come a long way from Doogie Howser and he is hilarious.

Anonymous said...

This post is on a topic near and dear to my heart (as you'll see in some of my future 'song of the day' posts).

Here are a few of my favorite film/song moments, limiting it to songs I didn't know before seeing the films:

- Margot Tenenbaum exits a bus to Nico's 'These Days' in The Royal Tenenbaums.

- Jesse and Celine listen to Kath Bloom's 'Come Here' in the listening booth of a Vienna record store in Before Sunrise... it's the moment that film goes from great to sublime.

- The Rolling Stones' 'I Am Waiting' in the November section of Rushmore

- Aimee Mann's 'Save Me' and 'Wise Up' in Magnolia

Amy said...

Well, Clay couldn't have known Aimee Mann's songs before seeing the film because she wrote them for Magnolia. Therefore,they are disqualified;-)
His other suggestions, however, I'll have to check out.

As for Kerrie's shout out to NPH, I haven't seen more than a few moments of "How I Met Your Mother," so I couldn't put him on a list if I were to make one today. Word of his performance has made me want to rent the series, however, so maybe by the time I get around to writing that blog, I will have seen it and agree with Kerrie's nomination.

pegclifton said...

Some of my most memorable movie/music scenes have to do with opera arias in movies like Philadelphia, Untouchables, Fatal Attraction,etc. the list can go on. Kerrie, I too think of "Breakfast at Tiffany's" whenever I hear "Moon River", just loved that movie too.

pegclifton said...

Amy, just watched the video with Carrie and Big--great scene!

Maddie said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Maddie said...

I associate "You Make Me Feel So Young" with the ice skating scene in the movie Elf. I love the way they fall in love in a beautiful montage with that song in the backround. Im not a hopeless romantic! "-_-

pegclifton said...

Maddie, who sang "You make me feel so young" in the Elf scene--Frank Sinatra? And it's ok to be a hopeless romantic!

Amy said...

I just checked the Elf soundtrack (online; we don't own it!) and it was Frank Sinatra's version that Maddie enjoyed. That super cool hip kid ;-) By the way, she is also the one who deleted the above comment, when she said something she didn't mean to say or spelled something incorrectly. I, too, (shocker) am a hopeless romantic and I love the many montages set to music that are a hallmark of so many films. When Harry Met Sally's "It Had to Be You" is an all-time favorite (though I certainly knew the song long before seeing the movie; I sense another blog topic forming)

pegclifton said...

I love that scene in Harry Met Sally when Sinatra sings "It had to be you", I watch it every New Years Eve. Sinatra has so many great song/film moments like "Come Fly with Me"in Catch Me if you can. I'm sure there are many others, right Diana?