Boeing Boeing and Dear Brigitte :: His and Hers Double Feature (1965)

HIS HERS HEADERHis and Hers Drive-In Double Feature :: 1965 :: Boeing Boeing and Dear Brigitte

Our Movie Nights are back at Lyriquediscorde, switching back-and-forth between Horror Double Features and our “His and Hers” year-by-year “Drive-In Double Feature“. We took a break, but are back in service to watch and review two movies for the Lyriquediscorde readers. This time around we settled in for a tale of womanizing gone awry in the City of Lights, and a story of an eight year old mathematical genius/French actress fanboy who travels to the City of Lights to meet the gorgeous Brigitte Bardot, oh, and also save literature and poetry while he’s at it.

Here is the obligatory description of this project to serve as a reminder, and an introduction to new readers/watchers:

My husband (Charles) and I (Laura) select a movie to view together from each consecutive year. Most of the time these are movies that the other has not seen, and sometimes, they are new picks to the both of us. After viewing the two films in their entirety, we share our thoughts about each choice.

Charles likes to take a cue in style and structure from the infamous drive-in movie reviewer, Joe Bob Briggs, borrowing his “3 B” rating system (“Breasts, Beasts and Blood“). I like to disclaim that no, he is not a redneck misogynist, he just plays one here on Drive-In Double Feature, with a heavy does of sarcasm, and a big wink.

As for me, well, the English major side influences my style, and my reviews tend to read more as a reaction to the art form itself, as well as any societal messaging, both positive and negative, that may permeate the film, and impact my perspective. That said, I like to ramble on about the things I enjoyed without any formal structuring, too.

All that said, we try to have fun with it, and utilize the challenge we threw at ourselves as a reason to carve out time, in each of our busy lives, to spend together.

Our first film (Laura’s choice) is Boeing Boeing, the farcical story about a die-hard womanizing bachelor who has scheduled his days meticulously to be able to juggle three international flight attendants who rotate being in town and living with said bachelor as his fiancee. All is down to scientific precision until a new airline is launched with faster thrust and timelines, and a professional colleague/adversary comes to pay a visit.

Boeing Boeing

Our second film (Charles’ choice) is Dear Brigitte, a story about a family of poet and literature professor who live on a dry-docked boat and spends his days teaching and fighting against science and technology, the two threats he perceives as destroying art in the future. What he wants most is to raise a family of artists, but his daughter is mostly interested in money and marrying into a million dollars worth, and his young son is mostly interested in Brigitte Bardot, oh, and he’s a math genius. How will the professor deal with saving the arts when his family isn’t even on board?

Dear Brigitte

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Boeing Boeing (1965)

Brief history:

Boeing Boeing (alternately titled Boeing (707) Boeing (707) was released on December 22, 1965. It is an American bedroom farce comedy film, based on the 1960 French play Boeing-Boeing, and starred Jerry Lewis and Tony Curtis. Boeing Boeing was the last film that Paramount Pictures made with Lewis, who made films exclusively with the studio since My Friend Irma, in 1949.

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Boeing Boeing was filmed from April 8 to June 30, 1965. As both Curtis and Lewis wanted top billing, their names appeared on a jet engine’s rotating nacelle. For print ads and posters, their names were criss-crossed on a diagonal so a portion of each stars’ name on top line appeared on top line (first name for one, surname for the other–with remainder of name on bottom line in reverse order). In the film’s trailer, both names flash on-screen in animated circles rotating so rapidly that it was impossible to discern top-billing.

Boeing Boeing was selected by Quentin Tarantino for the First Quentin Tarantino Film Fest in Austin, Texas, 1996.

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In 1963, producer Hal B. Wallis announced Shirley MacLaine for female lead. Marisa Mell turned down the part that was eventually played by Christiane Schmidtmer.

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The three actresses who eventually were cast to play the flight attendants have their physical measurements listed in small print under their names. Instead of measurements, Thelma Ritter, who played the housekeeper, has (?-?-?) by her name.

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His take: 

Imagine if you will a Martin and Lewis movie without Lewis. Hold on, actually make that a Martin and Lewis without Martin, but with Lewis pretending to be Martin, and that kind of sums up Boeing Boeing. Gone is Lewis’ moronic, man-child persona that made him famous in previous years allowing him to test his skills with an unfamiliar persona, not the over-the-top “Buddy Love” either.

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It was easy to put my disdain of this film taking place in France since its not quite as in-your-face.

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Throughout the entire film I constantly felt that this could have been a stage production since the bulk of it takes place in one of the most lavish, five bedroom, two bath apartments I’ve ever seen on a “reporter’s salary”. Although I am curious as to what the “benefits” of “married life” Tony Curtis’ is referring to when he and his fiancees sleep in separate rooms.

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(The film was based on a stage play, and has been staged multiple times, over the years, around the world)

Overall, a good film, even if many of the visual gags have been used ad-nauseam over the years since, ergo the well-timed door openings/closings.

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3 B rating (1 point given for Boobs, Beasts and Blood): I cannot give this any rating for blood or beasts, although the German stewardess obviously qualifies for “double B’s”, which earns this film a 2 B rating.

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Her Take: 

Those who have followed along with our previous reviews will note that I am not a fan of Jerry Lewis – at all – that said, this film was my choice and did co-star Mr. Lewis. I had not seen the film before, and my choice was based on a passionate plea from my oldest daughter who recommended it to me, praising the hilarity of it. Of course, I did realize that she is a fan of Tony Curtis, but she claimed that Lewis’ role was not full of his typical shtick that I find so cringe-worthy, so I thought I’d give it a shot.

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She was right on both accounts, the film is full of hilarious moments and those kind of moments when you have to hide your eyes and think “what are you doing!?!?!”, as well as somehow finding yourself rooting for the misogynistic lead, actually talking to the screen saying “switch the picture!”, or “not in that room!” Also, Jerry Lewis does not play the role of colleague/adversary/reluctant cohort with any of his typical Lewis-isms (really, he only had one pratfall even); instead, Lewis seems to play the role as if he were Dean Martin.

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Is it wrong that I wish they’d just cast Dean Martin?

There were ridiculous details peppered within the film, for instance, how many baths can these women take? It seemed that every time they entered the apartment, even if they had only been gone long enough to go to dinner, they were in desperate need of a bath (also, how were there not endless wet towels lying around EVERYWHERE for each girl to question?)

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And, of course, the notion of philanderer Bernard (Curtis) juggling these three international flight attendants just so they could kiss sometimes and sleep in side-by-side, separate rooms? Really, most of the time it just seemed like a huge hassle to a man who wasn’t even “getting any“.

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The long-suffering housekeeper, Bertha, who was tasked with switching out photographs, drawers of lingerie, and balance the ever-changing palates of the three women (switching the menu from kidneys, to souffles, to bratwurst sausage), stole every scene she was in. The comic talent of Thelma Ritter really shone here, and I looked forward to every moment she was on-screen.

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I did find the suggestion that the French “fiancee” (played by Dany Saval) kept making regarding the possible “relationship” between Bernard (Curtis) and Robert (Lewis) hilarious, and somewhat provocative for the time period, especially since it seemed that they could not imply that the girls were sleeping with Bernard.

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All in all, I really enjoyed the film and all its farcical silliness. I loved the scenes when all the girls were in the apartment at the same time, and the taxi scenes while they all chased each other through Paris, and of course, at the end with Bernard and Robert discover a group of female cabbies with rotating schedules, representing their next conquests, from planes to cabs (what’s next? cruise ships?)

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 I would love to see this performed on a stage, but please, no remakes of this – I’d be too afraid we’d get a film that was too Wedding Crashers/Neighbors and less farcical/satirical handling like a Christopher Guest production might bring to life – though I might actually enjoy if the film was gender-swapped and it was a woman juggling three men.

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Her Rating: Out of 5 stars: I give this film 4 stars, for the laughs, the energy, the performances (especially Thelma Ritter) and the stage play type farcical humor that I enjoy.

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Boeing Boeing soundtrack by Neal Hefti

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Dear Brigitte (1965)

Brief history:

Dear Brigitte was released in 1965 as a DeLuxe Color family-comedy in CinemaScope, directed by Henry Koster and starring James Stewart.

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The novel of Dear Brigitte was originally published in 1963. Walt Disney was rumored to option the rights for Bing Crosby, however rights were bought by 20th Century Fox who assigned the project to Nunnally Johnson, Henry Koster and James Stewart, the team that had made Mr. Hobbs Takes a Vacation, and Take Her, She’s Mine.

Dear Brigitte was one of the first movies made at the recently re-opened 20th Century Fox studios.

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Bill Mumy was cast on the recommendation of James Stewart’s wife, Gloria Stewart, who taught a Sunday School class that Mumy attended.

Although Nunnally Johnson wrote early drafts of the film, Hal Kanter was brought in to work on it and he received the sole screen credit when the film was released. Kanter has said it was Henry Koster’s idea to introduce the captain, played by Ed Wynn, to act as the film’s “Greek chorus“.

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The film was the sixth straight acting role for Fabian since he quit singing. He had never been to the races before being cast so he researched the role by going to the races and developing his own “betting system”.

There was some doubt Bardot would appear in the film but she relented and her scenes were shot in three days in Paris.

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The movie was originally going to be called Erasmus With Freckles, after the book on which it was based. But Brigitte Bardot only agreed to appear on the condition that her name was not included in the credits or any of the promotional materials. The only way the producers could capitalize on Americans’ fascination with Bardot was by changing the title to alert the audience that she was in the movie.

Notwithstanding the opening background shots of the Golden Gate bridge, the exteriors of this film were not filmed in the San Francisco bay area. After about 30 seconds into the film, the exteriors are shot in the Seattle/Tacoma puget sound bay area.

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His take:

I was glad to pick this film out, being it is one of my favorite “family friendly” films of the sixties. Not only because it stars Jimmy Stewart, but also Bill Mumy, who I met in 1989 at Dragon Con in Dallas, Texas.

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The film is your basic family acceptance storyline at heart, one that can easily be done in modern days, either sports vs. scholastic, or straight vs. gay, without coming off too preachy. Add in the fact it cameos Brigitte Bardot, easily the second most attractive actress from the sixties (right after Julie Newmar), and you’ve got a little something for everyone.

Bill Mumy stars in a role that continued to haunt him throughout his child and teenhood. He goes on to play a chemistry genius in the film Village of the Giants, and his infamous Will Robinson role from Lost In Space. Not bad for the co-creator of the song Fish Heads.

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3 B rating (1 point given for Boobs, Beasts and Blood): No blood, no beasts (unless you count the few French people in it), but again, double-b’s for both Brigitte Bardot (one of the few French people I can tolerate) and “the niece” of the con-man who they meet in the dress department.

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Her Take: 

I had never heard of this film before I met my husband, even though I thought I’d not only heard of, but seen, nearly all of James Stewart’s films. When Charles’ had mentioned it to me, though, I had a different story imagined in my mind, one that was more about a celebrity-obsessed teenager, and not a story about a boy who doesn’t quite fit in with his family, a boy who happens to be “in love” with Brigitte Bardot.

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The film starts with a breaking of the fourth wall, a cinematic and theatrical gimmick that I’ve always enjoyed. There is something very inclusionary when it is done right, giving the audience an insider feeling, like when you are part of an “inside joke” with a friend or lover. Ed Wynn does this job well, acting as our narrator, and as a bit of comic relief involving his clumsy pipe smoking, and ashing, technique and his long-suffering dog who seems to be always in the wrong place whenever that pipe is being put out.

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James Stewart plays an absent-minded professor that is not a science or math geek, no, this nutty professor is a literature and poetry geek, not something one sees too often on-screen. He is a lover of the arts and a very vocal hater of all things math, science and technology driven. He is not just afraid of the technological takeover, but adamantly against it as he sees its emergence as a direct threat to the arts.

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He longs to raise a brood of fellow artists. He has settled his family in a houseboat dry-docked next door to a painter who is constantly on his boat’s top painting his topless wife. His own wife is a patient matriarch, who is musically talented, but not so anti-change and technical advancements. No, his wife Vina (played by Glynis Johns, best known as the Mother from Mary Poppins) is more concerned with the happiness and survival of the family.

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Pandora, the oldest of the two children, possesses musical talent, as well, but has seemingly no interest in pursuing the life of a starving artist. On the contrary, she has her mind set on marrying a millionaire, despite her adoration of her broke boyfriend, played by pop-music star Fabian (albeit after leaving pop-music for an acting career).

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And then there is Erasmus (a great name!), the “black sheep” of the family who is tone deaf and color blind, and who instead of having any artistic talent or inclination, is a mathematical genius, something his Father is horrified about, and actually attempts to actively hide. It is an interesting take as usually we see stories about artists who are shunned by their families who are made up of doctors and lawyers and scientists, etc., who look down on the arts as a choice.

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The funny thing about Erasmus’ character, though, is even though he possesses an almost savant type mathematic skill-set, he doesn’t seem very interested in math, or the pursuit of his talents except to earn money (he is paid by his sister and sister’s boyfriend to solve their homework problems, and later by gamblers to help handicap horse races). All Erasmus really seems to care about is his family and Brigitte Bardot, the former as shown when he uses his math-earnings to pay for a prom dress for Pandora, and the latter as shown in his daily letter writing to the actress.

Erasmus does get to meet his idol, and she gifts him with a visit to her home, a hilarious photograph, a puppy and a couple of cheek-kisses.

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The movie itself ends rather haphazardly, after the plot lines are a little too quickly tied together and resolved. But, that fact did not dissuade me from enjoying the film as a whole, especially since the movie is more about the characters than the plot, and it is the characters that I loved.

Her Rating: Out of 5 stars: Another 4 stars, a great double feature night as I really enjoyed both films.

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Posted in favorite movies, His and Hers Drive-In Double Feature, Monday Movie Moments, Movie Moments, Movie Monday, Movie Review, Movies | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Wish I Was Here :: For the love of Movies

19-wish-i-was-hereWish I Was Here (2014)
Written by Adam & Zach Braff
Directed by Zach Braff
Focus Features

I am going to start this by saying that I went into this film expecting to love it, and I left the movie loving it more than I expected. I start this post off with that sentence so that if you have come to this expecting me to rip the film apart, which seems to be the overwhelming nature of all the reviews I’ve read, then you have come to the wrong place.

Also, I have absolutely no intention of comparing it to Garden State, at all, even if Garden State is in my Top Ten favorite movies list. Sure, it may be the reason I am ever drawn to a Zach Braff penned film, but it does not script my view, nor lead my experience to be one of contrast and compare. I know, I know, I sound a bit (more than a bit) defensive here, and a little ready for battle, and maybe I am.

I know for sure that I am sick of the negativity and condescending attitudes that are a part of so many movie reviews. It is part of why I strive to write about things I love here, and that I enjoy. There is so much negativity in the world, I do not wish to be a part of it here.

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Alright, I am off my soap box now, and back under a comfy blanket with a cup of hot coffee at close range, aimed and ready to tell you why I loved this film so much and why it will be part of my Top 300 (really, I need to expand that number soon) list.

Stories about Los Angeles are a favorite of mine, especially ones that don’t sugarcoat the City of Angels, but also do not degrade it, or mock it completely. Stories about families and the struggle to keep relationships together, are also a favorite, as well as realistic portrayals of parenthood and marriage, and being a “grown-up“.

What struck me first about the movie was Zach Braff’s character, Aidan’s, confusion and struggles with chasing a dream and being a responsible adult. The balance he’s been teetering on starts to shake and crumble as he’s faced with the mortality of his strong, yet polarizing, Father, the instability of his marriage, and the reality of facing the moment when your kids start to bypass you and you realize the things you can teach them are becoming few and far between. He’s also facing what feels like the death of his dreams, and it brings to the surface the question of “how long do you keep chasing after something when it continues to elude?”

Aidan’s wife, Sarah, played remarkably by Kate Hudson who gives her best performance since Almost Famous, in my opinion, hit home with me in a very personal way. Endlessly playing the role of breadwinner and the “Penny Lane” to so many dreamer men I’ve loved, it was hard to bear witness to some of her moments. It can be painful, and soul crushing, to be the one who believes so much in another’s dreams that you lose any of your own. When she asks Aidan when did the entire family be just about supporting his dream, and when she admitted to feeling like she was running on a hamster wheel in a job she hated but that it was what was keeping them all fed and housed, to say it struck a nerve would be an understatement. I felt for her confliction, for her sadness, for her mixed feelings that were pulling her between supporting the one she loves (enough so that she defends Aidan passionately to his Father) and wanting desperately to have some happiness, too.

The children, especially Grace, were unforgettable. I loved that they were both so uniquely written, and that there were details about their personality that were never explained. Its refreshing to not feel spoon fed characterization, but instead be given flushed out people who have quirks and sometimes contradicting personalities. Joey King is one to watch as an actor. If you saw her in Fargo (the television series) and then see her in this, you will see what I mean. She is the heart of this film, as well as the strength. The character who pushes people and asks the tough questions, and who persists in being herself even at an age that is so fraught with wanting to be just like everyone else.

There are so many moments in this movie that brought me to tears, and that have stuck into me in a way that I know will last. A stand-out moment is a scene between Kate Hudson’s Sarah, and Aidan’s Father Gabe, played by the always fantastic Mandy Patinkin, where they speak about death and love and the legacy we leave with our words. Another amazing scene happens through a phone call between Joey King’s Grace and Aidan’s recluse brother, Noah (played by Josh Gad, of Book of Mormon fame) dealing with fear of death and family and belonging. There are more, too, some without words, like when Grace shaves her head and watches the transformation in her mirrored reflection.

The soundtrack is fantastic, too, reminding me why once years ago I made a playlist entitled “I want Zach Braff to make me a mix tape” (FYI: I still do).

Trailer

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Posted in favorite movies, for the love of movies, Monday Movie Moments, Movie Moments, Movie Monday, Movie Review, Movies | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Until tomorrow, but that’s just some other time :: Under the Covers

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I’m Waiting for the Man (live) :: Echo & The Bunnymen

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They stood out in the rain, no words passing between, just the silent sentiment of a boy handing a girl his jacket to wear. The girl’s hands shook and her lips had gone numb, a translucent purple shade that Cover Girl doesn’t offer. Everything in the girl was longing to go back inside. The boy felt it, too. They both wanted shelter from the storm, yet, together they remained, still standing there, shivering in the cold; and they say it never rains in California.

During the day she could pass off as the shy girl in the third cubicle from the kitchen. She spoke only when spoken to, like some kind of “perfect child” from a fifties parenting book, “See Jane keep her legs crossed, her hands in her lap, her mouth shut unless asked to speak”. She slipped through each day nearly invisible, tapping keystrokes and entering numbers and letters into some endless stream of nothing much at all. She ate lunch out under a tree, book open in her lap, long sleeve over-sized sweater wrapped around her protectively.

No one would guess that it covered up the bruises, or that the days she called in sick, more recently than ever before, had nothing to do with a cold or flu, but the shakes she could no longer quell, or the sleepless days that were strung out like holiday lights, so many sometimes that she could barely stand.

Waiting for the Man (live) :: The Velvet Underground

The boy with the jacket had gifted her this. Addiction wrapped up in plastic and foil, and his half-crooked smile. He had seen something in her, something hidden within the silent gazes and awkward expressions. He saw beauty in her, and an untouched innocence that he could conjure. His touch left ripples of want on her skin, his breath hot on the soft spot at the nape of her neck, and between her legs. He held her down, whispering decisions she could simply follow, a role to play that was miles from the forgettable girl she’d always been.

Excitement hit hard, bursts of freedom, of reckless abandon, of all the things she’d only dreamed she could be. But now, the rent is due, and the need that had been teased so effortlessly out of her had taken over. Hunger that could never be filled, desire that no amount of sex could satiate, a need that had her standing there, shaking, nearly dying, waiting for a stranger to come and get her through the next bend.

I don’t think I can wait any longer.” she whispers.

You know how it goes, love. We always have to wait.”

 

 

Posted in Cover of the Week, Cover Songs, live music, Music, Under the Covers, Under the Covers Sunday | Tagged , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Let’s Make Out with Music :: Alphabet Playlists :: The Letter E

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Let’s Make Out with Music :: Alphabet Playlists
Each & Every Little Bit :: The Letter E
Listen here on Spotify

Easy/Lucky/Free :: Bright Eyes
Extraordinary Machine :: Fiona Apple
Every Day I Write the Book :: Elvis Costello & The Attractions
Electrolite :: R.E.M.
Ever Fallen in Love (With Someone You Shouldn’t’ve) :: Buzzcocks
Everyday I Love You Less & Less :: Kaiser Chiefs
Eaten by the Monster of Love :: Sparks
Every You Every Me :: Placebo
Europa & the Pirate Twins :: Thomas Dolby
Eyes Without a Face :: Billy Idol
E=MC2 :: Big Audio Dynamite
Everyday is Like Sunday :: Morrissey
Everything I’ve Got In My Pocket :: Minnie Driver
Everybody Loves Me But You :: Juliana Hatfield
Evangeline :: Matthew Sweet
Either Way :: Wilco
Emmylou :: First Aid Kit
Eye in the Sky :: The Alan Parsons Project
Everlong (acoustic) :: Foo Fighters
Europe is Our Playground :: The London Suite
Everybody Talks :: Neon Trees
Every Little Thing She Does Is Magic :: The Police
Edie (Ciao Baby) :: The Cult
Election Day :: Arcadia
Everybody :: Madonna
The Engine Driver :: The Decemberists
EZ :: Pete Yorn
Elsewhere :: Sarah McLachlan
Every Wonder Why :: Ryan Bingham
Everybody’s Got to Learn Sometime :: Beck

Posted in Alphabet Playlists, Music, Playlist, Playlists, Saturday Playlists | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Mix Tape Playlists :: The Music of 1978

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Mix Tape Playlists :: The Music of 1978
Listen here at Spotify

Take a Chance On Me :: Abba
Don’t Stop Me Now :: Queen
Baby Come Back :: Player
Jamie’s Cryin’ :: Van Halen
Surrender :: Cheap Trick
Hot Child In the City :: Nick Gilder
Baker Street :: Gerry Rafferty
Hot Blooded :: Foreigner
If I Can’t Have You :: Yvonne Elliman
Got to Be Real :: Cheryl Lynn
Love Will Find a Way :: Pablo Cruise
A Little More Love :: Olivia Newton-John
Because the Night :: Patti Smith
Take Me to the River :: Talking Heads
Pump It Up :: Elvis Costello
Miss You :: The Rolling Stones
Rock Lobster :: The B-52’s
With a Little Luck :: Wings
Sunday Girl :: Blondie
You’re the One That I Want :: Olivia Newton-John & John Travolta
Here You Come Again :: Dolly Parton
Is She Really Going Out With Him? :: Joe Jackson
Sometimes When We Touch :: Dan Hill
Hold the Line :: Toto
Werewolves of London :: Warren Zevon
How You Gonna See Me Now? :: Alice Cooper
I Wanna Be Sedated :: The Ramones
So Lonely :: The Police
I Love the Nightlife :: Alicia Bridges
Last Dance :: Donna Summer

Posted in Music, Playlist, Playlists, the 70s, Themed Mix, Throwback Thursdays | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

1978 :: The year in movies :: Throwback Thursday

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Grease (1978)

1978 :: The Year In Movies
Throwback Thursday

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For part two of 1978’s Throwback Thursday feature is my Top 10 movies of 1978. The list is made-up of movies I saw at the theater, or the drive-in, and may exclude movies from 1978 that I dearly love, but did not see that year because, well, I was nine years old.

That said, I did sneak in a few movies that I as probably too young to see.

What are some of your favorite movies from 1978?

10. Halloween

It’s Halloween, everyone’s entitled to one good scare.” ~ Sheriff Leigh Brackett

I don’t know how I ended up seeing this one in the theater, though I vividly remember sitting at the City Mall theaters with two of my friends watching it, and being collectively terrified. Thinking back, I think it was a friend’s older sister and her boyfriend who took us all. Despite the scares, I loved it, and it continued my love of horror movies that had started with the classic Vincent Price films I had watched with my Mother.

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9. Ice Castles

Here. There’s a hand in front of you. Grab it.” ~ Nick Peterson

What are you doing here?” ~ Alexis Winston

Came to see you break your ass.” ~ Nick Peterson

Can’t see you very well. I don’t know if you’re kidding.” ~ Alexis Winston

Just listen to my voice. I’m not kidding.” ~ Nick Peterson

This was one of those romantic tragic stories where the hero persists through catastrophe and nearly unbeatable odds to win in the end. This was a favorite of my friends and I, a definite “makes you cry” movie, emotionally manipulative, but we loved it and loved having our heart-strings pulled. This set the stage for so many more movies like this that I would love in the coming years.

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8. Dawn of the Dead

One-stop shopping: everything you need, right at your fingertips.” ~ Roger

Hiding from zombies at the mall, it was really all kinds of awesome. This one I got to see thanks to a friend’s older brother who snuck us into the drive-in. My love of zombie movies started right about here.

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7. Invasion of the Body Snatchers

I keep seeing these people, all recognizing each other. Something is passing between them all, some secret. It’s a conspiracy, I know it.” ~ Elizabeth Driscoll

This one I saw with my Mother at the Cinedome theaters. That last scene (see above) with the Donald Sutherland scream – it still creeps me out, and sometimes pays a visit to my nightmares. This movie was one of the many “Sci-Fi” films that scare me more than a lot of the “Horror” genre.

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6. The Cat From Outer Space

My name is Zunar J 5 Slash 9 Doric 4 7.” ~ Jake

A Sci-Fi film of a much different nature. I love these seventies Disney movies so much, they were always so odd and fun and really, there was nothing else quite like them. I wish they did more in this style now.

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5. Return From Witch Mountain

Tony, why are you doing these things? Why are you using your powers against me?” ~ Tia

Tony and Tia back again, and I was there opening night. I loved both films so much. Another Sci-Fi, somewhat obscure Seventies Disney offering that I love.

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4. Same Time, Next Year

You always could see through me, couldn’t you?” ~ George

But that’s okay, because… I’ve always loved what I’ve seen.” ~ Doris

I vividly remember watching this movie in the theater, but I cannot recall with who. I know I was only nine years old, and I honestly am not sure why I loved it the way I did, and why it got to me the way it did, but I was very moved by this movie, and by George and Doris, enough so that the story made me cry at various times, and I never forgot the story. The movie remains one of my all-time favorites.

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3. Watership Down

All the world will be your enemy, Prince of a Thousand enemies. And when they catch you, they will kill you. But first they must catch you; digger, listener, runner, Prince with the swift warning. Be cunning, and full of tricks, and your people will never be destroyed.” ~ Narrator

Heartbreaking, truly and completely heartbreaking. That said, I loved it, almost as much as I loved the book. There was something in it, in the story, that made me feel like I could persist and be clever, and survive, too.

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2. Superman

Easy, miss. I’ve got you.” ~ Superman

You – you’ve got me? Who’s got you?” ~ Lois Lane

The comic book geek in me loved this enormously. To me, Christopher Reeves is forever Superman. I saw this opening night at the Cinedome and was beyond excited – it was my first late night movie (I believe we saw a 10pm showing).

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1. Grease

“I’ve got so many hickies people will think I’m a leper.” ~ Rizzo

Relax… A hickie from Kenickie is like a Hallmark card, when you only care enough to send the very best!” ~ Kenickie

I am honestly not sure how many times I went to see this movie in the theater, or how many times I have seen it since – it seems uncountable, really. I loved it so much. Olivia’s Sandy, of course, but really, my heart always belonged to Rizzo.

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FLTS :: It was the hope of all we might have been

To Wish Impossible Things (live) :: The Cure

Remember how it used to be,
when the sun would fill up the sky?
Remember how we used to feel?
Those days would never end.”

Fucking love this song Friday

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Friday Five :: Songs about the Sun

1Songs about the Sun

9752491551Squinting in the sun on days when I forgot my sunglasses in the car, but the water is so cold, shocking start your heart racing kind of cold, and the car seems so far off in the distance, that we stay, my eyes crinkling as if from laughter, basking in the shadows that play all around us. For a moment the world beyond the water’s edge fades away into nothingness and I can breathe in deep. With my hand as a visor over my eyes I stare up to the sky and I wonder if everything I have ever seen will burn away if I stare long enough into the sun.

6860564481_f6cf5742ef_zWe stood there staring until the sun began to fade away. As it disappeared into the horizon I wished it to take with it all the impossible things I could not chase far enough away from.

summer-daysFollowing are my Top 5 songs about the sun. What are yours?

1. Always the Sun :: The Stranglers

“There’s always the sun,
there’s always the sun,
always, always, always the sun.”

2. Don’t Look Back Into the Sun :: The Libertines

“They’ll never forgive you,
but they won’t let you go.”

3. House of the Rising Sun :: The Animals

“Oh mother tell your children,
not to do what I have done,
spend your lives in sin and misery,
in the House of the Rising Sun.”

4. Sun Comes Up, its Tuesday Morning :: The Cowboy Junkies

“Sun comes up,
it’s Tuesday morning,
hits me straight in the eye,
guess you forgot to close the blinds last night;
oh, that’s right,
I forgot,
it was me.”

5. In the Sun :: Joseph Arthur

“I picture you in the sun,
wondering what went wrong,
and falling down on your knees,
asking for sympathy,
and being caught in between,
all you wish for and all you seen,
and trying to find anything you can feel that you can believe in.”

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1978 :: The year in music :: Throwback Thursday

THROWBACK HEADER NEW

The Best Songs of 1978 by willtopsmusictv

1978At nine years old I started to veer away from just listening to whatever was playing on my Mother’s turntable and began to put aside my children records, and started to turn on the radio instead. I had a clip on AM radio that attached to my bicycle, and when the weather was nice (which, let’s face it, I grew up in Southern California, so the weather was almost always nice) I would bike around our neighborhood listening to the Seventies AM radio offerings. I asked for a radio for Christmas, and got one that came with a single ear bud (still don’t understand why they didn’t come with two back then), and I would pop it in and turn up the sound when riding in the backseat to and from school, and while on day trips on the weekends with my Grandparents.

Looking back, my taste in music did veer into what would now be called the “soft sounds of the Seventies“, well, that and quite a few “Disco” songs. The former style preference came from the rotation of music played on AM radio at the time that I felt I was discovering on my own. The latter taste leanings came directly from my Montessori teacher who held disco dancing contests on Friday afternoons. My friends and I would work hard all week at recesses and lunch perfecting our choreography only to lose, week in and week out, to a girl who would bring her pet bird in and dance with him (yes, I am still a little bitter).

This was the year of Superman and Grease and Dawn of the Dead at the movies. It was the year of Battlestar Galactica (I named all my school fair one fish after characters on the show), Laverne and Shirley (oh how I wanted a sweater with a cursive “L” on it) and Charlie’s Angels (my obsession that year) on the television. I was obsessed with my bicycle and roller skates, with radio, with Princess Leia and all of Charlie’s Angels and Wonder Woman, and with writing “Nancy Drew” type mysteries in soft-bound notebooks (I wish I still had these). It was the last year of being a single digit in age (9), but longing to be so much older.

Here are my remembered Top 10 songs of 1978. What are some of your favorites from the year?

10. Take a Chance On Me :: Abba

We can go dancing,
we can go walking,
as long as we’re together.
Listen to some music,
maybe just talking,
get to know you better.”

Abba straddled between my musical tastes, hovering somewhere between Disco and Soft Rock, with female singers that I loved to sing-a-long with my hairbrush in hand. They hit on a kind dreamy pop wistfulness that was both wishful and hopeful, and fit right in to my first crush innocence. This was also a great song to roller skate to.

9. Baby Come Back :: Player

Baby come back,
any kind of fool could see,
there was something in everything about you.”

Definitely on the Soft Rock side, this one reminds me immediately of long drives in the back seat of my Grandparents car, or in the back of their RV, listening through that one ear bud as I watched the lights in the sky, or in the city, go by. I didn’t really understand a lot of the emotions behind the lyrics, but in my imagination I could picture the heartbreak of it, at least my version of it. I had an entire story in my head involving Kelly Garrett (Charlie’s Angeles) and Han Solo (Star Wars), and their unrequited love.

8. Surrender :: Cheap Trick

Your Mommy’s all right,
your Daddy’s all right,
they just seem a little weird.”

This one was more Rock than Soft Rock, or Disco, and it also was not a song, or band, that I discovered on the radio. My Mother’s friends had a daughter who was in her teens in 1978, and I thought she was the coolest person I’d ever met. She taught me about french kissing and what the significance of green M&M’s were, and she introduced me to Cheap Trick, whose posters were all over her bedroom wall.

7. Baker Street :: Gerry Rafferty

Another year and then you’d be happy,
just one more year and then you’d be happy,
but you’re crying, you’re crying now.”

This song starts and the first few notes immediately take me back to 1978. I can feel the way I felt that year, I can picture the things around me, the neighborhood, my bedroom, the backseats of my Mother and Grandparents’ cars. This is one of the songs on this list that I grew to love as I got older for the storytelling aspect, and for the entirety of the song, but back in 1978, it was more a song that I remember being everywhere I was, which is why it elicits so much sensory recall.

6. How Deep is Your Love :: The Bee Gees

And you come to me on a Summer breeze,
keep me warm in your love,
and then softly leave.

Saturday Night Fever had come out the year before (not that I was allowed to see it in the theater), and the soundtrack was getting a lot of play in our house, and at school (those disco dancing contests). This song was constantly on my AM radio stations, too, and I adored the romantic-ness of it. Two of my friends and I choreographed a very twirly dance to this one, that including us spinning and dipping each other, dramatically.

5. Love Will Find a Way :: Pablo Cruise

“Oh, but it’s all right,
once you get past the pain,
you’ll learn to find your love again.”

This one was one of my Mom’s favorites in 1978, or at least one of her favorites to play in the house. She used to have parties with our neighbors on the weekends and they would play music late into the night, this one being a popular choice (the whole album, really). Us kids would watch TV, play board games or with Star Wars figures, and one such night we had set-up a makeshift Star Wars Cantina where this was the song the band was playing.

4. Just the Way You Are :: Billy Joel

“I don’t want clever conversation,
I never want to work that hard,
I just want someone that I can talk to.
I want you just the way you are.”

Another Soft Rock love song from my AM radio days that I thought was “oh so romantic“. The lyrics though, as an adult reading them makes my stomach turn a little – I mean, I get the sentiment, but in some ways it seems both limiting, and in the case of the lyrics above, kind of insulting. That said, I know it wasn’t the songs intention, and to my young girl interpretation, I thought it was “unconditional love” in a song.

3. Hot Child in the City :: Nick Gilder

“She goes downtown,
the boys all stop and stare.
When she goes downtown,
she walks like she just don’t care, care.”

Hot Child in the City is one of my favorites to skate to at the roller rink, and one of the first 45’s I ever bought. I would go on to love this song even more when it was a favorite played at a “Seventies” themed club in Hollywood I frequented in the late 80’s. On a more current note, this is my go-to karaoke song.

2. Last Dance :: Donna Summer

Last dance,
last dance for love.
Yes,
it’s my last chance
for romance,
tonight.”

Another spinning, swirling and dipping song for those disco dancing contests, my friends and I loved the tempo change that kicks in after the slow, heavily “romantic” start. This was also the song that the boy and his bird would dance to, and always take the trophy with. Though, admittedly, I had a crush on said bird boy and was once lucky enough to practice dancing with him, sans bird (I was beyond thrilled, but still went on “hating” him for stealing the contest every week later — at least to my friends).

1. A Little More Love :: Olivia Newton-John

Where, where did my innocence go?
How, how was a young girl to know?”

Though I could have picked one of the songs from Grease for this list, it was really the next year (1979) that my friends and I went crazy for that soundtrack. Olivia Newton-John was my idol, and I loved her style and her music, and her. Somewhere I have an autographed picture from 1978 that she (or really her fan club) sent after I wrote her my one and only ever penned fan letter.

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Quintessential Albums :: Fleetwood Mac :: Rumours

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Quintessential Album Series :: Rumours :: Fleetwood Mac

fleetwood-mac-rumoursA Little History:

Rumours is the eleventh studio album by Fleetwood Mac. The album was largely recorded in California during 1976, and was produced by the band with Ken Caillat and Richard Dashut.

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Rumours was released on February 4, 1977 by Warner Bros. Records. The record peaked at the top of both the United States Billboard chart and the United Kingdom Albums Chart. The songs Go Your Own Way, Don’t Stop, Dreams, and You Make Loving Fun were released as singles.

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Rumours is Fleetwood Mac’s most successful release; along with winning the Grammy Award for Album of the Year in 1978, the record has sold over 45 million copies worldwide, making it one of the best-selling albums of all time. Rumours has received diamond certifications in several countries, including the US, Canada and Australia.

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The band wanted to expand on the commercial success of the 1975 record Fleetwood Mac, but struggled with relationship breakups before recording started. The Rumours studio sessions were marked by hedonistic behavior and interpersonal strife between Fleetwood Mac members; these experiences shaped the album’s lyrics.

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Influenced by pop music, the record’s tracks were recorded using a combination of acoustic and electric instruments. The mixing process delayed the completion of Rumours, but was finished by the end of 1976. Following the album’s release in 1977, Fleetwood Mac undertook worldwide promotional tours.

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In July 1975, Fleetwood Mac’s eponymous tenth album was released to great commercial success, reaching #1 in 1976. The record’s biggest hit single, Rhiannon, gave the band extensive radio exposure. At the time, Fleetwood Mac’s line-up consisted of guitarist and vocalist Lindsey Buckingham, drummer Mick Fleetwood, keyboardist and vocalist Christine McVie, bassist John McVie, and vocalist Stevie Nicks.

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After six months of non-stop touring, the McVies divorced, ending nearly eight years of marriage. The couple stopped talking to each other socially and discussed only musical matters. Buckingham and Nicks—who had joined the band before 1975’s Fleetwood Mac, after guitarist Bob Welch had left—were having an on/off relationship that led them to fight often. The duo’s arguments stopped only when they worked on songs together.

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Fleetwood faced domestic problems of his own after discovering that his wife Jenny, mother of his two children, had had an affair with his best friend.

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Despite a string of false reports and rumors, the band did not change its line-up, although its members had no time to come to terms with the separations before recording for a new album began. Fleetwood has noted the “tremendous emotional sacrifices” made by everyone just to attend studio work.

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In early 1976, Fleetwood Mac crafted some new tracks in Florida. Founding members Fleetwood and John McVie chose to dispense with the services of their previous producer, Keith Olsen, because he favored a lower emphasis on the rhythm section. The duo formed a company called Seedy Management to represent the band’s interests.

During recording at the Record Plant in Sausalito, California, the working title of the album was Yesterday’s Gone.

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The set-up in Sausalito included a number of small recording rooms in a large, windowless wooden building. Most band members complained about the studio and wanted to record at their homes, but Fleetwood did not allow any moves. Christine McVie and Nicks decided to live in two condominiums near the city’s harbor, while the male contingent stayed at the studio’s lodge in the adjacent hills. Recording occurred in a six-by-nine-meter room which included a 3M 24-track tape machine, a range of high-quality microphones, and an API mixing console with 550A equalizers; the latter were used to control frequency differences or a track’s timbre. Although Caillat was impressed with the set-up, he felt that the room lacked ambiance because of its “very dead speakers” and large amounts of sound proofing.

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As the studio sessions progressed, the band members’ new intimate relationships that formed after various separations started to have a negative effect on Fleetwood Mac. The musicians did not meet or socialize after their daily work at the Record Plant. At the time, the hippie movement still affected Sausalito’s culture and drugs were readily available. Open-ended budgets enabled the band and the engineers to become self-indulgent; sleepless nights and the extensive use of cocaine marked much of the album’s production.

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Chris Stone, one of the Record Plant’s owners, indicated in 1997 that Fleetwood Mac brought “excess at its most excessive” by taking over the studio for long and extremely expensive sessions; he stated, “The band would come in at 7 at night, have a big feast, party till 1 or 2 in the morning, and then when they were so whacked-out they couldn’t do anything, they’d start recording“.

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Stevie Nicks has suggested that Fleetwood Mac created the best music when in the worst shape, while, according to Lindsay Buckingham, the tensions between band members informed the recording process and led to “the whole being more than the sum of the parts“.

Stevie Nicks and Christine McVie in 1975

Fleetwood Mac’s main writers—Buckingham, Christine McVie and Nicks—worked individually on specific songs, but sometimes shared lyrics with each other. The Chain is the only track that all members, including Fleetwood and John McVie, collaborated on.

10 All songs on Rumours concern personal, often troubled, relationships.According to Christine McVie, the fact that the lyricists were extensively focusing on the various separations became apparent to the band only with hindsight. You Make Loving Fun is about her boyfriend, Fleetwood Mac’s lighting director, after she split from John. Nicks’ Dreams details a breakup and has a hopeful message, while Buckingham’s similar effort in Go Your Own Way is more pessimistic. After a short fling with a New England woman, he was inspired to write Never Going Back Again, a song about the illusion of thinking that sadness will never occur again once feeling content with life. The lines “Been down one time/Been down two times” are in reference to the lyricist’s efforts when persuading the woman to give him a chance.

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Don’t Stop, written by Christine McVie, is a song about optimism. She noted that Buckingham helped her craft the verses because their personal sensibilities overlapped. McVie’s next track, Songbird, features more introspective lyrics about “nobody and everybody” in the form of “a little prayer“.

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Oh Daddy, the last McVie song on the album, was written about Fleetwood and his wife Jenny Boyd, who had just got back together. The band’s nickname for Fleetwood was “The Big Daddy“. McVie commented that the writing is slightly sarcastic and focuses on the drummer’s direction for Fleetwood Mac, which always turned out to be right. Nicks provided the final lines “And I can’t walk away from you, baby/If I tried“.

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Stevie Nicks own song, Gold Dust Woman, is inspired by Los Angeles and the hardship encountered in such a metropolis. After struggling with the rock lifestyle, Nicks became addicted to cocaine and the lyrics address her belief in “keeping going“.

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 What Makes This “Quintessential” to me?

Without a doubt, Fleetwood Mac’s Rumours album is the most remembered album from my childhood. This is really saying something, as my house was always filled with music. My music obsession came from my Mom, and trips to the record store was a regular adventure for our family, one that was always looked forward to.

For years it seemed like Rumours was playing on our stereo. I have vivid memories of my Mom making dinner or baking homemade bread, listening and singing-a-long to this album. Or of her sharing a pot of coffee and conversations with her friends from the neighborhood while Rumours was playing in the background.

Second Hand News is the song I remember her singing to most. I can see her now standing in the kitchen trying out one of her recipes from the cooking classes she was taking at the local college, this album spinning and turned up high. I can hear her voice in my head singing to the song. And me, trying to learn all the words and singing very quietly along. I remember wondering what the “stuff” they wanted to do in the tall grass exactly was.

She seemed to listen to it all that time, and in my memory recall it seems to have been one of her favorites. Maybe she would not remember it the same way, and perhaps because it is an album I loved, I recall it differently, remembering it playing more than any other.

The album has evolved along with me, has followed me through my life, and has continued to be one of my all-time favorite albums. The songs have resonated with me through break-ups and make-ups, through falling in love and out of love, and through trying to figure out who I am.

For a year in 1998 I played the Rumours album at 3pm in the afternoon at my job. I had this little radio/cassette player/digital clock that I would play it from. After awhile, my co-workers started to “tune in” and ask me to turn it up. It became Fleetwood o’clock around the office, and I could soon start to tell whose favorite songs were whose, as certain people started to linger around my desk during certain tracks.

Rolling Stone France 2My Top 5 Favorite Songs:

1. Gold Dust Woman

“Well, did she make you cry,
Make you break down,
Shatter your illusions of love?
And now tell me is it over now?
Do you know how to pick up the pieces,
and go home.”

Gold Dust Woman became my favorite on the album around my twenties, and has remained so through the years. It is my go-to Fleetwood Mac song for whenever I am feeling emotionally raw or need that kind of electrical current boost that only music gives to me. I love singing this song, as well.

2. Dreams

“Thunder only happens when it’s raining,
players only love you when they’re playing.”

One of those ultimate break-up, I am so better without you, jaded kind of songs, one of quite a few on what is pretty much an ultimate break-up album.. Something about it though, even in the bitter lyrics like “players only love you when they’re playing“ (see above), is so beautiful, beautiful in a way that cannot help but gift some kind of hope. There is that feeling of freedom that often comes trailing along just behind the heartbreak of love’s ending, and sometimes it is hard to see, that gift – but it is there.

3. The Chain

“And if you don’t love me now,
you will never love me again.”

Bitter and full of pain and vitirol and all those things that are the emotional part and parcel of a break-up are made of. I have turned this song on and up and scream-sung-a-long to it while trying to get through the worst of break-ups, whether they were initiated by me, or the other person. That’s the thing, no matter whose idea it is, the pain and sadness and anger still hit.

4. Songbird

And the songbirds are singing,
like they know the score,
and I love you,
I love you,
I love you,
like never before.”

One of my all-time favorite love songs. It hits in a very bittersweet way to me now as it reminds me of a past love, but as there are sweet memories among the sad and bitter. The song also reminds me of my daughter, Veronica, who I used to sing it to, in the middle of the night to soothe her back to sleep when she was a baby.

5. Second Hand News

One thing I think you should know,
I ain’t gonna miss you when you go.”

This song reminds me of my Mom, and my childhood, and the late Seventies. As a young girl I thought it such a happy song, but listening as an adult, there is so much bitterness and jaded regret embedded in the lyrics. It is definitely more of a break-up, then a make-up song.

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