Filed under: America, Music | Tags: 80's, Altman, Beatles, Musicals, Nilsson, Popeye, Robin Williams
Hands down.. Harry Nilsson is on my top ten list as a direct musical influence. And as far as childhood movies go, Popeye (Robin Williams 1st film) leads the pack in greatness. So obviously I was more than pleased to learn that these two were connected together via some strange, sea-shanty cold fusion. I dug into teh internets to find out just how this came to be. Here’s what I unearthed:
“For Robert Altman’s 1980 film Popeye, he recruited Harry Nilsson to do the songs and Van Dyke Parks to do the film score. The songs were sung in the film by the characters, a la any musical, but the original demos of Harry singing them still exist.
Apparently Harry was not the clear cut choice to do the songs according to Altman, “Nobody wanted him at first except Robin Williams. Everyone said ‘You’ll get in trouble with him — he’ll get drunk; he won’t do it; he’s all washed up.’ As a matter of fact I said all of those things about Harry to Robin myself one day. Then I went home and thought about it and said to myself, ‘Jesus, that’s what some people are saying about me!’ So I called Harry Nilsson, because I had never met him in my life, and we got along terrifically.”
If you don’t know much about Harry Nilsson, just do yourself a favor and click here or here and I promise you will be dazzled. Plus you can laugh at how I shamelessly rip him off! There is a reason the Beatles said Nilsson was their favorite “group”.. and favorite solo artist :)
Sweet Pea’s Lullaby (demo)
Sweet Pea’s Lullaby
He Needs Me
Everything Is Food (demo)
Filed under: America, britain, britpop, britpop songs, indie, Music, polara, pop, rialto, rocknroll, space, supernaturals
First things first…SORRY, SORRY, SORRY! I know I have neglected this blog for a over a month. I was out on tour and the blog itself had some technical issues I had to fix. But all of these things have been resolved and we are back on track! yay!
I just wanted to post today on a few bands that you may or may not have heard of from the hey day of the mid-90’s britpop era. 97′ was the great and final year of britpop before it really died, and there were many bands that snuck in and said goodbye before you really knew who they were. While the U.S was busy with watered down versions of Nirvana, Smashing Pumpkins and Pearl Jam bands, the Uk was busy with watered down versions of Oasis, Blur, and Pulp.
The first of these was Rialto. They completely sound like if Oasis and Pulp were mashed together to make James Bond theme music. The next is The Supernaturals (For some reason it seems like there were a million “super” bands in the 90’s). This band in particular was written off by the british press but they really write some amazing pop tunes and had quite a few hits. Then there is Space.. you probably remember them from the Austin Powers soundtrack. And finally, the band Polara isn’t british but I feel their sound fit well enough in that genre. Surprisingly all of these groups are still around in one way or another. Just go to wikipedia to find out what they are up to. I am too lazy today for links.. haha.
Rialto “When We’re Together”
Space “You And Me Against The World”
The Supernaturals “The Day Before Yesterdays Man”
Every now and then, I sometimes forget what RocknRoll is really all about. When those days happen, I quickly run to my computer and turn on the TOY DOLLS. Suddenly, like a bolt of lightning, I remember what the missing ingredient is…. FUN!
The TOY DOLLS represent everything a true punk band should aspire to be. Many “pure” punk rockers discard this band as simply a novelty act.. but I guarantee that you will be hard pressed to find any successful punk band not list them as an influence.
I have a great story about my 7th grade science teacher (who was 23 and smoking hot) all impressed that I listened to the Toy Dolls. I thought I was the shiznit until she said she couldn’t wait to go home and tell her BOYFRIEND! (noooo!!) At the time, she was like 6 feet tall and I was like barely 4’11”, so I don’t think our love was destined to happen.
Here are my favorites from their first 3 albums:
Dig that Groove Baby
Bless You My Son
Yes.. I am an Eagle Scout. Get your laughs out now, cus when the bomb drops, ya’ll be coming to my wigwam and eating the food that I learned how to prepare in my wilderness survival class!
Apart from being a Scout, I also worked professionally for the BSA in the Sierra Mountains. Living without parents every summer for 6 years can open a young boys eyes to many worldly vices (you’d be surprised how many scouts and counselors get drunk and smoke out on the weekends).
One of my greatest experiences from scouting was the introduction to new music I had never heard of before. Bands like CSNY, Pink Floyd, Bob Marley, Phish, Bare Naked Ladies, the Cure… etc. When my days off would arrive, I usually wound up spending all the money I earned on music.
The one CD I constantly played out was Cat Steven’s Greatest Hits. His songs just seemed to fit with the environment that I awoke to every day. This was music you could hike with, camp with, work, swim, eat, and dream to. My very first performance ever (I was only 13) was in front of 500 scouts by a bonfire where I sang “Moonshadow”. The standing ovation I received afterwards definitely cemented the music bug forever in me.
When I listen to his songs now I always feel young. Here are some from the greatest hits and Harold and Maude (one of the best movies evah):
Hard Headed Woman
Don’t Be Shy
Prior to the internet era, The Apples (In Stereo) seemed like mythic pop Gods to many aspiring musicians. What you knew about the band was completely built around Fanzine articles and college radio play. I used to lay awake in my dorm room dreaming about riding a bus out to Colorado to join the Elephant Six and have Rob of the apples produce my albums. This was the first band that made me realize what record production was all about.
Their first album Fun Trick Noisemaker was a startling debut of Velvet Underground heroin guitars mixed with Beach Boys melodies and themes. What was really amazing was that this band recorded it all on a four track. Now a days, do-it-yourself albums are the norm with computers making everyone think they are the next Rick Rubin.. but back in the early 90’s, no band I ever heard of was doing this. They owned their own studio, produced all their own records, ran their own label, and played on their friends albums. The best part was.. they actually sold lots of albums!
As the nineties were coming to a close, and the new millenium began, the Apples topped the college charts with every album that they released. They still have some of their early dirty psych sound, but they have become more polished, using advanced recording gear, and writing songs that are more sophisticated and precise.
Here in order of the first four albums they put out, are my favorite tunes:
Green Machine Haley (b-side demo)About Your Fame The Bird That You Can’t See
First off, I wanted to apologize for being inattentive to all my readers here at The Song In My Head. I have been away since New Years and I have had technical difficulties with the site and the music not playing. This has all been fixed. I will have all the old songs working soon and I will have all new posts as well! YAY!
In the fall of 1998 the greatest horror ever known to man fell to earth in the form of a TV show called “total request live”. Eventually this mindless pop fest for 12 year olds became the king of the castle over at MTV. I understood the shows appeal but I was completely thrown off guard when a young, fresh, piano master named Rufus Wainwright somehow sneaked his way onto TRL’s poop plate list of artists. I really wasn’t sad at all when he ended up losing to Britney or Christina or whoever it was, because I knew that he was amazing and that “April Fools” was one of the best pop singles of the year. “Oh well” I cried, “at least I know better than 12 year olds”. My musical love affair with Rufus has only grown over the years although I tend to always fall back on his singles and more straightforward “pop” tunes.
Here are some of my personal favorites of Wainwright’s collection:
April Fools California Going To A Town One Man Guy
I wanted to throw out some tracks from one of my favorite Brit-Pop bands, Super Furry Animals. Signed to Creation (the greatest label evah) in the early 90’s, SFA released some of the most drug-induced, psychedelic pop/punk, electro whatever records on the planet. They are a band that is constantly innovating and changing with the times, but still drawing from the past for melodic, hook driven songs.Their first release, Fuzzy Logic, has less experimentation than more recent albums, but for some reason I still believe that this one is their best (Rings Around the World being a close second). So get fuzzed and sing along.. especially on the last song (for now and ever) which sounds like a missing link to the ending of GREASE, if it were made today.
Something For The WeekendHometown UnicornFor Now And Ever