22 May 2011


An inadvertent theme emerged this week- 3 songs are movie-related, and one is, brilliantly, performed on a children's television programme. I struggled to find a New Zealand song with a clip from 1972- any suggestions?

The first track is from a Jamaican movie from 1972 (billed on one promotional poster as "more intelligent than Last Tango in Paris. ") A couple of years ago Radio One had a series of films played at that the Academy Cinema- (now the Church), and  think it was there that I saw this (although it may have been at a Film Festival screening). Regardless, loved the film, and the title track- sung by Jimmy Cliff who stars in the movie- is great. Far, far better than  this pretty awful 1983 track.

Jimmy Cliff- The Harder They Come

Diana Ross was nominated for an Academy Award for her starring role in the 1972 movie Lady Sings the Blues. I was 15 or 16 before I had even heard of Billie Holiday, when a friend really got into her stuff.
This track is from a 1957 television performance- gorgeous.Look out for the Roy Eldridge trumpet solo about 5 minutes in- especially at 5:41- genius!)

Billie Holiday- Fine and Mellow

I have a "Motown 50" triple cd, and amongst quite a few gems (and a few not so much), the Stevie Wonder stuff stands out. Watching this next one just shows that there was a time when children's television was not all saccharine  and patronising. Just watch the kid on the balcony- he totally gets it. Go Sesame Street!

Stevie Wonder- Superstition

Time for the ubiquitous "Vol. 9" song. I am not even quite sure why this was on Vol. 9- the movie from which it came was released in 1970; the omnipresent tv series started in 1972 (We got a tv in 1974, the series finished in 1983 and seemed to be on constant repeat for years). Apparently the lyrics were written by the movie directors 14 year old son- very bleak!- who, it is said, got more for the song royalties than his father did for directing. (On 20 Solid gold Hits Vol.9 there is not credit for the vocals- it is just listed as "MASH- the Theme From M*A*S*H- apparently it was "just" session musicians performing it)

MASH- The Theme From M*A*S*H


  1. Hard to know where to start really. This is a real nostalgia feast.

    Jimmy Cliff - saw him at WOMAD recently. The film is a stunner and for Wellingtonians I believe it is in the DVD collection at the Public Library.

    Billie Holliday - I could never add anything to what has been said about her all ready. A favourite.

    Superstition - Jukebox favourite when I was working in the old Western Park Hotel during my Teachers Coll years. I got very very sick of that song.

    And MASH (the great Robert Altman movie rather than the TV show), premiered in the long gone Plaza Cinema in Wellington. Full House. Rapturous reception and I was there.

    Keep on it Shaun!

  2. NZ Loxene Music Award - Sunshine Through A Prism - Suzanne. Ugh!

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  4. Funny about the jukebox songs driving you to insanity (not that you said exactly that!). My first year at otago university seemed to have two songs on constant rotate on the Main Common Room jukebox- Marvin Gaye's "heard it through the grapevine"; and Don McLean's "American Pie". After all these years, I can only now (occasionally) stomach hearing the former. The latter- god, please no!

  5. Harder they Come is one of my favourite movies. A high point is Toots and the Maytals doing "Sweet and Dandy"...