broadway, movies, and the music that sticks in your mind
It started with the Jesus Christ, Superstar lyrics I posted last week. It's been snowballing ever since.
I'm on a soundtrack kick. Not just movie soundtracks but Broadway shows, too.
(This is a very long post. If you read through to the end, there's a question for you to answer)
My mother was a show tunes fanatic. She still is, though she tends to be listening to Pink Floyd more often than Annie Get Your Gun these days. My sisters and I (who will vouch for this in the commets today, I'm sure) know the lyrics to almost any movie musical and Broadway musical to come down the pike since time began.
Today, I'm on the Hair soundtrack, thanks to a post by Kathy who got the Manchester, England song stuck in my brain.
Hair is basically an anti-war story. It's the 60's encapsulated, full of peace, love and - you guessed it - lots of long hair. I had this poster hanging in my room at one time, which my mother got from the program when she went to see the play. I remember how she stuck the program in the upper cabinet above the refrigerator, because it had the lyrics and the lyrics were dirty and coarse. Nevermind that my mom blasted the 8-track of the soundtrack during the day, I suppose she thought that if we didn't read the words, we wouldn't know what they were saying.
There was the short but succint words to Sodomy, which had me running to a dictionary to look up these words:
Father, why do these words sound so nasty?
Can be fun
Join the holy orgy
Without knowing it, my mother gave me my first "birds and bees" talk through and 8-track tape.
I also remember singing the song Initials over and over again, no clue whatsover what I was singing about:
LBJ took the IRT
Down to 4th Street USA
When he got there
What did he see?
The youth of America on LSD
My older cousin tried to explain not only the song to me, but the meaning of the entire show. It wasn't until I was in high school and the movie version came out that I finally understood it all. It was one of those message movies. Today, the message seems rather muddled and looking back at Hair, I see it more as a pro-drug statement than an anti-war statement.
There were other soundtracks, other movies made from plays that wove their way into my life.
West Side Story was one of my favorites. The romance, the intrigue, the action, the music - it was combined so beautifully, so magically that the tragedy seemed more romantic than tragic. I can still, to this day, sing the words to every song on that soundtrack.
The Music Man, Carousel, Oklahoma! We watched them again and again, listened to the songs over and over until the stories became my own and I would lay in my bed in the dark of night and pretend I was Maria, feeling pretty and witty, or Marian the librarian, completely smitten with Harold Hill.
Oftentimes these days, movie soundtracks are promoted as heavily as the films themselves. Often rock or rap oriented, the soundtrack generally screams at you and interferes with the movie itself. I haven't seen many films in which the music is used to add to the story rather than just be there, like a pesky fly.
That's not to say the soundtracks don't stand out on their own. I own a whole collection of soundtracks that serve as more of compilations cds than anything to do with the actual movie they were part of. Spawn, Judgment Night, SLC Punk, Romeo and Juliet, The Matrix...it doesn't matter whether the movie rocked or not, at least the soundtrack does.
It's always better when the songs fit the movie. Goodfellas used music to its advantage, underscoring the drama and tension of the scenes by using carefully selected songs, especially the scene in which Layla was playing.
Before I write more, because I could write on these subjects until hell freezes over, I'll turn it over to you:
What are your favorite scenes from movies where music is used to emphasize a point or create an atmosphere? (using my Goodfellas example as a guide)