SATISFACTION: THE VIDEO! – Marilyn Armstrong

Photo Challenge – Satisfaction

Couldn’t help myself. I know it’s not my own photography. In fact, it’s video and isn’t even photography. But … you know, “Can’t get no satisfaction!”

Because even just hearing the word, I have to hum the song! Time has certainly changed them. But then again, it has changed us all.

MORE G-L-O-R-I-A – Rich Paschall

Who Sang It Best? by Rich Paschall

Last weekend we told you about A Popular Girl who has many songs written about her. This is not the Gloria you are singing in church. This is a someone that many songwriters have encountered over the years. Today we are picking just one of the songs and asking you to chose the best version.

In 1964 singer-songwriter Van Morrison’s group, Them, recorded a song about Gloria as the B side of the blues standard, “Baby, Please Don’t Go.” Failure of some rock radio stations to play the Van Morrison version of Gloria due to objection of one line (“She comes to my room”), meant the song did not climb very high on the Billboard Hot 100: 93 in 1965, 71 in 1966.

In December 1965 The Shadows of Knight, a Chicago area band, released their cover of Gloria and the song made it to number 10 in 1966. It was helped by rock radio giant Chicago’s WLS 890 AM. The band changed the offending lyric to “She calls out my name” and some stations found it a better alternative to the original. It is the version I remember best.

The Doors covered the song a number of times in concert and versions can be found on live albums. In the following lead singer Jim Morrison just seems to be making up a lot of it as they went along, which he probably was.

Scottish rock band Simple Minds put there own spin on the song, released in 2001.

There are a long list of artists who have performed and/or recorded this song, but I will just give you my vote for Chicago’s own, The Shadows of Knight.

Just because it is floating around the internet, we will also give you Bill Murray.  No, he will not win any competition with this version. It is just for fun.

See also, “A Popular Girl”

A POPULAR GIRL – Rich Paschall

G-L-O-R-I-A, Rich Paschall

She sure is a popular girl. When you consider the number of songs titled “Gloria” and the many cover versions of those same songs, it seems like someone is always singing out her name. Lately, it seems everyone in St. Louis is singing about her, but that is another story that is best not told in Boston.

Leon Rene wrote a tune about this crowd-pleasing name in the 1940’s. Several groups had recorded the song and The Mills Brothers reached number 17 on the charts with a soft jazz version recorded in 1948. It was the doo wop version recorded in 1954 by the Cadillacs that became a big hit. So many groups covered the Cadillacs version that it is said to be one of the most covered songs of the doo wop era.

Van Morrison penned a memorable tune about Gloria and recorded it with his group Them in 1964. It was released as the B-side of another song and did not gain much traction. Rock radio giant WLS in Chicago would not play the tune because of one particular line which was changed by a Chicago band to be more acceptable.

Van Morrison

A group from the Chicago suburbs, The Shadows of Knight, made it to number 10 on the Billboard 100 with the Van Morrison composition.  Sounding more like a “garage band” of the time period, the hard driving version certainly made G-L-O-R-I-A smile.

Iconic Irish rockers U2 treated Gloria to a tune as well in 1981. While it achieved some success in other English speaking nations, it did not do so well in America. Nevertheless, it was often played in concert by the band.  Lead singer Bono said of the song in 1994, “It’s so wonderfully mad and epic and operatic. And of course Gloria is about a woman in the Van Morrison sense.”

In 1982 Laura Branigan gave Gloria a disco beat. The song was a rework of an Italian hit by Umberto Tozzi. The lyric was a true reworking, rather than an English translation which Tozzi also recorded. The hit by Branigan was her biggest and always on her performance list. For reasons you may have read the song, which has nothing to do with hockey, became a theme for the 2019 St. Louis Blues.

Appropriately enough, the official music video for Branigan’s Gloria starts out with a disco mirror ball.

Swedish rockers Mando Diao, a garage rock band for millenials, had a song for our girl in 2009. Recorded the previous year, it was a single from the album “Give Me Fire.”

“And, Gloria, did you finally see that enough is enough?”

In 2019 indie rockers The Lumineers had some words of caution for Gloria. The single is off the album III to be released in September and has topped the alternative radio charts.

See also: The Lumineers’ “Gloria” Enjoys 4th Week As Alternative Radio’s #1 Song, headlineplanet.com June 30, 2019.

THE WIND AND THE LION (1975) STARRING CANDICE BERGEN AND SEAN CONNERY – Marilyn Armstrong

wind and lionThe Wind and the Lion is an old-fashioned, romantic adventure tale set in turn of the century Morocco and Washington DC. Parallel stories, an ocean apart, the interlocking of which in many ways foretells the world we live in today.

President Theodore Roosevelt (Brian Keith) is facing an upcoming election. The nation is not thrilled about his handling of the Panama Canal project and although he is among the most popular presidents in many long years, re-election is anything but certain. Meanwhile, in Morocco, an American woman, Eden Pedecaris (Candice Bergen) and her two children are kidnapped by Berber brigand Mulai Ahmed er Raisuli (Sean Connery), triggering a variety of international incidents.

All of this is taking place not long before the opening of the first world war, after which nothing will ever be the same again. All the European powers, as well as the U.S., Japan, Russia, and Turkey,  have their eyes on strategically placed Morocco, headed by a weak sultan who is beset by civil unrest. The Pedecaris incident has given the various nations an opportunity to send in the troops.

And they do. All of them. Including, of course, America.

Meanwhile, out in the desert, there is Mrs. Pedecaris riding with the Berbers.

“You are a great deal of trouble, Mrs. Pedecaris,” says the Raisuli, sounding deliciously like James Bond. Indeed she is.  Ah, but what a woman! My kind of woman, one who will take up a sword and fight — for herself, her children and what is right, by golly.

Out in the desert are the Raisuli and Mrs. Pedicaris. He’s brave, handsome and sits a horse like nobody’s business. And she’s beautiful, fearless and proud. What a pair. I have always thought Candice Bergen among the most beautiful women ever. In this movie, she is magnificent as is Connery. They play off each other wonderfully. I don’t know if you could call Sean Connery, as a Berber Chieftain, exactly believable, but he is stunning. Flashing eyes, sharp tongue. A master of wit and charm.

It was probably the best role Brian Keith ever got too. He is entirely believable as Teddy Roosevelt. I’m ready to vote for him. Why not? At least he was straightforward about wanting the United States to militarily dominate the world and he created the national parks system.

They don’t make’em like that anymore.

The score was composed and conducted by Jerry Goldsmith who used an ensemble including a large percussion section and many Moroccan instruments. The music is haunting and although Jaws composer John Williams won that year’s Oscar, the score for The Wind and the Lion is stunning, possibly Goldsmith’s best; it was one of the American Film Institute’s 250 nominees for top 25 American film scores.

Filmed in Spain where the director, John Milius, had previously filmed his spaghetti westerns (even the scenes set in D.C. were actually shot in Madrid), the cinematography is breathtaking. Broad vistas, magnificent sunsets, deserts and battles on horseback with scimitars at the ready.

The film is accurate and sympathetic to Islam, making it one of the few American movies to become popular in Arab countries. It’s refreshing to see a movie that doesn’t automatically assume the only possible valid religion is Christianity.

When I say romantic, I mean it in the epic sense of the word. It’s a world filled with heroes and heroines who are larger than life. There’s not a superpower among them, but nonetheless, superheroes abound.

It’s a great movie. Without a bit of gore, grit, or gristle. No zombies, chain saws or special effects. No CGI. Just great photography, a delicious script, and terrific acting.

Because that’s what it takes to make a wonderful movie. Everything else is wrapping paper and ribbons.

THE LAST OF THE SILVER SCREEN COWBOYS – Garry Armstrong

A Nostalgic Spoof of Those Great Old Westerns

We watched “Rustler’s Rhapsody” again last night, this time with Rich Paschall who had never seen it before.

We love this movie. It’s an affectionate spoof of the B-Westerns of the 1940s starring Tom Berenger, Patrick Wayne, G.W. Baily (“Major Crimes” on which Berenger has a recurring guest role), Andy Griffith, and Fernando Rey.

The women include Sela Ward, a solid dramatic actress perhaps best remembered as Dr. Richard Kimble’s slain wife in the movie version of “The Fugitive.” There’s also Marilu Henner who riffs on all the “Miss Kitty/Miss Lily” saloon ladies of our favorite TV westerns.

Andy Griffith and Fernando Rey both play power-mad cattle barons. Fernando usually plays an international drug czar and you probably remember him in “The French Connection”. He is slimy sinister personified. Rey and Griffith make a very odd couple. Check out the scene where they argue about who gets to do the countdown for killing the hero. They are hilarious, but Andy Griffith steals the show.

We love the movie so much we owned three identical copies of it on DVD, one of which now belongs to Rich. It wasn’t going to be available for long, so we bought extras. Just in case.


rustler's rhapsody dvd cover

Tom Berenger is The Hero who shoots the bad guys in the hand. Pat Wayne is the other good guy, but he used to be a lawyer, so be warned. Casting Pat Wayne was an inspiration. “Rustler’s Rhapsody” could easily be an homage to his Dad’s ‘poverty row’ westerns of the 1930s. Pat even nails Duke’s acting range of that period.

My heroes have always been cowboys, even the stalwarts of those budget-challenged B movies. I had the good fortune to spend time with two legends of the genre. Buster Crabbe and Jack “Jock” Mahoney.

Crabbe, most famous for his “Flash Gordon” days, contends he had more fun playing the lead in the oaters where the line between good and bad is always clear and you get to wear nice costumes. He considers his westerns as “small classics” not B movies. (Crabbe continued his career into the late ’60s when producer A.C. Lyles revived the B cowboy movie with over the hill actors including Johnny Mack Brown, Rod Cameron, Bob Steele, Hoot Gibson and Richard Arlen among others).

Jack “Jock” Mahoney, known to many as TV’s “Range Rider,” is a former stuntman who graduated to supporting roles as nimble villains and finally established a following at Universal-International, playing literate good guys in lean, well-written westerns. Mahoney clearly is proud of his work in the B movies. I remember the smile on his face as he recalled the fun of being recognized as a cowboy hero.

I think all the cowboy actors I’ve met (Including John Wayne) would heartily approve of “Rustler’s Rhapsody”. It’s an affectionate tribute to their work.

This is the song they play at the end of the movie when the credits are rolling. I love the song and the memories it brings because I’m of the generation that went to the movies and watched those B movies as part of the afternoon doubleheader at the Carlton or Laurelton, the second or third-run movies houses where you could see two movies and a cartoon for a dime. Eleven cents if you were considered an adult. Which turned out to be any child older than 10, but they still made you sit in the kid’s section — which I firmly believed (and still believe) was unconstitutional.

Warner Brothers, 1982. “Last Of The Silver Screen Cowboys” by Rex Allen Jr. and Rex Allen Sr. Be sure to listen for Roy Rogers in the final commentary and chorus!

WHAT COULD POSSIBLY GO WRONG? – Marilyn Armstrong

Mid-Week Word Prompt – Haywire

We have a guaranteed way of making everything go haywire. All you have to do is say the following words:

I absolutely guarantee should you speak these words prior to any planned event … the universe will conspire to prove exactly how much can indeed go wrong!

These are the “haywire” words. You should never say them and if possible, don’t even think them!