Monday, April 30, 2012

Heaven Up Here - Echo and the Bunnymen

Heaven Up Here

Heaven Up Here is the second album by the British post-punk band Echo & the Bunnymen, released in 30 May 1981. In June 1981, Heaven Up Here became Echo & the Bunnymen's first Top 10 release when it reached number 10 on the UK Albums Chart. It was also the band's first entry into the United States albums charts when it reached number 184 of the Billboard 200. Heaven Up Here released the singles "A Promise" and "Over the Wall".

Recorded at Rockfield Studios near Monmouth in Wales, Heaven Up Here was co-produced by Hugh Jones and the band. A generally well received album by fans in the United Kingdom and by critics, Heaven Up Here won the "Best Dressed LP" and "Best Album" awards at the 1981 NME Awards. The album has also been listed at number 471 in Rolling Stone magazine's list of the 500 greatest albums of all time.

All tracks written by Will Sergeant, Ian McCulloch, Les Pattinson and Pete de Freitas.

Side one

1. "Show of Strength" – 4:50
2. "With a Hip" – 3:16
3. "Over the Wall" – 5:59
4. "It Was a Pleasure" – 3:12
5. "A Promise" – 4:08

Side two

1. "Heaven Up Here" – 3:45
2. "The Disease" – 2:28
3. "All My Colours" – 4:06
4. "No Dark Things" – 4:27
5. "Turquoise Days" – 3:51
6. "All I Want" – 4:09

2003 reissue bonus tracks

12. "Broke My Neck" (long version) – 7:22
13. "Show of Strength" (live) – 4:41
14. "The Disease" (live) – 1:53
15. "All I Want" (live) – 3:09
16. "Zimbo" (live) – 3:52

* Will Sergeant – lead guitar
* Ian McCulloch – vocals, rhythm guitar
* Les Pattinson – bass
* Pete de Freitas – drums
* Leslie Penny – woodwind
* Hugh Jones – producer, engineer
* The Bunnymen – producer
* Martyn Atkins – album design
* Brian Griffin – photography
* Andy Zax – producer (reissue)
* Bill Inglot – producer (reissue), remastering
* Dan Hersch – remastering
* Claes Naeb – engineering on "Broke My Neck" (long version)
* Rachel Gutek – album design (reissue)

Close Encounters of the Third Kind

Close Encounters of the Third Kind (30th Anniversary Ultimate Edition)

#64 on the 1998 AFI Top 100 American Movies List

Close Encounters of the Third Kind (sometimes abbreviated to CE3K and often referred to as just Close Encounters) is a 1977 science fiction film written and directed by Steven Spielberg. The film stars Richard Dreyfuss, François Truffaut, Melinda Dillon, Teri Garr, Bob Balaban, and Cary Guffey. It tells the story of Roy Neary, a lineman in Indiana, whose life changes after he has an encounter with an unidentified flying object (UFO). The United States government and an international team of scientific researchers are also aware of the UFOs.

Close Encounters was a long-cherished project for Spielberg. In late 1973, he developed a deal with Columbia Pictures for a science fiction film. Though Spielberg receives sole credit for the script, he was assisted by Paul Schrader, John Hill, David Giler, Hal Barwood, Matthew Robbins, and Jerry Belson, all of whom contributed to the screenplay in varying degrees. The title is derived from ufologist J. Allen Hynek's classification of close encounters with aliens, in which the third kind denotes human observations of actual aliens or "animate beings".

Filming began in May 1976. Douglas Trumbull served as the visual effects supervisor, while Carlo Rambaldi designed the aliens. Close Encounters was released in November 1977 and was a critical and financial success. The film was reissued in 1980 as Close Encounters of the Third Kind: The Special Edition, which featured additional scenes. A third cut of the film was released to home video (and later DVD) in 1998. The film received numerous awards and nominations at the 50th Academy Awards, 32nd British Academy Film Awards, the 35th Golden Globe Awards, the Saturn Awards and has been widely acclaimed by the American Film Institute. In December 2007, it was deemed "culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant" by the United States Library of Congress and selected for preservation in the National Film Registry

* Richard Dreyfuss as Roy Neary, an electrical lineman in Indiana who encounters and forms an obsession with unidentified flying objects. Steve McQueen was Spielberg's first choice. Although McQueen was impressed with the script, he felt he was not specifically right for the role as he was unable to cry on cue. Dustin Hoffman, Al Pacino, and Gene Hackman turned down the part as well.Jack Nicholson turned it down because of scheduling conflicts. Spielberg explained when filming Jaws, "Dreyfuss talked me into casting him. He listened to about 155-days worth of Close Encounters. He even contributed ideas." Dreyfuss reflected, "I launched myself into a campaign to get the part. I would walk by Steve's office and say stuff like 'Al Pacino has no sense of humor' or 'Jack Nicholson is too crazy'. I eventually convinced him to cast me."
* François Truffaut as Claude Lacombe, a French government scientist in charge of UFO-related activities in the United States. Gérard Depardieu, Philippe Noiret, Jean-Louis Trintignant, and Lino Ventura were considered for the role. During filming, Truffaut used his free time to write the script for The Man Who Loved Women. He also worked on a novel titled The Actor, a project he abandoned.
* Melinda Dillon as Jillian Guiler, Barry's single mother. She forms a similar obsession to Roy's, and the two become friends. Teri Garr wanted to portray Jillian, but was cast as Ronnie. Hal Ashby, who worked with Dillon on Bound for Glory, suggested her for the part to Spielberg. Dillon was cast three days before filming began.
* Cary Guffey as Barry Guiler, Jillian's young child abducted in the middle of the film. Spielberg conducted a series of method acting techniques to help Guffey, who was cast when he was just three years old.
* Teri Garr as Veronica "Ronnie" Neary, Roy's wife. Amy Irving (who later became Spielberg's wife) auditioned for the role.
* Bob Balaban as David Laughlin, Lacombe's assistant and English-French interpreter. They meet for the first time in the Sonoran Desert at the beginning of the film.
* Josef Sommer as Larry Butler, a curious man who meets Roy and Jillian in Wyoming and attempts to scale Devil's Tower with them.
* Lance Henriksen as Robert. Henriksen would go on to star in such sci-fi classics as The Terminator and Aliens.
* Roberts Blossom as Farmer, a radical who claims to have seen Sasquatch.

J. Allen Hynek and Stanton T. Friedman make cameo appearances at the closing scene. Spielberg's friends Hal Barwood and Matthew Robbins cameo as two World War II pilots returning from the mother ship. Real life ARP technician Phil Dodds cameos as the operator of the ARP 2500 synthesizer communicating with the alien ship.

Sunday, April 29, 2012

Def Leppard Hysteria


Hysteria is the fourth studio album by the English rock band Def Leppard. It was released on 3 August 1987 through Mercury Records. It is the band's best-selling album to date, selling over 20 million copies worldwide, and spawning six hit singles. The album charted at #1 on the Billboard 200 and #1 on the UK Albums Chart.

Hysteria was produced by Robert John "Mutt" Lange. The title of the album was thought up by drummer Rick Allen, relating to his experiences during the time of his auto accident, and the worldwide media coverage that followed. It's also the last album to feature guitarist Steve Clark, but their next album, Adrenalize is the last to feature his songwriting.

The album was the follow-up to the band's 1983 breakthrough Pyromania. Its creation process took over three years having been plagued by many trials, such as the 31 December 1984 car accident that cost Rick Allen his left arm. Subsequent to the release of the album, Def Leppard published a book entitled Animal Instinct: The Def Leppard Story, written by Rolling Stone magazine Senior Editor David Fricke on the recording process of Hysteria over the 3+ years it took to record the album and the tough times the band went through.

The album has earned critical acclaim from a number of sources. In 1988 Q magazine readers voted Hysteria as the 98th Greatest Album of All Time, while in 2004, the album was ranked at number 472 on Rolling Stone's list of the 500 Greatest Albums of All Time

Side one
No. Title Length
1. "Women" 5:41
2. "Rocket" 6:37
3. "Animal" 4:02
4. "Love Bites" 5:46
5. "Pour Some Sugar on Me" 4:25
6. "Armageddon It" 5:21
7. "Gods of War" 6:37
8. "Don't Shoot Shotgun" 4:26
9. "Run Riot" 4:39
10. "Hysteria" 5:54
11. "Excitable" 4:19
12. "Love and Affection" 4:37

* Joe Elliott – lead vocals
* Steve Clark – guitars
* Phil Collen – guitars
* Rick Savage – bass
* Rick Allen – drums

Additional personnel
* The Bankrupt Brothers (another joking reference to Def Leppard themselves) – backing vocals
* Philip Nicholas – Fairlight programming

* Robert John "Mutt" Lange – producer
* Nigel Green – engineer, assistant engineer, mixing
* Erwin Musper – engineer
* Ronald Prent – engineer
* Mike Shipley – mixing
* Bob Ludwig – mastering
* Howie Weinberg – mastering
* Ross Halfin – photography
* Laurie Lewis – photography
* Mark Flannery – tape operator

Artwork design
* Andie Airfix @ Satori

For those that missed the first posts, I'm doing an homage a day to the 2003 Rolling Stone Magazine list of the top 500 albums ever, one LP a day until I've been through them all. Let me know how they still stand up, and whether you'd include the albums on a list like that! For the original list, go here.

The Silence of the Lambs

The Silence of the Lambs

#65 (1998) and #74 (2007) on the AFI Top 100 American Movies list.

The Silence of the Lambs is a 1991 American thriller film that blends elements of the crime and horror genres. It was directed by Jonathan Demme and stars Jodie Foster, Anthony Hopkins, Ted Levine, and Scott Glenn. It is based on the novel of the same name by Thomas Harris, his second to feature Hannibal Lecter, a brilliant psychiatrist and cannibalistic serial killer.

In the film, Clarice Starling, a young FBI trainee, seeks the advice of the imprisoned Dr. Lecter to apprehend another serial killer, known only as "Buffalo Bill".

The Silence of the Lambs was released on February 14, 1991, and grossed over $272 million. The film was the third film to win Oscars in all the top five categories: Best Picture, Best Actress, Best Actor, Best Director and Best Adapted Screenplay. The film is considered "culturally, historically or aesthetically" significant by the US Library of Congress and has been selected to be preserved in the National Film Registry

* Jodie Foster as Clarice Starling
* Anthony Hopkins as Dr. Hannibal Lecter
* Scott Glenn as Jack Crawford
* Ted Levine as Jame Gumb, "Buffalo Bill"
* Anthony Heald as Frederick Chilton
* Brooke Smith as Catherine Martin
* Diane Baker as Senator Ruth Martin
* Kasi Lemmons as Ardelia Mapp
* Frankie Faison as Barney Matthews
* Tracey Walter as Lamar
* Charles Napier as Lt. Boyle
* Danny Darst as Sgt. Tate
* Alex Coleman as Sgt. Jim Pembry
* Dan Butler as Roden
* Paul Lazar as Pilcher
* Ron Vawter as Paul Krendler
* Roger Corman as FBI Director Hayden Burke
* Chris Isaak as SWAT Commander
* Harry Northup as Mr. Bimmel
* Masha Skorobogatov as Young Clarice Starling
* Don Brockett as cellmate and "Pen Pal"

The film won five major Academy Awards: Best Picture, Best Actress (Foster), Best Actor (Hopkins), Best Director (Demme) and Best Adapted Screenplay (Ted Tally), making it the third film in history to receive the "Big Five" Academy Awards. It was also nominated for Best Sound (Tom Fleischman and Christopher Newman) and Best Film Editing, but lost to Terminator 2: Judgment Day and JFK, respectively.

Other awards include best picture from the National Board of Review, CHI Awards and PEO Awards. Demme won the Silver Bear for Best Director at the 41st Berlin International Film Festival and was nominated for the Golden Globe Award for Best Director. The film was nominated as best film by the British Academy of Film and Television Arts (BAFTA) Awards. Screenwriter Ted Tally received an Edgar Award for Best Motion Picture Screenplay. The film was awarded Best Horror Film of the Year during the 2nd Horror Hall of Fame telecast, with Vincent Price presenting the award to the film's executive producer Gary Goetzman.

In 1998, the film was listed as one of the 100 greatest movies in the past 100 years by the American Film Institute. In 2006, at the Key Art Awards, the original poster for The Silence of the Lambs was named best film poster "of the past 35 years".

The Silence of the Lambs placed seventh on Bravo's 100 Scariest Movie Moments for Lecter's infamous escape scene. The American Film Institute named Hannibal Lecter (as portrayed by Hopkins) the number one film villain of all time and Clarice Starling (as portrayed by Foster) the sixth greatest film hero of all time.

Saturday, April 28, 2012

A Rush of Blood to the Head - Coldplay

A Rush of Blood to the Head

A Rush of Blood to the Head is the second studio album by English rock band Coldplay. Released on 26 August 2002 in the UK through the label Parlophone, the album was produced by the band and British record producer Ken Nelson. Recording started after the band became popular worldwide with the release of their debut album, Parachutes, and one of its singles in particular, "Yellow". Attitudes to songwriting were affected by the September 11 attacks in the United States, which occurred the week before recording started. The songs featured in the album have a greater use of piano and electric guitar than its predecessor.

The album was made available in August 2002, two months after its original planned release date. It was released on 27 August in the United States through Capitol Records. Capitol released a remastered version of the album in 2008 on a 180-gram vinyl record as part of the "From the Capitol Vaults" series. The album debuted and continued their huge commercial legacy, an ongoing pattern that began with Parachutes which made Coldplay one of the best-selling bands worldwide. It topped the UK Album Charts upon its first week of release in the United Kingdom, and became the eighth biggest-selling albums in the 21st century in the UK. The British Phonographic Industry has since certified the album 9x platinum for its accumulated sales of over 2.7 million units in Britain and over 15 million worldwide. The album spawned the hit singles "In My Place", "The Scientist", "Clocks", and "God Put a Smile upon Your Face".

A Rush of Blood to the Head has been critically acclaimed, and it won the band the 2003 Grammy for Best Alternative Album for the second time in a row, successive to their previous win in the same category, and the 2004 Grammy for Record of the Year for the song "Clocks". The album is considered to be the band's magnum opus. In 2003 it was ranked number 473 on Rolling Stone's 500 Greatest Albums of All Time.

No. Title Length
1. "Politik" 5:18
2. "In My Place" 3:48
3. "God Put a Smile upon Your Face" 4:57
4. "The Scientist" 5:09
5. "Clocks" 5:07
6. "Daylight" 5:27
7. "Green Eyes" 3:43
8. "Warning Sign" 5:31
9. "A Whisper" 3:58
10. "A Rush of Blood to the Head" 5:51
11. "Amsterdam" 5:19


* Chris Martin – vocals, guitar, keyboards
* Jon Buckland – guitar
* Guy Berryman – bass
* Will Champion – drums


* Produced by Coldplay and Ken Nelson
* Engineered and mixed by Coldplay, Ken Nelson and Rik Simpson
* Additional production and mixing by Mark Phythian



#66 (1998) and #64 (2007) on the AFI Top 100 American movies List

Network is a 1976 American satirical film released by Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer about a fictional television network, Union Broadcasting System (UBS), and its struggle with poor ratings. The film was written by Paddy Chayefsky and directed by Sidney Lumet. It stars Faye Dunaway, William Holden, Peter Finch and Robert Duvall and features Wesley Addy, Ned Beatty, and Beatrice Straight.

The film won four Academy Awards, in the categories of Best Actor (Finch), Best Actress (Dunaway), Best Supporting Actress (Straight), and Best Original Screenplay (Chayefsky).

In 2000, the film was selected for preservation in the United States National Film Registry by the Library of Congress as being "culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant". In 2002, it was inducted into the Producers Guild of America Hall of Fame as a film that has "set an enduring standard for U.S. American entertainment". In 2006, Chayefsky's script was voted one of the top-ten screenplays by the Writers Guild of America, East. In 2007, the film was 64th among the 100 greatest American films as chosen by the American Film Institute, a ranking slightly higher than the one AFI had given it ten years earlier.

* Faye Dunaway as Diana Christensen
* William Holden as Max Schumacher
* Peter Finch as Howard Beale
* Robert Duvall as Frank Hackett
* Wesley Addy as Nelson Chaney
* Ned Beatty as Arthur Jensen
* Beatrice Straight as Louise Schumacher
* Jordan Charney as Harry Hunter
* Lane Smith as Robert McDonough
* Marlene Warfield as Laureen Hobbs
* Conchata Ferrell as Barbara Schlesinger
* Carolyn Krigbaum as Max's secretary
* Arthur Burghardt as the Great Ahmet Khan
* Cindy Grover as Caroline Schumacher
* Darryl Hickman as Bill Herron
* Lee Richardson as Narrator (voice)

# Kathy Cronkite (Walter Cronkite's daughter) appears as kidnapped heiress, Mary Ann Gifford
# Lance Henriksen has a small uncredited role as a network lawyer at Ahmet Khan's home
# Some sources, including IMDB, indicate that Tim Robbins has a small, non-speaking role at the end of the film as one of the assassins who kills Beale; however, Robbins has publicly stated that he did not appear in the film.

Part of the inspiration for Chayefsky's script came from the on-air suicide of television news reporter Christine Chubbuck in Sarasota, Florida two years earlier. The anchorwoman was suffering from depression and battles with her editors, and unable to keep going, she shot herself on camera as stunned viewers watched on July 15, 1974. Chayefsky used the incident to set up his film's focal point. As he would say later in an interview, "Television will do anything for a rating... anything!"

The character of network executive Diana Christiansen was based on NBC daytime television programming executive Lin Bolen, which Bolen disputed.

Chayefsky and producer Howard Gottfried had just come off a lawsuit against United Artists, challenging the studio's right to lease their previous film, The Hospital, to ABC in a package with a less successful film. Despite this recent lawsuit, Chayefsky and Gottfried signed a deal with UA to finance Network, until UA found the subject matter too controversial and backed out.

Undeterred, Chayefsky and Gottfried shopped the script around to other studios, and eventually found an interested party in MGM. Soon afterward, UA reversed itself and looked to co-finance the film with MGM, which for the past several years had distributed through UA in the US. MGM agreed to let UA back on board, and gave it the international distribution rights, with MGM controlling North American rights.

The film premiered in New York City on November 27, 1976, and went into wide release shortly afterward.

Friday, April 27, 2012

Otis Redding Live in Europe

Live in Europe

For those that missed the first posts, I'm doing an homage a day to the 2003 Rolling Stone Magazine list of the top 500 albums ever, one LP a day until I've been through them all. Let me know how they still stand up, and whether you'd include the albums on a list like that! For the original list, go here.

Live in Europe is a live album from soul singer Otis Redding. It was Redding's first live album as well as the only live album released during his lifetime, issued exactly five months before his death on December 10, 1967. The album was recorded during the Stax/Volt tour of Europe and Redding is backed by Booker T. & the MG's. Recorded at the Olympia Theatre, Paris; March 21, 1967.

The album is currently available on CD, digitally remastered by Bill Inglot and Dan Hersch as part of the Atlantic & Atco Remasters Series. In 2003, the album was ranked number 474 on Rolling Stone magazine's list of the 500 greatest albums of all time.

Side one
No. Title Writer(s) Length
1. "Respect" Otis Redding 3:00
2. "Can't Turn You Loose" Redding 3:20
3. "I've Been Loving You Too Long" Jerry Butler, Redding 3:40
4. "My Girl" Smokey Robinson, Ronald White 2:44
5. "Shake" Sam Cooke 2:51
Side two
No. Title Writer(s) Length
6. "(I Can't Get No) Satisfaction" Mick Jagger, Keith Richards 2:53
7. "Fa-Fa-Fa-Fa-Fa (Sad Song)" Steve Cropper, Redding 3:37
8. "These Arms of Mine" Redding 2:57
9. "Day Tripper" John Lennon, Paul McCartney 2:54
10. "Try a Little Tenderness" James Campbell, Reginald Connelly, Harry M. Woods 5:00

The Manchurian Candidate

The Manchurian Candidate (Special Edition)

#67 on the 1998 AFI List of the 100 Best American Movies
The Manchurian Candidate is a 1962 American Cold War political thriller film starring Frank Sinatra, Laurence Harvey, Janet Leigh and Angela Lansbury, and featuring Henry Silva, James Gregory, Leslie Parrish and John McGiver. The picture was directed by John Frankenheimer from an adaptation by George Axelrod of Richard Condon's 1959 novel.

The central concept of the film is that the son of a prominent, right-wing political family has been brainwashed as an unwitting assassin for an international Communist conspiracy. The Manchurian Candidate was nationally released on Wednesday, October 24, 1962, at the height of the Cuban Missile Crisis.

* Frank Sinatra as Maj. Bennett Marco
* Laurence Harvey as Raymond Shaw
* Angela Lansbury as Mrs. Iselin
* Janet Leigh as Eugenie Rose Chaney
* James Gregory as Sen. John Yerkes Iselin
* Henry Silva as Chunjin
* Leslie Parrish as Jocelyn Jordan
* John McGiver as Sen. Thomas Jordan
* Khigh Dhiegh as Dr. Yen Lo
* James Edwards as Cpl. Allen Melvin
* Douglas Henderson as Col. Milt
* Albert Paulsen as Zilkov
* Barry Kelley as Secretary of Defense
* Lloyd Corrigan as Holborn Gaines
* Robert Riordan as Benjamin K. Arthur

For the role of Mrs. Iselin, Sinatra had considered Lucille Ball, but Frankenheimer, who had worked with Lansbury in All Fall Down, suggested her for the part and insisted that Sinatra watch the film before making any decisions. (Although Lansbury played Raymond Shaw's mother, she was in fact only three years older than actor Laurence Harvey.)

An early scene where Raymond, recently decorated with the Medal of Honor, argues with his parents was filmed in Sinatra's own private plane.

Janet Leigh plays Marco's love interest. A bizarre conversation on a train between her character and Marco has been interpreted by some—notably film critic Roger Ebert—as implying that Leigh's character, Eugenie Rose Chaney, is working for the Communists to activate Marco's brainwashing, much as the Queen of Diamonds activates Shaw's. It is a jarringly strange conversation between people who have only just met, and almost appears to be an exchange of passwords. Frankenheimer himself maintained that he had no idea whether or not "Rosie" was supposed to be an agent of any sort; he merely lifted the train conversation straight from the Condon novel, in which there is no such implication. The rest of the film does not elaborate on Rosie's part and latter scenes suggest that she is simply a romantic foil for Marco.

During the fight scene between Frank Sinatra and Henry Silva, Sinatra broke his hand during a movement where he smashed through a table. This resulted in problems with his hand/fingers for several years and is said to be one of the reasons why he pulled out of a starring role in Dirty Harry, having to undertake surgery to alleviate pains.

The interrogation sequence where Raymond and Marco confront each other in the hotel room opposite the convention are the rough cuts. When first filmed Sinatra was out of focus and when they tried to re-shoot the scene he was simply not as effective as he had been in the first take (a common factor in Sinatra's film performances). Frustrated, Frankenheimer decided in the end to simply use the original out-of-focus takes. Critics praised him for showing Marco from Raymond's distorted point-of-view.

In the novel, Mrs. Iselin uses her son's brainwashing to have sex with him before the climax. Concerned that censors would not allow even a reference to such a taboo subject in a mainstream motion picture of the time, the filmmakers instead opted for Mrs. Iselin to simply kiss Raymond on the lips to imply her incestuous attraction to him.

For the scene in the convention hall prior to the assassination, Frankenheimer was at a loss as to how Marco would pinpoint Raymond Shaw's sniper's nest. Eventually he decided on a method similar to Alfred Hitchcock's Foreign Correspondent (1940). Frankenheimer noted that what would be plagiarism in the 1960s would now be looked upon as an homage.

Frankenheimer also acknowledged the climax's connection with Hitchcock's The Man Who Knew Too Much (1934 and 1956) by naming the Presidential candidate "Benjamin Arthur". Arthur Benjamin was the composer of the cantata "Storm Clouds" used in both versions of Hitchcock's film.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Bruce Springsteen Tunnel of Love

Tunnel of Love

Tunnel of Love is the eighth studio album by Bruce Springsteen released in 1987.
In 1998, Q magazine readers voted Tunnel of Love the 91st greatest album of all time.
In 1989, the album was ranked #25 on Rolling Stone magazine's list of the "100 greatest albums of the 1980s". In 2003, the same magazine ranked it at number 475 on their list of the 500 greatest albums of all time.

The album, the last of Springsteen's work that was created in the Side 1/2 format of an LP, is one of Springsteen's least performed set of songs. The New York Times' Jon Pareles wrote that Tunnel of Love "turned inward, pondering love gone wrong. His first marriage, to the actress Julianne Phillips fell apart; he also decided to part ways with the E Street Band." "Brilliant Disguise" has been called "a heart wrenching song about never being really able to know someone," and "a song about the doubts and struggles of married life."

Members of the E Street Band were used sparingly on the album; Springsteen recorded most of the parts himself, often with drum machines and synthesizers. Although the album's liner notes list the E Street Band members under that name, Shore Fire Media, Springsteen's public relations firm, does not count it as an E Street Band album and The Rising was advertised as "his first studio album with the E Street Band since 'Born in the USA'".

On the B-sides of vinyl and cassette singles, outtakes like "Lucky Man", "Two for the Road" and a vintage 1979 track, "Roulette" were included. On the mini-album that accompanied the 1988 tour, Springsteen included album cut "Tougher Than The Rest", but included another River outtake, "Be True" a rearranged, acoustic "Born To Run", and the Bob Dylan cover, "Chimes of Freedom".

Commercially the album went triple platinum in the US, with "Brilliant Disguise" being one of his biggest hit singles, peaking at #5 on the Billboard Hot 100, "Tunnel of Love" also making the Top 10, reaching #9, and "One Step Up" just falling short.

The 1988 Springsteen and E Street Band Tunnel of Love Express tour would showcase the album's songs, sometimes in arrangements courtesy of The Miami Horns

All songs written by Bruce Springsteen.
Side one
No. Title Length
1. "Ain't Got You" 2:11
2. "Tougher Than the Rest" 4:35
3. "All That Heaven Will Allow" 2:39
4. "Spare Parts" 3:44
5. "Cautious Man" 3:58
6. "Walk Like a Man" 3:45
Side two
No. Title Length
1. "Tunnel of Love" 5:12
2. "Two Faces" 3:03
3. "Brilliant Disguise" 4:17
4. "One Step Up" 4:22
5. "When You're Alone" 3:24
6. "Valentine's Day" 5:10

* Roy Bittan – piano on "Brilliant Disguise", synthesizers on "Tunnel of Love"
* Clarence Clemons – vocals on "When You're Alone"
* Danny Federici – organ on "Tougher Than the Rest", "Spare Parts", "Two Faces", and "Brilliant Disguise"
* Nils Lofgren – guitar solo on "Tunnel of Love", vocals on "When You're Alone"
* Patti Scialfa – vocals on "Tunnel of Love", "One Step Up" and "When You're Alone"
* Bruce Springsteen – lead vocals, guitar, bass guitar, keyboards, sound effects, harmonica
* Garry Tallent – bass guitar on "Spare Parts"
* Max Weinberg – drums on "All That Heaven Will Allow", "Two Faces" and "When You're Alone"; percussion on "Tougher Than the Rest", "Spare Parts", "Walk Like a Man", "Tunnel of Love", and "Brilliant Disguise"

Additional musician

* James Wood – harmonica on "Spare Parts"


* Bob Clearmountain – mixing
* Jay Healy – mixing assistant
* Bob Ludwig – mastering
* Mark McKenna – mixing assistant
* Roger Talkov – engineer

Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?

Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf

#67 on the 2007 AFI List of 100 Top American Films
Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? is a 1966 American drama film directed by Mike Nichols. The screenplay by Ernest Lehman is an adaptation of the play of the same title by Edward Albee. It stars Elizabeth Taylor as Martha and Richard Burton as George, with George Segal as Nick and Sandy Dennis as Honey.

The film was nominated for thirteen Academy Awards, including Best Picture and Best Director for Mike Nichols, and is the only film to be nominated in every eligible category at the Academy Awards. All the four main actors of the film were nominated for Best Actor, Best Actress, Best Supporting Actor and Best Supporting Actress.

The film won five awards, including a second Academy Award for Best Actress for Elizabeth Taylor and the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress for Sandy Dennis. However, the film lost to A Man for All Seasons for the Best Picture, Best Director, Best Actor and Best Adapted Screenplay awards, and both Richard Burton and George Segal failed to win in their categories.

* Elizabeth Taylor as Martha
* Richard Burton as George
* George Segal as Nick
* Sandy Dennis as Honey

The choice of Elizabeth Taylor—at the time regarded as one of the most beautiful women in the world—to play the frumpy, fifty-ish Martha surprised many, but the actress gained 30 pounds (13.5 kg) for the role and her performance (along with those of Burton, Segal and Dennis) was ultimately praised. When Jack Warner approached Albee about buying the film rights for the play, he told Albee that he wanted to cast Bette Davis and James Mason in the roles of Martha and George. In the script, Martha references Davis and quotes her famous "What a dump!" line from the film Beyond the Forest (1949). Playwright Edward Albee was delighted by this cast, believing that "James Mason seemed absolutely right...and to watch Bette Davis do that Bette Davis imitation in that first scene—that would have been so wonderful." However, fearing that the talky, character-driven story would land with a resounding thud—and that audiences would grow weary of watching two hours of screaming between a harridan and a wimp—Nichols and Lehman cast stars Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton. Edward Albee was surprised by the casting decision, but later stated that Taylor was quite good, and Burton was incredible. In the end though, he still felt that "with Mason and Davis you would have had a less flashy and ultimately deeper film."

Edward Albee's 1962 play was replete with dialogue that included multiple instances of "goddamn" and "son-of-a-bitch", along with "screw you", "up yours", "great nipples", and "hump the hostess". Opening on Broadway during the Cuban Missile Crisis, audiences who had gone to the theater to forget the threat of nuclear war were instead assaulted by language and situations they had not seen before outside of experimental theater.

The immediate reaction of the theater audiences, eventually voiced by critics, was that Albee had created a play that would be a great success on Broadway, but could never be filmed in anything like its current form. Neither the audience nor the critics understood how much the Hollywood landscape was changing in the 1960s, and that it could no longer live with any meaningful Production Code. In bringing the play to the screen, Ernest Lehman decided he would not change the dialogue that had shocked veteran theatergoers in New York only four years earlier. Despite serious opposition to this decision, Lehman prevailed.

As filming began, the Catholic Legion of Motion Pictures (formerly the Catholic Legion of Decency), issued a preliminary report that, if what they heard was true, they might have to slap Virginia Woolf with the once-dreaded "condemned" rating, although they promised to wait to see the film. The Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) followed with an even stronger statement, warning the studio—without promising to wait for a screening—that if they were really thinking of leaving the Broadway play's language intact, they could forget about getting a Seal of Approval.

Warner Brothers studio executives sat down to look at a rough cut, without music, and a Life magazine reporter was present. He printed the following quote from one of the studio chiefs: "My God! We've got a seven million dollar dirty movie on our hands!"

The film was considered groundbreaking for having a level of profanity and sexual implication unheard of at that time. Jack Valenti, who had just become president of the MPAA in 1966, had abolished the old Production Code. In order for the film to be released with MPAA approval, Warner Bros. agreed to minor deletions of certain profanities and to have a special warning placed on all advertisements for the film, indicating adult content. Even the Catholic Office refused to "condemn" the film. It was this film and another groundbreaking film, Michelangelo Antonioni's Blow-Up (1966), that led Jack Valenti to begin work on the MPAA film rating system that went into effect on November 1, 1968. It is also said that Jack Warner chose to pay a fine of $5,000 in order to remain as faithful to the play (with its profanity) as possible.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

The Paul Butterfield Blues Band

Butterfield Blues Band

The Paul Butterfield Blues Band is the debut album by Paul Butterfield, released in 1965 on Elektra Records, EKS 7294 in stereo, EKL 294 in mono. It peaked at #123 on the Billboard pop albums chart. In 2003, the album was ranked number 476 on Rolling Stone magazine's list of the 500 greatest albums of all time, and at #11 on Down Beat magazine's list of the top 50 blues albums. In late 1964, a friend of Elektra house producer Paul Rothchild told him that the "best band in the world was on stage at a blues bar in Chicago." Rothchild took a plane to Chicago to see the Butterfield quartet, and later the same night went to a different club and saw guitarist Mike Bloomfield with a different band. According to Rothchild, it was at his impetus that Paul Butterfield hired Bloomfield as his second guitar alongside Elvin Bishop. The Butterfield rhythm section of Jerome Arnold and Sam Lay had been hired away from Howlin' Wolf.

Sessions were arranged for December, 1964, but these were abandoned for live recordings from the Cafe Au Go Go in New York City after the band's appearance at the Newport Folk Festival. The earlier studio recordings were eventually released on The Original Lost Elektra Sessions in 1995. Upon hearing the live tapes, Rothchild still remained dissatisfied, and the band went into the studio in September 1965 in an attempt to record the album for the third time. The guitar solos were all played by Bloomfield, Bishop relegated to rhythm guitar. Keyboardist Mark Naftalin was drafted in at the September sessions and asked to join the band by Butterfield, expanding it to a sextet.

The album presents band originals and songs in the style of electric Chicago blues. It is a milestone in the history of blues music as one of the first blues albums featuring a white singer, paralleling the British blues movement and anticipating the blues-rock phenomenon of the late 1960s. On October 29, 2001, a reissue of this album remastered by Bob Irwin at Sundazed Studios and coupled with East-West appeared on Rhino WEA UK for the European market.

No. Title Writer(s) Length
1. "Born in Chicago" Nick Gravenites 2:55
2. "Shake Your Moneymaker" Elmore James 2:27
3. "Blues with a Feeling" Walter Jacobs 4:20
4. "Thank You Mr. Poobah" Mike Bloomfield, Paul Butterfield, Mark Naftalin 4:05
5. "Got My Mojo Working" Muddy Waters 3:30
6. "Mellow Down Easy" Willie Dixon 2:48
Side two
No. Title Writer(s) Length
1. "Screamin'" Mike Bloomfield 4:30
2. "Our Love Is Drifting" Mike Bloomfield, Elvin Bishop 3:25
3. "Mystery Train" Junior Parker, Sam Phillips 2:45
4. "Last Night" Walter Jacobs 4:15
5. "Look Over Yonders Wall" James Clark 2:23

* Paul Butterfield — vocals, harmonica
* Mike Bloomfield — electric guitar
* Elvin Bishop — electric guitar
* Mark Naftalin — organ on "Blues with A Feeling," "Thank You Mr. Poobah," "Screamin'," "Our Love Is Drifting," "Mystery Train," and "Last Night"
* Jerome Arnold — bass
* Sam Lay — drums lead vocal on "I Got My Mojo Working"

An American In Paris

An American in Paris

#68 on the 1998 AFI Top 100 American Films List
An American in Paris is a 1951 MGM musical film inspired by the 1928 orchestral composition by George Gershwin. Starring Gene Kelly, Leslie Caron, Oscar Levant, Georges Guetary, and Nina Foch, the film is set in Paris, and was directed by Vincente Minnelli from a script by Alan Jay Lerner. The music is by George Gershwin, with lyrics by his brother Ira, with additional music by Saul Chaplin, the music director.

The story of the film is interspersed with dance numbers choreographed by Gene Kelly and set to Gershwin's music. Songs and music include "I Got Rhythm", "I'll Build A Stairway to Paradise", " 'S Wonderful", and "Our Love is Here to Stay". The climax of the film is "The American in Paris" ballet, a 16 minute dance featuring Kelly and Caron set to Gershwin's An American in Paris. The ballet alone cost more than $500,000

* Gene Kelly as Jerry Mulligan
* Leslie Caron as Lise Bouvier
* Oscar Levant as Adam Cook
* Georges Guétary as Henri "Hank" Baurel
* Nina Foch as Milo Roberts

Cast notes

* Hayden Rorke, best known for playing Dr. Bellows on the TV series I Dream of Jeannie, has a small part as a friend of Nina Foch's character.
* Noel Neill, later to portray Lois Lane on the TV series The Adventures of Superman, has a small role as an American art student who tries to criticize Jerry Mulligan's paintings.
* Judy Landon, better known for her appearance in Kelly's next musical Singin' in the Rain (and as the wife of Brian Keith), appears as a dancer in the Stairway to Paradise sequence.

Music and dance

* "Embraceable You" (Leslie Caron)
* "Nice Work If You Can Get It" (Georges Guétary)
* "By Strauss" (Gene Kelly, Guétary, Oscar Levant)
* "I Got Rhythm" (Kelly)
* "Tra-la-la (This Time It's Really Love)" (Kelly and Levant)
* "Our Love Is Here to Stay" (Kelly and Caron)
* "I'll Build a Stairway to Paradise" (Georges Guétary)
* "Concerto in F for Piano and Orchestra" (Levant and The MGM Symphony Orchestra)
* " 'S Wonderful" (Kelly and Guétary)
* "An American in Paris Ballet" (Kelly, Caron, and ensemble)

The film was shot in Hollywood, so it features some quirks in the occasional French dialogue. Notably, near the beginning of the I Got Rhythm number, one of the French children says Jerry, parle anglais à nous, which sounds rather curious, containing mistakes both in direct object placement and in respectful address. In the French soundtrack, which switches to the original sound for the duration of the songs, the à nous is masked through a plop sound, to make the sentence more palatable.

Hollywood movies set in France seldom used location shooting or native speakers. However, great care was sometimes put into reproducing Paris surroundings, as in An American in Paris or Irma La Douce. Many French Paris-set movies of this era avoided location work too, and sometimes the same art directors (Alexandre Trauner being the best known example) worked on both sides of the Atlantic Ocean.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Fugees The Score

The Score

The Score is the second and final studio album by the hip hop trio Fugees, released worldwide February 13, 1996 on Columbia Records. The album features a wide range of samples and instrumentation, with many aspects of alternative hip hop that would come to dominate the hip hop music scene in the mid-late 1990s. The Score's production was handled mostly by the Fugees themselves and Jerry Duplessis, with additional production from Salaam Remi, John Forté, Shawn King, and Diamond D. The album's guest raps are from Outsidaz' members Rah Digga, Young Zee and Pacewon, as well as Omega, John Forté, and Diamond D. Most versions of the album feature four bonus tracks, including three remixes of "Fu-Gee-La", and a short acoustic Wyclef Jean solo track entitled "Mista Mista."

Upon its release, The Score was a commercial success, peaking at the number one spot on both the Billboard 200, and the Top R&B/Hip Hop Albums chart (it was a number-one album on the latter in 1996 on the year-end chart). The singles "Killing Me Softly," "Fu-Gee-La," and "Ready or Not" also achieved notable chart success, and helped the group achieve worldwide recognition. On October 3, 1997, The Score was certified six times platinum by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA). In addition to receiving mostly favorable reviews upon its release, the album has garnered a considerable amount of acclaim over the years, with many music critics and publications noting it as one of the greatest albums of the 1990s, as well as one of the greatest hip hop albums of all time. In 1998, the album was included in The Source's 100 best rap albums list, and in 2003, it was ranked number 477 on Rolling Stone magazine's list of the 500 greatest albums of all time.

1 "Red Intro"
* DJ Red Alert / Ras Baraka
—— —— 1:52

2 "How Many Mics"
* Intro: Wyclef Jean / Lauryn Hill
* Chorus: Wyclef Jean / Lauryn Hill
* First verse: Lauryn Hill
* Second verse: Wyclef Jean
* Third verse: Pras
Shawn King,
Jerry Duplessis
* "Twilight Time" performed by The Moody Blues

3 "Ready or Not"
* Chorus: Lauryn Hill
* First verse: Wyclef Jean
* Second verse: Lauryn Hill
* Third verse: Pras
Jerry Duplessis
* "Boadicea" performed by Enya
* "Django" performed by Modern Jazz Quartet
* "Ready or Not, Here I Come (Can't Hide from Love)" performed by The Delfonics
* "God Made Me Funky" performed by The Headhunters

4 "Zealots"
* Chorus: Wyclef Jean
* First verse: Wyclef Jean
* Second verse: Lauryn Hill
* Third verse: Wyclef Jean
* Fourth verse: Pras
Jerry Duplessis
* "I Only Have Eyes for You" performed by The Flamingos
* "I Ain't Got Nothin' " performed by The Temptations

5 "The Beast"
* Chorus: Wyclef Jean
* First verse: Lauryn Hill
* Second verse: Wyclef Jean
* Third verse: Wyclef Jean
* Fourth verse: Lauryn Hill
* Fifth verse: Wyclef Jean
* Sixth verse: Wyclef Jean
* Seventh verse: Pras
Jerry Duplessis —— 5:37

6 "Fu-Gee-La"
* First verse: Wyclef Jean
* Chorus: Lauryn Hill
* Second verse: Lauryn Hill
* Third verse: Pras
* Fourth verse: Wyclef Jean
Salaam Remi
* "Ooo La La La" performed by Teena Marie
* "(If Loving You Is Wrong) I Don't Want to Be Right" performed by Ramsey Lewis

7 "Family Business"
* Backing vocals: Lauryn Hill
* First verse: Omega
* Second verse: Wyclef Jean
* Third verse: Wyclef Jean
* Fourth verse: Lauryn Hill
* Fifth verse: Lauryn Hill
* Sixth verse: John Forté
* Outro: Wyclef Jean / Lauryn Hill
John Forté,
Jerry Duplessis
* "Je Vais T'Aimer" performed by Michel Sardou

8 "Killing Me Softly"
* Intro: Wyclef Jean / Lauryn Hill
* Verses, chorus: Lauryn Hill
Jerry Duplessis
* "Bonita Applebum" performed by A Tribe Called Quest
* "Killing Me Softly with His Song" performed by Roberta Flack
* "Fool Yourself" performed by Little Feat
* "Memory Band" performed by Rotary Connection
* "The Day Begins" performed by The Moody Blues

9 "The Score"
* First verse: Wyclef Jean
* Second verse: Wyclef Jean
* Third verse: Pras
* Fourth verse: Lauryn Hill
* Fifth verse: Diamond D
Diamond D,
Jerry Duplessis
* "Dove" performed by Cymande
* "My Melody" performed by Eric B. & Rakim
* "Planet Rock" performed by Afrika Bambaataa

10 "The Mask"
* Chorus: Fugees
* First verse: Wyclef Jean
* Second verse: Lauryn Hill
* Third verse: Pras
Jerry Duplessis
* "Nights in White Satin" performed by The Moody Blues

11 "Cowboys"
* Chorus: Wyclef Jean
* First verse: Pacewon / Wyclef Jean
* Second verse: Lauryn Hill / Rah Digga
* Third verse: Pras / Young Zee
* Fourth verse: John Forté
John Forté,
Jerry Duplessis
* "Something 'Bout Love" performed by The Main Ingredient
* "The Gambler" performed by Kenny Rogers
* "Soul Makossa" performed by Manu Dibango

12 "No Woman, No Cry"
* Wyclef Jean
Jerry Duplessis
* "No Woman, No Cry" performed by Bob Marley & The Wailers

13 "Manifest/Outro"
* First verse: Wyclef Jean
* Second verse: Lauryn Hill
* Third verse: Pras
* Outro: DJ Red Alert
Jerry Duplessis
* "Rock Dis Funky Joint" performed by Poor Righteous Teachers

14 "Fu-Gee-La" (Refugee Camp Remix)
* First verse: Wyclef Jean
* Chorus: Wyclef Jean
* Second verse: John Forté
* Third verse: Lauryn Hill
* Fourth verse: Pras
* Fifth verse: Wyclef
* Outro: Wyclef Jean
Jerry Duplessis —— 4:24

15 "Fu-Gee-La" (Sly & Robbie Mix)
* Intro: Sly & Robbie
* First verse: Wyclef Jean
* Chorus: Lauryn Hill
* Second verse: John Forté
* Third verse: Lauryn Hill
* Fourth verse: Pras
* Fifth verse: Wyclef Jean
* Outro: Akon
Handel Tucker —— 5:28

16 "Mista Mista"
* Wyclef Jean
Wyclef Jean —— 2:42

17 "Fu-Gee-La" (Refugee Camp Global Mix)
* First verse: Wyclef Jean
* Chorus: Lauryn Hill
* Second verse: Lauryn Hill/ Wyclef Jean
* Third verse: Pras
* Fourth verse: Wyclef Jean
Fugees —— 4:20


* Wyclef Jean – vocals, guitar, producer
* Lauryn Hill – vocals, producer, arranger
* Pras Michel – vocals, producer
* John Forté – vocals, producer, drum programming
* Diamond D – vocals, producer
* DJ Red Alert – vocals
* Omega – vocals
* Pacewon – vocals
* Rah Digga – vocals
* Young Zee – vocals
* Sly Dunbar - drums, drum programming
* Ras Baraka – vocals
* Akon – vocals
* Robbie Shaakespeare - bass
* Backspin – DJ scratches
* DJ Scrible – DJ scratches
* Jerry Duplessis – producer
* Salaam Remi – producer
* Shawn King – producer
* Handel Tucker - producer, keyboards
* Warren Riker – recorder, engineer
* Bob Brockman – engineer
* Gary Noble – engineer
* Eddie Hudson - engineer, mixing
* Delroy Pottinger - engineer
* Courtney Small - engineer



#69 (1998) and #45 (2007) on the AFI Top 100 American movies List
Shane is a 1953 American Western film from Paramount. It was produced and directed by George Stevens from a screenplay by A.B. Guthrie Jr., based on the 1949 novel of the same name by Jack Schaefer. Its Oscar-winning cinematography was by Loyal Griggs. The film stars Alan Ladd, Jean Arthur (in her last film after a thirty-year career) and Van Heflin, and features Brandon De Wilde, Elisha Cook Jr., Jack Palance and Ben Johnson.

Shane was listed #45 in the 2007 edition of AFI's 100 Years…100 Movies list and #3 on AFI's 10 Top 10 in the category Western.

* Alan Ladd as Shane
* Jean Arthur as Marian Starrett
* Van Heflin as Joe Starrett
* Brandon De Wilde as Joey Starrett
* Jack Palance (credited as Walter Jack Palance) as Jack Wilson
* Ben Johnson as Chris Calloway
* Edgar Buchanan as Fred Lewis
* Emile Meyer as Rufus Ryker
* Elisha Cook, Jr. as Frank 'Stonewall' Torrey
* Douglas Spencer as Axel 'Swede' Shipstead
* John Dierkes as Morgan Ryker
* Ellen Corby as Mrs. Liz Torrey
* Paul McVey as Sam Grafton
* John Miller as Will Atkey, bartender
* Edith Evanson as Mrs. Shipstead
* Leonard Strong as Ernie Wright
* Nancy Kulp as Mrs. Howells

Although the film is fiction, elements of the setting are derived from Wyoming's Johnson County War. The physical setting is the high plains near Jackson Hole, Wyoming, and many shots feature the Grand Teton massif looming in the near distance. Other filming took place at Paramount Studios in Hollywood, California.

Director George Stevens originally cast Montgomery Clift as Shane, William Holden as Joe Starrett; when they both proved unavailable, the film was nearly abandoned. Stevens asked studio head Y. Frank Freeman for a list of available actors with current contracts. Within three minutes, he chose Alan Ladd, Van Heflin and Jean Arthur, though Arthur was not the first choice to play Marian; Katharine Hepburn was originally considered for the role. Even though she had not made a picture in five years, Arthur accepted the part at the request of George Stevens with whom she had worked in two earlier films, The Talk of the Town (1942) and The More the Merrier (1943) for which she received her only Oscar nomination. Shane marked her last film appearance (when the film was shot she was 50 years old, significantly older than her two male co-stars), although she later appeared in theater and a short-lived television series.

Although the film was made between July and October 1951, it was not released until 1953 due to director Stevens' extensive editing. The film cost so much to make that at one point, Paramount negotiated its sale to Howard Hughes, who later pulled out of the arrangement. The studio felt the film would never recoup its costs, though it ended up making a significant profit. Another story reported that Paramount was going to release the film as "just another western" until Hughes watched a rough cut of the film and offered to buy it on the spot from Paramount for his RKO Radio Pictures. Hughes' offer made Paramount reconsider the film for a major release.

Jack Palance had problems with horses and Alan Ladd with guns. The scene where Shane practices shooting in front of Joey required 116 takes. A scene where Jack Palance (aka Walter Jack Palahniuk) mounts his horse was actually a shot of him dismounting, but played in reverse. As well, the original planned introduction of Wilson galloping into town was replaced with him simply walking in on his horse, which was noted as improving the entrance by making him seem more threatening.

Monday, April 23, 2012

LL Cool J Radio


Radio is the debut album of American rapper LL Cool J, released November 18, 1985 on Def Jam Recordings in the United States. It serves as the label's first full-length album release. Recording sessions for the album took place during 1984 to 1985 at Chung King House of Metal in New York City. The album was primarily produced by Rick Rubin, who provided a sparse and minimal production style. Radio also features a sound that is punctuated by DJ scratching, mostly brief samples, and emphasis of the downbeat. LL Cool J's b-boy lyricism conveys themes of inner city culture, teenage promiscuity, and braggadocio raps.

The album experienced a significant amount of commercial success and sales for a hip hop record at the time, earning U.S. Billboard chart success and selling over 500,000 copies within its first five months of release. On April 19, 1989, Radio was certified platinum in sales by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA), following sales in excess of one million copies in the United States. Initial criticism of the album was generally positive, as LL Cool J's lyricism and Rick Rubin's production were praised by several music critics. It has since been recognized by critics as LL Cool J's greatest work.

Reflecting the new school and ghettoblaster subculture in the U.S. during the mid-1980s, Radio belongs to a pivotal moment in the history and culture of hip hop. Its success contributed to the displacement of the old school with the new school form and to the genre's mainstream success during the period. Its success also served as a career breakthrough for LL Cool J and Rick Rubin. Radio has been recognized by music writers as one of the first cohesive and commercially successful hip hop albums. In 2003, the album was ranked number 478 on Rolling Stone magazine's list of the 500 greatest albums of all time

1. "I Can't Live Without My Radio" Rick Rubin 5:28
2. "You Can't Dance" Rick Rubin 3:37
3. "Dear Yvette" Rick Rubin 4:07
4. "I Can Give You More" Rick Rubin 5:08
5. "Dangerous" Rick Rubin 4:40
6. Untitled Rick Rubin 1:18
7. "Rock the Bells" Rick Rubin 4:01
8. "I Need a Beat (Remix)" Rick Rubin, Jazzy Jay 4:32
9. "That's a Lie" (featuring Russell Rush) Rick Rubin 4:42
10. "You'll Rock" Rick Rubin 4:44
11. "I Want You" Rick Rubin 4:51

All tracks were written by James Todd Smith and Rick Rubin, except where noted.

* "I Can't Live Without My Radio" – appears on the Krush Groove soundtrack and contains samples from "Hollis Crew" by Run-D.M.C.
* "You Can't Dance" – Contains samples from "Apache" by Incredible Bongo Band
* Track 6 – Hidden a cappella track known as "El Shabazz" or "Three the Hard Way". A longer version of the song was released under the title "El Shabazz" as the B-side of "Rock the Bells".
* "Rock The Bells" – Contains samples from "Pump Me Up" by Trouble Funk, "Take Me to the Mardi Gras" by Bob James, "Flick of the Switch" by AC/DC, and "Good Times" by Chic
* "I Need a Beat (Remix)" – Written by Rubin, LL, and Adrock; remixed by Jazzy Jay.
* "That's a Lie" – Contains samples from "Owner of a Lonely Heart" by Yes
* "You'll Rock" – Contains samples from "Frisco Disco" by Eastside Connection

James Todd Smith Vocals Credited as L.L. Cool J
Jay Philpot Disc jockey Credited as DJ Cut Creator
Russell Rush Guest vocals Appears on track #9
Rick Rubin
Jazzy Jay Producer "Reduced by Rick Rubin"
Jazzy Jay only appears on track #8
Steve Ett Recording engineer
Steve Byram Design
Nelson George Liner notes
Herb Powers Jr. Mastering engineer
Josh Cheuse
Janette Beckman Liner photography

The French Connection

The French Connection

#70 (1998) and #93 (2007) on the AFI List of 100 Greatest American Movies.

The French Connection is a 1971 American dramatic thriller film directed by William Friedkin. The film was adapted and fictionalized by Ernest Tidyman from the non-fiction book by Robin Moore. It tells the story of New York Police Department detectives named "Popeye" Doyle and Buddy "Cloudy" Russo, whose real-life counterparts were Narcotics Detectives Eddie Egan and Sonny Grosso. Egan and Grosso also appear in the film, as characters other than themselves.

It was the first R-rated movie to win the Academy Award for Best Picture since the introduction of the MPAA film rating system. It also won Academy Awards for Best Actor (Gene Hackman), Best Director, Best Film Editing, and Best Adapted Screenplay (Ernest Tidyman). It was nominated for Best Actor in a Supporting Role (Roy Scheider), Best Cinematography and Best Sound. Tidyman also received a Golden Globe Award, a Writers Guild of America Award and an Edgar Award for his screenplay.

In 2005, the film was selected for preservation in the United States National Film Registry by the Library of Congress as being "culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant."

* Gene Hackman as Det. Jimmy 'Popeye' Doyle
* Fernando Rey as Alain Charnier
* Roy Scheider as Det. Buddy 'Cloudy' Russo
* Tony Lo Bianco as Salvatore 'Sal' Boca
* Marcel Bozzuffi as Pierre Nicoli, Hit Man
* Frédéric de Pasquale as Henri Devereaux
* Bill Hickman as Bill Mulderig
* Ann Rebbot as Mrs. Marie Charnier
* Harold Gary as Joel Weinstock
* Arlene Farber as Angie Boca
* Eddie Egan as Walt Simonson
* André Ernotte as La Valle
* Sonny Grosso as Bill Klein
* Benny Marino as Lou Boca
* Patrick McDermott as Howard, Chemist
* Alan Weeks as Willie Craven, drug pusher
* Andre Trottier as Wyett Cohn, weapons specialist
* Sheila Ferguson as The Three Degrees
* Eric Jones as Little Boy (uncredited)
* Darby Lloyd Rains as Stripper (uncredited)
* Jean Luisi as French detective

he film is often cited as containing one of the greatest car chase sequences in movie history. The chase involves Popeye commandeering a civilian's car (a 1971 Pontiac LeMans) and then frantically chasing an elevated train, on which a hitman is trying to escape. The scene was filmed in Bensonhurst, Brooklyn roughly running under the BMT West End Line (currently; the D train, then the B train) which runs on an elevated track above Stillwell Avenue, 86th Street and New Utrecht Avenue in Brooklyn, with the chase ending just north of the 62nd Street station after the train crashed into another train up ahead. The conductor played by Bob Morrone and train operator played by William Coke, aboard the hijacked train were both actual NYC Transit Authority employees. Friedkin's plan included fast driving coupled with five specific stunts:

1. Doyle is sideswiped by a car in an intersection
2. Doyle's car is clipped by a truck with a Drive Carefully bumper sticker.
3. Doyle narrowly misses a woman with a baby stroller and crashes into a pile of garbage.
4. Doyle's vision is blocked by a tractor trailer which forces him into a steel fence.
5. Doyle must go against traffic to get back on a parallel path with the train. Intercut with these car scenes underneath the elevated train is additional footage (shots facing the car, not from the driver's perspective) that was shot in Bushwick, Brooklyn, particularly when Doyle misses a moving truck and slams into a steel fence.

Many of the shots in the scene were "real". While Gene Hackman drove well over half of the shots used in the film, legendary stunt driver Bill Hickman, who also had a small role in the film as Federal Narcotics Agent Mulderig, drove the stunt scenes and point-of-view shots through the windshield and from the front bumper, with Friedkin running a camera from the backseat while wrapped in a mattress for protection. The production team received no prior permission from the city for such a dangerous stunt, but they had the creative consulting and clout provided to them by Eddie Egan and Sonny Grosso (which allowed normal protocol for location shooting like permits and scheduling to be circumvented), and the only precaution taken was to place a "gumdrop" style beacon on the car's roof and blare the horn. The most famous shot of the chase is made from a front bumper mount and shows a low-angle point of view shot of the streets racing by. This was the last shot made in the film and was, according to Friedkin, needed to increase the speed of the chase after a rough cut of the scene proved less impressive than he hoped. While Friedkin contends the front-bumper shot is made at speeds of "up to 90mph," director of photography Owen Roizman, wrote in American Cinemataographer magazine in 1972 that the camera was undercranked to 18 frames per second to enhance the sense of speed. Roizman's contention is borne out when you see a car at a red light whose muffler is pumping smoke at an accelerated rate. Other shots involved stunt drivers who were supposed to barely miss hitting the speeding car, but due to errors in timing accidental collisions occurred and were left in the final film. Friedkin said that he used Santana's song "Black Magic Woman" during editing to help shape the chase sequence; though the song does not appear in the film, "it [the chase scene] did have a sort of pre-ordained rhythm to it that came from the music."

The scene concludes with Doyle confronting Nicoli the hitman at the stairs leading to the subway and shooting him as he tries to run back up them. Many of the police officers acting as advisers for the film objected to the scene on the grounds that shooting a suspect in the back was simply murder, not self-defense, but director Friedkin stood by it, stating that he was "secure in my conviction that that's exactly what Eddie Egan (the model for Doyle) would have done and Eddie was on the set while all of this was being shot."

As of July 2009, the two lead R42 subway cars in the chase scene, cars 4572 and 4573, were added to the preserved collection of the New York Transit Museum.

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Richard and Linda Thompson I Want To See The Bright Lights Tonight

I Want to See the Bright Lights Tonight

After the marked lack of success achieved by his first album, Henry The Human Fly, British singer/songwriter/guitarist Richard Thompson struck up a personal and professional relationship with Linda Peters, a session singer. I Want To See The Bright Lights Tonight was the first album by the duo of Richard and Linda Thompson.

Where his first album was treated harshly by the critics, the second was hailed as a masterpiece. Recorded on a shoestring budget in a matter of days (and sat unreleased for nearly 8 months while record label Island tried to decide what to do with it), it is now regarded as a classic of English folk-rock and one of Thompson's finest achievements.

The album is ranked number 479 on Rolling Stone magazine's list of the 500 greatest albums of all time.

The title track has been covered by (among others) Lucy Kaplansky, Weddings Parties Anything, Arlo Guthrie, Matt Pond PA, Ocean Colour Scene, Julie Covington and Sleater-Kinney, whilst Kate Rusby and Elvis Costello have both covered "Withered and Died". Costello also covered "The End Of The Rainbow" as did Barbara Manning. Maria McKee covered "Has He Got a Friend for Me" on her first solo album.

All songs written by Richard Thompson, except for "Together Again" by (Buck Owens).

1. "When I Get to the Border"
2. "The Calvary Cross"
3. "Withered and Died"
4. "I Want to See the Bright Lights Tonight"
5. "Down Where the Drunkards Roll"
6. "We Sing Hallelujah"
7. "Has He Got a Friend for Me"
8. "The Little Beggar Girl"
9. "The End of the Rainbow"
10. "The Great Valerio"
11. "I Want to See the Bright Lights Tonight" (live)*
12. "Together Again" (live)*
13. "Calvary Cross" (live)*

(*) - additional tracks, on the 2004 Island Records re-issue, previously unreleased.

* Richard Thompson - guitar, vocals, dulcimer, mandolin, whistle, keyboards
* Linda Thompson - vocals
* Timmy Donald - drums
* Pat Donaldson - bass guitar
* John Kirkpatrick - accordion, concertina
* Simon Nicol - dulcimer
* Brian Gulland - krummhorn
* Richard Harvey - krummhorn
* Royston Wood - vocals
* The CWS Silver Band

For those that missed the first posts, I'm doing an homage a day to the 2003 Rolling Stone Magazine list of the top 500 albums ever, one LP a day until I've been through them all. Let me know how they still stand up, and whether you'd include the albums on a list like that! For the original list, go here.