Triple Played: Fun to share history of rock, movies
My son, Matthew, and I are honored to have a standing invitation to speak in Sean Flanigan’s History of Popular Music class at Colorado Mesa University.
We have known Flanigan for a few years, and he always has been a strong supporter of Triple Play Records.
With the addition of Matthew to these lectures, we have taken advantage of the electronic media available in the university’s classrooms that I hardly recognize from my time there in the late 1970s.
Instead of making students listen to my lecture for 50 minutes with only LPs and a record player for props, we now share movie clips thanks to YouTube and Matthew.
The film industry has done a wonderful job of chronicling the history of rock ‘n’ roll through movies and documentaries. The following are quotes from some of my favorite movies of all time.
■ It might be a stretch for some, but I give some credit to Benny Goodman for helping to start the rock ‘n’ roll movement with his attitude and determination to do things his way. In “The Benny Goodman Story,” Steve Allen playing Goodman asks Alice Hammond (Donna Reed), “Do you like hot music?” He was referring to his big bad swing sound.
■ Since the landmark release of “American Grafitti” in 1973, movie soundtracks have become big business. There was so much music in that movie that there were two double LP volumes of the soundtrack released.
In the movie, Carol (McKenzie Phillips) is cruising town with John (Paul Le Mat) when she asks him, “Why did you turn off the radio?”
“I don’t like that surfin’ (expletive). Rock ‘n’ roll’s been going downhill ever since Buddy Holly died,” John replies.
“Don’t you think the Beach Boys are boss?” Carol asks.
“You would, you grungy little twerp,” John says.
■ “Diner,” a comedy released in 1982, takes place in Baltimore during the holidays in 1959 as a group of 20-something friends get together for a friend’s wedding. As with “American Grafitti,” there is a great group of young actors in “Diner.”
In one scene, Shrevie (Daniel Stern) is arguing with his wife Beth (Ellen Barkin) about the care of his record collection.
Shrevie says, “See? You don’t ask me things like that, do you? No! You never ask me what’s on the flip side.”
Beth responds, “No! Because I don’t give a (expletive). Shrevie, who cares about what’s on the flip side of a record?”
“I do! Every one of my records means something! The label, the producer, the year it was made. Who was copying whose style… who’s expanding on that, don’t you understand? When I listen to my records, they take me back to certain points in my life, OK? Just don’t touch my records, ever! You! The first time I met you? Modell’s sister’s high school graduation party, right? 1955. ‘And Ain’t That A Shame’ was playing when I walked into the door!” Shrevie says.
■ “The Big Chill,” with another great cast, was released in 1983 and is about a group of former college classmates reuniting for a classmate’s funeral. Harold (Kevin Kline) is playing a Four Tops record as the group is smoking a joint the evening after the funeral. Michael (Jeff Goldblum) says, “Harold, don’t you have any other music , you know, from this century?”
“There is no other music, not in my house,” Harold says.
“There’s been a lot of terrific music in the last 10 years,” Michael says.
“Like what?” Harold asks.
I will have to write more on this subject in the future as we didn’t get chance to quote great music movies such as “High Fidelity,” “Almost Famous” and “Empire Records.” Stay tuned.