Time for yet another Youtube playlist of assorted clips related to movies, television, and web media with a strong musical element. As usual, these are a mix of nostalgic selections and assorted pop culture ephemera that it's difficult to recommend in other contexts. Commercials, promotional tie-ins, oddities, and more await. They have absolutely nothing in common except that I enjoyed them and thought they were saving the links to and worth passing along. Hopefully you'll find something in the mix that strikes your fancy.
Call - I think that Nicholas Winding Refn's "Drive" is far
enough in the past that we could do with a reminder of how drop-dead
gorgeous it is. The title sequence set to Kavinsky's "Night Call"
immediately recalls the 1980s, and sets a mood of scintillating coolness
and isolation that carries through the rest of the film. Take note
that this clip is from a workprint with errors in the credits - notably
the score is attributed to David Lynch's familiar collaborator Angelo
Badalamenti, instead of the actual composer, Cliff Martinez.
Mitzi Gaynor: Let
Go! - Singer, dancer, actor, and all-around entertainment
bombshell Mitzi Gaynor was a fixture of 1950s film musicals. She also
headlined several television specials in the 1960s and 1970s featuring
elaborate song-and-dance numbers. "Let Go!" opened her Emmy-winning
1969 NBC special, and provides a good example of her energy and
sexiness. Bob Mackie is responsible for the dress, but the curves are
Trouble - Remember the "Simpsons" album, "The Simpsons Sing
the Blues"? Timed to release with the second season after the show
became a hit, the album spawned two hit singles that had specially
animated music videos that ran with new episodes of the show in 1991.
Everyone remembers "Do the Bartman" written and produced by Michael
Jackson, but I think "Deep Deep Trouble," with lyrics credited to Matt
Groening, DJ Jazzy Jeff, and the Fresh Prince (yes, that Fresh Prince),
also deserves some love. The music video was directed by Greg Vanzo.
Sound of Noise:
Doctor Doctor - The 2010 Swedish musical "Sound of Noise,"
depicts the crimes of a gang of rogue musicians, who hold impromptu
concerts in strange places, using everyday objects for instruments.
"Doctor, Doctor," is their first successful outing, where they take
over an operating room during a news reporter's hemorrhoid surgery.
This is the full, uncut version of the musical number that appears in
the finished film, released as a DVD extra.
I Never Harmed an
Onion - The Muppet Show ran two minutes longer in the UK than
it did in the US, which lead the creation of the "UK Spots," quick
little songs or sketches that would help the UK episodes fill in that
extra bit of time. So Rowlf's rendition of "I Never Harmed an Onion"
from the fourth episode of the first season was never available to US
audiences until the DVD sets came along in the early 2000s, and the
Henson folks started using the UK Spots as internet content.
Song - One of the most memorable moments from the notorious
Monkees movie "Head," which was either a complete commercial disaster or
a subversive cult triumph depending on who you ask. This is the film's
only musical number that actually resembles the kind of classic musical
number that audiences were probably expecting, with Davy Jones singing
vocals and a dance sequence. Jones's partner here is Toni Basil, who
was also the film's choreographer, and a few years later would be best
known as the singer of the MTV favorite "Mickey."
1 - When the '90s animated "X-men" series ran in Japan in
1994, entirely different opening sequences were created for it, along
with different theme songs, to better appeal to Japanese audiences.
Considering the American one had so much English text, I think they
have a point. The Japanese opening is noticeably better animated than
the original, with lots of action and more cameos by familiar
characters. The new song is "Rising" by the band Ambience.
A Bit of Fry and
Laurie: Mystery - Some of my favorite bits of "A Bit of Fry
and Laurie" were Hugh Laurie at the piano, performing his ridiculous
songs. I considered "America," which has a great punch of an ending,
but I decided to go with "Mystery," from the 1987 pilot, which is longer
and has a good slow build. He also performed this one on an episode of
"Inside the Actor's Studio" in 2006, which is easy enough to find
online - but I prefer the delivery in the original.
Beans - Yes, it's the Weezer music video celebrating the memes
of the pre-2008 internet. Web media is definitely eligible for these
playlists, and when I thought about all the various viral videos I could
include, I kept coming back to "Pork and Beans," which pays tribute to
dozens of them at once. Hey, it's the Numa Numa guy! And Afro-Ninja!
And Mr. Leave Britney Alone! And History of Dance dude! And Dramatic
Chipmunk! Other music videos have attempted similar conceits, but
nobody's quite managed to capture the early days of Youtube fame quite
like Weezer did. There's also a follow-up version from 2009 out there
that includes even more internet celebs.
Fifteen years ago, "Dilbert" briefly had its own cartoon series on the
UPN network. Without a doubt, the best part of the show was its
Emmy-winning opening sequence with theme music by Danny Elfman. The
actual series was never as dynamic-looking, or wildly creative. I
always wondered why nobody ever tried to revive the show after UPN sank,
but we already have "The Office," don't we?
Hello - In the 1980s, somebody at Disney had the bright idea
to take clips of their old animated films and recut them to modern pop
songs, creating MTV style music videos, branded "D-TV." Years later
anime fans would flood the internet with AMVs using essentially the same
concept, but the "D-TV" videos were official Disney product and they
were very commercially successful. Initially used as Disney Channel
filler, "D-TV" ended up spawning three NBC prime time specials and a
home video line. To give you an idea of their appeal, I've linked one
of the videos from the "D-TV Valentine" special, that sets the
"twitterpation" sequence form "Bambi" to Lionel Richie's "Hello."
Yada - Just when you'd gotten the song out of your head. The
Discovery Channel's 2008 "I Love the World" campaign is still one of the
best I've ever seen.
Free Bird - This one's not on the Youtube playlist linked
above because I couldn't find a decent quality version anywhere on
Youtube. However, I had to end the list with this one. Whatever you
want to say about Conan O'Brien's short stint on "The Tonight Show," he
went out on a very high note, rocking with Will Ferrell and friends to
the Lynyrd Skynyrd classic.