Discussion in 'Music Corner' started by mark winstanley, Apr 4, 2021.
I didn't like his liner notes anyway, so I can bitch about the guy as much as I want ah ah
It sounds like Gomer Pyle impersonating a Muppet.
I'll go with that
Anyway, probably unfairly, and with a certain amount of self-righteous indignation , I'm going to suggest the quality of that track reflects my thoughts on John's opinion of Celluloid Heroes lol
Interestingly John Mendelsohn was the original drummer for Sparks - or rather Halfnelson, as they were known then.
I live in Los Angeles. I have avoided that neighborhood for years now, as it's a crowded tourist trap with no place to park. The sidewalk on Hollywood Blvd looks like a linoleum floor, but I assume that there's probably concrete of some sort underneath the veneer.
Anyway, in trying to keep the main thing, the main thing....
Here is a nice little collage of movie posters, photo's and shots of Hollywood Boulevard.
I personally still think this song is less about Hollywood and Movie stars, than it is about the contrast between reality, and the big screen, with the movie stars being humanised, and the "ordinary people" elevated as stars. A great leveller if you will, where it would be nice to live in the pain and death free fantasy world of movies, but nobody, including the stars does
Creem was a fun and highly irreverent
magazine, a wonderful alternative to Rolling Stone...kind of like a Mad Magazine for music lovers...as longer as the reader remembers to take it with a pinch of salt.
Better late than never....
This song was a standout on the Kinks Greatest compilation I bought before I had heard any of the RCA albums. It has a certain magic in its lyrics and music that makes me feel like I care about these people I've never seen in the flesh and, in some cases, never (hardly)even heard of before. That's impressive songwriting by Ray to elicit emotion from something that's so abstract and remote. I'm sure others would have mentioned the live version on One for the Road which introduces several additional minutes of soaring keyboards and guitar before the song proper begins - that, to me, is the definitive version of this song and it's also the way they played it the only time I got to see the Kinks, in 1982.
As I have Dave's autobiography on hand I thought I'd share his views on the song. I think he's really perceptive:
"The lyrics show the most beautiful and sensitive side of Ray's character. Sentimental, charming, fragile, a yearning for lost innocence. I've always felt that Ray at his best seems like a soul which is looking for the pieces of life that are constantly being cast aside by an arrogant, relentless and uncaring world. He collects and analyses those pieces, and tries to put the fragments back together in order to make some sense of it all. A typical example shows itself in the lyrics of Autumn Almanac. He's sensitive to the small things that most people overlook.
Celluloid Heroes shows the flaws and fragility of stardom. It's a truly inspired piece. It gets me in the guts every time. That bastard, Ray. He is so good at manipulating your feelings. When it's in a positive way, like in this instance, he can really put you in touch with the more sensitive side of your nature and I applaud him."
I just clicked on avengers: end game YouTube for the song. 1.3 million views. 18k likes. Looking at comments:
How does Marvel, keep finding these little heard GEMS and putting them in such perfect spots in the movies? Amazing
I love how calming this song is.
I love this song. GoTG vol. 3 will be awesome.
This song perfectly fits the tone of the scene
Wow, this song is really, this is what you get when you put James Gunn on Marvel movies, he has insanely good music taste.
An astounding 2.9 Billion US dollars in ticket sales for Avengers end game. That’s a lot of ears hearing the Kinks! And they probably had to pay Ray to use the song in the film.
Well music today seems to be far more secondary and incidental in today's society in comparison to decades past when it was absolutely all consuming for so many youths.
Are we sure the singer wasn't in (a) Halfnelson?
If he had any say in it you betcha!
I knew this and was expecting a mention in The Sparks Brothers Documentary on Netflix (excellent by the way) and there was nothing about him at all despite highlighting much lesser known band members, many of whom who appeared as talking heads. I found that intriguing
I believe he was approached but ignored the call. I think it will almost certainly be cos Mendelsohn is embarrassed by the association and refuses to talk about it at length. He thought the Mael bro’s take on the English sound was too twee and he strongly dislikes the idea of being defined in anyone’s mind as a ‘former Sparks drummer’.
So no Sparks plug?
*Prefers to be known for his vocal on Christopher Milk's "Smart Alex".
(*OK, we don't actually know if it was him).
So we move on to the live album
Top Of The Pops.
Obviously from the Lola album, and an interesting show opener.
We get the obligatory band introduction, and Dave's guitar comes in with a super saturated distortion, Mick is punching the drums into submission.
The full band kicks in at the end of the first verse, and it is with quite a dense heavy kind of sound, Gosling filling out the sound well with his organ.
It's cool hearing Dave switch between his super saturated sound and his straight overdriven sound.
For the most part it is a solid performance, and the live album is off to a good start.
We open with Ray introducing the Mike Cotton Sound, and a little noodling, then the bass and the horns add some accents, then the band kick in.
The guitar, bass and horn unison lines work well.
I reckon this is a good uptempo live track, that gives the set a bit of kick.
We get a pretty faithful rendering of the studio track, that again comes across very well.
This is probably the first questionable entry, so far as the album goes.
It is a smoky jazz club sounding type track, and there is nothing wrong with that, but it never really goes anywhere, and it seems like it is an edit or something along those lines.
It goes for about forty seconds, but I still can't really get a context for why its there. It's a couple of mumbled lines and then it's over.
I don't have much to say about the live part of the album, sounds like Ray enjoyed it at least.
I guess it's an interesting document of the live concerts of that era. Nothing other to add for the remainder of this live album.
TOTP and Brainwashed are solid enough performances - faithful to the studio versions but with added live energy. Strange choices, perhaps, but as the only full songs on the original live album which aren't Muswell Hillbillies tracks, they are welcome.
Mr Wonderful - probably one of those "you had to be there" things.
This was from the title song from a 1955 Broadway musical originally sung by Sammy Davis Jnr. Hit recordings by Peggy Lee, Sarah Vaughan and Teddi King followed in 1956: just a guess, but I’m thinking it’s probably the Peggy Lee version that Ray was familiar with as he was a self proclaimed fan.
As for the reason why it was in the set? According to the 1996 Martin/Hudson biography, John Gosling started playing the song in rehearsal to gently mock Ray when he was getting too full of himself, and it backfired when Ray went with it and added it as a regular to their live show! This must have started quite early in Goslings tenure as there are live recordings going back to 1970. I always thought the cover photo of Ray on this album was the visual personification of ‘Mr Wonderful’, hence why it made to to the LP.
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