Skip to content

Coming s007n: the history of the James Bond teaser poster

March 29, 2015

james_bond_teaser_posters_detail

A little tease: detail from teaser posters promoting Bond movies from each of the six different 007 eras

So have you caught it yet? Are you trying to figure out what Blighty’s finest’ll be off doing this time? Theorising just how the mystery behind the new criminal organisation’ll pan out? And wondering just how much of Hans Landa Christoph Waltz’ll channel as Franz Oberhauser? Yes, I am, of course, asking whether you’ve checked out the brand-spanking new teaser trailer for James Bond’s official 24th adventure SPECTRE, which went online just over 24 hours ago (watch it at the bottom of this blog post if you haven’t). Teaser trailers are exciting things, for sure – and none more so than for Bond movies. However, there is an important part of the pre-release marketing mix for practically every 007 flick that usually surfaces before any trailer: the teaser poster.

Yes, this type of poster (the very first poster for a Bond movie, which often features little visual clue of what’ll come in the film proper – because, yes, it’s a tease) often summons up as much excitement in Bond fandom – and, its only fair to say among media bods and sometimes the mass public – as its equivalent trailer. And Eon Productions, the company that owns the Bond brand and makes the movies, have always been very keen to enlist its use. Indeed, the history of the Bond teaser poster goes as far back as the mid-’60s (yes, really) and, so far, only four of the series’ flicks haven’t been preceded by one.

In which case then, peeps (if you’ll indulge me), here follows a pictorial post celebrating and dissecting the different – often very different – teaser posters we’ve been gifted and enjoyed from Bondom down through the years. You may not agree with my judgments on all of them, of course, and naturally I don’t expect you to read my thoughts on every single one of them. My suggestion is to dip in and out of them as you see fit; in fact, rather like you might with your Bond DVD collection…

.

.

.
1965 ~ Thunderball
.

james_bond_teaser_posters_thunderball

Appropriately enough, the very first teaser poster – or advance poster, as they were referred to back then – was an effort for the movie that opened during and sustained the mid-’60s ‘Bondmania’ era, the Caribbean cruise-athon that’s Thunderball. Offering something of a rearrangement of the separate images that would make up the flick’s main poster (albeit with a different final image – here in the bottom left corner), its detail-heavy and visually rich, while the triple repetition in the four-part tagline (nattily incorporating the 007 logo) hits the spot like a bolt from Connery’s harpoon gun.

.

.

.

1967 ~ You Only Live Twice

.

james_bond_teaser_posters_you_only_live_twice_us

Sleek, smart and oh-so efficient, You Only Live Twice’s advance effort perfectly reminds cinemagoers of what they’ve already enjoyed from Bond (specifically, detail from posters of his previous four adventures – cleverly tying them in with that ever increasing-in-size marketers’ dream that’s Connery’s mug), until at the bottom delivering the next film’s title in the terrific typeface-image-combo that’ll adorn the main posters to come. If this didn’t bait your breath for Bond in ’67, nothing would have – ‘Coming!’, indeed!

.

.

.

1969 ~ On Her Majesty’s Secret Service

.

james_bond_teaser_posters_on_her_majesty's_secret_service james_bond_teaser_posters_on_her_majesty's_secret_service_bond_and_bride_concept

Faced with the quandary of, for the first time, having to sell a Bond film without Sean Connery, the Eon marketing machine took the interesting decision with the advance poster (left) for On Her Majesty’s Secret Service to, er, ignore altogether the fact there was a new actor. Not only does new boy George Lazenby not even get a mention before the bottom of the poster (his name can be found down there among the detritus of the flick’s principal credits), but also his face at the centre of the poster is entirely obscured by the legend ‘James Bond 007 is back!’. Perversely, this merely exaggerates the fact Connery’s absent and a new no-name’s filled his Saville Row duds. Matters too aren’t helped by the image giving the impression the new Bond’s some sort of muscle-man-giant with an eerily enormous right hand. Even more interesting is the concept art on the right, which was created but ultimately not used for the teaser poster campaign. Again, it’s focused not on selling the new star-in-waiting but the unique content of this 007 film – Bond and his bride-to-be. It’s also fantastic, pop art-like monochrome photography work.

.

.

.

1971 ~ Diamonds Are Forever

.

james_bond_teaser_posters_diamonds_are_forever james_bond_teaser_posters_diamonds_are_forever_concept_art

A bit of a letdown, this one. With Connery back as Bond, you’d assume the teaser poster for Diamonds Are Forever (left) would absolutely go out of its way to stress the fact, but it doesn’t. Clearly this UK advance was an afterthought – its image is cobbled together from the artwork of the main poster to come and, yes, while it definitely features the big draw that was The Big Tam, it doesn’t even bother to spell out the fact he’s back in the role in its wording. Let’s face it, it’s just pants. Conversely, to the right is a fascinating insight into what Diamonds’ teaser poster could have been. It’s concept art again (carrying the wording and typeface that would be used for the main poster campaign), but just how cool is that loose, languidly rendered image of Connery’s Bond? Where’s he off to? Why’s he got half a smirk on his face? What’s in his briefcase? So many questions – what a great tease that would have been…

.

.

.

1974 ~ The Man With The Golden Gun

.

james_bond_teaser_posters_the_man_with_the_golden_gun james_bond_teaser_posters_the_man_with_the_golden_2

A curate’s egg of a teaser within Bondom ’tis the one on the left. It’s very good (easily better than the film it promotes), but as an advertising wheeze a wee bit wordy – it looks more like a full-page magazine ad, but apparently it was a proper advance poster for The Man With The Golden Gun; albeit released in December ’74, the month at the end of which the movie itself came out. Still, like I said, the poster’s a good ’un, explaining and displaying the ingredients that make up the ingenious golden gun wielded by the titular character, which when assembled means he’s ‘ready to assassinate James Bond’. Again, the flick’s second advance effort (right) is better than the flick. Also released in December ’74, it sets up baddie Francisco Scaramanga as a match worthy of 007 by associating him with the greatest villains our hero’s previously faced. A top idea finely executed – mind you, the way in which it references Oddjob’s murderous techniques does make one wonder just how many other deadly hats the world has seen…

.

.

.

1977 ~ The Spy Who Loved Me

.

james_bond_teaser_posters_the_spy_who_loved_me

Come 1977, Bond had been away from the big screen for three years (at that point in the series an unnervingly long time) and, in order to reassure fans he’d lost none of his chutzpah, his return in The Spy Who Loved Me was big, brash entertainment. Also come 1977, it was, of course, the age of John Travolta and The Bee Gees. Both of these things can be seen in the advance poster for Spy. Don’t be deceived by that grey background (greys, browns and beiges were strangely popular and effective in ’70s design) because this is bold, starkly simple marketing – Roger Moore’s Bond looking at his most dapper and confident, flanked by Barbara Bach’s equally self-assured drop-dead beauty (now, she looks like a Bond Girl, all right!); both of them derived from the artwork of the main poster. And then there’s that tagline, which would also bless the main posters – raffishly cocked at an angle and sounding vaguely disco-naff, it pronounces this is Bond in the ’70s, very much loving it and inviting you to do so too.

.

.

.

1979 ~ Moonraker

.

james_bond_teaser_posters_moonraker james_bond_teaser_posters_moonraker_us

In 1975, so the legend goes, the phenomenon of the summer blockbuster was born with the release of Jaws – and was only consolidated by the even bigger release of Star Wars two years later. From then on Hollywood studios fell over themselves to outdo each other with bigger and more bankable adventure blockbusters-to-be each summer – and naturally Bond slipped as comfortably into this bracket as does his Walther in its shoulder holster. Eon and Bond studio United Artists were obliged to follow the new summer blockbuster marketing trend and unleash advance posters earlier than ever before for their latest 007 epics and Moonraker’s teasers (and the movie itself) is a prime example of this. Released in early ’79, the main advance poster (left) for the unashamedly Star Wars-influenced sci-fi fantasy not only leaves the viewer in absolutely no doubt Bond will, yes, enter space, but also informs them he’ll be ‘blasting off next summer!’. Talk about whetting the appetite months and months in advance. Which is a moot point because the alternative teaser for the US market (right) totally fails to do that; frankly, it’s dull as dishwater – even the Moore imagery’s borrowed from the Golden Gun campaign of five years before.

.

.

.

1981 ~ For Your Eyes Only

.

james_bond_teaser_posters_for_your_eyes_only_us

Despite appearing to be a mere forerunner to its main poster, For Your Eyes Only’s advance US effort in fact turned out to be arguably the most infamous of them all among Bond fans. Why? It’s all about that girl with the crossbow (whom, of course, suggests the movie’s leading female character, the vengeful Melina Havelock). Yes, like the poster’s general composition, its fonts and its tagline (if not the figure of Bond’s Moore in the centre and the neutral grey background), the girl’s legs, shoes and backside would all be repeated again on the flick’s main poster that came out just a month or two after this one. But, for some reason and not a little peculiarly unlike for the main poster, that panties-clad posterior caused a real, er, rumpus in America’s more conservative states, which decreed the revealing intimates be replaced by something more substantial. Thus, denim-like shorts were superimposed over them. Yes, really. By today’s standards it all sounds like a storm in a teacup – not even over a g-string, you might say.

.

.

.

1982-83 ~ Octopussy

.

james_bond_teaser_poster_octopussy_1 james_bond_teaser_posters_octopussy_2

Octopussy, the Bond flick that, more than any other, harbored hard-nosed Cold-War aspirations, was the series’ first to offer up a truly ‘super advance’ teaser poster a whole year before it opened, in the shape of the effort on the left. With a background daubed in almost Berlin Wall-like bland grey and featuring a practically outfitted and troubled, nay anxious-looking 007 (rare in the Moore era – not least on his posters), it’s nonetheless dynamic stuff, informing audiences the movie’s excitedly just started filming at Berlin’s notorious Checkpoint Charlie, with Bond shooting at an unseen opponent whom appears to have let off several shots at our man – and nearly hit him. The message is clear: this Bond movie means business. Meanwhile, a later teaser poster (right) for some inexplicable reason plays up the fact Octopussy will be the series’ 13th by showing a full 13 Rog’s up against the titular Bond Girl. Is it effective or just a bit odd? Good question (which could be asked of the movie itself), but it’s certainly memorable.

.

.

.

1985 ~ A View To A Kill

.

james_bond_teaser_posters_a_view_to_a_kill james_bond_teaser_posters_a_view_to_a_kill_us

For many, A View To A Kill is the nadir of the ’80s Bond (gotta admit, for me it’s anything but), yet surely all must agree its first teaser poster (left) is a doozie. Stark and simple but unquestionably elegant, the black tuxedo-clad, mature Sir Rog back-to-back with the near opposite that’s the equally stylish but hot-to-trot-modern Grace Jones, both set against a white background, makes for a hell of an image. And per the tagline, it really does make us wonder if Bond may actually have ‘met his match’ – boy, do we want to ‘find out this summer’. By contrast, the poster that came out in early summer ’85 for the US market (right) is, well, a bit weird. Sure, again it gives us the dynamic Jones – rightly one of Kill’s biggest selling points – and sets her and Moore against an Eiffel Tower-featuring Paris backdrop, but Jones’ villainous May Day skydiving towards Rog, while the tower (after it’s correctly narrowed from the bottom) widening towards its top leaves the perspective distractedly askew. Plus, what’s up with Moore’s hair? Why’s it so wide? And, let’s be honest, the tagline at the top’s pretty crappy. All in all, not much of a French fancy.

.

.

.

1986-87 ~ The Living Daylights

.

james_bond_teaser_posters_the_living_daylights_usjames_bond_teaser_posters_the_living_daylights_2_and_3_us_and_uk

The late ’80s brought a new Bond, Welsh Shakespearean heavyweight Timothy Dalton – and a (supposed) re-commitment to the series’ origins, Fleming’s hero of the books. In promoting this new direction, the marketing bods seemed to want to tap back into the simple, sharp but elegant sophistication associated with Fleming’s 007, to be seen in the posters for Timbo’s debut The Living Daylights. The first advance effort coincided with the start of filming in ’86, its strategy presumably to prepare audiences for the directional shift and to highlight the fact Eon’s Bond was about to celebrate his silver anniversary. Fittingly then, this poster (top) is an elegant tease in silver and dark hues featuring one of the movie Bond’s most elegant icons, the Aston Martin DB5. The later teasers for the US (bottom left) and UK (bottom right) would take this theme and run with it, utilising perhaps the greatest – certainly the coolest – publicity shot ever captured of Dalton as 007 and stamping on them taglines emphasising his ‘dangerous’ credentials. Of the two, the US version’s better, in fact for me it’s a classic.

.

.

.

1989 ~ Licence To Kill

.

james_bond_teaser_posters_licence_to_kill james_bond_teaser_posters_licence_revoked

Although moderately successful with the previous film, the ‘darker’ Dalton gamble hit the skids with Licence To Kill. Those fond of it blame its weak marketing campaign, but the flick’s crapness is most culpable. Still, there’s no doubt the publicity was pants too, not least its posters. The image that blesses the US teaser poster (left) is decent enough; a sophisticated but dressed-down Bond (i.e. he means business) holding in the ‘classic pose’ his Walther PPK – which may be either a golden stand-in or looks gold due to a trick of the light. Yet, when you notice it’s really a repeat of Daylights’ US teaser with a clumsily worded tagline again highlighting his ‘dangerousness’, you’re left underwhelmed. Unsurprisingly, this wasn’t the teaser poster’s first concept. The original (right) returned to a painterly approach, highlighting the movie’s darker tone and bloodthirsty content via its blacks and reds and sharpness (more of that concept art can be seen here). Yet, despite its dynamism, the cocked-at-an-angle, squashed wording in a mix of fonts makes the whole thing inelegant – a lot like the movie.

.

.

.

1995 ~ GoldenEye

.

james_bond_teaser_posters_goldeneye

Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to my favourite Bond teaser poster. Why? Well, because while I think it’s smashing, I also have quite the emotional attachment to it – more so than to any other teaser poster. Come the mid-’90s, Bond had been away from the big screen for six years, which for a teenager (as I was then) felt like an eternity; so much so, I’d actually given up missing new 007 adventures coming out at the cinema. Suddenly, of course, all that changed with the arrival of Pierce Brosnan as Bond and his gloriously fun opening gambit, GoldenEye. Still a fan, despite Eon delivering me nothing new in more than a half-decade, I was signed up to this new escapade from the off – and a big contributor to that was this teaser poster. I first espied it outside the Odeon Leicester Square cinema (the home of Bond premieres) in summer ’95 and it bewitched me, with its mix of cool, uncluttered ’90s digital design (the black and white two-halved split is beautiful) and irony (the tagline ‘You know the name, you know the number’ is so inspired it quickly became a fave with 007 fans and surely eventually influenced the 2006 Bond flick Casino Royale’s main tune You Know My Name). It’s simply a perfect teaser poster.

.

.

.

1997 ~ Tomorrow Never Dies

.

james_bond_teaser_posters_tomorrow_never_dies

After the highs of GoldenEye’s teaser, the equivalent from Brosnan Bond Movie #2, Tomorrow Never Dies, is a bit of a comedown (again, the same could be said of the film really). Whether one could blame its lack of artistry and impact on what was going on during the flick’s filming (script re-writes, leading man and Bond Girl not seeing eye-to-eye etc.) is anyone’s guess, but this effort really doesn’t offer much oomph or any eye-catching, unforgettable component. Which is a shame because, in its way, it does effectively convey something that Tomorrow turned out to be full of – a blossoming confidence in the Bond of the ’90s; building on the indefatigable success of GoldenEye and consolidating it. Look at Brosnan there front and centre, holding his new Walther P99 pistol for all to see, as the tagline boldly boasts the movie’s makers are now ‘shooting around the world’. Actually, I tell a lie, there is one arty touch about this poster I admire, the fact that the much-loved Bond film gunbarrel appears to be made up of an ‘oriental’ wooden screen-like background (suggesting the film’s South East Asian locales).

.

.

.

1999 ~ The World Is Not Enough

.

james_bond_teaser_posters_the_world_is_not_enough

A firm fan favourite, The World Is Not Enough’s several-month-in-advance poster is, surely all must agree, a bit of a classic. An excellent execution of a concept via digital design, it doesn’t bother to tell us the name of the upcoming movie it’s advertising because it doesn’t need to, for we get the message from what it simply and perfectly contains without it. To wit, we know it’ll be a new Bond film thanks to, yes, the inclusion of the 007 logo but also thanks to, more esoterically, the semi-silhouette of Brosnan’s Bond holding his Walther, ‘fitting’, as it does, the outline of the pseudo naked fiery filly whom also carries a Walther, and whose appearance is reminiscent of the sort of visuals beloved of Bond movie opening titles and embodies all the cool, glamour, exoticism and faux eroticism of Eon’s film series. Outstanding.

.

.

.

2002 ~ Die Another Day

.

james_bond_teaser_posters_die_another_day james_bond_teaser_posters_die_another_day_us

Those of a rude disposition may say Die Another Day’s first ‘smoking gun’-themed teaser (left) was a ‘smoking gun’ for the movie to come, arguably the worst and certainly the most ridiculous Bond film for up to 30 years, but I shan’t be so rude. For me, although it may not be up to the quality of GoldenEye or The World Is Not Enough’s advance efforts, this poster for Brosnan’s fourth and final frolic as 007 is one for which I have a soft spot. The cool, sleek silencer-attached Walther pistol is always synonymous with Bond and it, smoking and therefore hot as it would be, melting the top of some kind of giant ice cube there doesn’t just suggest the vaguely bizarre exotic of the cinematic 007, but also stylishly sets the audience up for the fact this adventure will very much feature a wintry ‘cold’ location (Iceland, to be exact). Conversely, the follow-up teaser poster (right) proved to be the movie’s true ‘smoking gun’ highlighting, as it does, the filmmakers’ desire to (sort of?) headline Halle Berry’s ill-conceived NSA agent Bond Girl alongside The Brozzer’s Bond – notice how her gun-wielding pose and stern expression exactly echo his. In short, this pretty much suggests there’s a Bond film on the way of which to be wary.

.

.

.

2006 ~ Casino Royale

.

james_bond_teaser_poster_casino_royale

The casting of Daniel Craig as the the post-9/11 Bond indicated one of the biggest changes in direction Eon would ever take, as did the announcement his debut in the role would be a more-or-less faithful adaptation of Fleming’s first novel, the dark and downbeat Casino Royale. In a move to underline these facts then, the very first poster of the Craig era, the above teaser, is one quite unlike any previous effort. Stressing the moodier, harder-edged tone, even hinting at the complex storytelling of the upcoming movie, it communicates with us the undeniable fact Casino Royale will be a thriller; the image’s muted colours and lugubrious blue wash even lending it a melancholic, period film noir feel. Yet the featuring of the new 007 dressed in a black tux in the familiar environs of a casino as he reaches for his trusty pistol (what danger is it he senses?) confirms too this unquestionably will be a James Bond film.

.

.

.

2008 ~ Quantum Of Solace

.

james_bond_teaser_posters_quantum_of_solace_1_and_2

The teasers for Royale’s sequel Quantum Of Solace said less of what was to come in their movie than did the teaser for the former flick – but, one might argue, like Tomorrow Never Dies’ teaser following GoldenEye’s, they didn’t necessarily need to. Again, like Tomorrow, Quantum is a movie all about consolidation; a new direction, a new Bond and sating an audience wanting more of that. So much so that both Quantum teasers echo the final scene from Royale – 007 holding aloft a bloody big gun having finally got the best of an elusive baddie and having finally ‘become Bond’. In doing this, the best of the two is the first (left), which whets our appetite by merely showing us the silhouette of Bond with his gun on a hard, broken (back)ground. The second – and later – poster (right) repeats the theme, this time with our hero walking towards us and alongside it the film’s title in its official typeface (which, again, echoes that used for Royale). So, effective? Yes, both are. But a bit one-note and underwhelming like their movie? Again, yes. Really, its a pity we didn’t get something more original like this fan art attempt.

.

.

.

2012 ~ Skyfall

.

james_bond_teaser_posters_skyfall

A lot was riding on the shoulders of Skyfall. Not least was it the first time Bond had been on the big screen after another several-year gap, it also followed the (generally considered) too-sombre-for-Bond Quantum Of Solace and thus had its makers promising a return to the ‘Classic Bond’ feel of old. Oh, and there was the little matter of it coming out in the 50th year of the Eon series – it would thus be forever after recognised as the golden anniversary Bond movie. In which case, every pre-release move made by Eon was scrutinised, discussed and cogitated by the mass media and fan base with an intensity stronger than for any previous 007 flick, and that ensured its teaser poster was genuinely a big deal. In this scenario, almost any teaser poster was maybe going to be anti-climactic (surely not everyone would universally love it?), but to be fair, few Bond fans loved the one put out for Skyfall (above). On one level, yes, it advertises the film adequately, but on another it simply underwhelms. A rather blandly dressed Bond with a rather bland expression walking towards us out of a bland looking gunbarrel? Hardly setting the, ahem, Skyfall house on fire, is it? Not least because the whole thing is given that neutral grey wash. And what’s with that clumsy ‘walkway’ effect emerging from the gunbarrel behind Craig? Even something as simple and easy to conceive as this fan art effort would have been better.

.

.

.

2015 ~ SPECTRE

.

james_bond_teaser_posters_spectre_teaser_poster_1 1$_V?_Job Name

And so here we are, right up to the modern day and the next Bond film, SPECTRE – to be released this November. And what teaser poster has been unleashed on us to promote its coming? Well, as they often have been in the past (which I hope I’ve proved), Eon have been canny. For, the first teaser poster they gave the waiting, baited-breathed world, in the wake of the announcement of the flick’s title and reveal of its cast, wasn’t even supposedly a teaser poster. Because, yes, this poster (left) found its way online just moments after a ‘motion poster’ (a clever film-title-revealing video animation) was seen by all and sundry during Eon’s live stream of the official SPECTRE title/ cast reveal event. In which case, the question of whether it’s artistically any good may be moot, because it works very nicely as part of a wider, very specific campaign – reminding us, as it does, of the motion poster, which wonderfully informs us of the title and eerily suggests the rise of the new SPECTRE villain organisation via its animation of the classic SPECTRE octopus logo being created by a bullet hole cracking icy/ frosted glass. However, like Skyfall’s equivalent, the recently released official teaser poster (right) hasn’t been received fantastically well – indeed, for right or wrong, the particular togs in which Craig is outfitted have drawn inevitable comparisons to Roger Moore’s look in the climax to Live And Let Die. No question, it lacks imagination, wit and and playfulness, but then most teaser posters – indeed, posters of all kinds – for (so called) Hollywood blockbusters nowadays do, sadly. One thing we can reassure ourselves with, though, is that SPECTRE’s just released teaser trailer surely doesn’t disappoint. Does it…?

.

.

.

george's_journal_motif

.

George’s Journal’s fifth birthday party: fifty years of undeniable legends (1950-99)

March 16, 2015

john_lennon_and_paul_mccartney_by_david_bailey_1965

You and I have memories, longer than the road that stretches out ahead: John Lennon
and Paul McCartney famously snapped by David Bailey at The Beatles’ height in 1965

So, time to ’fess up. Yesterday I declared this very blog you’re (hopefully) reading was celebrating its fifth anniversary. Well, my friends, I told a fibber. Only a wee one, though, don’t worry; a little white lie. For, yes, that’s right, today is in fact George’s Journal’s birthday. The greatness that is the Internet has been, er, graced by this blog’s presence for a full five years from now on.

Why is that significant, you may ask? Because it means that, like it or not, this little winkle of the World Wide Web, this simple stop on the electronic super-highway, this craggy nook of the ’Net is extending its commemorative celebrations by one more blog post. Yup, this one. And similar to yesterday (and, um, very similar to last year’s additional anniversary-marking post), it’s a pictorial honouring of great faces from 50 years past – to be exact, one from each of the years 1950-99. What? Fifty people? In 50 separate images? Yes, afraid so. But, fear not, for these individuals are undeniably illustrious legends – all of them more than deserving of taking their place in this blog’s rollicking roster of ‘Legends’.

In which case, let’s crack on and crack open that bottle of Bollinger, I espy in the corner (if it’s a ’69, you were expecting me) as, together, we mark Day 1,827 of George’s Journal

.

.

.

CLICK
on the images for full-size

.

.

.

1950 ~ Charles M Schulz

Making this year his by: gifting Charlie Brown, Snoopy and co. to the world at large by publishing his comic strip creation Peanuts for the very first time

.

charles_m_schulz_1950

.

.

.

.

.1951 ~ Humphrey Bogart

Making this year his by: delivering one of the performances of his career – certainly his funniest and his only Oscar-winning one – in the shape of comic adventure The African Queen’s lead 

.

humphrey_bogart_1946

.

.

.

.

1952 ~ Gene Kelly

Making this year his by: hoofing up a storm as a silent movie heart-throb facing crisis but also finding love (hello, The Artist) in surely the ultimate Hollywood musical Singin’ In The Rain

.

gene_kelly_1952

.

.

.

.

1953 ~ Ian Fleming

Making this year his by: publishing, to paraphrase him, the spy novel to top them all, James Bond’s debut Casino Royale – and cheekily claiming it was intended as a wedding gift to his soon-to-be wife

.

ian_fleming_1953

.

.

.

.

1954 ~ Alfred Hitchcock

Making this year his by: delivering one hell of a movie one-two in the shape of classic thrillers Rear Window and Dial M For Murder – both of which star the incomparable Grace Kelly

.

alfred_hotchock_1959_promotional_image_for_tv_series_alfred_hitchcock_presents

.

.

.

.

1955 ~ Bill Haley

Making this year his by: irresistibly inviting the whole of the Western world to rock around the clock – and, in the process, offering up an unofficial anthem for the hot-to-trot rock ‘n’ roll movement

.

Bill Haley

.

.

.

.

1956 ~ Laurence Olivier

Making this year his by: donning that schnoz, that haircut, that limp, that hunchback and that accent, and so ensuring up to 40 million Americans watching on their TVs (and millions more in cinemas) experience his take on Richard III – Shakespeare at its absolute finest

.

laurence_olivier_1956

.

.

.

.

1957 ~ Buddy Holly

Making this year his by: going stratospheric as rock ‘n’ roll’s genius tunesmith thanks to the awesome hit quintet Peggy Sue, Everyday, Not Fade Away, Oh Boy! and That’ll Be The Day

.

buddy_holly_1957

.

.

.

.

1958 ~ Alec Guinness

Making this year his by: basking in Oscar glory as he takes home the Best Actor award for his magnificently nuanced character portrait of martial madness in The Bridge On The River Kwai

.

alec_guinness_1955

.

.

.

.

1959 ~ Miles Davis

Making this year his by: recording and releasing his seminal epic Kind Of Blue (the world’s biggest ever selling jazz album), featuring the utterly essential track So What

.

miles_davis_1959

.

.

.

.

1960 ~ Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin
and Sammy Davis, Jr.

Making this year theirs by: gathering together the Rat Pack for ‘The Summit’ in Las Vegas – oh, and in their spare time making the movie Ocean’s Eleven

.

frank_sinatra_dean_martin_and_sammy_davis_jr._1960

.

.

.

.

1961 ~ Yuri Gagarin

Making this year his by: that’s right, becoming the first man in space

.

yuri_gagarin_1961

.

.

.

.

1962 ~ Andy Warhol

Making this year his by: powering to become pop art’s leader by creating and displaying his now ubiquitous Campbell’s Soup Cans and Marilyn Diptych, thereby changing modern art forever

.

andy_warhol_1962

.

.

.

.

1963 ~ Marcello Mastroianni

Making this year his by: following up his lead turn in Fellini’s timeless La Dolce Vita by providing a cypher for the director in his masterpiece – and still looking like the coolest chap on the planet 

.

marcello_mastroianni_1963

.

.

.

.

1964 ~ Donald Campbell

Making this year his by: breaking the world land-speed record and the world water-speed record within months of each other – thus becoming the only man to hold both records in the same year

.

donald_campbell_1964

.

.

.

.

1965 ~ Paul McCartney

Making this year his by: starring with his fellow Fabs in Help!, beginning to experiment on album Rubber Soul, romancing the adorable Jane Asher, owning Martha the Old English Sheepdog and remaining the most fanciable Beatle

.

paul_mccartney_1965

.

.

.

.

1966 ~ Bobby Moore

Making this year his by: captaining England’s football team to World Cup glory against old foe West Germany at Wembley

.

bobby_moore_1966

.

.

.

.

1967 ~ Jimi Hendrix

Making this year his by: breaking through and quickly proving he’s the world’s greatest ever guitarist via albums Are You Experienced and Axis: Bold Of Love, and tunes Purple Haze, Hey Joe, The Wind Cries Mary, Foxy Lady, Fire, Little Wing and Third Stone From The Sun

.

jimi_hendrix_1967

.

.

.

.

1968 ~ Louis Armstrong

Making this year his by: recording the song that will define his singing career, the wonder that’s What A Wonderful World – the year’s biggest selling single in the UK

.

louis_armstrong_1968

.

.

.

.

1969 ~ Sid James

Making this year his by: becoming Blighty’s top comedy figure thanks to big-screen leads in Carry On Again Doctor and Carry On Camping – the year’s #1 movie at the UK box-office

.

sid_james_1964_2

.

.

.

.

1970 ~ Paul Simon and Art Garfunkel

Making this year theirs by: calling it a day as a duo but going out on a high with easily their greatest album, which contains extraordinary, epic title tune Bridge Over Troubled Water

.

Simon and Garfunkel concert Ohio University 10-29-1968

.

.

.

.

1971 ~ John Lennon

Making this year his by: confirming himself as the most musically adored post-Beatle thanks to instantly adopted (and for all-time) peace movement anthem Imagine

.

john_lennon_1971

.

.

.

.

1972 ~ Mark Spitz

Making this year his by: giving the Munich Olympics a much needed silver lining by winning a sensational seven swimming gold medals – and setting seven world records in the process

.

Mark Spitz

.

.

.

.

1973 ~ Noddy Holder

Making this year his by: enjoying an annus mirabilis with glam rockers Slade – thanks to UK #1’s Cum On Feel The Noize, Skweeze Me, Pleeze Me and Merry Xmas Everybody

.

noddy_holder_1973

.

.

.

.

1974 ~ Al Pacino and Robert De Niro

Making this year theirs by: exciting and delighting audiences around the world as the leaders of Hollywood’s dynamic new acting pack with astonishing performances in The Godfather Part II

.

al_pacino_and_robert_de_niro_1974

.

.

.

.

1975 ~ Arthur Ashe

Making this year his by: making it look like Wimbledon has finally entered the second half of the 20th Century (if that’s actually possible) by becoming the first black man to win the men’s singles title

.

arthur_ashe_1975

.

.

.

.

1976 ~ Benny Andersson and Björn Ulvaeus

Making this year theirs by: rivalling Volvo as Sweden’s biggest export (honestly) by consolidating ABBA’s conquest of global pop with album Arrival and iconic hits Dancing Queen, Fernando and Money, Money, Money

.

benny_andersson_and_bjorn_ulvaeus_1976

.

.

.

.

1977 ~ George Lucas

Making this year his by: gifting the world Star Wars – and redefining cinema forever

.

george_lucas_1977

.

.

.

.

1978 ~ Ronnie Barker

Making this year his by: winning a BAFTA for both sitcom extraordinaire Porridge (1974-77) and sketch show supreme The Two Ronnies (1971-87), as well as picking up an OBE from Her Maj

.

Ronnie Barker

 

.

.

.

.

1979 ~ Dustin Hoffman

Making this year his by: winning the (first of his two) Best Actor Oscars for portraying – with acute naturalism and honesty – a man adjusting to single-fatherhood in Kramer Vs. Kramer

.

dustin_hoffman_1979

.

.

.

.

1980 ~ Sebastian Coe and Steve Ovett

Making this year theirs by: transforming the men’s 800m and 1500m at the Moscow Olympics into a two-man-only scrap – Britain’s never had it so good (in middle-distance running)

.

sebastian_coe_and_steve_ovett_1980

.

.

.

.

1981 ~ John Williams

Making this year his by: after Jaws (1975), Star Wars (1977), Superman: The Movie (1978) and The Empire Strikes Back (1980), giving an unmistakeable musical identity to cinema’s greatest ‘modern’ hero Indiana Jones in Raiders Of The Lost Ark – next up will be E.T.: The Extra-Terrestrial (1982)

.

john_williams_1981

.

.

.

.

1982 ~ Roald Dahl

Making this year his by: writing and publishing the bodaciously brilliant The BFG, arguably the greatest – and among the very best-selling – of his novels

.

roald_dahl_1982

.

.

.

.

1983 ~ Eddie Murphy

Making this year his by: emerging as Hollywood’s most bankable funnyman, by following-up 48 Hrs. (1982) with Trading Places – and next year will bring Beverly Hills Cop

.

eddie_murphy_1983

.

.

.

.

1984 ~ Jane Torvill and Christopher Dean

Making this year theirs by: becoming Britain’s brand new sweethearts (even if they weren’t to each other) by ice-skating to Olympic gold with all those ‘perfect sixes’

.

torvill_and_dean_1984

.

.

.

.

1985 ~ Bob Geldof

Making this year his by: outdoing Band Aid by arm-twisting stars to collaborate on the extraordinary raise-dosh-by-the-vatload concert of the century Live Aid

.

bob_geldof_1985

.

.

.

.

1986 ~ Gary Lineker

Making this year his by: establishing himself as the greatest English footballer of his generation by scoring six goals in five matches at the Mexico ’86 World Cup – Diego, who?

.

gary_lineker_1986

.

.

.

.

1987 ~ Sean Connery

Making this year his by:  at last putting Bond behind him, for right or wrong, as he gives an electric performance in gangster thriller par excellence The Untouchables – for which he’ll wonderfully become one of Oscar’s most popular ever winners

.

sean_connery_1987

.

.

.

.

1988 ~ Seve Ballesteros

Making this year his by: winning his fifth and final ‘Major’ golf tournament, The British Open (for the second time), describing his last round thereof as ‘perhaps the best … of my entire career’

.

Seve Ballesteros wins

.

.

.

.

1989 ~ Tim Berners-Lee

Making this year his by: implementing, via the Internet, the first successful communication between an HTTP ‘client’ and a server – that is, basically inventing and setting up the World Wide Web

.

tim_berners-lee_1989

.

.

.

.

1990 ~ John Barry

Making this year his by: scoring navel-gazing Western hit Dances With Wolves, for which he’ll win the fourth and final – and, like all the others, hugely deserved – Oscar of his career

.

john_barry_1990

.

.

.

.

1991 ~ Roger Moore

Making this year his by: persuaded by the angelic Audrey Hepburn, following in her footsteps and becoming a highly visible UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador – a role to which he’s been hugely dedicated for every one of his autumnal years

.

roger_moore_1991

.

.

.

.

1992 ~ Robin Williams

Making this year his by: starring in the role of his career, the voice of the incorrigible Genie in Disney’s Aladdin – he’ll then go on to play maybe the other great role of his career Mrs Doubtfire

.

robin_williams_genie_aladdin_1992

.

.

.

.

1993 ~ Steven Spielberg

Making this year his by: pulling off the greatest one-two in cinema history by filming back-to-back Jurassic Park and Schindler’s List – the former’ll become the (then) biggest moneymaker of all-time, the latter his most awarded movie

.

steven_spielberg_1993

.

.

.

.

1994 ~ Nelson Mandela

Making this year his by: being elected the first President of the newly democratic South Africa

.

Nelson Mandela During Election Campaign, Athlone Stadium, Cape Town, South Africa - Mar 1994

.

.

.

.

1995 ~ Pierce Brosnan

Making this year his by: debuting as a smoothly cool new 007 in GoldenEye, the irresistible adventure that brilliantly brings Bond back from the dead

.

pierce_brosnan_1995

.

.

.

.

1996 ~ Paul Gascoigne

Making this year his by: mercurially driving his team to near trophy-grasping glory as England gloriously ‘bring football home’ at Euro ’96

.

paul_gascoigne_1996

.

.

.

.

1997 ~ Elton John

Making this year his by: taking centre-stage at Diana’s funeral by retooling one of his top tunes as a tribute to his friend and, in so doing, scoring the second biggest selling single of all-time

.

elton_john_1997

.

.

.

.

1998 ~ Burt Bacharach

Making this year his by: returning to his marvellously melancholic best form since the ’60s with Elvis Costello-collaborated album Painted By Memory, including the song God Give Me Strength

.

Burt Bacharach at his home in LA, USA

.

.

.

.

1999 ~ Kevin Spacey

Making this year his by: consolidating exceptional turns in The Usual Suspects and L.A. Confidential with an equally exquisite performance in American Beauty, which will see him become one of the best received Oscar winners of modern times

.

kevin_spacey_1999

.

.

.

.

.

revolverrepeat

.

george's_journal_motif

George’s Journal’s fifth birthday party: fifty years of terrific talent (1950-99)

March 15, 2015

 audrey_hepburn_breakfast_at_tiffany's_1961_full

Purr-fect pals: Audrey Hepburn’s greatest animal chum in real-life may have been her Yorkshire Terrier Mr Famous, but in her guise as Holly Golightly, there was only ever one feline friend for her 

Can you believe it? Frankly, I can’t – the thought of it only reminds yours truly how time flies; how the present becomes the past (mind you, that whimsical, somewhat memorialistic thinking of what’s been is arguably what this blog’s all about). Anyway, yes, can you believe it? George’s Journal is celebrating its fifth anniversary. That’s right, it’s been around these parts for five years – a whole half-decade; a full semi-dectet. And such an occurrence requires suitably marking, doesn’t it? Well, forgive me, peeps, for this post is verily it.

Yes, following on from previous anniversary-acknowledging efforts (see here, here and here), this year offers up a pictorial saluting to oh-so ‘talented’ and lovely looking ladies of years past – across 50 years past, in fact: 1950-99, no less. Indeed, one for each of those 50 years. Now, the eagle-eyed among you (that is, those who are more than casual visitors to this blog) may notice this is a suspiciously similar idea to last year’s birthday blog post. My answer? Well, let’s be honest, this nook of the Internet’s never really been about reinventing the wheel, so why spoil the habit of a blog’s lifetime (so far)?

So, here we go then, let us, each and every one of us, welcome each and every one of the following new entrants into the ‘Talent’ corner of George’s Journal

.

.

.

CLICK
on the images for full-size

.

.

.

1950 ~ Anita Ekberg

Making waves this year for: taking the Miss Sweden crown and, via the Miss Universe competition, gaining international exposure that will see her swiftly become a global film star and eventually lead to an unforgettable appearance in La Dolce Vita (1960)

.

anita_ekberg_1950

.

.

.

.

1951 ~ Vivien Leigh

Making waves this year for: taking on the second great screen role of her career – Blanche du Bois in A Streetcar Named Desire, which will see her cruise to Oscar victory the following year

.

vivien_leigh_1951

.

.

.

.

1952 ~ Cyd Charisse

Making waves this year for: becoming an overnight sensation thanks to her break-out role as the once-seen-never-ever-forgotten dancer opposite Gene Kelly in Singin’ In The Rain’s fantasy sequence

.

cyd_charisse_1953

.

.

.

.

1953 ~ Maria Callas

Making waves this year for: hitting her career high as she drops several pounds to take on the svelter figure that – by her own admission – improves her performances as the ultimate opera diva

.

maria_callas_1953

.

.

.

.

1954 ~ Judy Garland

Making waves this year for: fifteen years on from Dorothy, becoming a musical cinema icon all over again in A Star Is Born, featuring her indelibly memorable torch song The Man That Got Away

.

judy_garland_1954

.

.

.

.
1955 ~ Shirley Jones

Making waves this year for: bewitching audiences in her film debut as the female lead in the classic movie adaptation of Rodgers and Hammerstein’s Oklahoma!

.

shirley_jones_1955_oklahoma!_2 shirley_jones_1955_oklahoma!

.

.

.

.
1956 ~ Ingrid Bergman 

Making waves this year for: marking her return from the Hollywood wilderness by winning a Best Actress Oscar as the supposed Russian royal survivor Anastasia (1955)

.

ingrid_bergman_1956

.

.

.

.

1957 ~ Suzy Parker

Making waves this year for: on top of becoming the first fashion model to earn $100,000 for a single gig, starring in Cary Grant comedy Kiss Them For Me and alongside Audrey Hepburn and Fred Astaire in hit musical Funny Face

.

suzy_parker_1957_by_allan_grant

.

.

.

.
1958 ~ Mitzi Gaynor

Making waves this year for: hitting the Hollywood ‘A’-List by taking lead duties as Nellie Forbush in the big-screen adaptation of musical South Pacific, the year’s #1 movie at the box-office

.

mitz_gaynor_1958_1 mitz_gaynor_1958_2

.

.

.

.
1959 ~ Marilyn Monroe

Making waves this year for: proving utterly iridescent in the role of her career – the ditsy but adorable jazz band songstress Sugar Kane in classic cross-dressing caper Some Like It Hot

.

marilyn_monroe_1959

.

.

.

.

1960 ~ Jean Seberg

Making waves this year for: beguiling Jean Paul Belmondo and hipster film fans everywhere as his drop-dead gorgeous, bob-haired accomplice in Godard’s New Wave classic À Bout de Souffle

.

jean_seberg_2 jean_seberg

.

.

.

.

1961 ~ Audrey Hepburn

Making waves this year for: besting the rats and super rats and beating the ‘Mean Reds’ by breakfasting at Tiffany’s, thereby creating the big-screen Holly Golightly, the role for which she’ll become synonymous for the rest of (and beyond) her life

.

audrey_hepburn_breakfast_at_tiffany's_1961 audrey_hepburn_breakfast_at_tiffany's_1961_and_again_and_again

audrey_hepburn_breakfast_at_tiffany's_1961_and_again audrey_hepburn_breakfast_at_tiffany's_1961_again

.
.

.

1962 ~ Ursula Andress

Making waves this year for: quite simply becoming a sex symbol icon for all-time by emerging from the sea Botteceli’s Venus-like in the first ever Bond film Dr No

.

 ursula_andress_1962

.

.

.

.

1963 ~ Jackie Kennedy

Making waves this year for: enduring the tragic assassination of her US President husband with elegant dignity and grace, thus passing into legend as the ultimate glamorously aspirational First Lady (these carefree images were captured mere days before her fateful ordeal)

.

jackie_kennedy_1963

.

.

.

.

1964 ~ Diana Ross,
Mary Wilson and Florence Ballard

Making waves this year for: going stratospheric as The Supremes, surely the greatest girl group of all-time, thanks in no small part to sensational US and UK #1 hit Baby Love

.

the_supremes_by_gilles_petard_1964

.

.

.

.
1965 ~ Marianne Faithfull

Making waves this year for: taking up with Rolling Stones frontman Mick Jagger and releasing on the same day both a folk album (Come My Way) and an eponymous album of covers

.

marianne_faithfull_1965

.

.

.

.

1966 ~ Twiggy

Making waves this year for: becoming an icon of the Swinging Sixties as she’s named the ‘Face of 1966’ and the ‘Woman of the Year’ – not bad for a former Woolworths till girl from Neasden

.

twiggy_1966

.

.

.

.
1967 ~ Diana Rigg

Making waves this year for: proving beyond any doubt she’ll be a feminist icon for all-times thanks to her second and final series as The Avengers’ heroine du jour Mrs Emma Peel

.

diana_rigg_1966

.

.

.

.

1968 ~ Mia Farrow

Making waves this year for: divorcing Sinatra, schlepping with The Beatles to Rishikesh and getting a snip from Vidal Sassoon for a megastar-making turn in Rosemary’s Baby

.

mia_farrow_four_leaf_clover

.

.

.

.
1969 ~ Janis Joplin

Making waves this year for: becoming an essential figure of late ’60s counterculture and an undeniable rock legend by pretty much headlining Woodstock

.

janis_joplin_1969

.

.

.

.
1970 ~ Tina Moore

Making waves this year for: underlining her status as the ultimate WAG as the glamorous focal point in the lead-up to the Mexican World Cup defence by husband Bobby’s England

.

Tina Moore

.

.

.

.
1971 ~ Britt Ekland 

Making waves this year for: finally emerging as the movie star she’s threatened she’d become for years by providing the looks to Michael Caine’s Michael-Caineness in Get Carter

.

Britt Ekland Smoking A Cigarette

.

.

.

.

1972 ~ Roberta Flack

Making waves for: coming out of nowhere to kill us all with the biggest chart hit of the year Killing Me Softly With His Song

.

roberta_flack_1972

.

.

.

.
1973 ~ Jane Seymour

Making waves this year for: hypnotising new 007 Roger Moore and red-blooded males everywhere with her gracious plummy tones and aristocratic beauty as Bond Girl extraordinaire Solitaire in Live And Let Die

.

jane_seymour_1973

.

.

.

.
1974 ~ Sylvia Kristel

Making waves this year for: providing a centre-piece to mid-’70s porn chic as the, er, titular lead in the sexily exploitative Emmanuelle

.

sylvia_kristel_1974

.

.

.

.

1975 ~ Donna Summer

Making waves this year for: simultaneously becoming a disco diva and sex siren for her irresistible vocals on the incredibly hot (in more ways than one) hit Love To Love You Baby

.

donna_summer_1975

.

.

.

.

1976 ~ Chris Evert

Making waves this year for: winning the Wimbledon and US Singles titles, serving as the Women’s Tennis Association’s President and continuing her (eventual) unbroken five-year reign as World #1

.

Chris Evert Playing at the U.S. Open Tennis Tournament

.

.

.

.

1977 ~ Carrie Fisher

Making waves this year for: stepping out of mother Debbie Reynolds and dad Eddie Fisher’s collective shadow by debuting as Star Wars’ bagel-bun-haired but adorably sassy Princess Leia

.

carrie_fisher_1977

.

.

.

.

1978 ~ Kate Bush

Making waves this year for: establishing her curious, nay vaguely bizarre brand of art-pop as an instant mainstream success, not least in the shape of the wonderful Wuthering Heights

.

kate_bush_1978

.

.

.

.

1979 ~ Persis Khambatta

Making waves this year for: going bald to conquer sci-fi sirendom and give Captain Kirk the horn in Star Trek: The Motion Picture – she’ll become the first Indian to present an Oscar a year later

.

Lan 1057 persis_khambatta_1979

.

.

.

.

1980 ~ Sharron Davies 

Making waves this year for: literally making waves, if you will, by wining a silver medal at the Moscow Olympics in the 400m Individual Medley behind a self-admitted East German drug cheat

.

olympic_lore_1980_moscow_olympics_sharron_davies

.

.

.

.

1981 ~ Sheena Easton

Making waves this year for: following up her major chart hit of the previous year – 9 To 5 (Morning Train) – with the opening titles theme to 007 movie For Your Eyes Only – and becoming the only Bond singer to actually appear in the titles 

.

sheena_easton_1980

.

.

.

.

1982 ~ Meryl Streep

Making waves this year for: delivering perhaps the performance of her career as a haunted Auschwitz survivor in Sophie’s Choice, which will win her the first of her (so far) two Best Actress Oscars

.

meryl_streep_1982

.

.

.

.

1983 ~ Sara Dallin, Siobhan Fahey
and Keren Woodward

Making waves this year for: solidifying their status as the truly irresistible tom-boyish sexy-pop-trio-next-door by hitting the UK’s top 10 with debut album Deep Sea Skiving, featuring the hits Really Saying Something and Cruel Summer

.

BANANARAMA 1988  EIGHTIES POP GROUP BANANARAMA GIRL BAND

.

.

.

.

1984 ~ Sade Adu

Making waves this year for: as the velvet-voiced lead of neo-soul-cum-smooth-jazz outfit Sade, playing a pivotal role in shifting millions of units of Smooth Operator and Your Love Is King

.

sade_adu_1984

.

.

.

.

1985 ~ Cybill Shepherd

Making waves this year for: rapidly rising to small screen superstardom by generating sparks of crackling chemistry with Bruce Willis in comedy drama par excellence Moonlighting (1985-89)

.

cybill_shepherd_1985

.

.

.

.

1986 ~ Mia Sara

Making waves this year for: playing the hottest girl in high school any of us can remember (real or not) as she skives off for the day with Ferris Bueller

.

mia_sara

.

.

.

.

1987 ~ Whitney Houston

Making waves this year for: hitting the album chart top spot in 13 countries with sophomore long-player Whitney, which spawns the world-conquering singles I Wanna Dance With Somebody (Who Loves Me)Didn’t We Almost Have It All and Where Do Broken Hearts Go

.

whitney_houston_1987

.

.

.

.

1988 ~ Carly Simon

Making waves this year for: bestowing yuppie-endorsing romcom Working Girl with the awesomely epic tune Let The River Run, which will go on to win her an Oscar for Best Original Song

.

carly_simon_1988

.

.

.

.

1989 ~ Michaela Strachan

Making waves this year for: proving a perfect Saturday morning hangover cure for male students up and down the land as the chirpy, lovely co-host of TV-am’s Wide Awake Club (1984-89)

.

michaela_strachan_1990

.

.

.

.

1990 ~ Julie Delpy

Making waves this year for: earning the tag of Euro cinema’s latest overnight sensation thanks to a scintillating supporting role in her debut movie Europa Europa 

.

julie_delpy_1991

.

.

.

.

1991 ~ Jennifer Connelly

Making waves this year for: leaving adolescence and Labyrinth (1986) behind by taking grown-up, glamorous love interest duties in Hollywood-based comic book adventure hokum The Rocketeer

.

jennifer_connelly_1991

.

.

.

.

1992 ~ Joanna Lumley

Making waves this year for: showing ingenues how it’s done by, in her mid-40s, daringly going totally against type, nay trashing her own persona in portraying solipsistic lush Patsy Stone in sitcom Absolutely Fabulous (1992-2012)

.

Joanna Lumley

.

.

.

.

1993 ~ Milla Jovovich

Making waves this year for: taking the leap from international catwalk model to globally admired cinema icon by appearing in Richard Linklater’s classic flick of ’70s US teendom Dazed And Confused

.

Michael Tighe Archive "Milla Jovovich"

.

.

.

.

1994 ~ Jennifer Aniston

Making waves this year for: becoming the hottest sitcom star since Michael J Fox and a small-screen sex symbol thanks to out-of-nowhere TV ratings blockbuster Friends (1994-2004)

.

jennifer_aniston_1994_photographed_by_jeffrey_newberry

.

.

.

.

1995 ~ Izabella Scorupco

Making waves this year for: contributing sizzling sex appeal to glorious renaissance Bond movie GoldenEye – every bit as appealing as Pierce Brosnan and far better looking in a bikini

.

izabella_scorupco_1995

.

.

.

.

1996 ~ Sheryl Crow

Making waves this year for: conquering charts everywhere with her eponymous second album, from which comes the singles Everyday Is A Winding Road, A Change Would Do You Good and the awesome If It Makes You Happy

.

sheryl_crow_1996

.

.

.

.

1997 ~ Geri Halliwell

Making waves this year for: encapsulating ‘Cool Britannia’ (for good or bad) by appearing at the BRIT Awards wearing a Union Jack miniskirt – and not looking half bad doing so

.

geri_halliwell_1997

.

.

.

.

1998 ~ Kate Winslet

Making waves this year for: being seen at the cinema surely at least three times by most of the world’s population in Titanic, in which she does far more than just getting, er, ‘painted like a French girl’

.

hqcity

.

.

.

.

1999 ~ Gwyneth Paltrow

Making waves this year for: providing the adorable heart of quirkily sunny Elizabethan romcom Shakespeare In Love, a role for which she’ll tearfully and oh-so memorably capture an Oscar

.

gwyneth_paltrow_1999

.

.

.

.

.

audrey_hepburn_moon_river

.

george's_journal_motif

.

Playlist: Listen, my friends! ~ March 2015

March 3, 2015

.

In the words of Moby Grape… listen, my friends! Yes, it’s the (hopefully) monthly playlist presented by George’s Journal just for you good people.

There may be one or two classics to be found here dotted in among different tunes you’re unfamiliar with or have never heard before – or, of course, you may’ve heard them all before. All the same, why not sit back, listen away and enjoy…

.

CLICK on the song titles to hear them

.

The Left Banke ~ Pretty Ballerina (1966)

Ola & The Janglers ~ Let’s Dance (1968)¹

Aphrodite’s Child ~ Rain And Tears (1968)²

Sly and the Family Stone ~ I Want To Take You Higher (1969)

Carnaby Street Pop Orchestra and Choir ~ A Taste Of Excitement (1969)

Sugarloaf ~ Green-Eyed Lady (1970)

Minnie Riperton ~ Les Fleurs (1970)

Grand Funk Railroad ~ I’m Your Captain (Closer To Home) (1970)

ABBA ~ Arrival (1976)

Jorge Ben Jor ~ Taj Mahal (1976)³

Telex ~ Moskow Diskow (1979)

Julian Cope ~ World Shut Your Mouth (1986)

Peter Gabriel ~ Steam (1992)4

.

¹ Originally a UK #2 and US #4 hit for Chris Montez back in 1962 (which was later coupled with The Shirelles’ Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow to become a chart hit across Europe in the early ’70s), this rocking version from Swedish garage band Ola & the Janglers hit #92 in the US

² A reworking of Pachelbel’s Canon in D major, this tune became a huge hit in Continental Europe, especially in France where the then Paris-based Aphrodite’s Child watched as it became something of an anthem for the anti-war movement at the time of the 1968 riots. The band, a Greek progressive rock outfit, featured both the synth-god-to-be Vangelis and Demis Roussos, whom would become an, er, giant of MOR balladry in the ’70s; Roussos passed away just over a month ago

³ Find that melody familiar? Could well be because it was half-inched for dubiously successful disco-pop effort Da Ya Think I’m Sexy? (1978) by an arse-waggling Rod Stewart

4 The awesome video to this sexual attraction-themed hit from Peter Gabriel (UK #10) features then revolutionary CGI and was directed by Stephen R Johnson, whom also directed the stop-motion-tastic videos to Gabriel’s Sledgehammer and Big Love (both 1986). Rightly so, the video was nominated for a Grammy Award and two MTV Video Music Awards; Johnson died, sadly at the age of just 63, in late January this year

.

george's_journal_motif

.

George’s Journal’s pick of the flicks and top of the pops ~ 1975-79

February 17, 2015

flick_picks_and_pop_tops_1975-79_light_blue

.

The UK’s ‘Winter of Discontent’ and rubbish piling up on the streets. The Khmer Rouge genocide. The ‘Birmingham Six’ conviction. The USSR invading Afghanistan. Steve Biko‘s death in custody and Harvey Milk’s assassination. On the face of it, the mid- to late ’70s were a half-decade to forget; a depressing five years of thoroughly debilitating events. But was it really all death, decay and corruption? Well, no, of course not; that’s never the whole story.

Culturally-wise – or at least when it comes to music and movies – the second half of the ’70s were an eye-opening and diverse canvas of artistic and major money-making quality. On the one side, you had the mega-bucks-generating big-screen excess of Star Wars, Grease and Rocky and the pop, disco and rock of ABBA, the Bee Gees, Donna Summer and Fleetwood Mac, while on the other you had the intelligence, intrigue and integrity of All the President’s Men, Network, Taxi Driver and Apocalypse Now at the cinema and Bowie in Berlin, Kate Bush, The Clash and a post-Genesis Peter Gabriel at the record store.

Yes, not only shouldn’t you dismiss the years 1975-79, you also shouldn’t dismiss this (admittedly, nay apologetically) rather long blog post that dedicates itself to highlighting the very best in film and song from each of those years – itself, in fact, just the latest in a series of posts doing so from, yes really, 1950 onwards (see those other posts here: 1950-54; 1955-59; 1960-64; 1965-69 and 1970-74).

So, folks,  let’s each and every one of us then throw on a dazzling John Travolta white tuxedo, revv ourselves up with that Rocky shadow-boxing move and jump on a Chopper bike, peddling away like Luke Skywalker piloting his X-Wing, as we immerse ourselves in the annus semi-dectet that was 1975-79…

.

.

.

CLICK

on the film and song titles for video clips…

.

.

.

.

1975

.

Fall of Saigon, end of Vietnam War; Thatcher new Tory leader; Franco dies;
Britain votes yes to Europe; Khmer Rouge genocide begins; ‘Birmingham Six’ convicted;
Viking 1 heads to Mars; ‘Thrilla in Manilla’; Saturday Night Live and The Sweeney debut

.

Film:

The Man Who Would Be King

.

the_man_who_would_be_king_1975

.

Directed by: John Huston/ Starring: Sean Connery, Michael Caine, Christopher Plummer,
Saeed Jaffrey and Shakira Caine/ Country: USA/ UK/ 123 minutes/ (Period adventure)

What George says: Out of step with the neo-realist trend of ’70s US cinema it may have been, but this throwback to the exotic Hollywood adventures of old is thoroughly satisfying fare, mixing a whimsical-cum-satirical Flashman-like flashback to the the days of the British Empire in full Victorian pomp with spectacular cinematography and a Kipling-derived, gripping tale that can surely only end badly for perfectly paired pals Caine and Connery’s Raj-era rogues. Less a swansong for the ageing John Huston than the master filmmaker on top form at the age of 69.

What the critics say: “We get strong characterizations, we get excitement and, best of all, we get to laugh every once in a while … Huston’s movie … reflects his personality and his own best films; it’s open, sweeping and lusty – we walk out feeling exhilarated … [Connery and Caine] work together so well, they interact so easily and with such camaraderie, that watching them is a pleasure” ~ Roger Ebert

Oscar count: 0

Oscar’s Best Picture pick this year: One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest

The public’s pick this year: Jaws (global box-office #1)

.

George’s runners-up: 2. One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest; 3. Jaws;
4. Dog Day Afternoon; 5. Monty Python And The Holy Grail

one_flew_over_the_cuckoo's_nest_1975 jaws_1975 dog_day_afternoon_1975 monty_python_and_the_holy_grail_1975

.

And the rest: Barry Lyndon;  L’Histoire d’Adèle H. (The Story Of Adele H.); Love And Death; NashvillePicnic At Hanging Rock; Profundo Russo (Deep Red); The Return Of The Pink Panther; The Rocky Horror Picture ShowShampoo; The Stepford WivesThree Days Of The Condor; Tommy

.

.

.

Song:

Bohemian Rhapsody ~ Queen

.

bohemian_rhapsody_queen

.

Writer: Freddie Mercury/ Released: October 1975

What George says: The pop song as opera, this clever-clever opus quite clearly influenced by the classical tradition from a quartet of grammar and public school-educated rebels nonetheless became instantly recognisable and adored the world over. Like The Beatles at their most artistically ambitious, it’s musically complex, but lyrically dense too (if at first indecipherable – it’s actually about a young man confessing to murder and bemoaning his guilt), yet it’s also brilliantly accessible and builds towards an irresistible head-bang-worthy rock-out climax. Absolutely iconic.

What the contemporary says: [It’s] the most competitive thing that’s come along in ages … a fulfilment and an answer to a teenage prayer – to artistic music” ~
Brian Wilson (commenting in 1976)

Chart record: US #9 (#2 in 1992)/ UK #1 (for nine weeks – #1 again in 1991 for five weeks)

Recognition: Ranked #2 for 1975, #10 for the 1970s and #53 for ‘all-time’ on acclaimedmusic.net’s cumulatively ranked ‘top songs’ lists/inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame (2004)/ named in 1977 the the best British single released between 1952 and ’77 by the British Phonographic Industry (BMI)/ voted second (behind John Lennon’s Imagine) in Channel 4’s poll of ‘The 100 Greatest Number 1’s’ (2000)/ voted 10th in a BBC World Service poll of the world’s favourite songs (2002)/ named by the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame as one of ‘The 500 Songs that Shaped Rock and Roll’ (2011)

.

George’s runners-up: 2. Landslide (Fleetwood Mac)/
3. Someone Saved My Life Tonight (Elton John)/
4. I’m Not In Love (10cc)/  5. SOS (ABBA)

fleetwood_mac_landslide someone_saved_my_life_tonight_elton_john_1975 i'm_not_in_love_10cc_1975 sos_abba_1975

.

And the rest: All By Myself (Eric Carmen)/ Autobahn (Kraftwerk)/ Born To Run (Bruce Springsteen)/ Calling Occupants of Interplanetary Craft (The Recognized Anthem of World Contact Day) (Klaatu)/ Can’t Give You Anything (But My Love) (The Stylistics)/ Convoy (C W McCall)/ Could It Be Magic; I Write The Songs (Barry Manilow)/ Cross The Tracks (We Better Go Back) (Maceo and the Macks)/ Diamonds And Rust (Joan Baez)/ D.I.V.O.R.C.E. (Billy Connolly)/ Don’t Leave Me This Way (Harold Melville & the Blue Notes)/ Dreamer (Supertramp)/ Evil Woman (Electric Light Orchestra)/ Fame; Golden YearsYoung Americans (David Bowie)/ Feel Like Makin’ Love (Bad Company)/ Fight The Power (Part 1 & 2) (The Isley Brothers)/ Fire (The Ohio Players)/ Fly, Robin, Fly (Silver Convention)/ Get Down Tonight; That’s The Way (I Like It) (KC and the Sunshine Band)/ How Does It Feel (Slade)/ The Hurricane (Bob Dylan)/ The Hustle (Van McCoy & the Soul City Symphony)/ I Believe In Father Christmas (Greg Lake)/ I Only Have Eyes For You (Art Garfunkel)/ Intermezzo No. 1; Mamma Mia (ABBA)/ Island Girl; Philadelphia Freedom; Pinball Wizard (Elton John)/ Jive Talkin’ (The Bee Gees)/ Listen To What The Man Said (Paul McCartney and Wings)/ Love Is The Drug (Roxy Music)/ Lovin’ You (Minnie Riperton)/ Low Rider; Why Can’t We Be Friends? (War)/ Make Me Smile (Come Up And See Me) (Steve Harley & Cockney Rebel)/ Main Title (Theme From Jaws) (John Williams)/ No Regrets (The Walker Brothers)/ One Day In Your Life (Michael Jackson)/ Only Yesterday (The Carpenters)/ Rhinestone Cowboy (Glen Campbell)/ Right Back Where We Started From (Maxine Nightingale)/ Sky High (Jigsaw)/ Squeeze Box (The Who)/ Stand By Me (John Lennon)/ Sweet Emotion (Aerosmith)/ Sweet Transvestite (Tim Curry)/ (Theme From Mahogany) Do You Know Where You’re Going To (Diana Ross)/ The Time Warp (Richard O’Brien, Patricia Quinn and Charles Gray)/ Tush (ZZ Top)/ Water Colors (Janis Ian)/ Wish You Were Here (Pink Floyd)/ You Sexy Thing (Hot Chocolate)

.

.

.

.

1976

.

Outsider Jimmy Carter in the White House; Wilson stuns UK by stepping down;
Mao Zedong dies, Cultural Revolution ends; Britain basks in legendarily hot summer;
Nadia Comăneci delights at Montreal Olympics; Soweto Uprising; ‘Summer of Sam’

.

Film:

All The President’s Men

.

all_the_president's_men_1976

.

Directed by: Alan J Pakula/ Starring: Robert Redford, Dustin Hoffman, Jason Robards,
Jack Warden, Martin Balsam and Hal Holbrook/ Country: USA/ 138 minutes (Conspiracy thriller)

What George says: Although Gerald Ford was now in the White House, ‘Tricky Dicky’ Nixon’s shadow still loomed large and this flick intelligently, scintillatingly caught the traumatised mood of the time. Based on Woodward and Bernstein’s watershed work in smashing the Watergate cover-up, its trip into the nitty-gritty reality of investigative journalism foregoes embellishment for source-working, fact-finding and the twists and turns of real conspiracy, thanks in no small part to Pakula’s perfect pacing, Gordon Willis’s terrific cinematography and William Goldman’s detail-rich but tight script.

What the critics say: [It’s] remarkably intelligent, working both as an effective thriller … and as a virtually abstract charting of the dark corridors of corruption and power. Pakula’s visual set-ups are often extraordinary, contrasting the light of the Washington Post newsroom with the shadows in which hides star informant Deep Throat, and dramatically engulfing Hoffman and Redford in monumental buildings to stress the enormity of their task.” ~ Geoff Andrew

Oscar count: 4

Oscar’s Best Picture pick this year: Rocky

 The public’s pick this year: Rocky (US box-office #1)

Read why All The President’s Men is one of the ultimate films of the 1970s here

.

George’s runners-up: 2. Network; 3. Taxi Driver; 4. Marathon Man; 5. Robin And Marian

 network_1976 taxi_driver_1976 marathon_man_1976 robin_and_marian_1976

.

And the rest: Ansikte Mot Ansikte (Face To Face); L’Argent de Poche (Small Change); The Bad News Bears; The Big Bus; Bugsy Malone; CarrieFamily Plot; Logan’s RunThe Man Who Fell To Earth; Murder By DeathThe Outlaw Josey Wales; The Seven Per-Cent Solution

.

.

.

Song:

Dancing Queen ~ ABBA

.

dancing_queen_abba_1976

.

Writers: Benny Andersson, Björn Ulvaeus and Stig Anderson/ Released: August 1976

What George says: Few floor-fillers are as ubiquitous as the Swedish pop juggernauts’ signature tune, but that’s because few are genuinely so irresistible. That über-enticing piano riff, that smooth, driving rhythm and melody, and that rapturous chorus; Benny and Bjorn were pop melody maestros and most certainly knew what they were up to here. Nearly 40 years on from its release, Dancing Queen – both musically and lyrically – still encapsulates the perfect girls’ night out, however clichéd that may be.

What the critics say: “At [Dancing Queen‘s] heart is the bittersweet paradox that distinguishes the best music of the disco era. ‘You can dance, you can jive/Having the time of your life’, sing the girls. They’re describing a moment of pure happiness, never unaware that a moment is all it is. More than 20 years later, the Sex Pistols’ reunion show in Finsbury Park began to the strains of Dancing Queen – the idea being to remind us how terrible music had become when the Sex Pistols came along. It backfired, though. On recognising that opening piano flourish, everyone started dancing” ~ Peter Paphides

Chart record: US #1/ UK #1

Recognition: Ranked #3 for 1976, #22 for the 1970s and #105 for ‘all-time’ on acclaimedmusic.net’s cumulatively ranked ‘top songs’ lists/ ranked #8 on Channel 4’s ‘The 100 Best Number Ones’ list (2000)/ ranked #8 on Radio 2‘s ‘The Top 50 Favourite UK #1’s’ list (2002)

.

George’s runners-up: 2. Livin’ Thing (Electric Light Orchestra)/
3. Rhiannon (Fleetwood Mac)/ 4. Year Of The Cat (Al Stewart)/ 5. I Want More (Can)

livin'_thing_electric_light_orchestra_1976 rhiannon_fleetwood_mac_1976 year_of_the_cat_al_stewart_1976 i_want_more_can_1976

.

And the rest: Afternoon Delight (Starland Vocal Band)/ Boogie Nights (Heatwave)/ The Boys Are Back In Town (Thin Lizzy)/ Car Wash (Rose Royce)/ December, 1963 (Oh, What A Night) (The Four Seasons)/ (Don’t Fear) The Reaper (Blue Öyster Cult)/ Don’t Give Up On Us (David Soul)/ Don’t Go Breaking My Heart (Elton John and Kiki Dee)/ Fernando; Money, Money, Money; Rock Me (ABBA)/ A Fifth Of Beethoven (Walter Murphy and the Big Apple Band)/ Fool To Cry (The Rolling Stones)/ Fooled Around And Fell In Love (Elvin Bishop)/ Get Up Offa That Thing (James Brown)/ Gloria (Patti Smith Group)/ Happy Days (Theme from Happy Days) (Pratt & McClain)/ Harvest For The World (The Isley Brothers)/ Heaven Must Be Missing An Angel (Tavares)/ I Love To Boogie (T. Rex)/ I Love To Love (But My Baby Wants To Dance) (Tina Charles)/ If You Leave Me Now (Chicago)/ Johannesburg (Gil Scott-Heron)/ The Killing Of Georgie (Part I And II) (Rod Stewart)/ Let Your Love Flow (The Bellamy Brothers)/ Let’s Stick Together (Bryan Ferry)/ Love And Affection (Joan Armatrading)/ Love Hurts (Nazareth)/ Love Me (Yvonne Elliman)/ Love To Love You Baby (Donna Summer)/ Lowdown (Boz Scaggs)/ More Than A Feeling (Boston)/ More, More, More (The Andrea True Connection)/ Play That Funky Music (Wild Cherry)/ Save Your Kisses For Me (Brotherhood Of Man)/ Shake, Shake, Shake (Shake Your Booty) (KC & the Sunshine Band)/ Show Me The Way (Peter Frampton)/ The Shuffle (Van McCoy & The Soul City Symphony)/ So It Goes (Nick Lowe)/ Somebody To Love; You’re My Best Friend (Queen)/Strange Magic (Electric Light Orchestra)/ Takin’ It to The Streets (The Doobie Brothers)/ This Is It (Melba Moore)/ TVC 15 (David Bowie)/ X Offender (Blondie)/ Young Hearts Run Free (Candi Staton)

.

.

.

.

1977

.

Elizabeth II’s Silver Jubilee, The Sex Pistols’ God Save The Queen ‘beaten’ to #1;
Elvis and Bolan pass on; democracy in Spain; Star Wars; Steve Biko dies in custody;
Voyager 1 launched; Atari 2600 goes on sale; blackout in NYC; Pelé retires

.

Film:

Annie Hall

.

annie_hall_1977

.

Directed by: Woody Allen/ Starring: Woody Allen, Diane Keaton, Tony Roberts, Carol Kane, Christopher Walken and Paul Simon/ Country: USA/ 93 minutes/ (Romantic comedy)

What George says: The one Woody Allen film every casual movie fan can name and, let’s be honest, his best, Annie Hall works both as an exquisitely observed and realised romantic comedy (Allen’s über-nebbish neurotic Alvy Singer and Oscar-winning Diane Keaton’s deliciously loveable kook whom shares the flick’s name might be said to be inheritors to Hepburn and Tracy’s collective crown) and as a Freudian-referencing, sex-politics-concerned, twirly-plotted, fourth-wall-breaking smart-alec take on modern relationships. With jokes. A lot of very good jokes.

What the critics say: “Allen’s most closely focused and daring film to date … [its] narrative darts about in time, interrupts itself to discuss with the camera and (with double imaging) with the characters the course of an affair doomed from the start by the self-absorbed neuroses of the people … A film which sticks close to the cutting edge of love, and darts about daringly trying to make philosophical sense of it” ~ Tim Radford (writing in 1977)

Oscar count: 4

Oscar’s Best Picture pick this year: Annie Hall

The public’s pick this year: Star Wars (global box-office #1)

Read why Annie Hall is one of the great movie romances here

.

George’s runners-up: 2. Providence3. Close Encounters Of The Third Kind;
4. Star Wars; 5. Cet Obscur Objet du Désir (That Obscure Object Of Desire)

providence_1977 close_encounters_of_the_third_kind_1977 star_wars_1977 cet_obscur_objet_du_desire_1977

.

And the rest: A Bridge Too Far; Cross Of Iron; The Duellists; EquusThe Goodbye Girl; Jabberwocky; Julia; Looking For Mr Goodbar; New York, New YorkThe Rescuers; Saturday Night Fever; Slap ShotSmokey And The BanditThe Spy Who Loved MeSuspiria

.

.

.

Song:

I Feel Love ~ Donna Summer

.

donna_summer_i_feel_love_1977

.

Writers: Donna Summer, Giorgio Moroder and Peter Bellotte/ Released: July 1977

What George says: The one bona fide disco song you’ll find is a ‘top of the pops’ in this series of posts – why? Because it’s probably that genre’s greatest exponent. Having said that, I Feel Love isn’t really a disco song at all; more Moroder’s eight-minute exercise in studio-mixed Moog synth wizardry melded with Ms Summer’s repetitive, affirmative cry. To listen to it is a hypnotic experience, its beatific electro-notes flowing into and over each other leaving the listener in as much of a trance as Donna the Disco Diva sounds like she is. In the end then, is this actually the first ever dance music track? Quite possibly.

What the contemporary says:  “One day [when we were] in Berlin … [Brian] Eno came running in and said: ‘I have heard the sound of the future’ … he puts on I Feel Love … He said: ‘This is it, look no further. This single is going to change the sound of club music for the next 15 years’. Which was more or less right.” ~ David Bowie

Chart record: US #6/ UK #1

Recognition: Ranked #3 for 1977, #21 for the 1970s and #95 for ‘all-time’ on acclaimedmusic.net’s cumulatively ranked ‘top songs’ lists

.

George’s runners-up: 2. Heroes (David Bowie)/ 3. Knowing Me, Knowing You (ABBA)/ 4. Nobody Does It Better (Carly Simon)/ 5. The Chain (Fleetwood Mac)

heroes_david_bowie_1977 knowing_me_knowing_you_abba nobody_does_it_better_carly_simon_1977 the_chain_fleetwood_mac_1977

.

And the rest: Alison; Watching The Detectives (Elvis Costello and The Attractions)/ Always Crashing In The Same CarSound And VisionSpeed Of Life (David Bowie)/ American Girl (Tom Petty and The Heartbreakers)/ Angelo (Brotherhood of Man)/ Another Star; As; I Wish; Sir Duke (Stevie Wonder)/ Another Suitcase In Another Hall (Barbara Dickson)/ Best Of My Love (The Emotions)/ Black Betty (Ram Jam)/ Blinded By The Light (Mannfred Mann’s Earth Band)/ Calling Occupants of Interplanetary Craft (The Recognized Anthem of World Contact Day) (The Carpenters)/ Cocaine; Wonderful Tonight (Eric Clapton)/ Dance, Dance, Dance (Yowsah, Yowsah, Yowsah) (Chic)/ Don’t Cry For Me Argentina (Julie Covington)/ Don’t It Make My Brown Eyes Blue (Crystal Gayle)/ Don’t Leave Me This Way (Thelma Houston)/ Don’t Stop; Dreams; Go Your Own Way; Gold Dust Woman; Songbird; You Make Loving Fun (Fleetwood Mac)/ Eastbound And Down (Jerry Reed)/ Easy (The Commodores)/ Fanfare For The Common Man (Emerson, Lake & Palmer)/ Fly Like An Eagle (Steve Miller Band)/ Free (Deniece Williams)/ From Here To Eternity (Giorgio Moroder)/ Give A Little Bit (Supertramp)/ Gonna Fly Now (Bill Conti)/ Gotcha (Theme from Starsky & Hutch) (Tom Scott)/ Gotta Give It Up (Marvin Gaye)/ Here Comes The Flood; Modern Love (Peter Gabriel)/ I Want You To Want Me (Cheap Trick)/ I’m Your Boogie Man (KC and the Sunshine Band)/ It Keeps You Runnin’ (The Doobie Brothers)/ It’s A Heartache (Bonnie Tyler)/ Lido Shuffle (Boz Scaggs)/ Like A Hurricane (Neil Young with Crazy Horse)/ Lonely Boy (Andrew Gold)/ Love And Happiness (Al Green)/ Love Remember MeRiver Song; Time (Dennis Wilson)/ Lust For Life; The Passenger (Iggy Pop)/ Main Theme from Star Wars (John Williams and the London Symphony Orchestra)/ Moondance (Van Morrison)/ The Name Of The Game (ABBA)/ Native New Yorker (Odyssey)/ Night Moves (Bob Seger and the Silver Bullet Band)/ No More Heroes (The Stranglers)/ Pearl’s A Singer (Elkie Brooks)/ Psycho Killer (Talking Heads)/ (Remember The Days Of The) Old School Yard (Cat Stevens and Elkie Brooks)/ Send In The Clowns (Judy Collins)/ Sex & Drugs & Rock & Roll (Ian Dury)/ Short People (Randy Newman)/ Show You The Way To Go (The Jacksons)/ Slip Slidin’ Away (Paul Simon)/ So You Win Again (Hot Chocolate)/ Telephone Line (Electric Light Orchestra)/ Theme From New York, New York (Liza Minnelli)/ Was Dog A Doughnut? (Cat Stevens)

.

.

.

.

1978

.

The ‘Year of Three Popes’; Louise Brown, first test tube baby, born;
Harvey Milk assassinated; Argentina wins home World Cup; Jonestown Massacre;
Bulgarian defector killed in London by poisoned pellet-firing umbrella; Garfield makes debut

.

Film:

Days Of Heaven

.

days_of_heaven_1978

.

Directed by: Terrence Malick/ Starring: Richard Gere, Brooke Adams, Sam Shepherd
and Linda Ganz/ Country: USA/ 94 minutes/ (Period-human drama)

What George says: Beautiful, rustic and elegiac – and closer to ‘pure cinema’ than 99 percent of American movies owing to its eschewing heavy dialogue and intricate plotting for style and breathtaking visuals (take a bow Oscar-winning cinematographers Néstor Almendros and Haskell Wexler) – this Texas Panhandle-set drama may be slow moving and slight, but also a once seen, never forgotten masterpiece of tone and setting; an affecting tragedy whose commitment to capturing the beauty and power of nature in the face of the frailty and failures of man is something special, indeed.

What the critics say: “The romantic travails of the three leads and the moral cost that will be meted out, is constantly contrasted with the sun burnished ocean of corn swept by languid breezes; the habitual drift of animals and birds, and the spare existence of these hermit workers flitting across a continent, an itinerant augur of the Depression to come. Rarely has a film bared itself to simple majesty … it feels epic yet runs barely over an hour and a half.” ~ Ian Nathan

Oscar count: 1

Oscar’s Best Picture pick this year: The Deer Hunter

The public’s pick this year: Grease (global box-office #1)

.

George’s runners-up: 2. The Deer Hunter; 3. Höstsonaten (Autumn Sonata);
4. Watership Down; 5. Midnight Express

 the_deer_hunter_1978 autumn_sonata_1978 watership_down_1978 midnight_express_1978

.

And the rest: L’Albero Degli Zoccoli (The Tree Of Wooden Clogs); Big Wednesday; The Buddy Holly StoryLe Cage aux Folles; California SuiteComing Home; Every Which Way But Loose; Eyes Of Laura Mars; Heaven Can Wait; Interiors; Invasion Of The Body Snatchers; National Lampoon’s Animal House; Pretty BabySuperman; An Unmarried Woman

.

.

.

Song:

Solsbury Hill ~ Peter Gabriel

.

solsbury_hill_peter_gabriel_1977

.

Writer: Peter Gabriel/ Released: 1977 (UK)/ 1978 (US)

What George says: Arguably the most soulful and beguiling thing to come out of ’70s prog rock, this musical interpretation of a spiritual experience Peter Gabriel had on Somerset’s Solsbury Hill that precipitated his leaving Genesis, the band he’d led for years, was the first single of his solo career and remains his best ever song. It hooks you right from the off with that repetitive acoustic guitar riff, its melody catchily bouncing along before fully opening up in the third verse when his punching vocals and flute-playing prove irresistible. A mellifluously melancholic, beautiful balladic masterpiece.

What the critics say: “It isn’t wildly complex, but it’s all beautifully and elegantly interwoven, right up to the electric guitar power chords suddenly introduced on the final chorus. Solsbury Hill is one of the most personal items in Gabriel’s catalog, and it’s also a moving statement of purpose about having the courage to risk starting a new life” ~ Steve Huey (allmusic.com)

Chart record: US #68/ UK #13

.

George’s runners-up: 2. Wuthering Heights (Kate Bush)/
3. Le Freak (Chic)/ 4. If I Can’t Have You (Yvonne Elliman)/
5. Forever Autumn (Justin Hayward and Richard Burton)

wuthering_heights_kate_bush_1978 le_freak_chic_1978 if_i_can't_have_you_yvonne_elliman_1978 forever_autumn_justin_hayward_and_richard_burton_1978

.

And the rest: Beast Of BurdenMiss You (The Rolling Stones)/ Bicycle RaceFat Bottomed Girls; We Are The Champions; We Will Rock You (Queen)/ Blame It On The Boogie (The Jacksons)/ Born To Hand Jive (Sha-Na-Na)/ Cavatina (Theme from The Deer Hunter) (John Williams)/ Copacabana (Barry Manilow)/ Disco Inferno (The Trammps)/ Down In The Tube Station At Midnight; News Of The World (The Jam)/ The Eve Of Of War (Justin Hayward and Richard Burton)/ Ever Fallen In Love (With Someone You Shouldn’t’ve) (Buzzcocks)/ Everybody Dance (Chic)/ Every Kinda People (Robert Palmer)/ Fantasy (Earth, Wind & Fire)/ Follow You Follow Me (Genesis)/ Fool (If You Think It’s Over) (Chris Rea)/ Grease (Frankie Valli)/ Hanging On The Telephone; Picture This (Blondie)/ Hold The Line (Toto)/ Hollywood Nights; Old Time Rock and Roll; We’ve Got Tonite (Bob Seger and the Silver Bullet Band)/ How Deep Is Your Love; More Than A Woman; Night Fever; Stayin’ Alive (The Bee Gees)/ (I Don’t Want To Go To) Chelsea; Pump It Up (Elvis Costello)/ I Love The Sound Of Broken Glass (Nick Lowe)/ I’m Every Woman (Chaka Khan)/ Instant Replay (Dan Hartman)/ Jack And Jill (Raydio)/ Just The Way You Are; My LifeScenes From An Italian Restaurant; She’s Always A Woman (Billy Joel)/ Love Is In The Air (John Paul John)/ Main Title Theme from Superman: The Movie (John Williams and the London Symphony Orchestra)/ The Man With The Child In His Eyes; Them Heavy People (Kate Bush)/ Mr. Blue SkySweet Talking Woman (Electric Light Orchestra)/ New York, New York (So Good They Named It Twice) (Gerard Kenny)/ Northern Lights (Renaissance)/ Part-Time Love (Elton John)/ Oh What A Circus (David Essex)/ Public Image (Public Image)/ Rasputin (Boney M)/ Romeo Is Bleeding (Tom Waits)/ Roxanne (The Police)/ The Spirit Of Man (Julie Covington, Phil Lynott and Richard Burton)/ Take A Chance On Me (ABBA)/ Take Me I’m Yours (Squeeze)/ Teenage Kicks (The Undertones)/ Three Times A Lady (The Commodores)/ Thunder Child (Chris Thompson and Richard Burton)/ Werewolves Of London (Warren Zevon)/ What A Waste (Ian Dury and The Blockheads)/ You Make Me Feel (Mighty Real) (Sylvester)/ You’re The One That I Want (John Travolta and Olivia Newton-John)

.

.

.

.

1979

.

Thatcher becomes UK’s first female PM following ‘Winter of Discontent’;
USSR invades Afghanistan; Iran hostage crisis; IRA assassinate Mounbatten;
Ayatollah Khomeni’s ‘Islamic Revolution’; Pol Pot regime collapses

.

Film:

Apocalypse Now

.

apocalypse_now_1979

.

Directed by: Francis Ford Coppola/ Starring: Martin Sheen, Marlon Brando, Robert Duvall,
Dennis Hopper, Frederic Forrest, Albert Hall, Laurence Fishburne and Sam Bottoms/
Country: USA/ 153 minutes/ (War film)

What George says: Acclaimed for its hellish depiction of the Vietnam War, Apocalypse Now – perhaps because it’s a loose adaptation of Joseph Conrad’s voyage-into-the-abyss novel Heart Of Darkness – more accurately could be said to be a triumph in depicting that general adage: all war is hell. Presenting the American experience in ’Nam as an exaggeratedly psychedelic, nightmarish miasma, Coppola’s war movie epic meets counter-culture think-piece is a florid, visceral study in obsession and madness, and colonialism and chaos; no mean feat given the eerily cursed production it endured.

What the critics say: Apocalypse Now is not merely the greatest film to come out of the Vietnam experience but one of the great works about the madness of our times … unlike everyone else around him, from the top brass down, [Martin Sheen’s protagonist] Willard knows he’s mad. Everything about the Taliban, al-Qaida, the pressures that took us into Afghanistan and Iraq, the assault on Abbottabad and the deadly troubles that lie ahead are to be found here in Willard’s journey. It’s a work of genius that may falter a little towards the end, though not fatally.” ~ Philip French

Oscar count: 2 (also co-won the Palme d’Or Award at the 1979 Cannes Film Festival)

Oscar’s Best Picture pick this year: Kramer vs. Kramer

The public’s pick this year: Kramer vs. Kramer (US box-office #1)

Read why Apocalypse Now is one of the ultimate films of the 1970s here

.

George’s runners-up: 2. Kramer vs. Kramer; 3. Alien4. Being There; 5. Manhattan

kramer_vs_kramer_1979 alien_1979 being_there_1979 manhattan_1979

.

And the rest: Die Blechtrommel (The Tin Drum); Breaking Away; The China Syndrome; Die Ehe der Maria Braun (The Marriage Of Maria Braun); Escape From Alcatraz; The First Great Train RobberyMonty Python’s The Life Of Brian; The Muppet MovieNosferatu; Tess; Time After Time

.

.

.

Song:

London Calling ~ The Clash

.

london_calling_the_clash_1979

.

Writers: Joe Strummer and Mick Jones/ Released: December 1979

What George says: Some still maintain punk was the greatest thing to have happened to mass-consumed music, but, oh, if only all of it had aspired to the quality of this awesome record. Technically a product of post-punk (probably why it’s so good, frankly), it’s a martial-rhythm-like driven ranting rocker, loaded with thumping foreboding and boasting rumbling pseudo-apocalyptic lyrics, which nod to both nuclear fallout and punk-debunking (‘phony Beatlemania’). A tune whose popularity and reputation has only grown and grown over the decades, so much so it’s now simply legendary.

What the critics say: London Calling cleverly crossbreeds anthemic hard rock with reggae by juxtaposing slashing, staccato guitar riffs with an undulating rhythm section beat as Strummer lays down a snarling vocal that delivers the lyrics with a combination of passion and fervor. All these elements made … [it] … a witty but powerful manifesto for post-punk rock & roll” ~
Donald A Guarisco (allmusic.com)

Chart record: UK #11

Recognition: Ranked #1 for 1979, #6 for the 1970s and #34 for ‘all-time’ on acclaimedmusic.net’s cumulatively ranked ‘top songs’ lists/ ranked #15 on Rolling Stone’s ‘The 500 Greatest Songs of All-Time’ list (2004)/ named by The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame as one ‘The 500 Songs That Shaped Rock and Roll’ (2011)

.

George’s runners-up: 2. Chiquitita (ABBA)/ 3. The Logical Song (Supertramp)/
4. Don’t Stop ’Til You Get Enough (Michael Jackson)/ 5. September (Earth, Wind & Fire)

chiquitita_abba_1979 the_logical_song_supertramp_1979 don't_stop_'til_you_get_enough_michael_jackson_1979 september_earth_wind_&_fire_1978

.

And the rest: Accidents Will HappenOliver’s Army (Elvis Costello and The Attractions)/ After The Love Has Gone; Boogie Wonderland (Earth, Wind & Fire)/ Ain’t No Stoppin’ Us Now (McFadden & Whitehead)/ Always Look On The Bright Side Of Life (Monty Python)/ And The Beat Goes On (The Whispers)/ Angel Eyes; Dance Away (Roxy Music)/ Another Brick In The Wall (Part 2) (Pink Floyd)/ Are “Friends” Electric? (Tubeway Army)/ Are You Ready For Love?; Song For Guy (Elton John)/ Bat Out Of Hell (Meatloaf)/ Boys Keep Swinging (David Bowie)/ Breakfast In America; Goodbye Stranger; Take The Long Way Home (Supertramp)/ Bright Eyes (Art Garfunkel)/ Cars (Gary Numan)/ Can We Still Be Friends (Todd Rundgren)/ Confusion; The Diary Of Horace Wimp; Don’t Bring Me Down; Last Train To London (Electric Light Orchestra)/ Cool For Cats; Up The Junction (Squeeze)/ Crazy Little Thing Called Love; Don’t Stop Me Now (Queen)/ Cruel To Be Kind (Nick Lowe)/ Does Your Mother Know; Gimme! Gimme! Gimme! (A Man After Midnight); The King Has Lost His Crown; Voulez-Vous (ABBA)/ Dreaming; Heart Of GlassOne Way Or AnotherSunday Girl; Union City Blue (Blondie)/ Electricity (Orchestral Manoeuvres In The Dark)/ The Eton Rifles (The Jam)/ Every Day Hurts (Sad Café)/ Every Which Way But Loose (Eddie Rabbitt)/ Feels Like I’m In Love (Kelly Marie)/ Forever In Blue Jeans (Neil Diamond)/ The Gambler (Kenny Rogers)/ Girls Talk (Dave Edmunds)/ Good TimesI Want Your Love (Chic)/ Hot Stuff (Donna Summer)/ I Don’t Like Mondays (The Boomtown Rats)/ I Fought The Law (The Clash)/ I Will Survive (Gloria Gaynor)/ Is She Really Going Out With Him?; It’s Different For Girls (Joe Jackson)/ Kid (The Pretenders)/ Lady Lynda (The Beach Boys)/ Lady Writer (Dire Straits)/ He’s The Greatest DancerLost In Music; We Are Family (Sister Sledge)/ Love Attack (Ferrara)/ Making Plans For Nigel (XTC)/ Message In A Bottle; Walking On The Moon (The Police)/ Mirrors (Sally Oldfield)/ My Sharona (The Knack)/ Pop Muzik (M)/ Rainbow Connection (Kermit the Frog)/ Reasons To Be Cheerful, Part 3 (Ian Dury and The Blockheads)/ Sail On; Still (The Commodores)/ Sarah (Thin Lizzy)/ She Is Beyond Good And Evil (The Pop Group)/ Theme from New York, New York (Frank Sinatra)/ Tusk (Fleetwood Mac)/ Video Killed The Radio Star (Buggles)/ Violinski (Clog Dance)/ What A Fool Believes (The Doobie Brothers)/ When You’re In Love With A Beautiful Woman (Dr Hook)/ Wow (Kate Bush)

.

.

.

And coming up…

George’s pick of the flicks
and top of the pops ~ 1980-84

.

george's_journal_motif

.

Playlist: Listen, my (anti-)Valentine friends! ~ February 2015

February 13, 2015

.

In the words of Moby Grape… listen, my friends! Yes, it’s the (hopefully) monthly playlist presented by George’s Journal just for you good people.

There may be one or two classics to be found here dotted in among different tunes you’re unfamiliar with or have never heard before – or, of course, you may’ve heard them all before. All the same, why not sit back, listen away and enjoy…

.

CLICK on the song titles to hear them

.

Miles Davis ~ My Funny Valentine (1964)

The Tremeloes ~ Here Comes My Baby (1967)

Petula Clark ~ This Girl’s In Love With You (1968)

The Free Design ~ Love You (1970)¹

Shirley Bassey ~ (Where Do I Begin?) Love Story (1972)²

Pino Donaggio ~ Laura’s Theme (from Don’t Look Now) (1973)

John Lennon ~ Be My Baby (1973)

Fleetwood Mac ~ Songbird (1977)

Jack Jones ~ Love Boat Theme (1979)

Soft Cell ~ Say Hello, Wave Goodbye (1982)

The Muppets ~ Somebody’s Getting Married (1984)³

Bryan Ferry ~ Slave To Love (1985)4

Linda Ronstadt ~ My Funny Valentine (1986)

.

¹ As heard over the end credits of the  writer’s block-concerning existential fantasy romcom Stranger Than Fiction (2006)

² A live UK TV performance of La Bassey’s take on the tune derived from Francis Lai’s recurring theme from his score for tearjerker tour de force Love Story (1970)

³ From the Broadway musical finale to The Muppets Take Manhattan (1984)

As featured on the soundtracks of the films 9½ Weeks (1986) and the just released Kingsman: The Secret Service (2014)

.

george's_journal_motif

Spy fidelity or Bond does dubstep? Kingsman: The Secret Service (2014) ~ Review

January 21, 2015

kingsman

.

Directed by: Matthew Vaughn
Starring: Colin Firth, Taron Egerton, Samuel L Jackson, Mark Strong, Michael Caine, Sophie Cookson, Sophia Boutella, Jack Davenport and Mark Hamill
Screenplay by: Matthew Vaughn and Jane Goldman
Country: UK/ US
Running time: 129 minutes
Certificate: 15 (UK)/ R (USA)
Released: January 29 (UK)/ February 13 (USA)

.

More than once in Kingsman: The Secret Service the line ‘This isn’t that sort of spy movie’ is uttered, and it’s true – this isn’t quite like any spy movie you’ll have experienced.

Taking the post-modern smarts and stylish violence that has become helmer Matthew Vaughn’s trademark and blending them like a potent, expensive cocktail with the formula, beats and mores of old fashioned cinematic espionage adventures – you know, the ones that Jason Bourne and co. are supposed to have made redundant – could have gone very wrong, but in the hands of this particular hot Brit director, it all turns out kingly, indeed.

In an adventure that sees Colin Firth’s debonair yet ace man of action attempt to recruit into his independent espionage organisation ‘Eggsy’, a young, failed Marine lifted straight out of crime-addled Sarf Lahndan (impressive newcomer Taron Egerton), the irresistibly old-school cool, English gent hero-type and all his accoutrements (bespoke tailoring, umbrellas, specs, polite clipped tones and dignity at all costs) is wryly, finely allowed to collide with Eggsy’s jobless, joyriding, ne’er-do-well outlook, appearance, accent and cultural tics. Much fun is had as Firth adeptly decks Eggsy’s foes in a Millwall pub and the latter puts toff boys to shame during a brains-and-brawn-testing training regime, while together they forge a thoroughly charismatic master and apprentice act.

With knowing nods to everything from The Avengers to The Ipcress File (surely Michael Caine’s casting as the spy chief is no coincidence), Kingsman has much fun in honouring the (mostly British) spy-fi traditions, while its script – following Kick-Ass (2010), another loose comic book adaptation by Vaughn and regular collaborator Jane Goldman – wilfully sends up all those megalomaniac-themed Bond plots in the shape of lisping villain Samuel L Jackson’s barmy scheme directed from a mountainous HQ. At one point it even references them in the dialogue.

As noted though, those not versed in Bond lore and John Steed, but coming to the party via the likes of Vaughn’s Kick-Ass and Layer Cake (2006), won’t be disappointed either. The comedic violence and gore is all in check, while the tight plotting and eye-popping visuals rarely relent. A word of warning, mind you: the pacing’s properly breathless, so much so your eyes may tire at points from all the flash, crash, bang and wallop.

But, for those feeling a little left out in the cold by Daniel Craig’s somewhat sombre 007 era, Kingsman offers more than an antidote. An urgent, clever, rollicking homage to the over-the-top Bond of old, while also a heady bourbon-like swig of something we’ve never really tasted before. Chin-chin.

.

.

george's_journal_motif

.

 

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 60 other followers