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George’s (extended) birthday party: pick of the flicks and top of the pops ~ 1965-69

May 13, 2014

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Has there ever been an era as socially and culturally dramatic, diverse and transformative as the mid- to late 1960s? Surely the answer to that’s a definitive no. The civil rights agenda (and youthful reaction to Vietnam) driving the Establishment on both sides of the Atlantic to face and/ or make sweeping progressive changes; the art and fashions bursting into brilliant and surprising colour; the consumerist mentality infecting the UK (as well as the US) mindset in a way it never had before; and rock music exploding into the stratosphere, with in particular  The Beatles scaling abstract, weird and incredible heights arguably nobody’s scaled again since. This half-decade had it all.

In short, the gloves were finally off between the years 1965-69, with the Anglo-American cinema and music scenes reflecting – and benefitting from – that maybe more than anything else. Surely, without doubt, the pop/ rock charts of this era have never been equalled, let alone bettered, in their dynamism, diversity and overall quality (just look at the length of those song lists below – apologies in advance) and, to a slightly lesser extent, perhaps the box-office charts never have been either.

So, here we go then, peeps, the latest post in the stand-out-movie-and-song-from-each-year-celebrating extension of George’s Journal‘s fourth birthday party (see here, here and here), has – if it hadn’t already – verily hit its stride and its midway point, with, yes, the mid- to late ’60s. Throw on those bell-bottoms, throw out those peace-sign finger-salutes and drop out, folks, because here we go…

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on the film and song titles for video clips…

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1965

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US race riots; first spacewalk; Churchill passes on; Dylan ‘goes electric’;
Beatles release Rubber Soul and stage first ever stadium rock concert;
Thunderbirds and A Charlie Brown Christmas make TV debuts

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Film:

Darling

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darling_1965

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Directed by: John Schlesinger/ Starring: Julie Christie, Laurence Harvey, Dirk Bogarde, José Luis de Vilallonga and Roland Curram/ Country: UK/ 123 minutes/ (Human-social drama)

What George says: As essential a slice of Swinging Sixties expression, Darling may not be as treasured by today’s critical set and masses as, say, Blowup (1966) or The Italian Job (1969), but that may be because helmer John Schlesinger chose a pseudo-melodramatic, nay satirical approach and played down the fashionably radical cinéma vérité stylings to tell his tale of the materialistic rise but existential fall of middle-class model du jour Diana Scott (an Oscar-winning Julie Christie) in the rotten-to-the-core world of mid-’60s London image-making. Tellingly, it’s arguably as relevant today as it was scathingly revelatory 50 years ago.

What the critics say: “As a slashing social satire and… a devastating spoof of the synthetic, stomach-turning output of the television-advertising age [Darling] is loaded with startling expositions and lacerating wit. The screen never put forth types and dialogue more purple and frank than those here … [offering a] brilliantly graphic and fluid surface-skimming of … in-group social scenes … in London, Paris, and Italy. [Schlesinger’s] film is a documentation of implicit ironies rather than a discovery of why people act as they do … [he] has made a film that will set tongues to wagging and moralists to wringing their hands” ~ Bosley Crowther (writing in 1965)

Oscar count: 3

Oscar’s Best Picture pick this year: The Sound Of Music

The public’s pick this year: The Sound Of Music

Read why Darling is one of the ultimate films of the 1960s here

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George’s runners-up: 2. Doctor Zhivago; 3. Repulsion;
4. The Spy Who Came In From The Cold5. The Ipcress File

doctor_zhivago repulsion the_spy_who_came_in_from_the_cold the_ipcress_file

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And the rest: Alphaville; Le Bonheur (Happiness); The Cincinnati Kid; The CollectorFor A Few Dollars More; Giulietta degli Spiriti (Juliet Of The Spirits); Help!The HillThe Knack… And How To Get ItOthello; A Patch Of BluePierrot le Fou (Pierrot The Madman); What’s New Pussycat?

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Song:

Ticket To Ride ~ The Beatles

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ticket_to_ride_the_beatles_1965

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Writers: Lennon/ McCartney/ Released: April 1965

What George says: Possibly – just possibly – The Beatles’ greatest pre-Revolver (1966) tune, Ticket To Ride joyously juxtaposes John Lennon’s searing yet melancholic vocals with an awesomely uplifting but driving melody, while Ringo’s drums boom and there’s a hint of an Eastern flavour to the whole thing. Are The Fabs beginning to curl up at the corners? You betcha…

What the critics say: “[Ticket To Ride is] psychologically deeper than anything The Beatles had recorded before … extraordinary for its time – massive with chiming electric guitars, weighty rhythm and rumbling floor tom-toms” ~ Ian MacDonald

Chart performance: US #1/ UK #1

Recognition: Ranked #34 for 1965, #239 for the 1960s and #928 for ‘all-time’ on acclaimedmusic.net‘s cumulatively ranked ‘top songs’ lists

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George’s runners-up:
 2. Yesterday (The Beatles)/ 3. Nowhere Man (The Beatles)/
4. California Dreamin’ (The Mamas & The Papas)/
5. It Was A Very Good Year (Frank Sinatra)

yesterday_the_beatles_1965 nowhere_man_the_beatles_1965 california_dreamin'_the_mamas_and_the_papas_1965 it_was_a_very_good_year_frank_sinatra_1965

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And the rest: As Tears Go ByGet Off Of My Cloud(I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction (The Rolling Stones)/ Barbara Ann; California GirlsHelp Me, Rhonda (The Beach Boys)/ A Change Is Gonna Come (Sam Cooke)/ Day TripperEight Days A WeekGirlHelp!In My LifeMichelleNorwegian Wood (This Bird Had Flown)We Can Work It OutYou Won’t See Me (The Beatles)/ Feeling GoodI Put A Spell On You (Nina Simone)/ I Can’t Help Myself (Sugar Pie Honey Bunch) (The Four Tops)/ In The Midnight Hour (Wilson Pickett)/ It’s Not Unusual (Tom Jones)/ Like A Rolling StonePositively 4th StreetSubterranean Homesick Blues (Bob Dylan)/ Lara’s Theme (Maurice Jarre)/ Main Title Theme from The Ipcress File (John Barry)/ Mr Tambourine ManTurn! Turn! Turn! (To Everything There Is A Season) (The Byrds)/ My Favourite Things (Julie Andrews)/ My Generation (The Who)/ See My Friends (The Kinks)/ September Song (Frank Sinatra)/ So Important To Make Someone Happy (Jimmy Durante)/ The Sound Of Silence (Simon & Garfunkel)/ Stop! In The Name Of Love (The Supremes)/ A Taste Of HoneyZorba The Greek (Herb Alpert and the Tijuana Brass)/ Unchained MelodyYou’ve Lost That Loving Feeling (The Righteous Brothers)/ You’re Nobody Till Somebody Loves You (Dean Martin)/ We Gotta Get Out Of This Place (The Animals)/ What’s New Pussycat? (Tom Jones)/ What The World Needs Now Is Love (Jackie DeShannon)

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1966

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Wilson and Labour re-elected; Brezhnev takes Soviet reins; Chinese ‘Cultural Revolution’ begins;
London swings; England wins World Cup; Beach Boys release Pet Sounds;
Beatles follow up with Revolver; Fabs ‘more popular than Jesus’

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Film:

Persona

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Directed by: Ingmar Bergman/ Starring: Bibi Andersson, Liv Ullman, Margaretha Krook, Gunnar Björnstrand and Jörgen Lindström/ Country: Sweden/ 84 minutes/ (Psychological thriller-horror)

What George says: An exercise in monochrome minimalism and/ or examination of filmmaking itself; the blurring of dreams and reality; the contemplation of death in the face of illness and bleakness; and the is-it-happening-or-isn’t-it-happening merger of two personalities (with all those overlapping faces – hello, future ABBA videos) – all in all, one could say Persona is a flick for the purists. It’s a challenging watch, sure (you have to allow yourself to be pulled into it, otherwise it’ll just come off as pretentious at best, confusing nonsense at worst), but it is an ambiguous, beautiful masterpiece. At least, I think it is; many movie experts think they think it is. Ultimately, it’s a fascinating, can’t-take-your-eyes-off-it slice of arty cinema.

What the critics say: “[Persona] is exactly about what it seems to be about. ‘How this pretentious movie manages to not be pretentious at all is one of the great accomplishments of Persona,’ says a moviegoer named John Hardy, posting his comments on the Internet Movie Database. Bergman shows us everyday actions and the words of ordinary conversation. And Sven Nykvist’s cinematography shows them in haunting images. One of them, of two faces, one frontal, one in profile, has become one of the most famous images of the cinema” ~ Roger Ebert

Oscar count: 0

Oscar’s Best Picture pick this year: A Man For All Seasons

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

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George’s runners-up: 2. Alfie; 3. Blowup;
4. A Man For All Seasons; 5. Who’s Afraid Of Virginia Woolf?

alfie_1966 blowup_1966_poster a_man_for_all_seasons_1966 who's_afraid_of_virginia_woolf_1966

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And the rest: Cul-de-SacFantastic Voyage; Georgy GirlThe Good, The Bad And The Ugly; Grand PrixUn Homme Et Une Femme (A Man And A Woman); Modesty BlaiseMorgan – A Suitable Case For TreatmentOstře Sledované Vlaky (Closely Watched/ Observed Trains); The Russians Are Coming, The Russians Are ComingSeconds

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Song:

God Only Knows ~ The Beach Boys

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Writers: Brian Wilson and Tony Asher/ Released: July 1966 

What George says: One of the most beautiful (nay, easily one of the greatest) songs ever written and recorded, God Only Knows is an exquisite work of art from start to finish. Its brilliance is arguably two-fold: first, on the surface, it’s a lilting, mellifluous love song aimed to blissfully waft over you; second, dig deeper and you realise it’s the stuff of near genius, with that powerhouse opening containing french horns, accordions and a string section and that awe-inspiring climax when the group’s angelic harmonies perfectly tumble over one another.

What the contemporary says: God Only Knows is one of the few songs that reduces me to tears every time I hear it. It’s really just a love song, but it’s brilliantly done. It shows the genius of Brian. I’ve actually performed it with him and I’m afraid to say that during the sound check I broke down. It was just too much to stand there singing this song that does my head in and to stand there singing it with Brian” ~ Paul McCartney

Chart record: US #1/ UK #2

Recognition: Ranked #4 for 1966, #23 for the 1960s and #42 for ‘all-time’ on acclaimedmusic.net‘s cumulatively ranked ‘top songs’ lists/ ranked #1 on Pitchfork Media‘s ‘The 200 Best Songs of the 1960s’ list (2010)/ voted by listeners of BBC Radio 2 as ‘one of the three songs that changes people’s lives’

Read why God Only Knows is one of the ultimate UK chart hits here

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George’s runners-up:
2. Good Vibrations (The Beach Boys)/ 3. Tomorrow Never Knows (The Beatles)/
4. For No One (The Beatles)/ 5. Strangers In The Night (Frank Sinatra)

good_vibrations_the_beach_boys tomorrow_never_knows_1966 for_no_one_the_beatles_1966 strangers_in_the_night_frank_sinatra_1966

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And the rest: Alfie (Cilla Black)/ Bang Bang (My Baby Shot Me Down)Sugar TownThese Boots Are Made For Walking (Nancy Sinatra)/ Born Free (Matt Monro)/ Eleanor RigbyGood Day SunshineHere, There And EverywhereI’m Only SleepingPaperback WriterShe Said She SaidTaxmanYellow Submarine (The Beatles)/ For What It’s Worth (Buffalo Springfield)/ Gimme Some LovingKeep On Running (Spencer Davis Group)/ I Know There’s An AnswerSloop John BWouldn’t It Be Nice (The Beach Boys)/ A Groovy Kind Of Love (The Mindbenders)/ Homeward BoundI Am A Rock (Simon & Garfunkel)/ I’m A BelieverLast Train To Clarksville (The Monkees)/ I Want YouJust Like A Woman (Bob Dylan)/ It Takes Two (Marvin Gaye and Kim Weston)/ Land Of 1,000 Dances (Wilson Pickett)/ Mellow YellowSunshine Superman (Donovan)/ Monday Monday (The Mamas & The Papas)/ Paint It, BlackUnder My Thumb (The Rolling Stones)/ Reach Out I’ll Be There (The Four Tops)/ River Deep-Mountain High (Ike and Tina Turner)/ Summer In The City (The Lovin’ Spoonful)/ You Can’t Hurry LoveYou Keep Me Hanging On (The Supremes)/ Walk Away Renée (The Left Banke)/ When A Man Loves A Woman (Percy Sledge)

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1967

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‘Summer of Love’; Six-Day War; Sgt. Pepper; Che Guevara executed;
North Sea oil starts; Superbowl I; first global satellite TV broadcast;
BBC brings colour to BBC2 and launches Radio 1

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Film:

The Graduate

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Directed by: Mike Nichols/ Starring: Dustin Hoffman, Anne Bancroft, Katherine Ross, William Daniels, Elizabeth Wilson and Murray Hamilton/ Country: USA/ 105 minutes/ (Social-satirical-comedy-drama)

What George says: Part arty-satirical-sideswipe on moneyed, middle-class American hypocrisy, part classic comedy of manners packed with witty zingers and a dash of adorable slapstick, The Graduate caused a sensation on its release – not least with late ’60s students, whom identified with its ‘is that all there is?’ acidie as they all queued around the block to see it. One of the greatest exponents of ‘Old-‘ and ‘New Hollywood’ colliding with magnificent results (cf. with 1972’s The Godfather), it introduced imaginative helmer Mike Nichols as a major new player, Dustin Hoffman as an exciting new actor-ly star and an exiting new form of film language (that’d be Nouvelle Vague or ‘New Wave’ then) at last to the US mainstream.

What the critics say: “Mark it right down in your datebook as a picture you’ll have to see – and maybe see twice to savor all its sharp satiric wit and cinematic treats. For in telling a pungent story of the sudden confusions and dismays of a bland young man fresh out of college who is plunged headlong into the intellectual vacuum of his affluent parents’ circle of friends, it fashions a scarifying picture of the raw vulgarity of the swimming-pool rich, and it does so with a lively and exciting expressiveness through vivid cinema” ~ Bosley Crowther (writing in 1967)

Oscar count: 1

Oscar’s Best Picture pick this year: In The Heat Of The Night

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

Read why The Graduate is one of the ultimate films of the 1960s here

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George’s runners-up: 2. The Jungle Book; 3. Belle de Jour;
4. Two For The Road; 5. Bonnie And Clyde

the_jungle_book_1967 belle_de_jour_1967 two_for_the_road_1967 bonnie_and_clyde_1967

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And the rest: BedazzledCamelotCool Hand Luke; Les Demoiselles de Rochefort (The Young Girls of Rochefort); The Dirty DozenElvira MadiganThe Fearless Vampire KillersGuess Who’s Coming To DinnerHow To Succeed In Business Without Really TryingIn The Heat Of The NightPoint BlankLe Samouraï (The Samurai); You Only Live Twice

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Song:

Strawberry Fields Forever ~ The Beatles

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strawberry_fields_forever_the_beatles_1967

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Writers: Lennon/ McCartney/ Released: April 1967

What George says: Perhaps The Beatles’ masterpiece, it’s an epic, haunting, frankly incredible exercise in musical experimentation married to pop-chart sensibility. Less accessible than its Double-A-side partner Penny Lane it may be, but for all its psychedelic influence and aspirations, deliberate dissonance and state-of-the-art studio technology showcasing (speeding-up, Mellatron-use and backwards-recorded cymbals), it’s a sensationally realised dip into beautiful, melodic melancholia. Plus, it features an Indian zither-like instrument called a swarmandal. You can’t say fairer than that.

What the critics say: “[It] shows expression of a high order… few if any [contemporary composers] are capable of displaying feeling and fantasy so direct, spontaneous and original” ~ Ian MacDonald

Chart record: US #8/ UK #2

Recognition: Ranked #2 for 1967, #6 for the 1960s and #8 for ‘all-time’ on acclaimedmusic.net‘s cumulatively ranked ‘top songs’ lists/ ranked #3 on Rolling Stone‘s ‘The 100 Greatest Beatles Songs’ list (2010)/ ranked #2 on Mojo magazine’s list of the greatest Beatles songs (2006)

Read why Strawberry Fields Forever is one of the ultimate UK chart hits here

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George’s runners-up:
2. Penny Lane (The Beatles)/ 3. I Say A Little Prayer (Aretha Franklin)/
4. A Whiter Shade Of Pale (Procol Harum)/
5. Let’s Spend The Night Together (The Rolling Stones)

penny_lane_the_beatles_1967 i_say_a_little_prayer_aretha_franklin_1967 a_whiter_shade_of-pale_procol_harum_1967 let's_spend_the_night_together_the_rolling_stones_1967

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And the rest: All You Need Is LoveBaby You’re A Rich ManA Day In The LifeHello, GoodbyeI Am The WalrusLucy In The Sky With DiamondsShe’s Leaving HomeSgt. Pepper’s Lonely Heart’s Club BandWhen I’m Sixty-FourWith A Little Help From My Friends (The Beatles)/ Ain’t No Mountain High Enough (Marvin Gaye and Tammi Terrell)/ At The ZooA Hazy Shade Of WinterMrs Robinson (Simon & Garfunkel)/ Are You Experienced?; Foxey Lady; Hey JoePurple HazeThird Stone From The SunThe Wind Cries Mary (The Jimi Hendrix Experience)/Autumn AlmanacWaterloo Sunset (The Kinks)/ The Ballad Of Bonnie And Clyde (Georgie Fame)/ The Bare Necessities (Phil Harris)/ Break On Through (To The Other Side); Light My Fire; People Are Strange (The Doors)/ Bummer In The Summer; Maybe the People Would Be The Times Or Between Clark And HilldaleYou Set The Scene (Love)/ Camelot (Richard Harris)/ Chain Of FoolsRespect(You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman (Aretha Franklin)/Dedicated To The One I LoveTwelve Thirty (Young Girls Are Coming To The Canyon) (The Mamas & The Papas)/ Daydream BelieverA Little Bit Me, A Little Bit YouPleasant Valley Sunday (The Monkees)/ Don’t Sleep In The Subway (Petula Clark)/ Embryonic JourneySomebody To LoveWhite Rabbit (Jefferson Airplane)/ The First Cut Is The Deepest (PP Arnold)/ Get Together (The Youngbloods)/ The HappeningReflections (The Supremes)/ Happy Together (The Turtles)/ Itchycoo Park (The Small Faces)/ Hi Ho Silver Lining (Jeff Beck)/ I Can See For Miles (The Who)/ I Heard It Through The Grapevine (Marvin Gaye)/ I Think We’re Alone Now (Tommy James and the Shondells)/ I’m A Man (Spencer Davis Group)/ I Want To Be Like You (Louis Prima)/ I Wish I Knew How It Would Feel To Be Free (Nina Simone)/ Music To Watch Girls By (Andy Williams)/ Nights In White Satin (The Moody Blues)/ Ruby TuesdayShe’s A Rainbow (The Rolling Stones)/ San Francisco (Be Sure To Wear Flowers In Your Hair) (Scott Mackenzie)/ Silence Is Golden (The Tremeloes)/ Somethin’ Stupid (Frank and Nancy Sinatra)/ Soul Man (Sam and Dave)/ The Tears Of A Clown (Smokey Robinson & the Miracles)/ Theme from Mission: Impossible (Lalo Schfrin)/ Then He Kissed Me (The Crystals)/ There’s A Kind Of Hush (Herman’s Hermits)/ Two For The Road (Henry Mancini)/ Up, Up And Away (The 5th Dimension)/ You Only Live Twice (Nancy Sinatra)/ (Your Love Keeps Lifting Me) Higher And Higher (Jackie Wilson)/ What Do The Simple Folk Do? (Richard Harris and Vanessa Redgrave)

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1968

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Martin Luther King and RFK assassinated; ‘Prague Spring’ put down; LBJ won’t run;
student riots in Paris, London and across America; Black Panther salute at Olympics;
Enoch Powell’s ‘Rivers of Blood’; first interracial kiss on US TV – in episode of Star Trek

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Film:

if…

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if..._1968

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Directed by: Lindsay Anderson/ Starring: Malcolm MacDowell, Richard Warwick, David Wood, Christine Noonan, Robert Swann, Peter Jeffrey and Arthur Lowe/ Country: UK/
111 minutes/ (Social-satirical drama)

What George says: A movie that could only have emerged from the year it did, if… is an artistic tour de force whose aim to ambiguously yet viscerally explore how and why youthful libertarian rebellion should literally explode into violent protest in the face of an unswervingly sure, unyielding system (the arcane British public school) may not be perfectly realised, but the ambition, audacity and creative dynamism employed throughout positively crackles. Basically, it’s so 1968 it hurts.

What the critics say: “[It’s] a very human, very British social comedy that aspires to the cool, anarchic grandeur of Godard movies like Bande À Part and La Chinoise … I can’t quarrel with the aim … to turn the public school into the private metaphor, only with the apparent attempt to equate this sort of lethal protest with what’s been happening on real-life campuses around the world” ~ Vincent Canby (writing in 1968)

Oscar count: 0 (but it did win the Palme d’Or award at 1970’s Cannes Film Festival)

Oscar’s Best Picture pick this year: Oliver!

The public’s pick this year: 2001: A Space Odyssey (US box-office #1)

Read why if... is one of the ultimate films of the 1960s here

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George’s runners-up: 2. Once Upon A Time In The West; 3. The Lion In Winter;
4. 2001: A Space Odyssey; 5. Yellow Submarine

once_upon_a_time_in_the_west_1968 the_lion_in_winter_1968 2001_a_space_odyssey_1968 yellow_submarine_1968

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And the rest: BarbarellaBullitt; Carry On… Up The Khyber; Chitty Chitty Bang Bang; Faces; The Odd CoupleOliver!; The PartyPlanet Of The ApesRomeo And JulietThe ProducersRosemary’s Baby; The SwimmerThe Thomas Crown AffairWhere Eagles Dare; Witchfinder General

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Song:

 Alone Again Or ~ Love

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Writer: Bryan MacLean/ Released: January 1968

What George says: Like God Only Knows, this definitive tune from the Arthur Lee-led LA outfit Love has to be one of, not just rock’s, but popular music’s most beautiful songs. It’s also one of its most mellifluously melancholic – the perfect kick-starter to the non-hippie-loved-up five-piece’s anti-paean to the ‘Summer of Love’, their masterpiece album Forever Changes (1967). Ostensibly a ballad guided by delicious Latin guitar and rhythms, each verse opening quietly and building and building with trembling strings to a punching, emotional chorus, its climax comes halfway through with that ebullient flamenco trumpet solo. A song once heard never ever forgotten for all the right reasons.

What the critics say: “Written by second guitarist Bryan MacLean in the early ’60s in musical tribute to his mother, a flamenco dancer, Alone Again Or is lushly beautiful, but also achingly sad, thanks both to MacLean’s distressed lost-love lyrics and Lee’s high-register vocals, which give the song an off-kilter quality … it fits perfectly as the start of [album] Forever Changes, a jaundiced ‘no thank you’ to the supposed sunshine and good vibes of the ‘Summer of Love'” ~ Stewart Mason

Chart record: US #99

Recognition: Ranked #12 for 1967, #78 for the 1960s and #195 for ‘all-time’ on acclaimedmusic.net‘s cumulatively ranked ‘top songs’ lists

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George’s runners-up: 2. This Guy’s In Love With You (Herb Alpert)/
3. While My Guitar Gently Weeps (The Beatles)/
4. Can’t Take My Eyes Off You (Andy Williams)/
5.
 What A Wonderful World (Louis Armstrong)

this_guy's_in_love_with_you_herb_alpert_1968 while_my_guitar_gently_weeps_the_beatles_1968 can't_take_my_eyes_off_you_andy_williams_1968 what_a_wonderful_world_louis_armstrong_1968

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And the rest: Abraham, Martin And John (Dion)/Ain’t Nothing Like The Real Thing; You’re All I Need To Get By (Marvin Gaye and Tammi Terrell)/ All Along The Watchtower; Crosstown Traffic; Voodoo Chile (Slight Return) (The Jimi Hendrix Experience)/ America (Simon & Garfunkel)/ Angel Of The Morning (Merrilee Rush)/ AtlantisJennifer Juniper; The Hurdy-Gurdy Man (Donovan)/ Back In The USSR; BlackbirdDear PrudenceThe Fool On The Hill; Happiness Is A Warm GunHey JudeJulia; Lady MadonnaMartha My Dear; Mother Nature’s Sun; Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da; Revolution (The Beatles)/ Ball ‘n’ Chain; Piece Of My Heart; Summertime (Big Brother and the Holding Company)/ Blackberry Way (The Move)/ Bonnie And Clyde (Serge Gainsbourg and Brigitte Bardot)/ Born To Be Wild; Magic Carpet Ride (Steppenwolf)/ Build Me Up Buttercup (The Foundations)/ Cabaret (Louis Armstrong)/ Chitty Chitty Bang Bang (Dick Van Dyke and Sally Ann Howes)/ Dance To The Music (Sly and the Family Stone); Days (The Kinks)/ Do You Know The Way To San Jose (Dionne Warwick)/ Dream A Little Dream Of Me (Mama Cass)/ Feelin’ Alright; With A Little Help From My Friends (Joe Cocker)/ Fox On The Run; Quinn The Eskimo (Mighty Quinn) (Manfred Mann)/ The Other Man’s Grass Is Always Greener (Petula Clark)/ Theme from The Good, The Bad And The Ugly (Hugo Montenegro)/ Hello, I Love You; Touch Me (The Doors)/ Hushabye Mountain (Dick Van Dyke)/ I Don’t Want To Hear It AnymoreJust A Little Lovin’Son Of A Preacher Man (Dusty Springfield)/ I Get The Sweetest Feeling (Jackie Wilson)/ Initials BB (Serge Gainsbourg)/ I Shall Be ReleasedThe Weight (The Band)/ If I Were A Carpenter (The Four Tops)/ In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida (Iron Butterfly)/ Jumpin’ Jack FlashStreet Fighting Man (The Rolling Stones)/ La-La Means I Love You; Ready Or Not Here I Come (Gonna Find You) (The Delfonics)/ Lazy Sunday; Ogden Nut Gone Flake (The Small Faces)/ A Little Less Conversation (Elvis Presley)/ MacArthur Park (Richard Harris)/ Mony Mony (Tommy James and the Shondells)/ One (Harry Nilsson)/ Put a Little Love In Your Heart (Jackie DeShannon)/ (Sittin’ On) The Dock Of The Bay (Otis Redding)/ Sky Pilot (Eric Burdon and the Animals)/ Sunshine Of Your Love (Cream)/ Think (Aretha Franklin)/ Those Were The Days (Mary Hopkin)/ Wichita Lineman (Glen Campbell)

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1969

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Man walks on the Moon; Nixon inaugurated; de Gaulle steps down;
Willy Brandt elected; Woodstock; The Beatles on the roof; Stonewall riots;
Concorde’s maiden flight; Monty Python and Sesame Street debut

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Film:

Midnight Cowboy

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midnight_cowboy_1969

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Directed by: John Schlesinger/ Starring: Jon Voight, Dustin Hoffman, Sylvia Miles, John McGiver, Brenda Vaccaro, Barnard Hughes and the ‘Warhol Superstars’/ Country: USA/
113 minutes/ (Urban comedy-drama)

What George says: A dark and gritty, at times almost apocalyptic, but at others hilarious and irresistibly psychedelic venture into the down-at-heel world of Manhattan small time cons, prostitution and flamboyant Warhol-esque excess. Midnight Cowboy isn’t a perfect film, but it’s one hell of a stylish and convincing exposé with one hell of a heart thanks to its two leads’ outstanding turns and John Barry and Harry Nilsson’s soulful musical contributions. An essential movie that serves as something of a bridge between cinema of the ’60s and the ’70s.

What the critics say: “[It] frequently cuts deep and accurately into the truth …  The two [main characters] are shown to be in desperate need of each other, and it is a superbly observed relationship not only because this is so but because the hideous hollowness of the world they battle with is so clearly painted as well. We can identify with them without false sentimentality and it is impossible not to do so” ~ Derek Malcolm

Oscar count: 3

Oscar’s Best Picture pick this year: Midnight Cowboy

The public’s pick this year: Butch Cassidy And The Sundance Kid
(global box-office #1)

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George’s runners-up: 2. Butch Cassidy And The Sundance Kid;
3. Easy Rider; 4. The Wild Bunch; 5. Kes

butch_cassidy_and_the_sundance_kid_1969 easy_rider_1969 the_wild_bunch_1969 kes_1969

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And the rest: Anne Of The Thousand Days; Bob & Carol & Ted & Alice; The DamnedThe Italian Job; Oh! What A Lovely War; On Her Majesty’s Secret Service; The Prime Of Miss Jean Brodie; La Sirène du Mississipi (Mississippi Mermaid); Sweet Charity; They Shoot Horses, Don’t They?; Women In Love; Z

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Song:

Something ~ The Beatles

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something_the_beatles_1969

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Writer: George Harrison/ Released: October 1969

What George says: Along with Here Comes The Sun (also from the awesome Abbey Road album), this was the effort that saw Harrison emerge from Lennon and McCartney’s shadow and suggested the great songwriter he’d become. Actually, more than that, it confirmed it, given this is the best song he ever wrote. Like friend Eric Clapton’s Layla (1970), it’s ostensibly about Mrs Harrison, Pattie Boyd, but so soothingly cool and irresistible is it with all that luxuriant guitar playing, Something allows the listener to absolutely project any subject of amorous delight on to its perfect-in-the-eye-of-the-beholder inferences. Any ‘something’ or ‘someone’, you might say.

What the contemporary says: “The greatest love song of the past 50 years” ~
Frank Sinatra

Chart record: US #1/ UK #4

Recognition: Won the Ivor Novello award for ‘Best Song Musically and Lyrically’ (1969)/ ranked #15 for 1969, #127 for the 1960s and #394 for ‘all-time’ on acclaimedmusic.net‘s cumulatively ranked ‘top songs’ lists/ according to Broadcast Music Incorporated (BMI), the 17th most performed song of the 20th Century (1999)

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George’s runners-up: 2. Aquarius/ Let The Sunshine In (The 5th Dimension)/
3. Gimme Shelter (The Rolling Stones)/
4. Raindrops Keep Fallin’ On My Head (B J Thomas)/
5. Suspicious Minds (Elvis Presley)

aquarius_let_the_sunshine_in_the_5th_dimension_1969 gimme_shelter_the_rolling_stones_1969 raindrops_keep_fallin'_on_my_head_b_j_thomas_1969 suspicious_minds_elvis_presley_1969

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And the rest: Afterglow Of Your Love (The Small Faces)/ Baby It’s You (Smith)/ Bad Moon Rising; Fortunate Son (Creedence Clearwater Revival)/ Ballad Of Easy Rider; Jesus Is Just Alright (The Byrds)/ The Ballad Of John And Yoko; Come Together; Don’t Let Me DownGet Back; Golden Slumbers/ Carry That Weight/ The End; Here Comes The Sun (The Beatles)/ Barabajal (Donovan)/ The Boxer (Simon & Garfunkel)/ A Boy Named Sue (Johnny Cash)/ Bringing On Back The Good Times (Love Affair)/ Chelsea Morning (Judy Collins)/ Communication Breakdown; Good Times Bad Times; Whole Lotta Love (Led Zeppelin)/ Daydream (Wallace Collection)/ Delta Lady (Joe Cocker)/ Dizzy (Tommy Roe)/ Everybody’s Talkin’ (Harry Nilsson)/ Everyday People (Sly and the Family Stone)/; Honky Tonk Women; Sympathy For the Devil (The Rolling Stones)/ Good Morning Starshine (Oliver)/ Happy Heart (Petula Clark)/ Happy Heart (Andy Williams)/ He Ain’t Heavy, He’s My Brother (The Hollies)/ Hitchin’ A Ride (Vanity Fare)/ I’ll Never Fall In Love Again (Bobbie Gentry)/ (If Paradise Is) Half As Nice (Amen Corner)/ In The Ghetto (Elvis Presley)/ In The Year 2525 (Zager and Evans)/ Is That All There Is? (Peggy Lee)/ Israelites (Desmond Dekker & the Aces)/ It’s Getting Better (Mama Cass)/ Je t’Aime… Moi Non Plus (Serge Gainsbourg and Jane Birkin)/ Lay Lady Lay (Bob Dylan)/ Light My Fire; Yummy Yummy Yummy (Julie London)/ Living In The Past (Jethro Tull)/ Marrakesh Express (Crosby, Stills and Nash)/ My Cherie Amour (Stevie Wonder)/ My Way (Frank Sinatra)/ The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down (The Band)/ On Days Like These (Matt Monro)/ On Her Majesty’s Secret Service; Main Theme from Midnight Cowboy (John Barry)/ Pinball Wizard (The Who)/ Plastic Man; Shangri-La; Victoria (The Kinks)/ Reflections Of My Life (The Marmalade)/ The Rhythm Of Life (Sammy Davis Jr.)/ Ruby, Don’t Take Your Love To Town (Kenny Rogers and the First Edition)/ Someday We’ll Be Together (Diana Ross & The Supremes)/ Something In The Air (Thunderclap Newman)/ Space Oddity (David Bowie)/ The Star Spangled Banner (Jimi Hendrix)/ Sugar Sugar (The Archies)/ Twenty-Five Miles (Edwin Starr)/ Vivo Contando (Salomé)/ We Have All The Time In The World (Louis Armstrong)/ Where Do You Go To (My Lovely)? (Peter Sarstedt)/ The Windmills Of Your Mind (Noel Harrison)/ You Showed Me (The Turtles)

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And coming soon…

George’s pick of the flicks
and top of the pops ~ 1970-74

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