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George’s (extended) birthday party: pick of the flicks and top of the pops ~ 1970-74

November 7, 2014

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On the face of it, the transition of the 1960s into the 1970s doesn’t bring a cheer to the hearts of many (pop) culture vultures – perceived, as it often is, as a slide from an economically and materialistically buoyant era of social progression and radical and exciting development in the pop/ rock and cinematic arenas into an economically depressed, energy challenged and politically corrupt and crippled few years beset by naff pop and rock on our radios and vacuous bawdy comedies and disastrous disaster movies on the big screen. But is that fair? Was that what really happened?

Well, as this is a post (the return of, yes, the series detailing my ‘best of’ films and tunes from each year which regular visitors to this nook of the ’Net may well have wished wasn’t coming back – sorry, folks!) is a celebration of the first half of the ’70s, predictably enough, for me, that isn’t fair and certainly wasn’t what happened.

In retrospect, the semi-decade that was 1970 through to ’74 was, in fact, a fascinating five years. It may have seen the cool young ’uns fall out of love with free love and psychedelia, while everyone else finally got into ’60s fashions and wore flares like they were going out of fashion and slowly became easier about ’60s social changes (leading to suburban flings with swinging and, er, Tupperware and fondue parties), but it also allowed for the adoption by the mainstream of Glam rock, prog rock and trendy, folksy singer-songwriters (and thus the explosion of the sensations that were Bowie, Pink Floyd and Elton John, Carole King and Carly Simon), unbridled neo-realism in American film (step forward Coppola, Scorsese, Friedkin and Altman) and maybe even a taste, more so than ever before, for culturally colourful and challenging Euro cinema greats (Bergman, Roeg, Buñel, Malle and new kid on the block Bertolucci).

So, peeps, bounce along with me if you will (on your Space Hopper, naturally) into this follow-up to the previous ‘pick of the flicks and top of the pops’ posts from the ’50s (see here and here) and the ’60s (see here and here) – for, yes, whether you like it or not, we’re heading down the yellow brick road that’s 1970-74, where the dogs of society howl (yeah, don’t worry, they don’t really)…

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CLICK

on the film and song titles for video clips…

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1970

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Surprise election success for Heath and Tories; US troops invade Cambodia;
Pelé stars in Brazil’s thrilling third World Cup triumph; Houston has a problem with Apollo 13;
Black September and October Crisis; The Beatles, The Supremes and Simon & Garfunkel call it quits

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Film:

Il Conformista

(Le Conformiste/ The Conformist)

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Directed by: Bernardo Bertolucci/ Starring: Jean-Louis Tritingnant, Stefania Sandrelli,
Dominique Sanda, Enzo Tarascio, José Quaglio, Gastone Moschin and Pierre Clémenti/
Country: Italy/ France/ West Germany/ 111 minutes/ (Historical drama-thriller)

What George says: By turns period-drama grand and sweeping, by others introspective and self-contained, Il Conformista was the film that established Bertolucci as a major talent outside of Italy; even if, curiously maybe, it’s a very Italian tale of a skewered oddball whom finds his making in the Mussolini fascist era of the 1930s as he’s sent on an assassination mission by the secret police. Off-kilter and amusing, erotic and a little perverted, it’s always absorbing, dramatically bold, beautiful filmmaking.

What the critics say: “In this dazzling film, Bertolucci manages to combine the bravura style of Fellini, the acute sense of period of Visconti and the fervent political commitment of Elio Petri — and, better still, a lack of self-indulgence … The Conformist … is not merely an indictment of fascism — with some swipes at ecclesiastical hypocrisy as well — but also a profound personal tragedy” ~
 Kevin Thomas

Oscar count: 0

Oscar’s Best Picture pick this year: Patton

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

George’s runners-up: 2. Patton; 3. M*A*S*H4. Little Big Man; 5. Performance

patton_1970 mash_1970 little_big_man_1970 performance_1970

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And the rest: AirportLe Cercle Rouge (The Red Circle); Deep EndFive Easy Pieces; Le Genou de Claire (Claire’s Knee); Husbands; Let It Be; Love StoryPeau d’Âne (Donkey Skin); Ryan’s DaughterTristana; WoodstockZabriskie Point

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Song:

Bridge Over Troubled Water ~

Simon & Garfunkel

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Writer: Paul Simon/ Released: January 1970

What George says: Paul Simon’s epic testament to being there for someone who falls was huge back in the day and remains huge today. The silver-lined, silver-girled masterpiece, which overshadows everything on the otherwise still superb swansong album with which it shares its name, is a faultless exercise in studio manipulated brilliance, opening simply with Art Garfunkel’s angelic vocals and an accompanying piano, then slowly building and building to become a gigantic showcase of melodic balladry. It’s basically Lawrence of Arabia (1962) as a pop song. Well, sort of.

What the critics say: “The ’60s stand for heedless free love; in Simon’s songs, emotional entanglement brings heavy consequences and duties … [Bridge Over Troubled Water] expresses devotion and empathy in terms more likely to resonate with an adult than some headstrong hippie: ‘When you’re weary, feeling small,’ goes one verse, ‘I’ll take your part’. Simon is a deceptive lyricist – he starts out describing the scenery, and pretty soon he’s drawn listeners deep into the thoughts of his complicated, often conflicted characters” ~ Tom Moon , 1,000 Recordings To Hear Before You Die (2008)

Chart record: US #1 (for six weeks)/ UK #1 (for three weeks)

Recognition: Won the Grammy Awards for Record of the Year, Song of the Year, Best Contemporary Song, Best Engineered Record and Best Arrangement Accompanying Vocalists (1970)/ ranked #3 for 1970, #17 for the 1970s and #81 for ‘all-time’ on acclaimedmusic.net’s cumulatively ranked ‘top songs’ lists

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George’s runners-up: 2. Layla (Derek and the Dominos)/ 3. Your Song (Elton John)/
 4. Let It Be (The Beatles)/ 5. Groupie (Superstar) (Delaney and Bonnie)

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And the rest: ABCI’ll Be There; I Want You Back (The Jackson 5)/Across The UniverseThe Long And Winding Road (The Beatles)/ All Right Now (Free)/ American Woman (The Guess Who)/ Apeman; Lola (The Kinks)/ Band Of Gold (Freda Payne)/ Bell Bottom Blues; I Looked Away; Keep On GrowingThorn Tree In The Garden; Why Does Love Got To Be So Sad? (Derek and the Dominos)/ Big Yellow Taxi (Joni Mitchell)/ Cecilia; El Cóndor Pasa; The Only Living Boy In New York (Simon & Garfunkel)/ Cracklin’ Rosie; Shilo (Neil Diamond)/ Cry Me A River; The Letter (Joe Cocker) Didn’t I (Blow Your Mind This Time) (The Delfonics)/ Get Up (I Feel Like Being A) Sex Machine (James Brown)/ Give Me Just A Little More Time (Chairmen Of The Board)/ Groovin’ With Mr Bloe (Mr Bloe)/ If Not For YouIsn’t It A Pity; Let It DownMy Sweet Lord; Wah-WahWhat Is Life (George Harrison)/ Immigrant Song (Led Zeppelin)/ In the Summertime (Mungo Jerry)/ Instant Karma!; LoveMother (John Lennon)/ It’s So Easy (Andy Williams)/ Jig-A-Jig (East Of Eden)/ Love The One You’re With (Stephen Stills)/ Lucky Man (Emerson, Lake & Palmer)/ The Man Who Sold The World (David Bowie)/ Maybe I’m Amazed (Paul McCartney)/ Moon Shadow; Tea For The TillermanWild World (Cat Stevens)/ No Matter What (Badfinger)/ Our House (Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young)/ Paranoid (Black Sabbath)/ Question (The Moody Blues)/ River Deep Mountain High (The Supremes and The Four Tops)/ Reach Out And Touch (Somebody’s Hand) (Diana Ross)/ The Revolution Will Not Be Televised (Gil Scott-Heron)/ Ride A White Swan (T. Rex)/ See Me, Feel Me (The Who)/ Signed, Sealed, Delivered I’m Yours (Stevie Wonder)/ Something (Frank Sinatra)/ Stay With Me (Faces)/ Suicide Is Painless (The Mash)/ Tears Of A Clown (Smokey Robinson & The Miracles)/ (They Long To Be) Close To You; We’ve Only Just Begun (The Carpenters)/ To Be Young, Gifted And Black (Nina Simone)/ War (Edwin Starr)/ Whole Lotta Love (CCS)/ The Wonder Of You (Elvis Presley)

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1971

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Britain enters the EEC and decimalises the pound; Idi Amin’s Uganda coup;
12,50o troops now in Northern Ireland; 60 percent of US now against Vietnam War;
Lunar Rover driven on Moon; Greenpeace founded; Open University begins 

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Film:

A Clockwork Orange

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Directed by: Stanley Kubrick/ Starring: Malcolm MacDowell, Patrick Magee, Anthony Sharp, Warren Clarke, Michael Bates, Adrienne Corri and Miriam Karlin/ Country: UK/ 136 minutes/ (Dystopian-satirical drama)

What George says: Although the outrage it generated on release may now seem quaint (it’s far from the most violent film ever made), A Clockwork Orange is still a work that shocks, amuses thanks to its very dark humour and forces one to face awkward truths about modern society’s hypocritical attitudes to social rebellion and violence, and political regulation and control. Maybe most successful and memorable of all, though, is its retro-futuristic look and use of music; like his brilliantly stark and caustic handling of the film’s themes, this is proof indeed that Kubrick was a visionary ahead of his time.

What the critics say: A Clockwork Orange is a brilliant nightmare. Stanley Kubrick … takes the heavy realities of the ‘do-your-thing’ and ‘law-and-order’ syndromes, runs them through a cinematic centrifuge, and spews forth the commingled comic horrors of a regulated society. Uncomfortably proximate, disturbingly plausible and obliquely resolved, the film employs outrageous vulgarity, stark brutality and some sophisticated comedy to make an opaque argument for the preservation of respect for man’s free will – even to do wrong” ~ A D Murphy

Oscar count: 0

Oscar’s Best Picture pick this year: The French Connection

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

George’s runners-up: 2. The Last Picture Show; 3. The French Connection;
4. The Go-Between; 5. Sunday Bloody Sunday

the_last_picture_show_1971 the_french_connection_1971 the_go-between_1971 sunday_bloody_sunday_1971

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And the rest: The Anderson TapesCarry On At Your ConvenienceDirty Harry; Duel; Fiddler On The Roof; Get Carter; Harold And Maude; The HospitalKlute; McCabe & Mrs Miller; Straw Dogs; Summer Of ’42; Utvandrarna (The Emigrants); Walkabout

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Song:

Imagine ~ John Lennon

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Writer: John Lennon/ Released: October 1971

What George says: Adopted immediately on release and probably never to be replaced as the anthem for the worldwide peace movement, John Lennon’s signature tune is proof not just of what a talented songwriter he was, but also of the fact that (despite a long hiatus from the mid-’70s up to nearly his death in 1980), of the four Fabs, his post-Beatles output was tops. Imagine is, of course, a sumptuously simple would-be-ballad, with its tumbling, nay hypnotic piano melody and Lennon’s lilting, wistful delivery of his ‘what if?’ lyrics. And what of those lyrics? They’ve been criticised for revealing the hypocrisy of the just-as-materialistic-as-the-rest-as-us millionaire pop star, but surely, if one stops and really listens to them, that’s to miss the point they  make – the song’s called Imagine for a reason…

What the statesman says: “In many countries around the world – my wife and I have visited about 125 countries – you hear John Lennon’s song Imagine used almost equally with national anthems” ~ Former US President Jimmy Carter

Chart record: US #3/ UK #6 in 1975 (#1 in December 1980)

Recognition: Ranked #3 for 1971, #7 for the 1970s and #35 for ‘all-time’ on acclaimedmusic.net’s cumulatively ranked ‘top songs’ list/ ranked #30 on the Recording Industry Association of America‘s list of ‘The 365 Songs of the Century bearing the most historical significance’/ since 2005, played every New Year’s Eve in Times Square immediately before ‘the ball drops’

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George’s runners-up: 2. Let’s Stay Together (Al Green)/ 3. What’s Going On (Marvin Gaye)/ 4. Day After Day (Badfinger)/ 5. Tokoloshe Man (John Kongos)

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And the rest: Ain’t No Sunshine (Bill Withers)/ Angel (Jimi Hendrix)/ Anticipation; That’s The Way I’ve Always Heard It Should Be (Carly Simon)/ Another Day (Paul McCartney)/ Baba O’RileyBehind Blue Eyes; Won’t Get Fooled Again (The Who)/ Baby I’m-A Want You; If (Bread)/ The Beautiful Briny (David Tomlinson and Angela Lansbury)/ Black Dog (Led Zeppelin)/ Brown Sugar; Moonlight MileWild Horses; Sister Morphine (The Rolling Stones)/ Cosmic DancerGet It On; Hot Love; Jeepster (T. Rex)/ Coz I Luv You (Slade)/ Desiderata (Les Crane)/ Devil’s Answer (Atomic Rooster)/ Everything’s Alright; I Don’t Know How To Love Him (Yvonne Elliman)/Express Yourself (Charles Wright & The Watts 103rd Street Rhythm Band)Family Affair (Sly and the Family Stone)/ Gimme Some TruthHappy Xmas (War Is Over); How?; Jealous Guy (John Lennon)/ Gypsies, Tramps & Thieves (Cher)/ Have You Ever Seen The Rain? (Creedence Clearwater Revival)/ Have You Seen Her (The Chi-Lites)/ Hyacinth HouseLove Her Madly; Riders On The Storm (The Doors)/ I Am… I Said (Neil Diamond)/ I Feel The Earth Move; It’s Too Late; So Far AwayWill You Love Me Tomorrow?(You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman (Carole King)/ I’d Like To Teach the World To Sing (In Perfect Harmony) (The New Seekers)/ I’ve Seen All Good People/ Your Move (Yes)/ If I Were A Rich Man (Topol)/ Inner City Blues (Make Me Wanna Holler); Mercy Mercy Me (The Ecology) (Marvin Gaye)/ Life’s A Trippy Thing (Frank and Nancy Sinatra)/ Life On Mars; Oh! You Pretty Things (David Bowie)/ Maggie May (Rod Stewart)/ Magpie (The Murgatroyd Band)/ Me And Bobby McGee; Mercedes Benz (Janis Joplin)/ Main Theme from Get Carter (Roy Budd)/ Mr Big Stuff (Jean Knight)/ Nathan Jones (The Supremes)/ Peace Train (Cat Stevens)/ Proud Mary (Ike & Tina Turner)/ Pure Imagination (Anthony Newley)/ Rainy Days And Mondays; Superstar (The Carpenters)/ Respect Yourself (The Staple Sisters)/ Scorpio’s Theme (Lalo Schifrin)/ Theme from Shaft (Isaac Hayes)/ Theme from The Persuaders! (John Barry)/You’ve Got A Friend (James Taylor)

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1972

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Nixon visits China, later re-elected by giant margin; Watergate break-in;
Munich Massacre at Olympics but Spitz wins seven golds; Baader-Meinhof Gang caught;
Bowie and Bolan; cannabis now sold legally in Amsterdam; The Joy of Sex published

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Film:

Viskningar Och Rop

(Cries And Whispers)

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Directed by: Ingmar Bergman/ Starring: Liv Ullmann, Ingrid Thulin, Harriet Andersson, Kari Sylwan and Erland Josephson/ Country: Sweden/ 91 minutes/ (Period-psychological drama)

What George says: A seminal voyage into despair and regret, suffering and the supernatural and the repressed sexuality and emotions of dysfunctional siblings, Bergman’s masterpiece is at once beautiful, absorbing and affectingly melancholic. Featuring outstanding performances by Liv Ullmann and Ingrid Thulin and extraordinary, Oscar-winning cinematography by Sven Nykvist (wallow in all those deep reds and ‘pure’ whites), it will haunt you long after you see it – perhaps forever.

What the critics say: Cries and Whispers is like no movie I’ve seen before, and like no movie Ingmar Bergman has made before; although we are all likely to see many films in our lives, there will be few like this one. It is hypnotic, disturbing, frightening … We slip lower in our seats, feeling claustrophobia and sexual disquiet, realising that we have been surrounded by the vision of a filmmaker who has absolute mastery of his art … [It] is about dying, love, sexual passion, hatred and death – in that order” ~
Roger Ebert

Oscar count: 1

Oscar’s Best Picture pick this year: The Godfather

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

George’s runners-up: 2. The Godfather;
3. Le Charme Discret de la Bourgeoisie (The Discreet Charm Of The Bourgeoisie);
4. Solaris; 5. Aguirre, The Wrath Of God

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And the rest: Cabaret; The Candidate; Deliverance; Everything You Always Wanted To Know About Sex (But Were Afraid To Ask); The Getaway; The Hot RockLast Tango In Paris; The Poseidon Adventure; The Ruling Class; Sleuth

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Song:

You’re So Vain ~ Carly Simon

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Writer: Carly Simon/ Released: November 1972

What George says: The biggest hit of Ms Simon’s career has been somewhat overtaken by the media’s obsession with learning of its lyrics’ subject, but that’s never been important, slowly obfuscating, as it has, the fact it’s an absolute belter of a tune; its jangly, lazy, honky-tonk but highly appealing composition blending perfectly with its driving, irresistible melody, culminating in those cracking Mick Jagger-backed choruses. Far from clouds-in-your-coffee frothy, this is a fantastic soft-rock/ pop classic.

Chart record: US #1/ UK #3

Recognition: Ranked #13 for 1972, #112 for the 1970s and #508 for ‘all-time’ on acclaimedmusic.net’s cumulatively ranked ‘top songs’ list/ ranked #82 on Billboard magazine’s ‘Greatest Songs of All-Time’ list (1994)

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George’s runners-up: 2. Heart Of Gold (Neil Young)/ 3. Starman (David Bowie)/
4.
 If There Is Something (Roxy Music)/ 5. Diamonds Are Forever (Shirley Bassey)

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And the rest: All The Young Dudes; One Of The Boys (Mott The Hoople)/ Always On My Mind; Burning Love (Elvis Presley)/ American Pie; Vincent (Starry, Starry Night) (Don McLean)/ Amoureuse (Véronique Sanson)/ Baby Blue (Badfinger)/ Cabaret; Maybe This Time (Liza Minnelli)/ The Candy Man (Sammy Davis, Jr.)/ Changes; Five YearsThe Jean Genie; John, I’m Only Dancing; Moonage Daydream; Rock ‘n’ Roll Suicide; Suffragette City; Ziggy Stardust (David Bowie)/ Children Of The Revolution; Metal Guru; Telegram Sam (T. Rex)/ Crocodile Rock; Honky CatMona Lisas And Mad HattersRocket Man (I Think It’s Going To Be A Long, Long Time); Tiny Dancer (Elton John)/ Do It Again (Steely Dan)/ Everything I Own; The Guitar Man (Bread)/ The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face (Roberta Flack)/ Go All The Way (Raspberries)/ Goodbye to Love (The Carpenters)/Gudbuy T’ JaneMama Weer All Crazee Now (Slade)/ Happy; Let It Loose; Shine A LightTumbling Dice (The Rolling Stones)/ The Harder They Come (Jimmy Cliff)/ A Horse With No Name (America)/ I Can See Clearly Now (Johnny Nash)/ I Saw The Light (Todd Rundgren)/ I’ll Take You There (The Staple Sisters)/ If You Don’t Know Me By Now (Harold Melvin & The Blue Notes)/ Jackie Wilson Said (I’m In Heaven When You Smile) (Van Morrison)/ Join Together (The Who)/ Joy (Apollo 100)/ Lady Eleanor (Lindisfarne)/ Lean On Me (Bill Withers)/ Listen To The Music (The Doobie Brothers)/ Ladytron; Re-make/Re-modelVirginia Plain (Roxy Music)/ Long Cool Woman In A Black Dress (The Hollies)/ Look At Yourself (Uriah Heep)/ Love Train (The O’Jays)/  Midnight Rider (The Allmann Brothers Band)/ The Money Song (Liza Minnelli and Joel Grey)/ Morning Has Broken (Cat Stevens)/ Mother And Child Reunion (Paul Simon)/ Outa-Space (Billy Preston)/ Papa Was A Rollin’ Stone (The Temptations)/ Perfect Day; Satellite Of LoveWalk On The Wild Side (Lou Reed)/ Play Me (Neil Diamond)/ School’s Out (Alice Cooper)/ Silver Machine (Hawkwind)/ Spoon (Can)/ Stuck In The Middle With You (Stealers Wheel)/ Summer Breeze (Seals & Croft)/ Superstition (Stevie Wonder)/ 10538 Overture (Electric Light Orchestra)/ Where Is The Love (Roberta Flack and Donny Hathaway)/ Whiskey In The Jar (Thin Lizzy)/ Why Can’t We Live Together (Timmy Thomas)/ Wilkommen (Joel Grey)/ Without You (Harry Nilsson)/ You Wear It Well (Rod Stewart)

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1973

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Nixon tells world he’s ‘not a crook’; America out of Vietnam; Yom-Kippur War;
oil crisis; World Trade Center and Sydney Opera House open; Roe vs. Wade;
Dark Side Of The Moon, Goodbye Yellow Brick Road and Tubular Bells released

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Film:

Don’t Look Now

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Directed by: Nicholas Roeg/ Starring: Donald Sutherland, Julie Christie, Hilary Mason, Clelia Matania, Massimo Serato, Sharon Williams and Adelina Poerio/ Country: UK/ Italy/ 105 minutes/ (Psychological thriller-horror)

What George says: Haunting, disturbing, disorientating, melancholic, moving and – in one notorious scene in particular – ebulliently erotic, Don’t Look Now is a thriller-cum-horror of the highest order; complex and mature in its emotional beats and psychological turns, startling in its ability to stun, nay shock, and unforgettable in its blend of Venetian setting, perfect playing and inspired direction.

What the critics say: “A brilliant, in many ways unique, conflation of the erotic and the uncanny, with a masterly feel for images and mood that will reverberate in your mind for days. Donald Sutherland and Julie Christie give performances of deeply felt humanity and sensitivity … It’s a ghost story; it’s a meditation on time, memory and the poignancy of married love. And it’s a masterpiece” ~
Peter Bradshaw

Oscar count: 0

Oscar’s Best Picture pick this year: The Sting

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

George’s runners-up: 2. Badlands;
3. Scener Ur Ett Äktenskap (Scenes From A Marriage);
4. The Sting; 5. Amarcord

badlands_1973 Scener_Ur_Ett_Äktenskap_1973 the_sting_1973 amarcord_1973

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And the rest: American Graffiti; The Day Of The Jackal; El Espíritu de la Colmena (Spirit Of The Beehive); The ExorcistLive And Let Die; The Long Goodbye; Mean StreetsLa Nuit Américaine (Day For Night); O Lucky Man!; Paper Moon; Papillon; Serpico

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Song:

Goodbye Yellow Brick Road ~

Elton John

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Writers: Elton John and Bernie Taupin/ Released: October 1973

What George says: An outstanding standout from his incredibly productive early career, Elton’s near signature single  has stood the test of time due to its flawless combination of piano-driven pop balladry and epic ambition. It’s tumbling rather than tub-thumping, though, coated in a rich, melancholic, infectious charisma, while Bernie Taupin’s lyrics, full of the woes of lost innocence, invite the composer to display the full vocal range that his oh-so distinctive voice was once able to deliver.

What the critics say: “[A] small masterpiece of ’70s soft rock … Lyrically, [it’s] evocative of faded Hollywood glamour in the manner of Sunset Boulevard … [and it’s] a vocal triumph; although the wordless melisma that decorates the bridge between the verse and chorus melodies is straight out of The Beach Boys playbook, John makes that keening wail his own, and it’s very likely his single finest vocal moment, one that creates shivers every single time … Extravagant but not pretentious, [the song] is a pinnacle of its style” ~ Stewart Mason

Chart record: US #2/ UK #6

Recognition: Ranked #12 for 1973, #129 for the 1970s and #584 for ‘all-time’ on acclaimedmusic.net’s cumulatively ranked ‘top songs’ lists

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George’s runners-up:
2. Us And Them (Pink Floyd)/
3. Cum On Feel The Noize (Slade)/
4. Could It Be I’m Falling In Love (The Detroit Spinners)/
5. Mind Games (John Lennon)

usa_and_them_1973 cum_on_feel_the_noize_1973 could_it_be_i'm_falling_in_love_1973 mind_games_1973

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And the rest: All The Young Girls Love AliceDaniel; Funeral For A Friend/ Love Lies Bleeding; Grey SealSaturday Night’s Alright For Fighting (Elton John)/ Also Sprach Zarathustra (Deodato)/ Amoureuse (Kiki Dee)/ Angie (The Rolling Stones)/ Apple Of My Eye (Badfinger)/ The Ballroom Blitz; Block Buster! (The Sweet)/ Band On The Run; Jet; Live And Let Die; My LoveNineteen Hundred And Eighty-Five (Paul McCartney & Wings)/ Brother Louie (Hot Chocolate)/ Cindy Incidentally; Ooh La La (Faces)/ Do The Strand; Pyjamarama; Street Life (Roxy Music)/ Don’t You Worry ’Bout A Thing; Higher Ground; You Are The Sunshine Of My Life (Stevie Wonder)/ Drive-In Saturday; Sorrow (David Bowie)/ Dueling Banjos (Arthur ‘Guitar Boogie’ Smith)/ Evil (Earth, Wind & Fire)/ Eye Level (Simon Park Orchestra)/ 5.15; Love Reign O’er Me (The Who)/ Frankenstein; Free Ride (Edgar Winter Group)/ The Great Gig In The SkyMoney; Time (Pink Floyd)/ Hocus Pocus (Focus)/ I Wish It Could Be Christmas Everyday (Wizzard)/ I Won’t Last A Day Without You; Yesterday Once More (The Carpenters)/ The Joker (The Steve Miller Band)/ Jolene (Dolly Parton)/ Jungle Boogie (Kool & the Gang)/ Killin’ Me Softly With His Song (Roberta Flack)/ Knockin’ On Heaven’s Door (Eric Clapton)/ La Grange (ZZ Top)/ Let’s Get It On (Marvin Gaye)/ The Love I Lost (Harold Melvin & the Blue Notes)/ Merry Xmas Everybody (Slade)/ Midnight Train To Georgia (Gladys Knight & The Pips)/ The Morning After (Maureen McGovern)/ The Most Beautiful Girl (Charlie Rich)/ No More Mr. Nice Guy (Alice Cooper)/ Nutbush City Limits (Ike & Tina Turner)/ Pinball Wizard/ See Me Feel Me (The New Seekers)/ Radar Love (Golden Earring)/ Ramblin’ Man (The Allman Brothers Band)/ Reelin’ In The Years (Steely Dan)/ Ring Ring (ABBA)/ Rock On (David Essex)/ Roll Away The Stone (Mott The Hoople)/ Smoke On The Water (Deep Purple)/ Space Race (Billy Preston)/ Superstar (Bette Midler)/ Touch Me In The Morning (Diana Ross)/ Tubular Bells (Mike Oldfield)/ 20th Century Boy (T. Rex)/ Twistin’ The Night Away (Rod Stewart)

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1974

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Nixon quits before he’s impeached; Three-day-week topples Heath, Wilson back in;
Birmingham pub bombings; Pompidou dies in office; ‘Rumble in the Jungle’; Lord Lucan;
ABBA win Eurovision; India becomes nuclear power; West Germany wins home World Cup

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Film:

The Godfather Part II

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Directed by: Francis Ford Coppola/ Starring: Al Pacino, Robert De Niro, Robert Duvall, Diane Keaton, John Cazale, Talia Shire, Michael V Gazzo, Lee Strasberg and Oreste Baldini/
Country: USA/ 200 minutes/ (Period-crime drama)

What George says: It’s hard to disagree with the oft trotted-out opinion that The Godfather Part II is one of the greatest films of all-time. It achieves all its aims with bells on, continuing the story begun in its classic predecessor by simultaneously presenting us with the contrasting narratives of the rise of Vito Corleone from street gangster to don (a sensational Robert De Niro) and the tragic, total moral fall of his son and successor Michael (Al Pacino, full of quiet power). Few movies so epic in both length and scope also boast the smarts, pacing and beats, and beauty and brilliance of Coppola’s mobster masterpiece.

What the critics say: The Godfather is a more important film, of course it is. But The Godfather Part II is a better film. It’s more ambitious, it’s more elegiac, it delves deeper into the soil of Italian-American myth … Everything that was majestic and mythic about The Godfather is more so in Part II, with scenes deliberately matching the original … So instead of constantly reminding us that the first film is better, Part II builds on its operatic sweep and cranks up the drama, both narratively and visually” ~
Andrew Collins

Oscar count: 6

Oscar’s Best Picture pick this year: The Godfather Part II

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

George’s runners-up: 2. Chinatown; 3. The Conversation; 4. Lenny; 5. Lacombe, Lucien

chinatown_1974 the_conversation_1974 lenny_1974 lacombe_lucien_1974

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And the rest: Alice Doesn’t Live Here Anymore; Blazing Saddles; F For Fake; Hearts And Minds; Murder On The Orient Express; The Parallax View; Thunderbolt And Lightfoot; The Towering Inferno; A Woman Under The Influence; Young Frankenstein

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Song:

Rebel Rebel ~ David Bowie

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rebel_rebel_david_bowie_1974

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Writer: David Bowie/ Released: February 1974

What George says: Let’s be honest, it’s all about that guitar riff, hooking us right from the beginning and irresistibly, even hypnotically pulling us through the entirety of the four minutes and 30 seconds of this Bowie masterclass in rock song composition and realisation. A genderbending anthem for the glam rock movement, Rebel Rebel was actually a swansong for Bowie’s Ziggy Stardust phase, but remains one of the most vibrant, youthfully aspirational and undeniably coolest tracks to have come out of the ’70s.

What the critics say: “When it comes on at the ‘retro’ dance party, the redneck bar or on the way home from work, you can’t help but rock out to its quintessential message: we are young, we are free, we are filled with a special kind of love our parents will never understand. It’s like [Bruce Springsteen’s] Born To Run for perverts” ~ Mallory O’Donnell

Chart record: US #64/ UK #5

Recognition:  Ranked #14 for 1974, #230 for the 1970s and #1,055 for ‘all-time’ on acclaimedmusic.net’s cumulatively ranked ‘top songs’ lists

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George’s runners-up: 2. You Are So Beautiful (Joe Cocker)/ 3. Free Bird (Lynyrd Skynyrd)/ 4. The Air That I Breathe (The Hollies)/ 5. Annie’s Song (John Denver)

 you_are_so_beautiful_1974 free_bird_1974 the_air_that_i_breathe_1974 annie's_song_1974

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And the rest: Bad Company; Can’t Get Enough (Bad Company)/ Benny And The Jets; The Bitch Is Back; Candle In The Wind; Don’t Let The Sun Go Down On Me; Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds (Elton John)/ Cats In The Cradle (Harry Chapin)/ Diamond Dogs (David Bowie)/ The Entertainer (Marvin Hamlisch)/ EverydayFar Far Away (Slade)/ Free Man In Paris (Joni Mitchell)/ He’s Misstra Know-It-All (Stevie Wonder)/ Hooked On A Feeling (Blue Swede)/ I Won’t Last A Day Without You (The Carpenters)/ It’s Only Rock ‘n’ Roll (But I Like It) (The Rolling Stones)/ Killer Queen; Seven Seas Of Rhye (Queen)/ Kung Fu Fighting (Carl Douglas)/ Lady Marmalade (Labelle)/ Machine Gun (The Commodores)/ The Man Who Sold The WorldThe Man With The Golden Gun (Lulu)/ Mockingbird (Carly Simon and James Taylor)/ Never Can Say Goodbye (Gloria Gaynor)/ No Woman, No Cry (Bob Marley & the Wailers)/ Number 9 Dream; Whatever Gets You Thru The Night (John Lennon)/ Piano Man (Billy Joel)/ The Real Me (The Who)/ Rikki Don’t Lose That Number (Steely Dan)/ Rock The Boat (Hues Corporation)/ Rock Your Baby (George McCrae)/ She (Charles Aznavour)/ She’s Gone (Hall & Oates)/ Streets Of London (Ralph McTell)/ Summer Breeze (The Isley Brothers)/ Sweet Home Alabama (Lynyrd Skynyrd)/ Takin’ Care Of Business; You Ain’t Seen Nothin’ Yet (Bachmann-Turner Overdrive)/ This Town Ain’t Big Enough For The Both Of Us (Sparks)/ The Thrill Of It All (Roxy Music)/ Tiger Feet (Mud)/ TSOP (The Sound Of Philadelphia) (MFSB)/ Upon The My-O-My (Captain Beefheart and the Magic Band)/ Waterloo (ABBA)/ We May Never Love Like This Again (Maureen McGovern)/ When Will I See You Again (The Three Degrees)/ You Can Make Me Dance, Sing Or Anything (Even Take the Dog For A Walk, Mend A Fuse, Fold Away The Ironing Board, Or Any Other Domestic Shortcomings) (Faces)/ W.O.L.D. (Harry Chapin)/ You Won’t Find Another Fool Like Me (The New Seekers)

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And coming up…

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

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