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

February 17, 2015

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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…

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CLICK

on the film and song titles for video clips…

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1975

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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

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Film:

The Man Who Would Be King

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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)

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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

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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

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Song:

Bohemian Rhapsody ~ Queen

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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)

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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

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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)

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1976

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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’

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Film:

All The President’s Men

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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

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

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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

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Song:

Dancing Queen ~ ABBA

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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)

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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)

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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)

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1977

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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

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Film:

Annie Hall

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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

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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)

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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

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Song:

I Feel Love ~ Donna Summer

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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

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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)

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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)

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1978

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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

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Film:

Days Of Heaven

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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)

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

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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

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Song:

Solsbury Hill ~ Peter Gabriel

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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

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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

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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)

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1979

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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

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Film:

Apocalypse Now

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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

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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

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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

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Song:

London Calling ~ The Clash

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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)

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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

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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)

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And coming up…

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

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