Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Today In Oldies 11/16/11

Welcome to Golden Hits Radio's Everything Oldies.......covering the who, what, when, where and why of your favorite artists from three decades! 
Two Thumbs WAYYYYYYYYYY Down! 
It is nowhere near an exaggeration to call The Beatles the most decorated, celebrated, and revered musical act in rock and roll history.  That makes the task of doing anything involving their music far more daunting.  Recently, the Cirque de Soleil show Love playing at the Mirage hotel in Las Vegas and the 2007 movie musical Across The Universe have received rave reviews for their treatment of the Fab Four's music in their respective productions.  Early attempts to use Beatles tunes to tell a story on the big screen, however, including 2 films that premiered about 18 months apart in the 70's, proved to be nothing short of disastrous.

One of the first attempts to capitalize on the Beatles catalog on the big screen was a documentary using their music to "narrate" World War II newsreel footage and clips from 20th Century Fox films of the 40's.  Directed by Susan Winslow, All This and World War II featured a soundtrack of Beatles covers by the likes of The Bee Gees, Elton John, The Four Seasons, Tina Turner, Helen Reddy, and a host of others.  It proved to be a fiasco of epic proportions, with the New York Daily News saying its PG rating stood for "Positively Ghastly".  After a two week run in theaters with a disastrous box office take, All That and World War II was pulled from theaters.  It has never seen the light of day on home video, DVD, or Blu-ray, but it has been shown, albeit very rarely, on American cable television.

There was no bigger behind the scenes name in the media business in the late 70's than Robert Stigwood.  He had propelled Cream and The Bee Gees into superstardom in the 60's, and by the 70's he had turned his attention to the Broadway stage and the big screen.  Two of his theatrical productions, Jesus Christ Superstar and Hair, were worldwide smashes that spawned successful feature film versions.  He also turned The Who's rock opera Tommy into a box office hit.  His next two films would become two of the biggest blockbusters in movie history, one of which revived the musical fortunes of a group he had made stars in the 60's.  Saturday Night Fever made John Travolta a superstar and made The Bee Gees bigger than ever.  His next production, the film version of the hit Broadway musical Grease, continued his hot streak.  So what would his next big screen spectacle be?  After all, he could do no wrong in those days, right?

With the biggest names in music part of his roster, he decided to take on the biggest name in music history.  He received the blessing of Apple Corps and even brought in legendary music producer George Martin to serve as musical director, conductor, and arranger of the companion soundtrack album.  How could you go wrong with The Bee Gees starring in Stigwood's interpretation of Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band surrounded by one of the biggest star-studded casts in history, including cameos by everyone from Steve Martin to George Burns to Connie Stevens and a giant roster of diverse musicians including Hank Williams, Jr., Wilson Pickett, Peter Frampton (as Billy Shears), Aerosmith, and Earth, Wind, and Fire?

Trouble seemed to follow Sgt. Pepper from the beginning of production.  The Bee Gees, discovering the movie's high potential to be a bomb, tried to quit but were rebuffed by Stigwood.  The film's original director, Chris Bearde, was sacked early in shooting.  The finished product was savaged by critics and is generally regarded as one of the worst film musicals ever made.

Here is a rare look at a 10 minute segment of All That and World War II.........

One of the rare moments of Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band that some critics actually praised was Steve Martin's performance of "Maxwell's Silver Hammer"........

Golden Hits Radio's Burning Question of the Day

What is the shortest #1 song in rock and roll history?

Come back to Everything Oldies tomorrow to find the answer, and leave a Comment below with your best guess! 

Yesterday's Burning Question (and Answer) of the Day

Which TV sitcom brought together Oldies legends Spencer Davis, Richie Havens, Mark Lindsay (Paul Revere & The Raiders), Peter Noone (Herman's Hermits), John Sebastian (The Lovin' Spoonful), and Robby Krieger (The Doors) on a 1992 episode?

Answer: A 1992 episode of Married: With Children saw the Bundy family pose as rock stars and  end up in first class on an airplane flight with the aforementioned artists

No comments:

Post a Comment