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MARCH 2006

APRIL 2006


MARCH 31, 2006

Song of the Day #592

Song of the DayIn the Mood, words by Andy Razaf, music by Joe Garland, was a Glenn Miller mega-hit. Listen to audio clips of Glenn Miller and, in a vocal rendition, the ever-effervescent Bette Midler.

Posted by chris at 06:56 AM | Permalink | Posted to Music

MARCH 30, 2006

Song of the Day #591

Song of the DayDon't Take Your Love From Me, words and music by Henry Nemo, is one of those "slit-your-wrists" standards. I loved when my Aunt Joan used to sing this (she'd performed it on radio too back in the day). Listen to audio clips of versions by Billy EckstineEtta James, and Frank Sinatra (who does a mid-tempo swing version as well).

Posted by chris at 08:00 AM | Permalink | Posted to Music

MARCH 29, 2006

Song of the Day #590

Song of the DayFortress Around Your Heart, composed and recorded by Sting, is from his terrific, jazzy solo album "The Dream of the Blue Turtles," which features Branford Marsalis on the saxophone. I saw him perform this at Radio City Music Hall on his Blue Turtles Tour; the band was superb. Listen to an audio clip of the album version here.

Posted by chris at 06:20 AM | Permalink | Posted to Music

MARCH 28, 2006

Song of the Day #589

Song of the DayMust Be the Music (audio clip at that link) features the words and music of M. Blackmon and J. Prister and the funky performance of the group Secret_Weapon. A classic Prelude dance track, this one was also given a glorious KISS-FM "Mastermix" treatment by Tony Humphries.

Posted by chris at 07:00 AM | Permalink | Posted to Music

MARCH 27, 2006

Song of the Day #588

Song of the DayDo It Again, words and music by Walter Becker and Donald Fagen, was a huge hit for Steely Dan. This song has been such an expression of American pop music that it was even part of two medleys with Michael Jackson's "Billie Jean," one by Club House and the other by Slingshot (an early "mash-up," perhaps?). Listen to an audio clip of that Club House rendition, and to the original and best version by Steely Dan. And Happy Birthday to my pal, Aeon Skoble (who is a Steely Dan fan).

Posted by chris at 06:25 AM | Permalink | Posted to Music

MARCH 26, 2006

Song of the Day #587

Song of the DayDon't Cha, words and music by T. Callaway and T. Smith, is one of those fluff, borderline-offensive pop hits that, when played over and over again, gets into your head, and just doesn't leave. First recorded by Tori Alamaze, this song reached #2 on the Billboard Hot 100 in a version by the Pussycat Dolls and Busta Rhymes. Sometimes when I'm not crazy about a song, the DJ in me gets hooked by a hot remix. "Ralphi's Hot Freak" remix of this song is, indeed, scalding (audio clip at that link). An audio clip of the original mix can be heard here.

Posted by chris at 10:41 AM | Permalink | Posted to Music

MARCH 25, 2006

Song of the Day #586

Song of the DaySweet Home Alabama features the words and music of Ed KingGary Rossington, and Ronnie Van Zant, of the band, Lynyrd Skynyrd. Listen to an audio clip of this Southern rock classic here. The group was inducted on March 13, 2006 into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Listen also to an audio clip of a version by Jewel (sample at that link) from the soundtrack for the 2002 film of the same name.

Posted by chris at 09:51 AM | Permalink | Posted to Music

MARCH 24, 2006

Song of the Day #585

Song of the DayHumoresque, composed by Antonin Dvorak, is a charming piece that has been recorded by many classical and jazz instrumentalists. It was featured in the 1946 film of the same name, starring Joan Crawford and John Garfield. The violinist who dubbed for Garfield in the film was Isaac Stern (audio clip at that link). I'm very fond of a jazz rendition by violinist Joe Venuti found on the album, "Fiddle on Fire." That version isn't available online, but an alternative version with guitarist George Barnes is available in infuriatingly short audio clips here and here. For a more traditional rendering, listen to an audio clip featuring the London Symphony Orchestra.

Posted by chris at 07:03 AM | Permalink | Posted to Music

MARCH 23, 2006

Song of the Day #584

Song of the DayOff the Wall, words and music by Rod Temperton, was recorded as the title track of one of Michael Jackson's finest solo efforts. Listen to an audio clip here.

Posted by chris at 07:11 AM | Permalink | Posted to Music

MARCH 22, 2006

Iraq: A Perception Problem?

Today, ABC's "Good Morning America" reported on the Bush administration's claim that "negative" stories on the war in Iraq are playing right into the hands of the "enemy," and that the press is to blame for the sagging public support of the war. Bush's declining poll numbers are the result of negative publicity.

Such sagging public support, of course, has nothing to do with any erosion of the public's faith in the administration's competence, eh? Or the fact that Iraq is steeped in sectarian conflict, careening toward civil war? Nah. Nothing to do with those things.

On one level, of course, Bush is absolutely right: The press tends to focus on car bombs and murders and kidnappings as news. Well. DUH. Pick up any newspaper and the story is the same locally. Watch any local news broadcast and the story is the same there too. The news often reads or sounds like a police blotter. That has been the tendency in local news for as long as I've been alive. Why on earth would this tendency be different on a national or global level? Crime is news in this culture, and whether the criminals are local thugs or foreign ones, the play's the same.

But there is no direct correlation between news coverage and public perception, unless one believes that people are sheeple. Interestingly, even though NYC newspapers and newscasts focus on local crime all the time, it has not altered the public perception that crime is down in the Big Apple, as part of a long-term trend. And there is a good reason for this public perception: Crime is down. In reality. There were over 2,600 people murdered in NYC in 1990; that number dropped to under 600 by 2004. Whatever the continuing negative focus of the press, the reality of life in this city has inspired people's positive perceptions.

Perhaps the Bush administration needs its own reality check. The downturn in public opinion on the Iraq war is not simply the result of press brainwashing. The public perception has changed because things in reality are not going as well in Iraq as the administration claims.

I guess the administration is just frustrated with the "reality-based community." And here they thought that they created their own reality.

What is the administration's alternative? Planting positive stories in the press? Paying off journalists who ask sympathetic questions? Or maybe the press should simply be "embedded" into an official Ministry of Propaganda.


Comments welcome. Cross-posted to L&P.

Posted by chris at 08:11 AM | Permalink | Comments (3) | Posted to Foreign Policy


Just wanted to let folks know of a new post on my blog.

Further Thoughts On Marriage-Cultural Feelings

Posted by: Nick | March 27, 2006 11:04 PM

Give us the link! :)

Posted by: Chris Matthew Sciabarra | April 4, 2006 06:22 PM

Further Thoughts On Marriage-Cultural Feelings

Happy? ( :

Posted by: Nick | April 5, 2006 10:53 PM


Song of the Day #583

Song of the DayNight on Bald Mountain (aka "St. John's Night on the Bare Mountain") was composed by Modest Petrovich Mussorgsky. I was first exposed to this "tone poem" when it accompanied one of my favorite sequences in the 1940 film "Fantasia." Listen to a brief midi audio clip here, and an audio clip of a version performed by the Cleveland Orchestra conducted by Lorin Maazel. And don't forget its derivative, by David Shire, recorded for the soundtrack of the 1977 film "Saturday Night Fever": "Night on Disco Mountain" (audio clip at that link).

Posted by chris at 07:56 AM | Permalink | Posted to Music

MARCH 21, 2006

Song of the Day #582

Song of the DayConstant Rain (Chove Chuva) features the music and original lyrics of Jorge Ben, and the English lyrics of Norman Gimbel. With a line that says "Everyday was Spring to Me," this melancholy Brazilian song is one of the highlights on a Brasil 66 album entitled "Equinox" (audio clip at that link). Listen also to two audio clips from Miriam Makeba.

Posted by chris at 07:00 AM | Permalink | Posted to Music

MARCH 20, 2006

Chris Tame, RIP

I just received a phone call from Sean Gabb of the Libertarian Alliance. Sean tells me that my pal, Chris Tame, passed away at 3:37 pm, London time. Having battled cancer these many months, Chris's passing was, as Sean describes it, peaceful.

I'm very sad to hear this news, and I extend my deepest condolences to his friends and family. I was fortunate enough to speak with Chris last week; it was a "goodbye" phone call, as he knew the end was near. I will miss his almost daily "Ayn Rand Watch" postings, his warped sense of humor, and, most of all, the intellectual engagement. But I know that his legacy will live on.

A press release will follow from Sean very soon.

Update #1 (21 March 2006): I received the following from Sean Gabb:

It is with the deepest regret that I must announce the death of Dr. Chris R. Tame, Founder and President of the Libertarian Alliance. Chris founded the Libertarian Alliance in the early 1970s. During the next 30 years, he worked tirelessly to recover the British libertarian tradition as a seamless heritage of freedom. He took issue with those Conservatives who saw freedom in terms purely of pounds and penceand often not even as that. He took issue also with those who demanded freedom in all matters but those involving the getting and spending of money. He believed that freedom should be defined in the traditional English sense, as the rights to life, liberty and justly acquired property.


In July 2005, Chris was diagnosed with a rare and very aggressive form of bone cancer. Though only 55 at the time, and though he had avoided all those vices commonly believed to be dangerous, he took this diagnosis with great calmness. During the next eight months, he faced his approaching end with a fortitude and good humour that was an inspiration to those around him.


To the very end, he retained a keen interest in public affairs and in the welfare of his friends and loved ones. On his last day, he made sure to check his e-mails.


Chris died peacefully in his sleep at 3:37pm GMT on Monday the 20th March 2006. He was never alone during his last six days. Mrs. Helen Evans and Dr. Sean Gabb were by his side at the end.


Chris was married and divorced twice. He left no children.


Dr. Gabb will make a further announcement in the next few days of the funeral arrangments. In the meantime, all further correspondence should be directed to him. [Write to Sean here.]


Chris leaves the Libertarian Alliance in the hands of Dr. Timothy Evans and Dr. Sean Gabb, who as President and Director, hope to carry on its work through the first decades of the 21st century.

Update #2 (23 March 2006): Sean Gabb has published an Obituary for Chris Tame here and here.

Update #3 (28 March 2006): This is another update from Sean Gabb, with regard to funeral services for Chris Tame:

The funeral of Dr. Chris R. Tame will take place on Saturday the 1st April 2006 at 11:00am at the Chichester Crematorium in Sussex.

The service will be open to allthough for those unable to make this Saturday, there will be a memorial service at the National Liberal Club in London this coming November.

The Address of the Crematorium is:

The Crematorium Company
Westhampnett Road
West Sussex PO19 4UH
Tel 01243 787755 Fax 01243 536267

One chapel with seating for 65

Facilities for disabled: Ramps, Toilet, Wheelchair
Manager: Nigel Emberson

See the pdf map here.

Those who wish to send flowers are advised to do so via The Posy Bowl on 01730 812 077.

Sean Gabb

Chris Tame: 1949-2006

Comments welcome. Cross-posted to L&P.

Posted by chris at 11:44 AM | Permalink | Comments (7) | Posted to Remembrance


Sorry to hear about his passing, Chris.

Posted by: Joe | March 20, 2006 02:28 PM

This is indeed sad news, though I too am sure that "his legacy will live on". I met Chris Tame only once, but he exerted an influence on me through his writings for the LA and in other publications, and this body of work remains with us.


Posted by: Matthew Humphreys | March 20, 2006 02:40 PM

My deepest condolences for your loss.

Hang in there.

Posted by: Nick | March 20, 2006 03:54 PM

About three months ago I had an email exchange with Chris Tame, and it was then that I learned about his aggressive form of bone cancer. He talked about it frankly with grace and courage. He said that he would fight as best he could. Yet, he also knew that the odds were against him.
Let no one say that there are not heroes among us.

Posted by: Douglas B. Rasmussen | March 22, 2006 02:15 AM

Thanks to everyone for posting here. And, amen, Doug!

I have to say that the last few months have been rather remarkable in terms of the level of personal loss that I've experienced. Sean Gabb told me in our phone conversation that he was a typical Brit---keeping that stiff upper lip, and so forth. Alas, I am a typical Brooklynite of half-Sicilian and half-Greek ancestry... we wear our hearts on our sleeves, and our shirts, and our pants, and our briefs, and our socks, and our shoes!

I find that the best way to "work through" grief is to grieve. The ol' Branden adage---"feel deeply, to think clearly"---works wonders in my life.

In terms of personal losses, something on an even greater scale happened in 2001-2002, from 9/11 onward. But the last few months have seen the passing of Joan Kennedy TaylorBill Bradford, and, now, Chris Tame. All personal friends. And when you add in the loss of my dog Blondie, all I can say is: It's been tough.

But I really do count my blessings. I focus on the presence of my memories, not on the absence of people or pets. I focus on the love I receive and the love I give... to a magnificent family, to wonderful, dear friends, and to a truly significant other.

So, thanks again, for all the good words here... and to all those who sent personal notes too. I know that Chris Tame would have been very touched.

Posted by: Chris Matthew Sciabarra | March 24, 2006 06:42 PM

I knew Chris in the days of the Alternative Bookshop. He was a most engaging and charming person.
Although I had not seen him for a while I will miss him.

Posted by: Barry Cameron | April 10, 2006 07:55 AM

I just thought I should note that Dr. Sean Gabb has posted links to all the published obituaries for Chris Tame. See here.

The next issue of JARS will be dedicated to the memory of Bill Bradford, Joan Kennedy Taylor, and Chris Tame.

Posted by: Chris Matthew Sciabarra | April 19, 2006 08:09 AM


Bill Beutel, RIP

Like Peter JenningsBill Beutel was a daily fixture in the Sciabarra household. In fact, as co-anchor of the 6 pm "Eyewitness News," Beutel was the perfect "class act" prelude to Jennings' broadcast at 6:30 pm. And he stayed at the local newsdesk as WABC-TV anchor for 35 years; when he retired a few years back, his presence was sorely missed.

Beutel died over the weekend. He was 75.

Comments welcome.

Posted by chris at 07:28 AM | Permalink | Comments (2) | Posted to Remembrance


I'm sorry to learn of this passing also Chris (though I didn't know of Beutel at all). It's amazing how in today world, media personalities such as movie stars and news presenters can come to hold such value for those of us who never (or rarely) meet or communicate with them!


Posted by: Matthew Humphreys | March 20, 2006 02:59 PM

This is so true, Matthew. I find it remarkable that strangers can find a way to reach through the medium and touch us... even though they will never know it, and we will never meet them.

The Internet is, of course, a bit more intimate in terms of enabling one-to-one contact... but just look at how many of us develop a rapport with people we've never met... and may never meet. The people posting here are prime examples...

What a world...

Posted by: Chris Matthew Sciabarra | March 24, 2006 06:30 PM


Song of the Day #581

Song of the DayThe Rite of Spring ("Introduction"), composed by Igor Stravinsky, is ever-so-appropriate to mark the Vernal Equinox, which arrives today at 1:26 p.m. (you were expecting "Springtime for Hitler," perhaps?). I know the full orchestral piece can be jarringly dissonant in some of its aspects, but I have always associated the lovely placid sounds of its introduction with the gentleness of SpringStravinsky borrowed the melody of that introduction, played by a solo bassoon, from a pre-existing folk tune, composed by Lithuanian Anton Juszkiewicz, entitled "Tu, manu sesrle" (read this PDF about the opening solo). Listen to audio clips from the whole ballet, performed by the Cleveland Orchestra, conducted by Pierre Boulez.

Posted by chris at 07:01 AM | Permalink | Posted to Music

MARCH 19, 2006

Song of the Day #580

Song of the DayI Cried for You, words and music by Arthur FreedGus Arnheim, and Abe Lyman, is another one of those 'poetic justice' standards of the Great American Songbook. Listen to audio clips by Billie Holiday (the clip doesn't quite get to her vocals), Harry James (with vocalist Helen Forest)Sarah Vaughan, and a swingin' live version by Carmen McRae.

Posted by chris at 12:01 AM | Permalink | Posted to Music

MARCH 18, 2006

Song of the Day #579

Song of the DayMinuet (Opus 11, No. 5) (midi audio clip at that link), composed by Luigi Boccherini, is featured in the composer's E Major Quintet G. 275. It is another one of those very famous and delightful classical themes that has been heard in so many venues. I was introduced to this particular piece when I first saw the hilarious 1961 Frank Capra film, "Pocketful of Miracles" with Bette Davis as Apple Annie (actually a remake of Capra's 1933 film, "Lady for a Day"). It was also used in such films as "The Magnificent Ambersons" and the 1955 version of "The Ladykillers." Listen to an audio clip featuring the string quintet, Europa Galante.

Posted by chris at 10:49 AM | Permalink | Posted to Music

MARCH 17, 2006

Chuck Hagel vs. Neocon Numbskulls

Readers of Notablog know that I've been hard at work on the Spring 2006 issue of The Journal of Ayn Rand Studies. I anticipate completing the current issue sometime in April, and sending it off to the printer sometime thereafter. I should be returning at that point to more regular blogging beyond my "Song of the Day" feature.

In truth, however, I've been utterly uninterested in blogging about current events. What on earth could I possibly say about, say, U.S. foreign policy, that I have not already said time and time again? I am so utterly and completely disgusted by the state of American politics in general and the state of American foreign policy in particular. I don't know what I could possibly say now that I have not already said a thousand or so times over the past 4 or 5 years. For example, I warned about the dangers of sectarian violence in Iraq long before the US invaded that country. I have also gone on and on and on about the geopolitical farce of imposing "democracy" on countries that have no history of democratic institutions.

So, in lieu of saying anything new, I thought I'd cite a point made by GOP Senator Chuck Hagel. Take it away, Chuck:

You cannot in my opinion just impose a democratic form of government on a country with no history and no culture and no tradition of democracy.

Yeah. How 'bout that? Now, try explaining that elementary principle to the neocon numbskulls still inhabiting the Bush administration like Dino DNA in Jurassic amber.

I'll have more to say about all this and more when this JARS editing is done. For now, let me just say on this very narrow point: "Bravo, Senator Hagel!"

Comments welcome. Cross-posted at L&P.

Posted by chris at 10:27 PM | Permalink | Comments (17) | Posted to Foreign Policy

BRAVO Chris. I'm sick of all this neocon bullshit too. Plus, what with the attacks on women's rights, we have been seriously thinking of moving to Vancouver. I don't want to live in a theocracy.

But HUZZAH for JARS! You are a true scholar.

Posted by: Moi | March 18, 2006 12:51 AM


While some of the neocons are indeed Christian theocrats, the main religion that unites them is worship of the militarized state. Neocons like David Horowitz and Charles Krauthammer, for all their many faults, actually support legal abortion and gay rights and are secular Jews.

Posted by: Mark D. Fulwiler | March 19, 2006 03:47 PM

I agree with Mark and would also make that the point that I feel greater fear from the followers of Islamic Fascism. Richard Perle and William Kristol didn't fly planes into the WTC. Chris,I agree with your point about imposing democracy but think we should be trying to encourage the rule of law and the market.

Posted by: Chris Grieb | March 19, 2006 03:57 PM

Chris G,

The rule of law and a free market go hand and hand with liberal democracy. How can we bring liberal democracy to a region the age of reason has passed by?

Posted by: Mick Russell | March 19, 2006 11:06 PM

"Richard Perle and William Kristol didn't fly planes into the WTC."

Not to point out the obvious but neither did Saddam Hussein.

Posted by: Mick Russell | March 20, 2006 02:21 AM

Point taken.

Posted by: Chris Grieb | March 20, 2006 11:26 PM

I'll have to bone up on the papers from the neocon "Project For a New American Century," as to the "whys" and "wherefores" of this Iraq "project"-- but like any idealogues (and the neocons are nothing if not that), they couldn't see beyond themselves and their ideology. They simply didn't take "reality" into account and were so convinced of their correctness that naysayers and Age of Reason be damned, they were going to do this.

The neocons have used the theocrats to get their folks into office. And the theocrats are motivated to bring about the apocolypse to hurry along the Second Coming.

Damn! I hear a rumbling under the ground of a little mountain in Charlotteville: Thomas Jefferson spinning in his grave.

Posted by: Peri Sword | March 21, 2006 10:08 AM

I would like to make a different point which I don't think Objectivists should say they support liberal democracy. The US was not created as a democracy but a republic. This point was made years ago by N. Branden in his Basic Principles course. Democracy invovles majority rule without restriction. Objectivists should always say they are snall "r" republicans. A republic is a limited government. A democracy is not.

Posted by: Chris Grieb | March 22, 2006 11:27 AM

Chris G.

I should be more careful with my terminology. By liberal democracy I meant the republicanism of the Founding Fathers.

Posted by: Mick | March 22, 2006 12:10 PM

This is a nice discussion and I wanted to add my two cents ( :

It's important to make a distinction between democracy as a governing principle in voluntary associations and democratic statism.

The effects of the first are more limited to those involved since a coercive apparatus over a wide geographic area isn't involved.

I completely agree that we shouldn't fetishize majority rule over individual rights or what is just though.

I recall a convseration on a conserative forum I used to visit where folks were like put gay marriage to a nationwide majority vote.

I wonder if they'd be saying the same thing if public opinion wasn't on their side.

Posted by: Nick | March 22, 2006 07:45 PM

I've been rather impressed with Senator Hagel.

Posted by: Charlie | March 22, 2006 11:24 PM

Nick; I wanted to make a point that the only place in our founding documents(Constitution and Declaration)is in Sect 4 of Article 4 which guarntees a republican forum of government to each state. Neither the Declaraton nor the Constitution talk about democracy. I might make the point that only one part of one branch might be described as democractic(House of Representives)in the originial Constitution.

Posted by: Chris Grieb | March 23, 2006 11:47 AM

Those are all excellent points and I prefer republican government to unrestrained democracy too.

It's important to protect the rights of the individual from both government and the majority.

I was just noting the difference between using democratic procedures in a voluntary cooperative vs in the context of state power.

Posted by: Nick | March 23, 2006 03:12 PM

I think we have gotten off the point of Chris S.'s orginial post about Sen. Hagel. I guess that there was a time when you could have a restricted suffrage and still have the rule of law. Germany before WW1 had a wider suffrage than the UK at the same time yet I don't think anyone would think Germany was freer. I have the feeling that saying one is small "r" republican would be lost to many individuals in today's society.

Posted by: Chris Grieb | March 23, 2006 08:36 PM

Thanks to all the commentators here. Moi, to say that I'm sick of "neocon bullshit" as you put it, is an understatement. This country has been sold a bill of goods, and the payment is past due.

As for the religious make-up of the neocon right, it varies. I attribute less of this to religion and more to sheer intellectual folly. Their roots are, in my view, not only neo-Wilsonian, but downright Trotskyite. And their prescriptions will lead this country to a fate that might mirror Trotsky's.

BTW, Chris G: I appreciate what you're saying about the Islamicists, but just FYI... I have taken issue with the concept of "Islamic fascism" in previous essays. It's just one of those terminological things. See these essays:

Fasicsm and "Islamofascism"

Fasicsm: Clarifying a Political Concept

I do agree, of course, that the US should be encouraging the rule of law and the market; the problem is, of course, that the Islamic theocrats have a very different view of the kind of law ("sharia") that should be ruling, and until or unless there is a cultural transformation in that part of the world, all of this is doomed.

Peri: Amen!

On the issue of republicanism and liberal democracy: Points well taken. I'd be less worried about the style of governance than the facts of neofascist political economy that undermine any form of governance.

On Hagel: Some promise... but we'll see. :)


Posted by: Chris Matthew Sciabarra | March 24, 2006 06:56 PM

Just wanted to let folks know of a new post on my blog.

Further Thoughts On Marriage-Cultural Feelings

Posted by: Nick | March 27, 2006 11:13 PM

Hey, Nick, next time you post a little ad, give us a hyperlink too or at least the actual link to the post that the reader can cut and paste into their browser. Make it easy for the reader. :)

Posted by: Chris Matthew Sciabarra | April 4, 2006 05:30 PM


Song of the Day #578

Song of the DayI've Got the Next Dance, words and music by J. D. Williams, C. Fowler, and K. Johnson, was recorded by Deniece Williams. It was a hot disco hit that I loved dancing to when it came out in 1979, probably my favorite year of dance music in the disco era. Listen to an audio clip here.

Posted by chris at 08:15 AM | Permalink | Posted to Music

MARCH 16, 2006

Anthem on Mike Music Radio

Readers of Notablog are surely aware that I have a profound love for film scores. It is therefore no surprise that I'd recommend to your attention the weblog of the immensely talented composer Michael G. Shapiro. It's MikeMusic Radio, and it routinely movesand entertains. My biggest problem is that I've been unable to come up with a short list of recorded compositions for Mike to send me. At the very least, however, let me highly recommend Mike's most recent series of posted cues. They center on the audiobook series for Ayn Rand's work, Anthem. Check it out:

The Golden One

Second Meeting


The Interrogation

The Forest

The Reunion


The Word

But please do yourselves a favor... look through all of Mike's cue archives. This Anthem material is just the tiniest tip of the iceberg!

Bravo, Mike! And keep the cues comin'!

Comments welcome.

Posted by chris at 01:10 PM | Permalink | Posted to Music Rand Studies

Song of the Day #577

Song of the DayIn the Hall of the Mountain King (audio clip at that link) was composed by Edvard Grieg as part of the "Peer Gynt Suites" (audio clips from the orchestral suite at that link). This famous Grieg theme has been heard in many renditions by orchestras and rock groups, in cartoons and video games. A tiny lick of it even shows up in "Open Sesame" (audio clip at that link) by Kool and the Gang from the 1977 soundtrack to "Saturday Night Fever." Grieg's composition is not, strictly speaking, a tribute to the telephone, except that it is the featured ringtone on my own cell phone. Okay, okay, folks: Y'all can hang up now ... our tribute to the telephone has been disconnected. But do check out a few additional songs about telephones.

Posted by chris at 07:53 AM | Permalink | Posted to Music

MARCH 15, 2006

Song of the Day #576

Song of the DayI Just Called to Say I Love You was never one of my favorite Stevie Wonder songs. I know it's a 1984 Oscar winner for Best Song from the film "The Woman in Red" (audio clip of the original recording at that link). But I never thought it was all that much like ... Stevie! (And it was really nice seeing a Wonder-themed show on "American Idol" last night, even if the performances weren't always top notch.) Then, one day, I heard a remarkable rendition by Diane Schurr with Herbie Hancock (audio clip at that link), and was knocked out. Listen also to an audio clip of a similar arrangement with Herbie Hancock and Raul Midon (with Stevie on harmonica).

Posted by chris at 08:22 AM | Permalink | Posted to Film / TV / Theater Review Music

MARCH 14, 2006

Song of the Day #575

Song of the DayCall Me Irresponsible, music by Jimmy Van Heusen, lyrics by Sammy Cahn, is the Oscar-winning song from the 1963 film, "Papa's Delicate Condition," starring Jackie Gleason. I love a 12-string jazz guitar version by Joe Pass. Listen to an audio clip of Ol' Blue Eyes singing this gem live in a Rat Pack performance at the Sands. Listen to additional audio clips from Robert GouletJack JonesNancy Wilson, and a swinging Bobby Darin.

Posted by chris at 05:45 AM | Permalink | Posted to Music

MARCH 13, 2006

Song of the Day #574

Song of the DayCall Me, words and music by Giorgio Moroder and Deborah Harry, the lead singer of the group Blondie, was the theme from the 1980 film, "American Gigolo." The group is being inducted tonight into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. This song is probably my favorite Blondie track (in contrast to my favorite, and beloved, Blondie). Listen to an audio clip from the original soundtrack.

Posted by chris at 07:22 AM | Permalink | Posted to Music

MARCH 12, 2006

Song of the Day #573

Song of the DayCall Me, words and music by Tony Hatch, has been performed by Frank SinatraShirley BasseyPetula Clark, and Nancy Wilson (my favorite version), among others (audio clips at artist links). It's a warm '60s chestnut.

Posted by chris at 12:01 AM | Permalink | Posted to Music

MARCH 11, 2006

Song of the Day #572

Song of the DayCall Me features the words and music of Nikos Karvelas, ex-husband of the Greek singer Anna Vissi, who took this song to #1 on the Billboard Dance Chart. Vissi recorded the song previously as "Ise" in Greek. Listen to an audio clip of this song among others on disc #2 of Vic Latino's Ultra Dance 06.

Posted by chris at 12:01 AM | Permalink | Posted to Music

MARCH 10, 2006

Song of the Day #571

Song of the DayCall Me, words and music by Randy Muller, was performed by the group Skyy. Listen to an audio clip here. It's particularly fitting on this day, the 130th anniversary of the first phone call made by Alexander Graham Bell to Thomas A. Watson. Over the next week or so, I'll have a few more favorite musical "calls" to make, in honor of this anniversary. (And "for all you frustrated musicians," see here, where you can access directions on how to play songs on your touch-tone phone.)

Posted by chris at 09:31 AM | Permalink | Posted to Music

MARCH 09, 2006

Song of the Day #570

Song of the DaySo What? (audio clip at that link), composed and recorded by Miles Davis for the great "Kind of Blue" album, is my tribute to his induction, next week, into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame at the Waldorf Astoria. Yes, he had his influential forays into jazz-rock fusion; but, for me, this classic track and the album on which it appears are among his most timeless recordings.

Posted by chris at 06:19 AM | Permalink | Posted to Music

MARCH 08, 2006

Meme of Four

Steven Horwitz has tagged me for the "Meme-of-Four" (dammit indeed!)

Okay, here goes.

Four jobs I've had:
1. Bookkeeper
2. Assistant Orientation Director
3. Mobile Disc Jockey
4. Editor

Four movies I can watch over and over again:
Ben-Hur (1959)
2. Titanic (1997)
3. King Kong (1933)
War of the Worlds (1953)

Four places I've lived:
1. Brooklyn (West 5th Street)
2. Brooklyn (West 4th Street)
3. Brooklyn (West 9th Street)
4. Brooklyn (Dahill Road)
(Yeah, I have traveled a lot around this neighborhood...)

Four TV shows I love:
1. The Honeymooners
2. The Twilight Zone
3. The Fugitive
4. One Step Beyond

Four highly regarded and recommended TV shows I havent seen (much of):
1. The Sopranos
2. Battlestar Galactica
3. Law & Order (any of them)
4. CSI (any of them)

Four places Ive vacationed:
1. Phoenix, Arizona
2. Miami, Florida
3. Los Angeles, California
4. Peconic, Long Island

Four of my favorite dishes (only 4?!):
1. Pizza
2. Lasagna
3. Veal cutlet parmigiana
4. Spare ribs
(I could go on and on...)

Four sites I visit daily:
1. Bloglines (hehe)
2. Liberty & Power Group Blog
3. Once Upon a Time
4. Mises Economics Blog

Four places Id rather be right now:
1. Hawaii (on a beach)
2. Las Vegas (by a pool)
3. Athens (sightseeing)
4. Rome (sightseeing)

Four albums I can't live without (today anyway):
1. "Ben-Hur" (soundtrack, Miklos Rozsa composer)
2. "For Django" (Joe Pass)
3. "Embraceable You" (Carl and Joanne Barry, my brother and sister-in-law)
4. "Boss Guitar" (Wes Montgomery)

Four new bloggers I'm tagging:
1. Sunni Maravillosa
2. Chip Gibbons
3. Sheldon Richman
4. Nick Manley

Comments welcome. Cross-posted to L&P.

Posted by chris at 06:59 AM | Permalink | Comments (16) | Posted to Blog / Personal Business Film / TV / Theater Review Frivolity Music


thanks for the mention!

I'd seen these questionnaries floating around the blogosphere

Posted by: Nick | March 8, 2006 12:19 PM

Hey, thanks for the tag, Sweetie! I'd already been tagged, but I like your version with the musical item, so I added that category to my fourplay.

Posted by: Sunni | March 8, 2006 12:19 PM

I noticed you listed Eternal Sunshine Of The Spotless Mind as one of the 4 movies you'd watch over and over.

I am glad to see I wasn't the only one who picked that film!


Posted by: Nick | March 8, 2006 06:08 PM

and oh I love the comedy picture on your site

"I'd tell the feds to kiss my ass.." LOL


Posted by: Nick | March 8, 2006 06:16 PM

Hey folks, thanks for posting! Didn't realized you'd been tagged Sunni, but glad you added the category.

And, Nick, let me also take this opportunity to thank you for your many contributions here. For those who don't know it, Nick has a number of blogs running, including one here that is very sweet for its kind words of personal tribute. Definitely check out Nick's blog.

Posted by: Chris Matthew Sciabarra | March 9, 2006 08:05 AM

I thank you for the blog mention but you screwed up the link since is the one intended for an audience.


Posted by: Nick | March 9, 2006 10:17 AM

Thanks, Nick, for your kind comments regarding my list and picture. And Sweetie, it's always fun to go on about music!

Posted by: Sunni | March 10, 2006 10:13 AM

of course!

I am in love with music.

end of story

I should post some of my musical tribute pieces on the blog.


Posted by: Nick | March 10, 2006 12:49 PM

Hall and Oates tribute piece up

Posted by: Nick | March 10, 2006 01:26 PM

Titanic Chris? :P

Posted by: Sergio Mndez | March 11, 2006 08:00 PM

Ok, Chris: I have to ask: Can you please explain what impressed you about "Titanic?" I'll grant you the sumptuous costumes and set design and although I'm not much of a "special effects" fan, "Titanic" had good ones. But the wooden dialogue and overwrought and contrived "love story" left me cold. There were times that the dialogue was so bad that it took enormous self control to keep from bursting out laughing. When the ship is sinking and Rose suddenly stops and turns to Jack to say "This is where we met!" was particularly egregious...not even Kate Winslet could save that line.

It's not that I don't like "epic films" or that I'm a cynic who can't stand stories of tragic, doomed love--I love "West Side Story" and cried at "Brokeback Mountain." But...I'm with Sergio on this...just curious, because I usually trust your aesthetic sensibilities.

Posted by: Peri | March 14, 2006 12:11 AM

I second the curiosity about Chris's choice of Titanic.


Posted by: Nick | March 14, 2006 12:29 PM

Chris and I have been having a friendly debate about "Titanic" for years. I thought it was a pretty good Hollywood movie, but very flawed for the reasons Peri points out.

The earlier British film about the sinking of the Titanic, "A Night To Remember," was superior to "Titanic" in every way except for its poor special effects.

Posted by: Mark D. Fulwiler | March 16, 2006 07:31 PM

Okay, let's get this "Titanic" thing over with already. :)

If you look at the movies I picked as among those I could watch over and over again, you'd see that they all have one thing in common: For me, they have the capacity to situate me in another world. When I watch "Ben-Hur," I feel like I'm existing within the period of ancient Rome and its imperial control of Judea. When I watch "King Kong," I am on Skull Island or on the streets of New York City. When I watch the original "War of the Worlds," I feel as if I am right in the midst of that Martian invasion.

So too with "Titanic": I am transferred into the world of that tragedy. I feel as if I am on the voyage... as if I have become a direct witness to the events of a particular time and place. In my view, there is not a single Academy Award that that movie received which was not deserved. I'll grant, with Mark, that "L.A. Confidential," which was also up for many of the same awards as "Titanic," was a fine movie. But "Titanic," in my view, deserved its Oscars for Cinematography, Art Direction, and Sound; it deserved its awards for film score and best song; it deserved its awards for film editing, costume design, visual effects, and sound effects editing. And, in sum, I think it deserved its Best Picture Oscar, and that Cameron, who directed the whole production, deserved his award too.

Note that it did not receive awards for its screenplay (indeed, the script wasn't even nominated) and that none of its actors got any awards---though I genuinely loved Gloria Stuart in her role as the elderly Rose; she is from another era of movie-making, where facial and eye movements have the capacity to express a remarkable range of emotions. (Interestingly, of the three films ["Titanic," "Ben-Hur," and "Lord of the Rings: Return of the King"] that are tied for the Oscar record of 11 awards, only "Ben-Hur" got awards in acting categories: Best Actor [Charlton Heston] and Supporting Actor [Hugh Griffith].)

I agree with some of the critics that the actors in "Titanic" did not have the greatest script to work with. But I still felt for the characters that were created on the screen. I enjoyed the performances too, regardless of some of those script clunkers. Everybody from Kathy Bates to Gloria Stuart contributed something of significance to the story. And, okay, I admit it: I am a sucker for Leonardo DiCaprio.

All in all, I can watch the film over and over again, and still feel as if I have been made a part of the world it sought to create. And, as cinematic spectacle goes, the sinking of the "Titanic" ranks right up there with the parting of the Red Sea. It is one of the most breathtaking, harrowing, and fundamentally tragic scenes I've ever witnessed on the big screen. (And the film scoring of that scene is one of Horner's greatest achievements as a cinematic composer.)

BTW, I could list about 30 or 40 movies I could watch over and over again... and "West Side Story" (mentioned by Peri) is one of them. :) Oh, and I really liked "A Night to Remember" too. :)

Posted by: Chris Matthew Sciabarra | March 16, 2006 09:47 PM

Certainly "Titanic" has many fine elements and the final reels are highly dramatic, but the third rate script really did sink the boat. If Cameron had just modified the superior "A Night to Remember" script and added some modern technical wizardry, he might have had a truly great film rather than just another reasonably entertaining Hollywood disaster movie.

"L.A. Confidential" was truly robbed of the Best Picture award that year, with all due respect to Chris.

Posted by: Mark Fulwiler | March 17, 2006 01:41 PM

Well, this is obviously a debate that won't soon end... but just to be clear... I really enjoyed "LA Confidential," and there are some lines from the smart script that I utter. :)

In any event, I'm just really glad no film has beaten the record set by "Ben-Hur." Only tied. If you wanna get started on my love of that film... watch out! :)

Posted by: Chris Matthew Sciabarra | March 24, 2006 06:27 PM


Song of the Day #569

Song of the DayPiano Concerto No. 1 in B-Flat Minor is a wonderful Piotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky orchestral composition. I was first exposed to the melody of the first movement when I heard it as the opening theme song of Orson Welles's Mercury Theater on the Air (at that link, you can listen to streaming audio of many programs from the show, including the 1938 broadcast of "The War of the Worlds"). Listen here to audio clips of the concerto, performed by the New York Philharmonic, conducted by Zubin Mehta.

Posted by chris at 06:35 AM | Permalink | Posted to Music

MARCH 07, 2006

Song of the Day #568

Song of the DayMoody's Mood for Love has inspired a bit of a debate as to who wrote its lyrics, but there's no doubting who created its melody line: Saxophonist James Moody improvised on the song "I'm in the Mood for Love," and it was Eddie Jefferson who put free-style lyrics to that improvised solo, pioneering "vocalese." Listen to audio clips of renditions by James Moody and Eddie JeffersonKing PleasureGeorge Benson, and, finally, Quincy Jones with Brian McKnight, Rachelle Ferrell, Take 6, and James Moody. And props to Elliott Yamin (audio and video clips at that link) of "American Idol" for singing that song on last week's show.

Posted by chris at 08:50 AM | Permalink | Posted to Music

MARCH 06, 2006

Best Oscar Songs: Time to Turn Off the Music?

I was having a nice chat with my pal Aeon Skoble, who wrote to me this morning about the "Best Song" winner in last night's Oscar telecast. That song, "It's Hard Out Here for a Pimp," is not exactly in the class of some of the songs I highlighted over the past three weeks in my tribute to "Best Oscar Songs." In fact, I'd dare say that some of the composers of those past Oscar winners are probably spinning in their graves. Swiftly.

As Aeon put it, the newest song was "Utter crap." He continues: "Not that I was especially impressed with the other two nominees either, but really, what crap." He made a more general point that I think should be addressed:

Actually, "best song" is, IMO, a non-category in the first place and ought to be abolished. 95% of the time, it's a song that plays over the closing credits and has nothing whatsoever to do with the film. The other 5% of the time, it's in the film, but is played over some montage (think the obligatory song in every episode of Baywatch) while someone thinks about something or a couple frolics. The validity of this category seems to me to be a throwback to the days when there were lots of musicals -- in that case, you'd have to be able to award the best song, a song that's actually part of the movie. But that's almost never the case anymore. That's my 2c on that.

I pointed out to Aeon that years ago, film scores were much more integrated with the film than what we see and hear today. And many of the songs selected in the second half of the 20th century were from non-musicals. But, again, those songs were integrated into the larger film score, which itself was integral to the story being told. Often, the "Best Song" nominee offered words for a musical theme that was prevalent throughout a movie.

For example, listen to the title song for Henry Mancini's magnificent score for "Two for the Road," or the famous song from Johnny Mandel's luscious score for "The Sandpiper." When words were added to that Mandel love theme, the song became "The Shadow of Your Smile." I'd say the same about "My Heart will Go On," which featured words that were provided for the omnipresent love theme, composed by James Horner, for the film "Titanic." That love theme is, indeed, heard throughout the entire film; the song is integrated with the score, and expressive of the story.

And this is what is all too often missing from "Best Song" nominations in recent years: In my view, the category remains valid, but it has become a lost art.

Aeon pointed out in reply "that the issue of whether the song is integrated into the score is relevant." He certainly agrees "that score is a key component of a film, and it's totally appropriate for the Academy to recognize and reward that." Commenting on my recent "Best Song" tribute, Aeon states further:

I noticed from the links you provided that back in the day, they gave separate awards for score of a regular film versus scores for musicals. That makes sense, and I guess now there aren't enough musicals to bother having two categories for. But this just highlights the gratutitous nature of most "movie songs"and I say that even about movies I like, LOTR ["Lord of the Rings"] for instance. Just playing a song over the closing credits doesn't make it part of the film. Seems to me that the category makes more sense for something like "The Sound of Music" than for "Titanic."

On that particular point, as I say above, I think "My Heart Will Go On" was fully consistent with what I have in mind; it may have been played over the credits, but it was, in fact, the omnipresent "love theme" of "Titanic," with lyrics relevant and appropriate to the tragic story. Of course, songs from "The Sound of Music" would not qualify, unless they were original with the film version (rather than first performed on the Broadway stage). That's one of the reasons that the composers and lyricists from Broadway musicals often add new songs for the film version. (The song "Funny Girl," heard in the film of the same name, but not in the original Broadway musical, is one example of this.)

Anyway, I'd love to hear more on this from Aeon and others; since I don't open up my own song choices for "Song of the Day" to further debate or discussion, now is your chance to get in some thoughts about this particular topic.

Comments welcome.

Posted by chris at 02:16 PM | Permalink | Comments (28) | Posted to Music


Chris, your example of "My Heart Will Go On" is great because it highlights my point by being the exception to the rule: the final song is built on themes which were already part of the score. Same thing with nominated songs from "Evita" (a musical) and "That Thing You Do" (a movie about a rock band). Contrast that with "Raindrops Keep Fallin on My Head" as used in "Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid." Terrific movie, and the song is fine, but they have nothing to do with each other, and the lyrics of song don't refer in any way to the narrative of the film. Or Springsteen's song "Streets of Philadelphia." Looking over the history here, I see that many recent winners have been songs from Disney films which are in fact musicals -- Aladdin, Beauty and the Beast, etc. -- which is fine, but look at the non-winning nominees in any of those years, and you'll see that most of them are either the background to the non-sequitur montage or played over the closing credits (or, as with James Bond films, the opening credits). My suggestion: keep the best score category, and restrict the best song category to songs in musicals, where there's some relevance, not rewarding the Baywatch-style montage or the closing-credits trick.

Posted by: Aeon J. Skoble | March 6, 2006 02:35 PM

While I'm Oscar-ranting, here's another one: how is it the "best achievement in costume design" to faithfully reproduce period garb the look of which is well documented? Shouldn't this award always go to a fantasy film, or an ancient setting where details may be sparse?

Posted by: Aeon J. Skoble | March 6, 2006 02:43 PM

There was a song in Brokeback which did not get nominated. I think Aeon's comments are very good and are the way the Academy should think about this category.

Posted by: Chris Grieb | March 6, 2006 03:44 PM

You make me think of Audrey Hepburn singing "Moon River" in Breakfast at Tiffany's, which was also fully integrated into the score, and, more recently, the terrific r&b songs in The Commitments which were integrated into the movie as overdubs and mimed performances. Most modern movies seem so afraid of the "musical" stamp they retreat to the as-seen-on-TV method of having half a song play while you see musical montages (which drives me nuts when it seems to be the fadeout to _every_ current TV drama). Or maybe that's possibly the influence of MTV....Other songs-in-movies that were well-integrated, to me, were in My Best Friend's Wedding and especially Magnolia, which was partly based on Aimee Mann's songs.

Posted by: Moi | March 7, 2006 05:29 AM

The two movies with the best most intergrated music were Footloose and Saturday Night Fever. Footloose the songs advanced the plot and so did Saturday Night Fever. I think this is also true of Disney produced musicals like Beauty and Alladin. The songs that frequently end up being nominated play only a small part in the movie. Am I correct that no song from Footloose and Saturday Night Fever even got nominated. Barbara Cook observed in liner notes of one of her albums that she thought the best movie musical work was being done in cartoons.

Posted by: Chris Grieb | March 7, 2006 09:56 AM

The disney musicals can be very fun

Little Town-Beauty and The Beast


Posted by: Nick | March 7, 2006 10:22 AM

Well, if they had nominated Ray or Walk the Line for "Best Song", it at least would have made sense, because those movies ARE about the music that is played in them. I think this is even more integration than just a score to underline the movie (btw. Star Wars is a good example in which the score is integrated wonderfully).

Posted by: Max Schwing | March 7, 2006 10:44 AM

did you read Arthur Silber's blog at Light Of Reason?

Your name looks similiar to a fellow I saw comment there once.

He has a new blog up at in case you didn't know


Posted by: Nick | March 7, 2006 02:22 PM

Thanks Nick, I didn't know. I hope he is doing well, because the last I have read of him didn't promise much good.

I will check it out and yes (as you might have guessed up to now), I am the same :)

Posted by: Max Schwing | March 7, 2006 02:46 PM

I absolutely agree that the "Best Original Song" category should be eliminated for the reasons Aeon and Chris give above. Interestingly, "It's Hard Out There For A Pimp" was actually integrated into "Hustle & Flow," but to say it is "utter crap" is insulting to crap!

I can only hope that maybe Academy members thought they would have some fun and give an award to the most godawful "song" they could find in a movie, realizing that this category has become a joke, but that's maybe giving them too much credit as I have read a number of comments from people praising this "song."

I'm inclined to believe that most members of the AMPAS don't know squat about music, as the 13 minutes of tuneless ultra-minalmalist music in Brokeback Mountain also won the Oscar over 2 fine scores from veteran composer John Williams, including the superb "Munich" score which would have been my choice.

Posted by: Mark D. Fulwiler | March 7, 2006 10:15 PM

I screwed up on the Beauty and the Beast song

Belle is the actual title

and oh

I thought you were the same! hehe
I even recall that the discussion was on gay marriage and glad that I tipped you off to his blog!

He's not doing super well economically and we haven't corresponded via email in awhile so I am happy to send another reader!


Posted by: Nick | March 7, 2006 11:24 PM

Chris and Aeon:
This is a topic I'd never considered before--although the Pimp "song" actually meets Aeon's criteria for a true movie "song" that is more than incidental to the film. In fact, out of the nominated songs this year, I believe that was the only one that actually met this criteria--other than the basic criteria of being an actual song, as in melodic.

But weren't those shiny "grills" the Mafia 6 sported charming? :-/

Posted by: Peri Sword | March 8, 2006 10:12 AM

Do you really think people will be playing this year's winner rather then White Christmas, The Way You Look Tonight, or My Heart Will Go On.

Posted by: chris Grieb | March 8, 2006 10:24 AM

Interesting discussion on best song at the Oscars this year. From what I heard, the nominees were weak this time around. For a song to be Oscar worthy, my criteria would be, if I hear the title of the song can I hum a few bars?

I'd have to agree with Barbara Cook regarding cartoons having the best musical scores in recent years. My favorite was the Robin Williams [on Oscar night] performance of "Blame Canada". I have to admit that I can sing all the songs from "South Park" the Movie. They make me laugh! [Yeah, you can quit rolling yours eye now;)]

My other all-time favorite song that doesn't meet the proper Oscar criteria, was the song over the closing credits of "The Crying Game". It was Lyle Lovett's rendition of "Stand by Your Man". It was the perfect punctuation to a terrific movie.

Posted by: Robin | March 8, 2006 11:49 AM

Excuse my delay, folks. But I have a few thoughts in response to the various comments here.

First, let me take this opportunity to post comments made by Skip Oliva in a personal email to me; Skip gave me permission to reproduce those comments here:

Since I enjoy researching odd rules, I looked up the AMPAS rules on the Best Original Song Oscar. Here's the only guideline provided: "An original song consists of words and music, both of which are original and written specifically for the film. There must be a clearly audible, intelligible, substantive rendition (not necessarily visually presented) of both lyric and melody, used in the body of the film or as the first music cue in the end credits." As with most Oscars, the nominations are determined by the specialists, in this case the Music Branch, but the final voting is done by the entire AMPAS membership.

I think these are fair criteria, even if it allows for the kind of "opening-credit" or "end-credit" stamp that Aeon complains about.

I have to say, however, that I don't think the category should be eliminated; if they can't find enough nominees, they should simply not award that category in any given year.

I also cannot imagine restricting the award just to 'musical' films. My own stricter criteria would demand, however, that the music offered up for the "Best Song" category be integrated into the film score as such. It cannot be a mere "add-on," but must be integrated with the score and story in some way.

On that measure, I can't see any reason to eliminate, say, a song like "Goldfinger" from contention in the "Best Song" category. I cannot even think of that James Bond film, my favorite in the series, without singing (out loud or in my mind) with a Shirley Bassey flair: "Goldfingerrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr" ...

I mean, come on! :) And if you look at all those early Bond songs, you'll also see that they were fully integrated with the musical motif of the Bond theme, first stated in "Dr. No"... listen to "From Russia with Love," or "Thunderball," or "You Only Live Twice," and you'll see what I mean from the very first chords of the title songs. (And, yes, as Moi suggests, I cannot even think of "Breakfast at Tiffany's," without hearing "Moon River" in my mind...)

Funny you should bring up "Raindrops Keep Fallin on My Head," Aeon. That year, I would not have given the Oscar to "Raindrops." In fact, that year, I would have given the Oscar to one of the greatest songs ever written, which was nominated, but which lost out to "Raindrops," and I'm talking about the Michel Legrand-Alan & Marilyn Bergman classic, "What Are You Doing the Rest of Your Life?," which just so happened to have been the very first song I selected for my "Song of the Day" listings, way back on 1 September 2004. It's from the film "The Happy Ending." I suspect that Legrand lost the award not only because of the popularity of "Raindrops," but also because he snagged the Oscar the previous year for his classic "Windmills of Your Mind." These were great film songs, which I forever associate with the films from which they came ("Windmills," of course, is from "The Thomas Crown Affair").

Good comments, btw, Aeon, on the costume design... while something can be said for those who faithfully reproduce period garb, the fantasy film and ancient settings will always get my vote!

Chris G, I think they decided against nominating the "Brokeback" song because it seems that it was not featured long enough or prominently enough in the film. Ironically, Chris, not a single song from "Saturday Night Fever" was nominated; some were recorded prior to the movie, but virtually all of the Bee Gees contributions were original to the film. And one can say that so many of those lyrics were, indeed, fully integrated with the story of Brooklyn boy, Tony Manero (played by John Travolta). (I should note, however, that two songs were nominated from "Footloose": the title track and "Let's Hear it for the Boy"; see here.)

Max, the material in "Ray" and "Walk the Line" is, of course, terrific. But unless that material was original with those films, it would not have been nominated, and most of that material was previously recorded by Ray Charles or Johnny Cash, respectively. I agree with you 1000% that the "Star Wars" films have magnificently integrated scores, all written by the great John Williams. And Mark knows well that I am a great fan of Williams. I've yet to see either "Munich" or "Memoirs of a Geisha," but the score material I've heard from each film has been terrific, and Itzhak Perlman's performance of snippets from those scores at the Oscars was wonderful.

(Max and Nick: Yes, Arthur's blog is a terrific, thought-provoking site. Definitely check it out regularly!)

Having seen "Hustle and Flow," I agree with Peri that "Pimp" probably does meet the criteria; the problem for me, and for cinema, I think, is that there are few high quality songs coming out of film today; compare "Pimp" with most of the songs I cited in my nearly three-week tribute to Oscar songs, and you'll see what I mean (Chris G. suggests the same thing in his March 8th post).

And I agree with Robin and Chris about cartoons and music. :)

Posted by: Chris Matthew Sciabarra | March 9, 2006 08:55 AM

I was always struck by the passion that oozed from Arthur's writing when I read him at Light Of Reason.It would command my attention even when I didn't agree.

and I the only one on here who vouches for Disney musicals?

I was reintroduced to them by close friends.

I know you like em Chris! lol

but anyone else?


Posted by: Nick | March 9, 2006 01:52 PM

Yes, I like them, but I can't watch Bambi 2, because the first one already shuck me in my youth :)

Yes, with all his personal problems, he has a magnificient collection of writings by himself that are truly worth the look. I never ever heared of Alice before he started his Roots of Horrors series.

Posted by: Max Schwing | March 9, 2006 02:10 PM

Thanks for the clarification on the rules for "Best Song."

I was not impressed with any of the nominated songs this year--but the "Pimp" song was particularly terrible.

I had no idea that "What Are You Doing for the Rest of Your Life" was from a movie. That's one of my favorite love songs. And as much as I love the songwriting of Burt Bacharach, "Raindrops Keep Fallin' on My Head," was not one of his finest moments.

Did Harry Nilsson win anything for his work on "Midnight Cowboy?" Or did he just record "Everybody's Talkin' At Me?"

Posted by: Peri Sword | March 10, 2006 12:17 AM

The song Everybody's Talking At Me was not originial with Midnight Cowboy. It became a hit after the movie was released.

Posted by: Chris Grieb | March 10, 2006 06:27 AM

Re "Midnight Cowboy": According to this source, which I frequently consult, the year "MC" won the "Best Picture," it had no nominations in the film score or song categories. If you take a look there, you'll also see that the score categories were separated into two: for musical and nonmusical films. Quite a change since that time: There aren't enough musicals out there today to justify a separate "musical score" category.

And I'm with you, Peri: "What are you doing the rest of your life?" is, perhaps, one of the most romantic songs ever written. I have several great recordings of it, including one by Carmen McRae, another by Barbra Streisand, and a luscious one, rich with Michel Legrand's orchestral arrangement (for which he won a Grammy), featuring Sarah Vaughan.

Posted by: Chris Matthew Sciabarra | March 10, 2006 06:35 AM

I watched the Disney movies when I was a kid but close friends reintroduced me to them in my teen years.

I am especially enchanted by Belle from Beauty and The Beast but The Little Mermaid has some good tunes too.

I had never heard of Alice Miller before Arthur's blog too and it's a shame that he has so many personal problems ) :

Posted by: Nick | March 10, 2006 01:06 PM

I watched the Disney movies when I was a kid but close friends reintroduced me to them in my teen years.

I am especially enchanted by Belle from Beauty and The Beast but The Little Mermaid has some good tunes too.

I had never heard of Alice Miller before Arthur's blog too and it's a shame that he has so many personal problems ) :

Posted by: Nick | March 10, 2006 01:19 PM

Yes, the little Mermaid, that were classical Disney movies at its best, although I must say that I can only half-heartedly remember The Belle and the Beast. On the other side, I have always loved the Jungle Boo, because it has some really nice feel-good tunes.
However, I don't know if they are the same in the US as they are in Germany.

Posted by: Max Schwing | March 11, 2006 06:59 AM

I have no idea since my only exposure has been to the U.S. versions.

I recall listening to some tunes from Aladdin that were very well done.

I have the sound from a good Jungle Book one in my head but I can't pin down the title.


something along those lines


Posted by: Nick | March 11, 2006 09:41 AM

Chris--thanks for the link to the site! My, how times have changed! I was very surprised to learn that MC didn't have any nominations for score or song...MC's score was quite haunting. My throat has always gotten tight when hearing a few bars--even before I'd seen the movie! I remember frequently hearing the theme song played on my parents' radio station when I was a child, and I was always very moved by it. There is such longing and sadness in it. Even to my child's mind, the music seemed so real and true and beautifully sad. Then again, I was kind of a weird kid. My first favorite songs were "My World is Blue," and Peggy Lee's "Is that All There Is," which tells you something. ;-)

Posted by: Peri Sword | March 11, 2006 02:07 PM

I've discovered that Tale As Old As Time from Beauty And The Beast is an incredibly beautiful piece of music.

anyone else share that view?


Posted by: Nick | March 11, 2006 06:58 PM

I remember hearing at the time MC came out that Everybody's Talking at Me was already out when the movie was released. I believe Beauty,Little, and Alladin had more than one song nominated in their separt years.

Posted by: Chris Grieb | March 13, 2006 03:08 PM

I'm way behind in my replies here, so thanks to everyone who commented. Meanwhile, it might be a comment on my age, but if you really want to hear songs from "classical Disney movies," Nick, dig deep... go back to the days of "Snow White," and "Dumbo," and "Sleeping Beauty," and "Pinocchio," and... you get the picture. :) Great stuff therein.

Peri... it's clear your adult mind had a head start in that "child's mind" of yours. Lovely stuff you point to...


Posted by: Chris Matthew Sciabarra | March 24, 2006 06:25 PM


Song of the Day #567

Song of the DayI'm in the Mood for Love, music by Jimmy McHugh, lyrics by Dorothy Fields, is a classic of the standard songbook. Originally from the 1935 film, "Every Night at Eight" (okay, okay, another film song for good measure!), it has been recorded by so many vocalists, including Barbra StreisandJamiroquai, and Rod Stewart. And it has also been recorded in different forms... as we'll see tomorrow.

Posted by chris at 06:53 AM | Permalink | Posted to Music

MARCH 05, 2006

Song of the Day #566

Song of the DayMy Heart Will Go On, music by James Horner, lyrics by Will Jennings, was the 1997 Academy Award Winner for Best Song from one of my favorite movies. It put words to one of the most recognizable themes in film music history, from the Oscar-winning soundtrack. Listen to an audio clip of the Celine Dion recording. Today, our film song tribute ends; tonight, we will learn the title of the newest Oscar-winning "Best Song."

Posted by chris at 12:15 AM | Permalink | Posted to Music

MARCH 04, 2006

Song of the Day #565

Song of the DayLast Dancemusic and lyrics by Paul Jabara, won the 1978 Academy Award for Best Song, from the film "Thank God It's Friday." Listen to an audio clip by Donna Summer (and check out the original soundtrack too).

Posted by chris at 11:30 AM | Permalink | Posted to Music

MARCH 03, 2006

Song of the Day #564

Song of the DayThe Way We Were, music by Marvin Hamlisch, lyrics by Alan and Marilyn Bergman, was the winner of the 1973 Oscar for Best Song from the film of the same title. Listen to audio clips from versions by Barbra Streisand and Gladys Knight (in a medley with "Try to Remember").

Posted by chris at 05:54 AM | Permalink | Posted to Music

MARCH 02, 2006

Song of the Day #563

Song of the DayFunny Girl, music by Jule Styne, lyrics by Bob Merrill, was nominated for a 1968 Academy Award for Best Song from the film of the same title. It replaced a magnificent song from the Broadway score, "The Music that Makes Me Dance," but it shines on its own as a memorable moment from a wonderful musical starring Oscar-winner Barbra Streisand. Listen to an original soundtrack audio clip of Streisand singing this gem.

Posted by chris at 09:06 AM | Permalink | Posted to Music

MARCH 01, 2006

Song of the Day #562

Song of the DayThe Look of Love, music by Burt Bacharach, lyrics by Hal David, was nominated for a 1967 Academy Award for Best Song from the film "Casino Royale." Listen to audio clips from the original soundtrack (includes an instrumental version and a vocal version by Dusty Springfield) and my favorite rendition by Sergio Mendes and Brasil 66.

Posted by chris at 05:53 AM | Permalink | Posted to Music