Music Video of the Day: I Wish It Would Rain Down by Phil Collins (1990, directed by Jim Yukich)

This lengthy music video finds Phil Collins playing a drummer-turned-singer in the 1930s. With the help of his friend, a guitar player named Eric (and played, of course, by Eric Clapton), Collins auditions for a demanding theater owner (Jeffrey Tambor). While he auditions, he imagines what his life would be like if he becomes a success. He might even win an Oscar, probably for writing a song for a Disney film.

This video is more like a short film than a traditional music video, with over two minutes of “acting” before the singing even begins. This video came out at the time when Collins was still trying to make a career as an actor. I like the video but I wouldn’t be surprised to find out that, for some people, it probably represents everything that they didn’t like about Phil Collins back in the day.

This video was directed by Jim Yukich, who directed several videos for Collins. Yukich’s name can be spotted on a clapboard when Collins is imagining what it would be like to be a film star.

In the scenes in which Collins is acting opposite of Humphrey Bogart, Bogart is played by Robert Sacchi. Sacchi built an entire career out of his resemblance to Humphrey Bogart. Whenever a sitcom in the 80s or the 90s needed Humphrey Bogart to appear in a dream sequence, the call went out to Sacchi. Sacchi also appeared in several movies, playing characters with names like Sam Marlowe, Inspector Bogie, and The Bogeyman. According to the imdb, he also appeared in The Erotic Adventures of Three Musketeers as Athos. I’m not sure if I believe that.


Music Video of the Day: Taxman, performed by George Harrison and Eric Clapton (1991, directed by ????)

Today is Tax Day here in the States so this music video of the day feels especially appropriate.

George Harrison originally wrote this song in 1966. It appeared on Revolver. The song was inspired by the fact that, even tough the Beatles were making a huge amount of money, they were also expected to give a huge amount of that money to the government. Harrison said that the music was inspired by the theme song for the Batman TV series and once you learn that, it’s impossible to listen to this song without thinking, “Batman!”

This performance is from a 1991 concert in Japan and features Harrison’s frequent collaborator and friend, Eric Clapton. Eric Clapton has said that he originally disliked the Beatles because he felt that they were too “poppy,” and that he preferred the blues. Clapton, of course, went on to collaborate with all four of the Beatles on several different projects. When it appeared that Harrison had left the Beatles during the tense recording of the album that would become Let It Be, John Lennon briefly speculated about replacing him with Clapton. Harrison, however, returned to the band and the Beatles broke up shortly afterwards.

(Clapton, for his part, says that if Lennon ever had made the offer, he would have refused because of his friendship with Harrison.)

In 1969, following his famous spiritual awakening, George Harrison would tell BBC Radio, “”No matter how much money you’ve got, you can’t be happy anyway. So you have to find your happiness with the problems you have and you have to not worry too much about them.”


Rockin’ in the Film World #18: The Who’s TOMMY (Columbia 1975)

cracked rear viewer

Before MTV ever hit the airwaves, there was TOMMY, Ken Russell’s stylized cinematic vision of The Who’s 1969 ‘rock opera’. It was a match made in heaven, teaming Britain’s Wild Man of Cinema with the anarchic rock and roll of Pete Townshend, Roger Daltrey, John Entwistle, and Keith Moon (not to mention England’s own enfant terrible,Oliver Reed ). Russell both captures the spirit of Townsend’s hard rock opus and expands on it visually with an all-out assault-on-the-senses musical featuring an all-star cast that includes an Oscar-nominated performance by Ann-Margret as the mother of “that deaf, dumb, and blind kid” who “sure plays a mean pinball”!

The Who’s original album cover

Townshend, the group’s primary songwriter, had been experimenting with long-form rock’n’roll since the beginning, notably the nine minute suite “A Quick One While He’s Away” on their second album A QUICK ONE (retitled in America HAPPY JACK). TOMMY was…

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Airport Reading: Your Favorite Band Is Killing Me by Steven Hyden

51y-hABo2ML._SY344_BO1,204,203,200_Today, I have flown from Baltimore to Chicago and, after a three-hour layover at O’Hare, from Chicago to Atlanta.  Now I have to wait two hours until I board a plane to Dallas.  Luckily, I have a good book to read.

Steven Hyden’s Your Favorite Band Is Killing Me takes a look at some famous pop music rivalries and what they may or may not reveal about the meaning of life.  Hyden examines 19 different rivalries, everyone from Oasis vs. Blur to Neil Young vs. Lynard Skynard to the Smashing Pumpkins vs. Pavement, Beatles vs. the Rolling Stones and, naturally, Roger Waters vs. everyone else in Pink Floyd.  And, of course, he also writes about Biggie vs. Tupac because, as he puts it, that’s the only rivalry that he “was required by law to write about in this book.”

The best chapter, in my opinion, is Hyden’s look at the rivalry between Jimi Hendrix’s legacy and Eric Clapton’s continued existence.  He asks a very important question: If Hendrix had lived and was currently living the life of Eric Clapton, would we still consider Jimi to be the greatest guitar God of all time?  A close second to the Hendrix/Clapton chapter is Hyden’s look at the rivalry between Nirvana and Pearl Jam.  Hyden makes a convincing argument that not only did Kurt Cobain never really grow to like Pearl Jam but that Bruce Springsteen really does not like Chris Christie that much either.

Steven Hyden’s an opinionated guy and, reading the book, I have disagreed with him almost as much as I’ve agreed.  But he is also a very good writer and he definitely knows his music.  Your Favorite Band Is Killing Me has made this day of airports and flying bearable.  I highly recommend it!