Monday, January 14, 2013

Celluloid Heroes:10 Great 60's Rock N' Roll Film Moments

One of the greatest things about YouTube is that you can easily access all of the film bits that had cool bands playing in them that previously you'd have in shit quality on some 5th generation VHS copy.  There's so many great moments in movies where some cool band pops up and does an amazing track, more times than not the film sucked otherwise!  I had to share them with you.

1. The Birds-"That's All that I Need You For" from "The Deadly Bees" 1966
Hands down THEE coolest fucking rock n' roll movie music clip ever. The Birds play the finest track they've ever done (still missing in it's entirety sadly) easily blowing away all their Bo Diddley homages. On top of their music freakbeat/mod '66 brilliance check out their togs! And they've all finally got smart haircuts! Lead singer Ali Mackenzie is wearing a Ben Sherman style shirt, guitarist Pete McDaniel is slinging a Rickenbacker and wearing an amazing pinstripe blazer with a turtleneck, Ron Wood has a nifty crew neck whilst playing a checkered pop art Telecaster and bassist Kim Gardener is the fucking ace face of the bunch with his plaid trou, checkered bass strap and a long sleeved burgundy polo shirt (and like Ali and Pete is sporting an excellent do with a nice high parting).

2. The Graham Bond Organization-"Harmonica" from "Gonks Go Beat" 1965
Possibly the most horrible rock n' roll film ever a "Romeo & Juliet" style flick about two islands who can't get along. One is "beat" the other "ballad". The G.B.O. kick the shit out of this number (only ever released on the film soundtrack, and quite possibly one of their best tunes as well) in a classroom session on "Beat Isle", smartly attired, with all the right moves (and all wearing shades). Ginger Baker's get up is trumped only by The Birds in the previous entry for the coolest togs on film!   3. The Mindbenders-"It's Getting Harder All The Time" from "To Sir With Love" 1967
The 'Benders kick out this catchy beat number with ska like chords/rhythm while Sidney Poitier woodenly grooves with edible Judy Geeson (in a crotcheted skirt). The number starts out with an intro spliced onto it from the band's other contribution to the film "Off And Running". Both sides were released as a single, but only in the USA.4. The Pretty Things-"Alexander/Blow Your Mind" from "What's Good For The Goose" 1969
Judy Geeson again! This time with another old man, Norman Wisdom in this cheezy film sequence at a "with it" club while the '68 vintage Pretty Things kick out "Alexander" from their "Electric Bannana" LP (and later do a bit of "Blow Your Mind"). 5. The Yardbirds-"Stroll On" from "Blow Up" 1966
Antonioni's Swinging London tour de force. He'd originally wanted The Who for the film but they couldn't do it, lead actor David Hemming's lobbied for his pals The In Crowd (later to become Tomorrow) and we wound up with The Yardbirds. They were shot in their brief but legendary twin lead guitar line up of Jeff Beck and Jimmy Page blasting through a rewrite of "The Train Kept A Rollin'" titled "Stroll On". Brilliant tune and brilliant bit of film with the band playing at a mock up of the Rickey Tick club with an unresponsive crowd (including a guy in a Zoot Money t-shirt) save one couple grooving, that is until the contrived bit of poorly done guitar destroying. One wonders what track The Who would've done had they been in the film.

6. The Small Faces-"I've Got Mine" from "Dateline Diamonds" 1965
The Mighty Midgets Mk.I line up provide a bit of coolness for a lame assed film about diamond smuggling and pirate radio DJ's. The S.F.'s look cool as hell, young, fresh faced and almost optimistic. Whether it's intended or not the animosity between the band and original organist Jimmy Winston (seen here for some odd reason playing a Rickenbacker guitar) is almost evident as he shoves it's peg head into Marriott's face and appears to chuckle at it. By the time the film was released Winston was given his walking papers and Ian McLagan had replaced him cementing the band's definitive line up.

7. Manfred Mann-"My Little Red Book" from "What's New Pussycat" 1965
Okay so the Manfred's are not in the film, but their rocked out version of "My Little Red Book" (which in the film is WAY better than ony version I've ever heard on vinyl or CD as it has horns on it!)is. It features in this night club sequence in which Peter O'Tolle grooves with a sultry but mad as a hatter Paula Prentiss. I actually lived this scene (minus the stripping down) at a basement club in NYC in the late 90's called E&O.

8. George Bean-"Onward hristian Soldiers" from "Priviledge" 1967
Well I'm not even sure this is a real band BUT it's George Bean who was a real singer (who cut the first ever Stones composition "Will You Be My Lover Tonight") so.... The flick was vehicle starring ex-Manfreds lead singer Paul Jones as a pop star being manipulated by the government who are attempting to influence/program youth.  This scene is from a spot in the film  when the government invites a bunch of ministers, priests and vicars in to view a recording session for the new "religion" angle the government is pushing on youth. It's a pretty powerful scene as their manager acts like he's on the terraces for a Hammers match during the semifinals, the clergy are mostly aghast and the band carry on like it's just another job and they'd be schilling Nazi propaganda if the money was right. Dig the ambivalence as Bean drags on a fag and the bored grubby, guitarist swigs a pint of milk in between solos. A few of them even have monk haircuts (I wonder how Eddie Shaw and Co. felt about this?)and all are in robes and sandals. The tune actually works too! 9. The St. Louis Union-"English Teeth (aka "English Tea") from "The Ghost Goes Gear" 1966
From a dreadful film about a haunted inn strung around the Spencer Davis Group (actors they are not) with a bunch of dissipate acts flung together comes this amazing bit of cutting edge "mod" '66. Mancunian mod heroes and Twisted Wheel regulars The St. Louis Union are on board rocking out a re-recorded version of their B-side "English Tea" (Decca F 12386 ) full of fuzz guitar playing along with the organ, groovy bass and lead singer Tony Cassidy yelping away soulfully. The band also performed an equally cool unreleased number that sounded a bit like Georgie Fame in the film. Dig Tony's fringe and all the band's colorful Ben Sherman shirts and a few skinhead kids grooving away in the crowd! Sadly they broke up not long after this film was released.

10.The Zephyrs-"She Laughed" from "Be My Guest" 1965
From the cornball sequel to "Live It Up" this 1965 film starring David Hemmings and Steve Marriott(seven months or so before forming The Small Faces) was pretty much an excuse to slap some rock n' roll bands in a film (Jerry Lee Lewis, Kenny and the Wranglers and The Nashville Teens). Playing under a pseudonym of Slash Wildly and The Cut-Throats comes beat group The Zephyrs doing the B-side to what would be their very last of six brilliant singles (well five the first one was sorta icky). The band cut a stunning color performance miming their previous single "There's Something About You" at The Scene club for the film "Primitive London", I wanted to include it because visually and musically it's such an amazing piece with the decidedly un-mod Zephyrs playing (miming) a chirpy but catchy beat number while some top mods groove on the floor. I've always wondered how much they had to pay the club and their regulars to do the filming there and did many regulars take exception to the media invading their inner sanctum? Anyway that was hauled down from YouTube as fast as it went up so I went with this film appearance instead.


A Dandy in Aspic said...

Great list! I've never seen The Ghost Goes Gear , but that song by St.Louis Union is amazing, thanks for that!
I'm glad you mentioned great The Zephyrs in not-so-great Be My Guest and The Mindbenders - that scene in To Sir With Love is a true gem.
But was it intentional not to include any American acts? Because I think that The Standells/Chocolate Watch Band bits from "Riot On The Sunset Strip" (1967) are one of the top 60's rockn' roll film moments.

Ady C said...

nice article. Here's another clip: Amen Corner in the film Scream And Scream Again

Ady C said...

nice article. Here's another clip: Amen Corner in the film Scream And Scream Again

Bel Mondo said...

Thanks for thio - excellent clips. I saw 'The Birds' at the 100 Club a couple of years ago, actually just Ali McKenzie with backing from The Small Fakers but the man still has a hell of a voice (and attitude) and was brilliant to behold. As for The t louis Union - never seen that clip before and have to say they are the pick of the bunch both sartorially and musically - and that keybopard player....looks a lot better there than when he changed his name to Dave Formula and played with Magazine ! met him a few years ago too and he's still quite the dapper dresser (and ladies man...) though I prefer his togs back in the day.

Ady C said...

Good feature. Here's another clip - Amen Corner in the film Scream And Scream Again

Wilthomer said...

Ah I was just discussing "Scream And Scream" again last week at the pub (great scene esp. with that serial killer who looks like Scott Walker prowling around while Andy and co. belt out the tune)! I should've also added Drimble Wedge and The Vegetation....but it would've gone to Top 20 then!

diskojoe said...

I actually have seen several of these movies on this list (The Deadly Bees in MST3K & The Ghost Goes Gear, which should have been on MST3K!). I also have the Pretty Things clip on a bootleg DVD.

Speaking of The Ghost Goes Gear, there's also a performance of Dave Berry doing his hit cover version of "Mama".

Finally, how about Peter Cook doing the title song of Bedazzaled? Well, at least your site doesn't fill me w/inertia!

Monkey said...

Fantastic post Bill. Condensed fifteen hours of cack into approximately 25 minutes of brilliance. Great work.

Steve Coleman said...

The young lady dancing in the long silver coat in the "Blow-Up" clip is Janet-Street Porter. Apparently she made a bit of money on the side by making and selling clothes.