“Film Star…” (slight return)


A little while back, I did a feature on rock ‘n’ roll types appearing in films, like as if they were proper actors or sumfink. Today, without encroaching on Aneet’s territory too much, I thought it might be nice if I picked a few tunes performed by those very same pop stars, so we can all have a look at ‘em doing their day jobs.

So, prepare to sucumb to a toe-tappin’ frenzy as we say “It’s, erm, Wednesday… It’s still number one… It’s Days Are Numbers!”

Kicking off with Charles Aznavour! He may have played the lead in Francois Truffaut’s Nouvelle Vague classic, Shoot the Piano Player, but Jean-Luc Godard was content to simply play one of the Gallic crooner’s charming records. In 1961’s Une Femme est Une Femme, Anna Karina and Jean-Paul Belmondo try to decide whether they should go out with each other or not, whilst listening to Aznavour’s ‘Tu t’laisses aller’.

Let’s face it, John Lennon’s solo stuff is a load of old rubbish (ESPECIALLY ‘Imagine’… Yuck!), so let’s have some vintage Beatles. A Hard Day’s Night and Help! are the Fab Four’s most famous forays into film, but 1967’s Magical Mystery Tour is definitely their weirdest. This is them doing the mind-boggling ‘I Am the Walrus’ from that very same TV special, a mere three (!) years after the teeny-bop pop likes of ‘She Loves You’. How did they manage that?

Check out Serge Gainsbourg’s warped, yet intensely catchy, bonkers guitar theme tune to his 1970 crime caper Cannabis. Aneet tells me this was sampled by wretched, one-joke “comedy” rappers, the Goldie fucking fuckshit Chains. Please excuse me while I go for a weep and a lie down.

Lee Hazlewood is the coolest man to have ever walked the earth. That’s a fact, and to prove it beyond all reasonable doubt, here he is singing sexy, oddball peace ballad ‘No Train to Stockholm’ from his 1970 Swedish (!) TV special, Cowboy in Sweden.

Richard Hell may have starred in Susan Seidelman’s criminally overlooked punk drama, Smithereens, but New Jersey’s criminally overlooked new wavers, The Feelies, were the stars of the soundtrack. Here is the start of that film, so you can hear for yourself. The song is ‘The Boy with the Perpetual Nervousness’.

John Lydon composed Public Image Limited’s superb ‘The Order of Death’ for the film Copkiller, which originally bore that very same title. Alas, it was not used, but Lydon’s performance in the film remains the best thing about it. From the same album as ‘The Order of Death’ , This Is What You Want… This Is What You Get, comes ‘This is Not a Love Song’. This is a great live performance, look how much fun Lydon’s having larking around in his nice blue beret.

Tom Waits for no man, so just as well he’s up next. This is perhaps his finest moment, ‘Jockey Full of Bourbon’, from the start of Jim Jarmusch’s Down by Law, in which he also starred.

Who was Nick Cave’s first band? The Birthday Party? Wrong! It was The Boys Next Door, with whom he recorded what is quite simply the greatest song in the entire Cave canon, the stunning teen angst anthem, ‘Shivers’. He didn’t even write it, either, it was fellow future Birthday Party-er Rowland S. Howard. This song featured in a film starring another Antipodean rocker, Michael Hutchence, 1986’s painfully boring Dogs in Space.

Well, thanks for listening, folks! And to play us out, who else but the legendary Leonard Cohen? This is the heartbreakingly beautiful ‘The Stranger Song’, which featured in, not an episode of Miami Vice, like Leonard himself, but Robert Altman’s snow-bound Western, McCabe & Mrs. Miller. Cheerio!

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