Steven McCormack, a professor at the University of Alabama at Birmingham.
Oops, I misspelled it; it's actually Steven McCornack.
Monday, July 24, 2017
Wednesday, July 19, 2017
Tuesday, July 18, 2017
So let's dance, or at least listen to "Telstar" from the ending of Mad Men, Season 2: Episode 10.*
Named after the Telstar communications satellite, the 1962 instrumental was written and produced by Joe Meek for the English band the Tornados. The track reached No. 1 on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100 in December of that year.
"One of the first sci-fi-influenced pop songs," the record featured either a clavioline or the similar Jennings Clavioline, both keyboard instruments with distinctive electronic sounds. It was recorded in Meek's studio in a small flat above a shop in Holloway Road, North London.
* Incidentally, if you're interested I've been following along by reading Alan Sepinwall's excellent commentaries on the series. Hat tip: Joe T.
But I still think "Ue o Muite Arukō" ("I Look Up As I Walk") or, inexplicably, "Sukiyaki," is a truly beautiful song. (It's featured in Mad Men Season 2, Episode 2.)
Ironically (or is it coincidentally?), Kyu Sakamoto, who recorded this hit in 1961, died in a plane crash in 1985 just like Pete Campbell's father in that same Mad Men episode.
Monday, July 17, 2017
Crimes and Misdemeanors, released in 1989, may have been the last of Mr. Allen's great movies from what I would consider his best "period," beginning with Annie Hall in 1977. I'd also include Interiors (1978), Manhattan (1979), The Purple Rose of Cairo (1985), Hannah and Her Sisters (1986), Radio Days (1987) and Another Woman (1988) in that list. Okay, I'll throw in Match Point (2005), although it doesn't fit neatly into my narrative.
What preceded Annie Hall and followed Crimes and Misdemeanors is mostly forgettable, but for that brief twelve-year period, Woody Allen made some of the best movies ever.
P. S. For those Woody Allen fans who are positively indignant at the brevity of my list, just remember, nine great works of art (and even Radio Days may be a stretch) are about eight more than most geniuses are allowed. Think about it: aren't most artists essentially one-hit wonders?