Friday, May 26, 2017

It Was Fifty Years Ago Today: The Beatles Release Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band In The UK

I've got nothing in particular to say about this milestone in music history except that thirty (-ish) years ago I was eating breakfast in a hotel lobby in my hometown of Nashville, Tennessee, and some local radio station was broadcasting live in honor of Sgt. Pepper and asked the assembled throng whether any of us knew anything about the Beatles. My "pals" volunteered me and I wound up on the radio answering Beatles questions and won $125. Good for me.

Great record, by the way. Established once and for all that rock n roll was a lasting art form. Not to mention it wedded pop to the avant garde (and classical, Indian and a lot of other influences) in a way that sold eleventy thrillion copies and guaranteed the future relevance of all those musical forms, which had been threatening to vanish up their own backsides for some time.

Yeah, you can argue that the Velvet Underground was more inventive or that the Beatles Revolver was a better record or any of the other things people like to say when they slag Sgt. Pepper. But a cultural awakening comes when it comes and it wasn't the Velvet Underground or Revolver or anything else that smacked people in the face.

Beyond that, I've got nothing to say and it's okay. Good morning, good morning.

Monday, May 15, 2017

Powers Boothe: 1948-2017

The Big Sleep (1946) is my favorite Philip Marlowe movie, followed closely by The Long Goodbye (1973) and Murder My Sweet (1944), and a lot of fine actors have essayed the role — Humphrey Bogart, Robert Mitchum, Elliott Gould, Dick Powell, James Garner, James Caan — but my favorite Marlowe performance, the one closest to the books for my money, was by Powers Boothe in a little-seen HBO series from the mid-1980s.

In honor of Boothe, who passed away yesterday at age 68, we here at the Monkey present an episode from that series, "The King In Yellow," based on a Raymond Chandler short story.