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Televison's Greatest Hits

Dr Spin’s TV and movie picks!

by Dr. Spin
July 28, 2003

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Televison's Greatest Hits_Dr. Spin-Dr Spin’s TV and movie picks! Because I joined the Partial Obsever Staff late, I was unable to participate in the Reader’s polls for Favorite Movie and Best TV Shows. Rather than add to these lists (which, you, the reader still can), I decided to write my column on these issues.

Movies are difficult to categorize, and being a music aficionado, I’ve decided rather than give my favorite movies, to give a list of movies with my favorite soundtracks. I have tried to avoid the John Williams/Danny Elfman/James Horner scores given to movies and picked movies that have actual songs in their soundtracks. So without further delay, here it goes:

5. Head – The Monkees. A really bad movie, made by the Monkees (and Jack Nicholson!) when they were obviously stoned. The point of “Head” was for the Monkees to shed their TV teenybopper image, for the “serious” Rock band they’ve become. That was true for the former, but not the latter, as things went pretty much downhill for the Monkees after this movie. However, the soundtrack was outstanding, as the Monkees embraced the psychedelic sounds of the ’60’s.

4. The Blues Brothers – Okay, so Jim Belushi and Dan Aykroyd aren’t the greatest R&B singers. But how can you knock a soundtrack that includes Ray Charles, James Brown, and Aretha Franklin? And don’t forget Cab Calloway!

3. Footloose – THE movie that made Kevin Bacon a household name. The rebel-with-a-cause theme of the movie seems kind of hokey (they banned Rock music and dancing? Because the preacher’s son was killed in a car accident?), but “Footloose” had THE soundtrack for the 80’s. Sadly, for most artists appearing on this soundtrack, these were their only hits.

2. Easy Rider – Steppenwolf’s “Born to Be Wild” may have become a bona fide hit without this movie, but the two are now inseparable. Add to this several Byrds tunes, and Jimi Hendrix’s classic “If 6 was 9,” you got one rockin’ soundtrack!

1. A Hard Day’s Night – The Beatles show us what Rock ‘n’ Roll is all about. Even the George Martin instrumentals aren’t as annoying as they are on the Help and Yellow Submarine soundtracks. But if Martin’s noodling really bothers you, you can fortunately buy the CD with just Beatle tunes.

Some Honorable Mentions, in no particular order: Forest Gump, The Graduate, Highlander (for Queen fans), Romy & Michelle’s High School Reunion, Moulin Rouge (for it’s clever use of crappy songs), O Brother, Where Art Thou?

And now for the TV shows. This was much easier, as I went for the shows with the best theme songs:

5. “The Monkees” – The band had a bona fide hit with their own theme song! “(Theme from) the Monkees” even had an additional verse not heard in the opening credits.

4. “Dr. Who ” – That theme song was psychedelic, man! And if you heard it late at night (which I often did) it was downright freaky.

3. “Miami Vice” – With the opening drumbeat/machine gun sounds, the “Miami Vice” theme set the pace for one thrilling show.

2. “Mission: Impossible” – One of the few theme songs that I thought was better, much better, than the actual show. I never got into the show, but that theme song is just a classic.

1. “The A-Team” – Truth, Justice, and the American ideal of blowing up things-- just as long as no one gets hurt.

Honorable Mentions: “Monday Night Football” (no, not the Hank Williams Jr. drinking song, the ACTUAL theme song they’ve used for 30 plus years), “Rawhide,” “Peter Gunn,” “Hawaii 5-0,” “The Munsters,” “Twighlight Zone” (the original).

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