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Posts tagged ‘teens’

Goldmine Magazine’s Who should be in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame That Isn’t? Paul Anka and Bobby Vee

Rock Hall of Fame should induct Paul Anka and Bobby Vee | Goldmine Magazine.

Two Teen Idols for the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame

Paul Anka

Paul Anka was one of Rock & Roll’s first teen idols

(No. 41 in a continuing series on artists who should be in the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, but are not)

By Phill Marder

This week, two artists – Paul Anka and Bobby Vee – who became teen idols at the age of 15 in spite of their talent.

The suggestion that Anka should be inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame is certain to draw scoffs from many. But those who were there when Rock & Roll started and those who have studied the facts and not revisionist fiction are aware that Anka was a major player in the early success of Rock.

Just 15 when his first hit record, “Diana,” was working its way to the No. 1 position, the Canadian was riding the tour busses with a lot of other Rock troopers traveling from town to town. He also toured the United Kingdom at age 16, thanks to “Diana” hitting No. 1 there also, becoming one of the biggest selling 45s ever. The terrific flip-side ballad “Don’t Gamble With Love” didn’t hurt sales, either, and helped establish Anka as one of the biggest and youngest teen idols.

At 16, Anka toured Australia with Buddy Holly and Jerry Lee Lewis as his second major hit, the power ballad “You Are My Destiny,” was heading for No. 7 in the US and No. 6 in the UK. Ironically, Anka’s follow-up to “Diana,” “I Love You Baby” backed with “Tell Me That You Love Me” bombed in the States, but both sides were hits in the UK, “I Love You Baby” soaring to No. 3.

The double-sided hit “Crazy Love” and “Let The Bells Keep Ringing” connected in the States in 1958 as Anka toured with the Everly Brothers, Sam Cooke and others. On all these tours, these youngsters were not wearing tuxedos and singing at supper clubs, you can be sure.

Later in the year Holly asked Anka, still just 17, to write him a song. The result was “It Doesn’t Matter Anymore,” which became Holly’s last hit. Anka said, “It Doesn’t Matter Anymore” has a tragic irony about it now, but at least it will help look after Buddy Holly’s family. I’m giving my composer’s royalty to his widow (Maria Elena Santiago) – it’s the least I can do.”

After combining with George Hamilton IV and Johnny Nash for “The Teen Commandments,” Anka gave his first indication of his future direction with two ballads, “(All Of A Sudden) My Heart Sings,” from 1945 and “I Miss You So” from 1940, his first Las Vegas appearance and a starring movie role in Girls Town. But, he was not finished rocking…not just yet.

From the movie came one of his biggest smashes, the driving ballad “Lonely Boy,” which sat four weeks at No. 1. Then came another early Rock classic, “Put Your Head On My Shoulder,” which sat three weeks at No. 2, blocked by Bobby Darin’s “Mack The Knife.” The No. 4 “It’s Time To Cry,” another strong ballad, followed. All three were major hits across Europe and even reached the upper echelon of the US Rhythm & Blues charts.

“Puppy Love,” supposedly written about Annette Funicello, reached No. 2 in early 1960 and “My Home Town” got to No. 8 later that year. But it proved a long wait for his next top 10 entry. However, he continued having hits and became the youngest star at New York’s Copacabana, wrote the theme song for “The Tonight Show,” wrote the English lyrics to the French standard “My Way,” and penned “She’s A Lady,” a mammoth hit for Tom Jones.

While producing “Oh Happy Day” for the Edwin Hawkins Singers, Anka and his protégé, Odia Coates, recorded the controversial “(You’re) Having My Baby,” which, in spite of female ire from many quarters, sat at No. 1 for three weeks. To placate the upset feminists, Anka later sang “our baby” when performing the song live. Coates and Anka followed with three more hits and he added a solo top 10 entry, “Times Of Our Life,” to close out 1975. But, by this time, his Rock & Roll past was well behind him.

Still, in 1990, it was Anka inducting Darin into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, though Darin, from the outset of his career, had made no secret of his ambition to develop into the next Frank Sinatra. Anka didn’t start out with that in mind. He was just a real young kid with tremendous talent. He paid his dues as a teenage Rock & Roll idol and deserves recognition for the contributions he made.

Bobby Vee

I don’t ever remember seeing Vee in a tuxedo, at least not in concert. Of course, I never was invited to any of his family functions, either.

Yes, his records were not the heaviest, but he did cut many great sides, beginning with his 1959 chart debut, “Suzie Baby” after starting his career in the worst way possible, filling in for Holly after the plane crash that claimed Holly’s life. In the liner notes to his 1963 album, “I Remember Buddy Holly,” Vee wrote, “The local radio station broadcast a plea for local talent to entertain at the scheduled dance. About a week before this, I had just organized a vocal and instrumental group of five guys. Our style was modeled after Buddy’s approach and we had been rehearsing with Buddy’s hits in mind. When we heard the radio plea for talent, we went in and volunteered. We hadn’t even named the group up to that time, so we gave ourselves a name on the spot, calling ourselves ‘The Shadows’.”

Eventually, Vee recorded an LP with The Crickets.

“I have never forgotten Buddy Holly and his influence on my singing style and my career,” Vee noted.

Vee turned out to be much more than a Holly clone. He became a major star, posting six top 10 records in a long and fruitful career.

The first breakthrough came with his 1960 remake of the Clovers’ 1956 hit, “Devil Or Angel,” which Vee carried to No. 6. He followed with another No. 6, the bubblegum classic “Rubber Ball.” The follow-up, “Stayin’ In,” which describes Vee sitting in detention for punching his friend in the nose, didn’t do much to dispel Vee’s sugary reputation, but the flip, “More Than I Can Say,” later remade by Leo Sayer, was a gem, reaching No. 4 in the United Kingdom, and the follow, the solid rocker “How Many Tears,” also hit the UK top 10.

Vee’s records sparkled with pristine production that helped carry “Take Good Care Of My Baby” to No. 1 in 1961 and “The Night Has A Thousand Eyes” to No. 3 in 1963. Meanwhile, “Run To Him,” a wall of sound ballad, reached No. 2 backed by a solid rocker, “Walkin’ With My Angel,” and two more ballads, “Please Don’t Ask About Barbara” and “Sharing You” each peaked at No. 15.

As noted previously, Vee was just as popular in England, notching 10 hit singles, including six that reached the Top 10. Five Vee EPs made the UK top 20 between 1961 and 1963, “Just For Fun” by Vee & the Crickets going all the way to No. 1. His albums also sold well there, “Bobby Vee Meets The Crickets” reaching No. 2 in 1962, while seven others climbed into the top 20. For proof of his staying power, “The Very Best Of Bobby Vee” peaked at No. 18 just three years ago, 47 years after his UK debut. But the British Invasion appeared to end Vee’s hit-making run after “Charms” in 1963, though he surprised everyone with a monster smash in 1967, “Come Back When You Grow Up” climbing to No. 3 in the US The follow, “Beautiful People,” also cracked the US top 40, just edging the original version by its composer Kenny O’Dell.

For the most part, Vee’s chart presence ended as the ’70s entered, but he has remained active on the concert circuit. His backing band, which once included a young Bob Dylan, now features two sons, Jeff and Tom.

Vee’s portfolio should get a second look by those involved in the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame. Though some of his recordings were sugary, his quality never was less than excellent and earlier this year, he was most deservedly inducted into The Rockabilly Hall of Fame. The Rock & Roll Hall of Fame should follow suit.



Read more: Rock Hall of Fame should induct Paul Anka and Bobby Vee | Goldmine Magazine http://www.goldminemag.com/blogs/two-teen-idols-for-the-rock-roll-hall-of-fame#ixzz1SKxRopdb

Buying Me Love: 1980s Class-Clash Teen Romances

Link to article in the Journal of Popular Culture from 2011 by Timothy Shary

link: sharybuyingmelove

Timothy Shary is an associate professor of Film and Video Studies at the University of Oklahoma. He has published three books on youth in cinema and is currently researching the depictions of elderly characters in movies. In addition to PCA, he has presented his work at FWPCA and SPCA.

Kill More, Talk Less

My Soul To Keep (2010, d. Wes Craven)

The reason I never really followed the Nightmare On Elm Street horror series beyond the first movie was because the concept never attacked  me, so to speak.  I know people enjoy their serial killers, or blood and mayhem but I have to believe in what I’m watching for 93 minutes.  Nightmare, directed by Wes Craven was about a serial killer, Freddy Kreuger, a nine-inched nailed spector who hunts teenage victims in their dreams.   The teenagers are the surviving children of a mob who burned Kreuger to death because he had murdered children (molested in the 2010 remake).  It’s a pretty simple, although supernatural,  slasher concept that was understandably popular and basically repeated for 10 sequels.  I, personally, found it too simple and too separate from my anxiety portfolio to ever be interesting.  Craven has returned now with something called My Soul To Take and comparing the coherency of this new concept makes Nightmare On Elm Street read like “Ulysses.”

Here goes.  A guy who has been mis-diagnosed as schizophrenic, stabbs seven people  to death, stealing their souls, while in unconscious thrall to his evil personality nicknamed “The Riverton Ripper.”  When he is captured and demobilized, the souls within him escape and infiltrate the bodies of seven babies born that same night at Riverton General.  Fast-forward 16 years.  The Riverton Seven, now teenagers, are marking the solemn anniversary of Ripper Day by participating in a ritualized puppet show that is supposed to call The Ripper back for a confrontation.  Among the seven is Bug, the fearful, perhaps schizophrenic, perhaps telepathic, surviving son of The Riverton Ripper (Bug, doesn’t know he’s the son, but everybody else in town does).  Someone wearing the ugly, lifesize Ripper puppet costume, acquires the Ripper’s signature weapon, a fold-out knife with  the word “vengence” engraved, and starts the business of murdering the Riverton Seven one-by-one.  As it appears The Ripper is finally coming for him, Bug goes through a mild metamorphosis and decides to face his fears.  When only Bug and his best friend Alex are left, they accuse each other of carrying the inhabitant soul of The Ripper.  Bug, stopping to explain in great deatail how he traced back Alex’s movements, proves how only Alex can be The Ripper.  He stabs Alex in the abdomen with The Ripper’s knife.  Bug, once the object of everyone’s quiet pity is now a hero for rescuing Riverton from The Ripper, even though everyone The Ripper returned to kill is now dead.

Come to think of it, an ugly, vengeful killer returning from the dead to possess people and murder a circle of impartial teenagers is the same story as A Nightmare On Elm Street!   But what’s most ironic about this convoluted supernatural/natural movie is the amount of time dedicated to having characters try to explain it to the audience.  The murders aren’t very gory and The Ripper’s appearances are never much of a surprise.  Given all of Craven’s experience in depicting bloody murder and horror cinema’s advancements in senseless torture, I find the killings here rather uninspired.  Yet, characters take an inordinate amount of on-screen time explaining what they’re going to do, what they’re doing as they’re doing it, and why they did it.  There is a lot of dialoge but I’m not sure what it’s ever  in service too.  It doesn’t help much in combing out all the tangles over who The Ripper was, who The Ripper is now, and what’s really bugging Bug.    I’m not a fan of violence for violence sake, but this movie would have benefited from not taking itself so damn seriously, telling less, showing more, and hacking up more pre-maritally lustful teenagers.

By the way, My Soul To Take was cynically released as 3D.  There’s not much real 3D in it.  It was a trend-driven afterthought, added to bump the ticket price up by $4 and probably is not the least of  reasons why it flopped at the box office.  Don’t fall for it either.  Any of it.

BSD Movie Log: The Covenant

The Covenant (2006, d. Renny Harlin)

Four young men at a prestigious New England boarding school are scions of a powerful witchcraft legacy.  They are forced into battle with clandestine fifth power long thought to have died.  This movie looks like actors from the Ambercrombie & Fitch catalog were cast to star in a 90 minute Mustang commercial.  But a Mustang commercial has more substance.

La Vampire Boheme

The Brown Shoe Diaries Halloween Movie Club. Track down today’s movie and post your comments.   Good?  Lame?  Scary?  Not scary?  Bring it.


Today’s recommended feature is:

Let Me In (2010, d. Matt Reeves)


I think it’s bad that vampires have lost their pseudo-European offbeatness.  Dracula was a genuine weirdo who slept all day in a creeky coffin.  The Count on Sesame Street suffers from a common manifestation of OCD, uncontrollably counting things, and yet he is never compelled to clean his cobweb quilted castle.   Lestat and Louis from Interview With A Vampire want the same legal rights afforded to corporeal couples, but they also want to live as artists in The French Quarter and raise their immortal daughter on human flesh.  Now, because of Buffy, Twilight and oodles of copy-bats,  vampires have become all vamp and no bite.  They drive Volvos and wear Burberry.  I understand Twlight’s hip Cullen kids are frequently spotted living-it-up at Seattle Marriner’s night games (although they are invisible on the Diamond Vision screen).  Maybe all that is why it seemed relevant to the fillmakers of Let Me In to set it in suburban New Mexico, early 1980’s.  Perhaps they wanted to construct a feeling  of innocence and nostalgia.  Maybe they wanted to take us back to a time when vampirin’ wasn’t cool.

 

"Is that dress a Vivienne Westwood?" - Let Me In

 

12 year old Owen’s nerdy kidness will be familiar to all because we all knew one or were one like him.  His hair is greasy.   He looks permanently sewn in to his oversize, dirty, fake-fur parka. He’s smaller than his classmates and frequently the object of ridicule and pummelings on behalf of a trio of school bullies.  Owen and his single mother live in a rundown apartment complex.  He has little to do but spy on his neighbors through a toy telescope.  One snowy, winter evening Owen watches a barefoot girl, about his age, moving her box of possessions into the unit next door with the help of an unkempt, middle-aged man. Slowly, over several night time encounters in the apartment courtyard, the girl, Abby, starts up an awkward friendship and juvenile romance with Owen, over the objections of the man.  Owen begins to figure out that Abby is not what she appears to be but rather an ageless vampire in the body of a twelve year old.  The unkempt man  is not Abby’s father either, but rather her longtime mortal consort, dating back to his own childhood.  His duty is to look after Abby by going about the murders of young men.  He collects their blood in a plastic bottle and keep his vampire mistress fed.  Eventually the man’s nocturnal activities are accidentally exposed.  He dies and  the trail of murders leads back to the apartment.  Abby must move on,  although she helps Owen in a final violent showdown with the school bullies.

 

Let The Right One In - these sweaters were more Dale Of Norway

 

 

Let Me In is a loyal remake of the sucessful Swedish movie Let The Right One In from 2008.  In terms of story and tone the two movies are nearly idential and both are great, although I think the American remake offers some important improvements.  I find the child actors in the American remake to better actors, and there is a more convincing, eerie chemistry between them.  Also, the Swedish version employs an ill fitting sub-plot about a group of local alcoholics who are both victims of the vampire misdeeds and the source of public exposure.  In Let Me In, that group is swaped out completely for a gritty homicide detective who is putting together the clues of the murders.  This makes it more crime-thriller.  Also, the American version of this movie folds in an interesting homoerotic subtext that brings some texture not present in the first version.  Owen is confused about his male image, particularly in his associations with the bullies, whose taunt him as a wimp and call him “little girl.”   Abby is confused with her feelings toward Owen, saying that she is neither a girl nor or boy.  And the man stalks active young men for Abby, when more yielding victims could be easier prey.

A mild objection I have is over the choice of setting for Let Me In.  It makes sense to me that vampires who burn up in sunlight travel to long Swedish winters where they might not even see sunlight for a few months out of the year.   Los Alimos, New Mexico averages 310 days of sunshine a year.  Look it up.

Both movies succeed in telling a compelling and sad story that leaves fascinating mysteries to the imagination.  Why does the man object to the children’s friendship?  He may be acting like a  jealous lover or he could be protecting Owen from Abby and the circumstance that befell his own youth.  Does the middle-aged man risk the danger in murdering young men because that’s what Abby prefers, or is he acting out on some projected self-loathing, or even sexual frustration?   Does Abby really love Owen or is she killing him softly, selfishly grooming him to become her new life paramour?   The viewers are challenged with these unanswered questions and by the  morality in our sympathy toward Abby.  She is a pretty, 12 year old girl, who is also a human predator.  Yet, her station is to live forever, from consort to consort, in an unforgiving existential transience – a shattered, improverished eternity.  The Cullen’s are Whole Foods.  Abby will always be strictly whole blood.


Let The Right One In (2008, d. Thomas Alfredson)

More Fun Halloween Hits: Classic Teen Death Ditties

In the early 60’s there was a fad in Top-40 music for story songs in which teenage characters die.  A car crash with a weird moral ending was almost a guaranteed hit.  Blogger Robert Fontenot lists some of these songs at the link:

link:  Teen Tragedy – The Fifties and Sixties.

Here are a couple of videos with performances from this list.

BSD Movie Log: Nightmare on Elm Street (2010)

Nightmare on Elm Street (2010, d. Samuel Bayer)

Remake of the first NES from 1984.  A group of teens are haunted and hunted in their dreams by a vengeful serial-killer who wields a glove with knife-blades embedded in the fingers.   One-by-one he kills them in the dreams, resulting in their bloody real deaths.