How John Cusack sold me a copy of The 3 E.P.’s.


            One of the games I used to play in my downtime at work was movie trivia. I would do a quote from a movie and someone would name the film or the character, year of the movie, director or whatever geek knowledge they possessed about the quote’s origin. A game I tried to introduce never caught on which is where I named a song and someone would pick the movie it had a prominent role in. Movies have introduce a lot of artists to my ears or expanded the knowledge I had of a band I thought I was already aware about. Certain auteur directors like Quentin Tarantino and Jim Jarmusch have encyclopedic knowledge of music and use specific songs to move the plots of their films along. I usually don’t end up buying soundtracks for some reason (Yes, I have Pulp Fiction, who doesn’t?) but I always pursue the song I heard or sometimes the score just to find out who composed it. Tarantino’s Death Proof  introduced Baby, It’s You by Smith to my world and I was immediately floored. Written in part by Burt Bacharach it’s a very soulful tune that cuts right to the core as does the price for Smith’s album A Group Called Smith. So I bought the much cheaper Death Proof Soundtrack (Yes, that’s two for two on Tarantino soundtracks, I get your point).  I wouldn’t have said I’m A fan of Jarmusch’s work except for the fact that I’ve seen every one of his films and sought out music that he has used in brilliant ways in every one. Broken Flowers introduce me to Mulatu Astatke the father of Ethio-Jazz, a subject I know nothing about (top that Quentin!)  It’s no coincidence that the directors I love know how to use music to enhance or tell their stories and some of my favorites included Wes Anderson, P.T. Anderson, Billy Wilder and the Coen Brothers. I have to give special mention to two films with different directors. Mike Nichols’ The Graduate is the most fantastic example I have to single out though since even though I wasn’t a fan of Simon & Garfunkel at all the first time I saw the movie I was in awe of the way the music propelled the story and shaped Benjamin Braddock as a lonely and lost soul. Honorary mention goes to High Fidelity starring John Cusack for bringing the Beta Band into view. I also have to pay my respect to Cameron Crowe for Almost Famous his love letter  to rock and roll had more impact on my listening habits with one songs than any other had in a long time. He included a lesser known Beach Boys song called Feel Flows and that turned my whole perspective around about how I felt about their music. This was an unusual track that caught my ear and that’s all it takes to trigger an obsession. I’ve seen Brian Wilson in concert as a solo act three times and went to a Beach Boys 50th Anniversary concert and will someday have my hands on the Made In California box set even though I already own most of the material. What can I say? It’s not like there’s a soundtrack yet, not until Love & Mercy starring the aforementioned John Cusack comes out in 2014!


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