I happened to have gone to a panel at FantaCon this month with Steve Bissette, Kris Gilpin and Dennis Daniel, all of whom used to swap bootleg horror films, fifth-generation recording dubbed in German or Dutch. THEY are ecstatic that those films are now available in a nice Criterion collection.
The cover of the September 20/27, 2013 Entertainment Weekly, its Fall TV Preview, says “get the scoop on 119 shows, PLUS the best new series.” If I need a reminder that the medium has diffused, that’ll do it.
Yet on two successive episodes of the Bat Segundo Show podcast, host Ed Champion declares that there is an “American epidemic of gravitating to mainstream culture in an age of limitless choice.” He and guest Kiese Laymon discuss “why America is terrified of rich and variegated cultural engagement.” Then Champion and Alissa Quart dissect “how outsiders and iconoclasts have been appropriated by institutional forces. Why have we shifted to a culture hostile to original voices? Why is it all about being liked?”
I found myself arguing and agreeing with the dialogues in about equal measure. On one hand, there’s no doubt that a lot of the “outsiders” get co-opted. And there’s the “you’re an idiot if you’re not watching this” meme that Jaquandor discussed, in this case, about Breaking Bad. He’s seen two episodes more than I have and is disinclined not to see any more, which SHOULD be OK, but apparently is not, at least for some tastemakers. (Hey, I haven’t seen either Game of Thrones (and won’t) or Downton Abbey (Bought the Wife the DVDs, so I probably will – eventually).
On the other hand, when there are so many movies, so many TV shows, and I have a finite amount of time and money, why CAN’T I at least look at Rotten Tomatoes, and get a sense of the critical mass of movie reviewers? Maybe I WILL go see that movie with the 12% positive reviews, though probably not.
There was this whole argument on one of those podcasts about finding the obscure films, it seems, for the sake of seeking them out, proving one is “cutting edge” or “outre”; it all felt a bit affected to me. I happened to have gone to a panel at FantaCon this month with Steve Bissette, Kris Gilpin, and Dennis Daniel, all of whom used to swap bootleg horror films, fifth-generation recording dubbed in German or Dutch. THEY are ecstatic that those films are now available in a nice Criterion collection. Speaking of Mr. Byzantium Shores, he called BS on the Louis CK rant about smartphones. He may be correct about the inauthentic specifics, yet I found it oddly affecting theater. I think a commenter describing smartphones enabling “a sort of rude, in-the-bubble behavior” feels right. Or maybe it’s just my reaction to the people on the bus I see every day, about 2/3s of which are totally detached from the person sitting three feet from them makes me more than a bit melancholy.
Going back to that EW issue, one of the “best new shows” this season is supposed to be the FOX comedy Brooklyn Nine-Nine. Our local social media maven posted one of those flippant comments on Facebook, “Where have all the sitcoms gone?” to which a guy noted that he was watching one at that moment, Brooklyn Nine-Nine. She wrote back, “Isn’t that a drama, and an hour?” Well, no, a simple Google search would reveal that was a new “ensemble comedy about what happens when a talented, but carefree, detective [Andy Samberg] and his diverse group of colleagues get a new captain [Andre Braugher of Homicide: Life on the Street] with a lot to prove.” I thought his information (which I augmented) required an acknowledgment at least to him, but I guess that’s just my projection.
Oh, and I can tell you that many of the sitcoms are now on the Disney Channel. I’ve seen several, none of which are particularly good. *** Lots of folks are upset that the Emmys had an individual tribute for, as one person put it, “that filthy drug addict Cory Monteith” by “that no talent Jane Lynch” (I actually read that, naturally on Facebook) while not doing so for Jack Klugman, who was one of my favorite actors, or for Larry Hagman. I thought Mark Evanier addressed this rather well, which is that these things are never “fair.”
Possibly the flat out funniest movie in the second half of the 20th century.
An astonishing number of films that were on Entertainment Weekly’s Top 100 films in 1999 didn’t make the cut in 2013. I realize they were compiled by different people; editor Ty Burr was responsible for the earlier list. Still, some of these being displaced startled me, even if I hadn’t seen the newer iteration.
5. Raging Bull (1980) – I saw the craft of this film. I didn’t love it, though I liked it more as it went along. Then again, I saw it on video originally; had I first seen it in the theater, that might have made a difference. 7. The Godfather, Part II (1974) – never saw this, but how does this fall off the list? 1974 Best Picture! 16. Star Wars (1977) – I’m rather partial to this film. The 2nd pic (or 5th, if you insist), may be technically more proficient, but this one I fell in love with. 23. Snow White And The Seven Dwarfs (1937)- I’ve only sure I’ve seen this fairly recently. This is quality, though quite scary, stuff for kids, I would think. 24. Bringing Up Baby (1938) – Watched this on TV. Enjoyable. 27. The Grapes of Wrath (1940) – Saw this long ago on TV, and STILL kicking the dust out of boots. 28. Sunset Boulevard (1950) – another great film I saw on TV, probably in the 1970s, dropped from the list unjustly. 33. Jules and Jim (Jules et Jim) (1962) (Fr.) saw this in Binghamton back in the late 1960s in a theater. It was my favorite foreign film, and ought not to have been dropped 34. Sherlock, Jr. (1924) – Don’t know it. 35. The Philadelphia Story (1940) – Saw it in the 1980s, I believe, and it was great fun. 36. 8 1/2 (Otto e Mezzo) (1963) (It.) – Don’t think I ever saw it, but felt I should. 42. Aliens (1986) – Didn’t see. 46. The Bridge On The River Kwai (1957) – I found this very affecting the couple of times I’ve seen it on TV and great whistling. 51. Children of Paradise (Les Enfants du Paradis) (1945) (Fr.) – Don’t know. 53. Invasion of the Body Snatchers (1956) – Saw this on TV after watching the remake in the theater; this is far superior. 59. The Lady Eve (1941) – Don’t know. 62. Henry V (1944) (Br.) – Did not see this version. 65. The Third Man (1949) – On my list to see. 67. Airplane! (1980) – Possibly the flat-out funniest movie in the second half of the 20th century. And features a character named Roger. Belongs on the current list! 68. The Bride of Frankenstein (1935) – saw, but recollection is sparse. 69. The Conformist (1970) (It./Fr./WGer.) – Heard of this, but did not see. 70. Beauty and the Beast (1991) – I’ve seen maybe three times now on DVD, and it gets better with each viewing. 71. To Be or Not to Be (1942) – Don’t recall seeing. 72. M (1931) (Ger.) – Didn’t see. 73. Great Expectations (1946) (Br.) – Didn’t see, but want to. 74. Funny Face (1957) – Audrey Hepburn I remember, but it’s sketchy in the mind. 75. Tootsie (1982) – Dustin Hoffman used his actual real anger pre-transformation to give this real bite. Very good film. 76. The Manchurian Candidate (1962) – Actually, THE movie on this list I most want to see – Angela Landsbury and Frank Sinatra. I saw the remake with Denzel Washington, and it’s so-so. 77. Battleship Potemkin (Bronenosets Potyomkin) (1925) (USSR) – Didn’t see. 78. White Heat (1949) – Didn’t see. I wonder if it’s true of the critics as well. 79. It’s a Gift (1934) – Didn’t see. 80. Nosferatu (1922) (Ger.) – Saw only bits of it 82. Diabolique (Les Diaboliques) (1955) (Fr.) – Did not see 84. Blow-Up (1966) (Br.) – Saw this in the early 1970s. Was great at the time, but the memory of the specifics has faded. 85. To Kill a Mockingbird (1962) – This movie I find SO powerful and has resonance for today, still. Saw it again in the last five years. Belongs on the current list. 87. L’Age d’Or (1930) (Fr.) – Don’t know. 88. The Producers (1968) – Brilliant, audacious Mel Brooks film. I’d have kept it. 89. Wings of Desire (Der Himmel uber Berlin) (1988) (WGer./Fr.) – Did not see. 90. Pickup on South Street (1953) – Embarrassing how many I didn’t see. 91. Mildred Pierce (1945) – Did not see, but feel like I did, because my high school friend Vito mentioned it SO often. 94. The Shop Around the Corner (1940) – Didn’t see 95. Tokyo Story (Tokyo Monogatari) (1953) (Jp.) – #10 foreign film on the current list. Did not see. 96. The Last of the Mohicans (1992) – Somehow missed this. 99. Swept Away… (1975) (It.) – I saw it at the time and was moved by it, but the details are fading. 100. Celine & Julie Go Boating (1974) (Fr.) – Don’t know.
Then there are the top 10 genre films from 2013 that did not make the overall top 100 list.
The 10 Greatest Horror Flicks 8. The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (1974) – Never saw. 9. Carrie (1976) – Didn’t see 10. Alien (1979) – DID see, and was engrossed by it.
The 10 Greatest Action Films
9. Die Hard (1988) – Another one of those films that I’ve seen on TV from time to time and didn’t know which iteration I was watching. It does have its appeal. 10. Kill Bill–Vol. 1 (2003) – did not/will not see.
The 10 Greatest Family Movies
6. The Little Mermaid (1989) – It’s not my favorite, but it has its charm. 7. The Red Balloon (1956) – Did not see 8. Shrek (2001) – I rather liked it, though the sequels were lesser efforts. 9. National Velvet (1944) – I’ve seen bits and pieces, but probably not the whole thing. 10. Spirited Away (2001) – I loved this when I saw it in the theater at the time.
The 10 Greatest Documentaries
4. Hoop Dreams (1994) – Great film. 5. Nanook of the North (1922) – Didn’t see 6. Crumb (1995) – Liked it 7. Gimme Shelter (1970) – Did see; it was depressing. 8. Titicut Follies (1967) – Don’t know it 9. Don’t Look Back (1967) – Not familiar 10. The Up Series (1964-present) – Mr. Frog mentioned this recently. I saw 14, 21, and 28, maybe 35, definite not 7, 42, or 49. Loved what I’ve seen, and I should just see the whole Magilla.
Here are some movies I have seen, some of which may be better than the ones on the 2013 list. It is not comprehensive.
The African Queen (1951) Breakfast at Tiffany’s (1961) Bull Durham (1988) From Here to Eternity (1953) The Last Picture Show (1971) National Lampoon’s Animal House (1978) One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest (1975) Saturday Night Fever (1977) A Streetcar Named Desire (1951) This is Spinal Tap (1984) Shawshank Redemption (1994) The Treasure of the Sierra Madre (1948) The Verdict (1982) West Side Story (1961)
What I found interesting is how radically different than the film list EW put out in 1999 the 2013 movie roster is, once you get past the top three. (The number in parentheses represents the rank in 1999.) Given the fact that there are only three 21st century films included, this is not a function of new films, but rather a reassessment of existing ones.
1 (2). Citizen Kane (1941) – As I’ve noted, I tried to watch this on video a number of years ago, but fell asleep. Obviously, I need to try again. 2 (1). The Godfather (1972) – I was living in Binghamton, but the Okie and I, along with another couple, saw it in Syracuse. great film, of course, but I won’t see it again. 3 (3). Casablanca (1942) – I LOVE this film. Saw in outdoors near Rochester in the late 1970s, with my friend Debi. Did I mention I adore this film? I need to watch it again. 4 (48). Bonnie And Clyde (1967) – Never saw it, and don’t feel compelled to. 5 (11). Psycho (1960) – #1 on the list of greatest horror flicks, and I probably will see it at some point. 6 (56). It’s A Wonderful Life (1946) – My future wife Carol nagged me into seeing this on PBS in the late 1990s, after I had dismissed it, sight unseen, as too sentimental; it is not. Liked this far more than I could have imagined. 7 (64). Mean Streets (1973) – didn’t see; may not. 8 (15). The Gold Rush (1925) – #1 comedy, and I don’t know if I saw it or not. That’s my basic problem with movies on broadcast TV. I might have flipped through the channels and started watching something. But was it enough to give the film a fair shake? 9 (38). Nashville (1975) – I started watching this on DVD a few years ago, and simply could not get into it. I like a lot of Altman, but I just didn’t connect with this film. May try again. 10 (8). Gone With The Wind (1939) – haven’t seen, except snippets. Not motivated to do so.
11 (47). King Kong (1933) – #2 horror flick; I’ve seen scenes, but maybe not in toto. 12 (13). The Searchers (1956) – now this John Wayne film I feel I OUGHT to see, and probably will. 13 (60). Annie Hall (1977) – the #2 comedy, this film was my talisman. I’ve seen it four times in the theater, and a few times on video thereafter. 14. Bambi (1942) – #1 on the list of favorite family movies, and the higher of only two animated films. But it’s dark, and sad, at least the parts I’ve seen. 15 (37). Blue Velvet (1986) – didn’t see, feel I probably should. 16 (10). Singin’ In The Rain (1952) – seen bits and pieces, should watch from the beginning. 17 (12). Seven Samurai (1954, Jp.) #1 action flick, never seen. Probably should, since so many other films are beholden to it. 18 (52). Jaws (1975) – never saw. Someday. 19 (29). Pulp Fiction (1994) – did see this in the theater, and even though it’s rather violent for my taste, it was also oddly funny. Liked it. 20. The Sorrow and the Pity (1969, Fr.) #1 on the greatest documentaries, yet I don’t know it.
21 (9). Some Like It Hot (1959) – the #3 comedy I’ve seen big chunks of it; very funny stuff. 22. Toy Story (1995) – the other animated film, 2nd greatest family movie. Saw it in the theater, and bought it on videotape. Great Randy Newman score. 23 (66). Notorious (1946) – a Hitchcock film I want to see in full. 24. The Sound of Music (1965) – #3 family film. I’ve seen good chunks, but have I ever seen it in full? 25 (26). 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968) – saw in the theater in the early 1970s. Didn’t “get” it, but it intrigued me. 26 (22). Bicycle Thieves (1948, It.) – #1 foreign film, saw this in the late 1960s at a theater in Binghamton. Great film. 27 (31). The Maltese Falcon (1941) – don’t think I saw this in full. 28 (32). The Wizard of Oz (1939) – #4 family film, I saw it several times on TV or video, so that like most people, I can quote big chunks by heart. 29 (44). North By Northwest (1959) – #2 action film, seen only clips. 30 (92). Sunrise (1927) – don’t know it.
31 (4). Chinatown (1974) – well crafted, yet it always felt at arm’s length. I don’t love it. 32 (43). Duck Soup (1933) – #5 comedy. This Marx Brothers film, I love. 33 (55). The Graduate (1967) – saw this only recently, in the past five years, on DVD. Probably would have liked it even more had I seen it when it came out. 34. Adam’s Rib (1949) – #4 comedy,. saw it on TV years ago; don’t remember it well. 35. Apocalypse Now (1979) – didn’t see. 36. Rosemary’s Baby (1968) – #3 horror flick, it was the first date with the Okie in 1971, so I remember the film less well. 37. Manhattan (1979) – the #6 comedy, I liked it at the time, but have only seen it twice. 38 (19). Vertigo (1958) – saw parts on TV, should watch from the beginning 39 (58). The Rules of the Game (1939, Fr.) -# 2 foreign film, don’t know it. 40 (50). Double Indemnity (1944) – I should see this! I hear Fred MacMurray is great.
41 (93). The Road Warrior (1981, Australia) (aka Mad Max 2) – #3 action film – didn’t see; didn’t actively avoid. 42 (41). Taxi Driver (1976) – one of those 1970s movies I didn’t see. I might, but it’s not high on the list. 43. The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King (2003) – didn’t see. Saw the first movie and that was enough for me. 44 (17). On The Waterfront (1954) – great film, which I caught on TV one afternoon in the 1990s; why did this fall so far? 45 (30). Mr. Smith Goes to Washington (1939) – saw this on TV. Should watch again. 46 (61). The Adventures of Robin Hood (1938) – #4 action flick, and I know it not at all. 47. A Clockwork Orange (1971) – saw this in the theater. Disturbing, to say the least. Well done, if you like that sort of thing. 48. It Happened One Night (1934) – #7 comedy, I’ve only seen parts of it. 49. Goldfinger (1964) – #5 action film. Like most of the Connery Bond films, I’d see bits on TV, but I’ve never sat through the whole thing. 50 (25). Intolerance (1916) – The earliest film in the top 100; don’t know it at all, except that it was directed by D.W. Griffith. 51. A Hard Day’s Night (1964) -I didn’t see this until after the Beatles broke up, and I saw it in a marathon including Help!, Yellow Submarine and the depressing Let It Be. Wish I had seen the boys and their madcap antics before the band was dead. 52. Titanic (1997) – the romance is so-so, but the detail of the tragic event is quite remarkable. 53. Star Wars: Episode V – The Empire Strikes Back (1980) – yes, it’s the better movie, I suppose, but my heart belongs to the original. 54 (63). Breathless (1960, Fr.) – #3 foreign film – don’t know it 55. Frankenstein (1931) – #4 horror film, not familiar with which iteration this is. 56 (40). Schindler’s List (1993) – I saw this with two other people, then we spent longer than the movie’s running time, which was considerable, decompressing. Excellent, but won’t see it again. 57. Midnight Cowboy (1969) – managed to see this 4 times in a fairly short time. I went with one set of friends, then another. Bleak. But it does inform how I cross the street. 58 (45). The Seventh Seal (1957, Swe.) – #4 foreign film. I’m sure I say this when I was in high school, and am not sure I got it. 59. All the President’s Men (1976) – I thought the story was magnificent telling of the American body politic. But the movie dragged in places. 60. Top Hat (1935) – did not see, probably should.
61 (98). The Silence of the Lambs (1991) – #5 horror film. I was at my parents’ house and it was on HBO. At some point, I bailed on it. 62 (20). E.T. – The Extra-Terrestrial (1982) – #5 family film. Saw in a theater. I liked or loved most of this, but I found the ending treacly, and it all but ruined it for me. 63. Network (1976) – Saw it at the time, not since yet it still resonates with me. One of those films that is more true now than it was at the time. 64 (83). The Best Years of Our Lives (1946) – saw this on TV (PBS?) My this is a powerful film with its ironic title. 65. Last Tango in Paris (1973) – never saw, never particularly wanted to. 66. The Shining (1980) – #6 horror flick. After seeing a few violent films in short order, such as The Godfather, Clockwork Orange, and Catch-22 (one and a half times; long story), I swore them off for most of the 1970s. Finally, saw this and hated it, not because it was scary, but because it was laughable. Nicholson’s character is supposed to be altered by the building, but he’s already looking nuts in the first scene with Barry Nelson. I’m comforted by the fact that Stephen King also hates this iteration, suggesting that Shelley Duvall’s character is too weak for the story. 67 (86). Rebel Without a Cause (1955) – I’ve seen parts, but have I seen it all the way through? 68. GoodFellas (1990) – seen parts, but not compelled to see the whole thing. 69 (14). Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned To Stop Worrying about the Bomb (1964) – #8 comedy. The movie I MOST need to see on this list. 70. L’Avventura (1960, It.) – #5 foreign film. Don’t know it.
71. American Graffiti (1973) – I like it, and great use of period music, though I’m not convinced it belongs on this list. 72. The 400 Blows (1959, Fr.) – #6 foreign film. I saw this so long ago, more than 40 years ago, and I’ve mostly forgotten it. (Strange how some films I see once stick and others don’t.) 73. Cabaret (1972) – I saw this in the theater at the time and thought it was excellent, especially Liza Minelli and Joel Grey. 74. The Hurt Locker (2009) – the most recent film on the list. I actually had it on a Netflix disc for over four months and never had the block of time to actually watch it. 75 (54). Touch Of Evil (1958) – don’t know it. 76 (18). Lawrence of Arabia (1962) – saw it on TV 40 years ago, was bored by it. I probably need to see it on DVD in one dedicated sitting. 77. Dog Day Afternoon (1975) – one of those 1970s films i passed on. MAYBE I’ll see it some day. 78. Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981) – #6 action film. Good popcorn film, but not sure it belongs on the list. 79. Night of the Living Dead (1968) – #7 horror flick. Never saw. Probably should. 80. Dazed and Confused (1993) – never saw, for no particular reason. Would, if I thought to borrow it from the library.
81. Blade Runner (1982) – feel that I REALLY ought to see this, because of its significance. 82. Scenes From a Marriage (1973, Swe.) – #7 foreign film. Saw it at the time. Was depressed afterward. 83 (57). The Wild Bunch (1969) – Saw the graphic slo-mo ending, but not the rest. Probably won’t. 84. Olympia (1938, Ger.) – #2 documentary. Ah, the Leni Riefenstahl film. I’ve seen bits of it, but definitely should see the whole thing. 85. Dirty Harry (1971) – #7 action flick. I’ve seen bits and pieces of two or three Dirty Harry films, not enough to count it, punk. 86 (21). All About Eve (1950) – saw this one Saturday afternoon 45 years ago. It was great but haven’t seen it since. 87 (6). La Dolce Vita (1960, It.) – #8 foreign film. Also saw this more than 40 years ago, when I was in high school. 88. The Dark Knight (2008) – did not see. I think I’ve wearied of dystopia. 89. Woodstock (1970) – #3 documentary. This film, which I watched twice in a row, had a great impact on my musical development. The soundtrack was in the top ten of my favorite albums of 1961-1970. That said, not sure the FILM belongs on the list, given what it has displaced. 90. The French Connection (1971) – #8 action flick. Just read an interview with William Friedkin who expressed shock that this film did so well with the Academy Awards, and that The Exorcist did not. I enjoyed it a lot at the time. Still remember the dialogue from the movie; it helped that Poughkeepsie was not far from New Paltz, where I went to college.
91 (81). Do The Right Thing (1989) – I thought this was a tremendous film, Spike Lee’s best, and the best film that came out that year. SamuraiFrog wrote about his recent reevaluation of the movie, and he’s now where I was from the beginning. 92 (97). The Piano (1993, NZ) – I thought it was well crafted, yet at arm’s length. Can’t explain without seeing it again. 93. A Face in the Crowd (1957) – I saw this one afternoon in the past 10 years or so. 1) Andy Griffith is TREMENDOUS, 2) it speaks to today better than I could believe, and 3) it is the one film on this list that, if you haven’t seen, I most highly recommend that you see. 94. Brokeback Mountain (2005) – I’m not sure this belongs here either. It was socially significant, and once it got going, it could be quite moving. But for the longest time in the set-up, I was rather bored. The actors were great; the story could have been trimmed by 12 minutes without great loss. 95. Rushmore (1998) – the #8 comedy I’ve never seen this one. Probably will. 96. Sullivan’s Travels (1941) – not remembering this, the #10 comedy. 97. Diner (1982) – enjoyed this at the time, but wonder if it’s a bit overrated here. 98. All About My Mother (1999, Sp.) – #9 foreign film. I enjoyed this Almodovar film, but usually do like that director. 99. There Will Be Blood (2007) – did not see it, except the last 10 minutes on YouTube. 100 (49). Sweet Smell of Success (1957) – not recalling this one.
Next outing, which will be soon, I’m going to list the genre films that didn’t make the top 100. Plus, the MASSIVE list that were dropped from the 1999 iteration. Some of your favorites, I’m willing to bet.
Interesting cover story in Entertainment weekly a couple weeks ago By the Way, We’re Gay. The New Art of Coming Out, which was released just before newsman Anderson Cooper’s recent revelation, surprising as sunrise to many. While I understand it intellectually, I always thought it was too bad that gay folks have to endure that process. After all, I didn’t have to go to my parents, palms sweating, and announce, “I AM A….HETEROSEXUAL!” Few people chastise me for promoting the “heterosexual agenda.”
The article noted how far lesbians and gay men have come since Ellen DeGeneres’ pronouncement made the cover of TIME magazine 15 years ago, which pretty much killed her career – until it didn’t. It’s the observation of many, and I totally agree, that her comeback started with one joke. She was hosting the Emmys two months after September 11, 2001, after a couple program reschedulings; she asked the audience, “What would bug a guy from the Taliban more than seeing a gay woman in a suit surrounded by Jews?” It was just the right tonic. And now, she’s that dancin’ fool on her own talk show.
A pointed observation in EW: “Over the past decade, the press has become more hostile to, and aggressive about, celebrities who are perceived to be closeted to exactly the same degree it’s become more accommodating to those who come out.”
Conversely, I find more than a few people of my acquaintance who think that when gays, either public figures or private citizens, come out, they are “throwing their sexuality in my face.” Not the intention, just being honest with others, and quite possibly, themselves.
From the last paragraph of the EW piece: “So although the drip-drip-drip steadiness of coming-out news can seem inconsequential, cumulatively the stories serve as the very quiet herald of a major tectonic shift. What was impossible 60 years ago and dangerous 40 years ago and difficult 20 years ago is now becoming no big deal.” Which is as I would like it to be.
The * indicates the ones that came to me on the list.
100. ”STAY (I MISSED YOU)” (1994) Lisa Loeb 99. ”TENNESSEE” (1992) Arrested Development 98. ”WE’RE AN AMERICAN BAND” (1973) Grand Funk Railroad 97. ”RADAR LOVE” (1974) Golden Earring 96. ”THE LOVE YOU SAVE” (1970) The Jackson 5 95. ”DANCING IN THE DARK” (1984) Bruce Springsteen 94. ”FUNKYTOWN” (1980) Lipps Inc. 93. ”YAKETY YAK” (1958) The Coasters 92. ”SUMMERTIME, SUMMERTIME” (1958) The Jamies 91. ”GANGSTER’S PARADISE” (1995) Coolio 90. ”KISS FROM A ROSE” (1995) Seal 89. ”MACHO MAN” (1978) The Village People 88. ”MY CHERIE AMOUR” (1969) Stevie Wonder 87. ”WATERLOO” (1974) ABBA 86. ”SUMMERTIME” (1991) D.J. Jazzy Jeff & the Fresh Prince 85. ”THE END OF THE INNOCENCE” (1989) Don Henley 84. ”SAN FRANCISCO (BE SURE TO WEAR FLOWERS IN YOUR HAIR)” (1967) Scott McKenzie 83. ”MY LOVE” (2006) Justin Timberlake 82. ”UNDER THE BRIDGE” (1992) Red Hot Chili Peppers 81. ”HOT IN HERRE” (2002) Nelly 80. ”WILD THING” (1966) The Troggs 79. ”HOT BLOODED” (1978) Foreigner 78. ”TAKIN’ CARE OF BUSINESS” (1974) Bachman-Turner Overdrive 77. ”LIVIN LA VIDA LOCA” (1999) Ricky Martin 76. ”DON’T YOU WANT ME” (1982) Human League 75. ”TELL ME SOMETHING GOOD” (1974) Rufus 74. ”WHAT’S LOVE GOT TO DO WITH IT” (1984) Tina Turner 73. ”THIS LOVE” (2004) Maroon 5 72. ”(THEY LONG TO BE) CLOSE TO YOU” (1970) The Carpenters 71. ”A WHITER SHADE OF PALE” (1967) Procol Harum 70. ”LET’S GET IT ON” (1973) Marvin Gaye 69. ”VACATION” (1982) The Go-Go’s 68. ”MO MONEY, MO PROBLEMS” (1997) Notorious B.I.G. (featuring Mase, Puff Daddy) 67. ”LITTLE RED CORVETTE” (1982) Prince 66. ”WE ARE FAMILY” (1979) Sister Sledge 65. ”FOOLED AROUND AND FELL IN LOVE” (1976) Elvin Bishop 64 ”KODACHROME” (1973) Paul Simon 63. ”WHERE DID OUR LOVE GO” (1964) The Supremes 62. ”SEA OF LOVE” (1959) Phil Phillips with the Twilights 61. ”THE LOCO-MOTION” (1962) Little Eva 60. ”UMBRELLA” (2007) Rihanna 59. ”CAN’T TAKE MY EYES OFF YOU” (1967) Frankie Valli 58. ”ALL YOU NEED IS LOVE” (1967) The Beatles 57. ”YOU BELONG WITH ME” (2009) Taylor Swift 56. ”SMOOTH” (1999) Santana, featuring Rob Thomas 55. ”SEALED WITH A KISS” (1962) Brian Hyland 54. ”PHILADELPHIA FREEDOM” (1975) Elton John 53. ”THE LETTER” (1967) The Box Tops 52. ”HOLLABACK GIRL” (2005) Gwen Stefani 51. ”SLEDGEHAMMER” (1986) Peter Gabriel 50. ”YOU SHOULD BE DANCING” (1976) Bee Gees 49. ”TAKE IT EASY” (1972) The Eagles 48. ”(WE’RE GONNA) ROCK AROUND THE CLOCK” (1955) Bill Haley & His Comets 47. ”CRAZY IN LOVE” (2003) Beyoncé & Jay-Z 46. ”LIVE AND LET DIE” (1973) Paul McCartney and Wings 45. ”I GOT YOU BABE” (1965) Sonny and Cher 44. ”DON’T BE CRUEL”/”HOUND DOG” (1956) Elvis Presley 43. ”GREEN ONIONS” (1962) Booker T. & the MG’s 42. ”SUNSHINE SUPERMAN” (1966) Donovan 41. ”GOOD TIMES” (1979) Chic 40. ”GRAZING IN THE GRASS” (1968) Hugh Masakela 39. ”GROOVIN”’ (1967) The Rascals 38. ”FOREVER” (2008) Chris Brown 37. ”STAND BY ME” (1961) Ben E. King 36. ”RAMBLIN’ MAN” (1973) The Allman Brothers Band 35. ”I DON’T WANT TO MISS A THING” (1998) Aerosmith 34. ”MY SHARONA” (1979) The Knack 33. ”MISS YOU” (1978) Rolling Stones 32. ”WATERFALLS” (1995) TLC 31. ”CRUEL SUMMER” (1984) Bananarama 30. ”ALL I WANNA DO” (1994) Sheryl Crow 29. ”THE TWIST”/”LET’S TWIST AGAIN” (1960/61) Chubby Checker 28. ”BORN TO BE WILD” (1968) Steppenwolf 27. ”YOU’RE THE ONE THAT I WANT”/”SUMMER NIGHTS” (1978) John Travolta and Olivia Newton-John ”GREASE” (1978) Frankie Valli 26. ”LIKE A ROLLING STONE” (1965) Bob Dylan 25. ”DON’T GO BREAKING MY HEART” (1976) Elton John and Kiki Dee 24. ”CALIFORNIA LOVE” (1996) Tupac Shakur and Dr. Dre 23. ”EVERY BREATH YOU TAKE” (1983) The Police 22. ”WOULDN’T IT BE NICE” (1966) The Beach Boys 21. ”WIPEOUT” (1963) The Surfaris 20. ”CRAZY” (2006) Gnarls Barkley 19. ”A HARD DAY’S NIGHT” (1964) The Beatles 18. ”MAGGIE MAY” (1971) Rod Stewart 17. ”IN THE SUMMERTIME” (1970) Mungo Jerry 16. ”THE MESSAGE” (1982) Grand Master Flash & the Furious Five 15. ”I GET AROUND” (1964) The Beach Boys 14. ”HEY YA” (2003) OutKast 13. ”ROCK THE BOAT” (1974) The Hues Corporation 12. ”SUMMERTIME BLUES” (1958) Eddie Cochran 11. ”(I CAN’T GET NO) SATISFACTION” (1965) The Rolling Stones 10. ”HOT FUN IN THE SUMMERTIME” (1969) Sly & the Family Stone 9. ”BORDERLINE” (1984) Madonna 8. ”DANCING IN THE STREET” (1964) Martha and the Vandellas 7. ”CALIFORNIA GURLS” (2010) Katy Perry feat. Snoop Dogg 6. ”LIGHT MY FIRE” (1967) The Doors 5. ”UNDER THE BOARDWALK” (1964) The Drifters 4. ”HEAT WAVE” (1963) Martha and the Vandellas 3. ”SCHOOL’S OUT” (1972) Alice Cooper 2. ”CALIFORNIA GIRLS” (1965) The Beach Boys *1. ”SUMMER IN THE CITY” (1966) The Lovin’ Spoonful
Incidentally, I HATE it when two or even three songs are counted as a song.
Surely, some of the ones I didn’t think of should also be on the list. But there are some that just mystify me, even though they came out in the summer.
BEATLES: A Hard Day’s Night was a hit in the summer of ’64, but so were lots of other songs. All You Need Is Love ditto for ’67. Here Comes the Sun or Good Day Sunshine feels more thematically valid. BEACH BOYS: I Get Around and California Girls are good choices, but Wouldn’t It Be Nice? All of those surf and cars songs seem more appropriate, such as Surfer Girl, 409, Surfin’ USA, even Good Vibrations.
Others made cases for Boys of Summer or All She Wants To Do Is Dance_Don Henley, Summer Fling-k.d. lang, Afternoon Delight-Starlight Vocal Band, Summer of ’69-Bryan Adams, some country and reggae songs, and the entire oeuvre of Jimmy Buffett.
What songs would you add to or delete from the list?
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