Sep 012020

Following up on the Mount Rushmore of Rock & Roll: British Invasion, which American bands held the line against the invaders, trying to champion the rock & roll that those British groups had co-opted from the United States?

I will propose that the Beatles equivalent for this Mount Rushmore is The Beach Boys. Yes, I know they had an album’s worth of hits before the Fabs ever met Ed Sullivan, but I think that makes them even more deserving. They were at the top of the heap, they took the challengers’ best punch, lost the championship, but came back stronger than ever.

Here’s a Beach Boys deep cut that is one of my BB favorites:

I don’ think there is a counterpart to the Rolling Stones, but I think there are more worthy contenders for the remaining spots than there were for the British Invasion mount.

Who would you put up there? Anyone disagree with me about the Wilsons & family?


  44 Responses to “The Mount Rushmore of Rock & Roll: America’s Counter-Attack to The British Invasion”

  1. I’m with you on the Beach Boys, Al. I assume we all agree that member most deserving of a rendering on this Mt Rushmore is the band’s mastermind, Mike Love.
    Bob Dylan’s a no-brainer, right? Yeah, started out as a folkie, but I think he was ultimately destined to rock. The existence of the Beatles merely helped nudge him to his rightful legacy.
    Next, Jimi Hendrix, another no-brainer.
    Finally, someone who’s true influence wouldn’t be felt till decades later, but he’s a pioneer in blue-eyed soul, jangly pop, scuzz-rock, lo-fi indie and more. I refer of course to Alex Chilton.

  2. Hey Al, just for the record, I too love “Girl, Don’t Tell Me.” As far as the Beach Boys giving the Beatles a run for their money, forget it. All of their albums are very spotty, including the beloved Pet Sounds.

    The only real contender is Dylan (just finished listening to a boot with “Barbara Allen”, “Moonshiner” and “Hezekiah Jones”; talk about buried treasure!). He had something different to bring to the table for quite some time. Not so with the Beach Boys. And I need not hear about the majesty of Smile. It’s an insufferable turd in any of its thousand forms: unreleased, released, polished and released, etc.

  3. The difficulty with the US counter-attack Mt Rushmore, if we’re going to follow the letter of the law of Al’s post, is that we are being asked to nominate “bands.” This would exclude the likes of Dylan, Hendrix, et al. So first I ask, “Can this US counter-attack monument include the pioneering spirit of American solo artists?” I was thinking about this during our UK discussion, but this question drives the thought home even further: How many Mt Rushmore-worthy UK solo artists are there? Van Morrison would make it, thanks to being from Northern Ireland. Elton John. Bowie. OK, once we get into the ’70s, there are worthy UK solo acts, but would anyone make it from the ’60s? Lulu?

    Getting back to Al’s notion of “bands” and how strict he wants us to be, here’s my second pertinent question: What about singing groups? If they count, I would like to request two spots for The Temptations and The Supremes. For me, they’d go up there as representatives of our Motown Armed Forces, the strongest center of group-related forces in US muscio-military history.

    Again, assuming that those *vocal groups * qualify as “bands” – and I’m not saying they should – I’m not sure if there’s a US band worthy of a fourth spot. There’s an especially self-absorbed part of me that is dreading the first nomination of The Byrds, as if this whole post was set up to encourage someone to torment me with that nomination. I, meanwhile, would like to torment someone by suggesting The Four Seasons, some of whom did play their own instruments. I’ll keep thinking about it. Most of my favorite American bands from the ’60s and early ’70s are Canadian, or involve Canadians (eg, Buffalo Springfield).

  4. diskojoe

    “Girl Don’t Tell Me” is also one of my fave rave Beach Boys songs & they should be on the Mt. Rushmore thingy. If we use the same criteria as the British Invasion one, i.e., 1964-65, shouldn’t we put the Supremes up there since they had that monster run of hits on the charts during that period?

    Also, Dylan’s OK, but how about the Byrds?

  5. The Supremes and the Temptations work for me. As does Smokey Robinson and the Miracles, James Brown, and Curtis Mayfield (as a writer, producer, group member, and solo artist).

    I think the real key here has nothing to do with the contender being a band or solo act. It’s all about what was brought to the table, i.e.was that something the Beatles couldn’t bring, and was it brought for a decent amount of time. For that reason, I would rule out Hendrix. What he brought was otherworldy, but his otherworldy gifts didn’t last that long

  6. I will confess that I didn’t consider a lot of points raised in these responses.

    While I said “bands” it wasn’t a conscious decision to exclude solo artists. Having said that, I do think this needs to be restricted to acts which were in direct response to the British Invasion. Now in some cases, like the Beach Boys, that means reclaiming a previously held position. (Aside to EPG: I meant “run for their money” in the sense of having a string of chart-topping songs; no one in their right mind can compare BB albums with Beatles albums.). In other cases – and here I throw out a contender for the Mount, The Young Rascals – they were reclaiming American rock & roll from the Brits.

    Hendrix was “too late”. And I’m inclined to exclude him and Dylan with the same argument. They didn’t reclaim American rock & roll, they revolutionized it, taking the same raw materials and transmuting them into something not seen before. And they weren’t bands.

    Mr. Mod, as I kicked this idea around with Geo, he brought up The Byrds. They wouldn’t get my vote. First of all, I was surprised to find they only had 3 top 20 hits – Mr, Tambourine Man, Turn, Turn, Turn, and Eight Miles High. And second, certainly one, and arguably two of those can’t really be called rock & roll.

    I need to think a bit more about the Motown angle but my first reaction is they all get left out and that’s a topic for another Mount Rushmore. There are so many worthy contenders there.

    I’ve thrown out The Young Rascals as the type of band I was considering. I’ll let others continue before I toss out three other bands I can make a case for.

  7. diskojoe

    Although I like both bands, I think that the Four Seasons has a stronger case since like the Beach Boys they started out before the Beatles & managed to hang on until well after the British Invasion was over, succumbing only when the psychedelic era came around.

  8. cherguevara

    From a non-retrospective angle, wouldn’t the Four Seasons be the answer? I absolutely cannot stand them, but they were enormously popular. As much as the Beatles loved the old rock and roll and the Motown and Stax, I don’t recall them having much love for doo-wop or street-corner vocal groups. If there was a “line” to “hold” it would be what was popular when the Beatles arrived, not something that came after, like electric Dylan.

  9. H. Munster

    If you’re going to consider the Young Rascals, I think you have to consider Paul Revere and the Raiders, as well. If you can get past the teenybopper orientation of their packaging, they had a string of hard rocking, roots rock hits, probably more than the Rascals.

    I’d consider Mitch Ryder and The Detroit Wheels, as well. Of course, neither of these bands had outstanding albums.

  10. Hey Al, I say this with the utmost respect: when you’re through with the crackpipe for the day and are ready to present clear criteria for the challenge, give me a heads up. Hopefully that will happen after I mail out some records and pick up the fifth season of the Sopranos.

  11. cherguevara

    Cross-posted with Diskojoe! Let me know when we do the rock’n’roll Donner party. You’re trapped with Foghat, which band member will you eat first?

  12. I’m not sure I’m understanding the rules here but if we’re talking the seismic shift of the British Invasion and then a counter shift, I would say the Byrds, the Velvet Underground, the Band, and Jimi Hendrix.

  13. Here’s a list of a lot of the bands Al may have been thinking about while he was in a Richard Pryor-like freebase haze: the McCoys, the Knickerbockers, the Chartbusters, and a lot of similar types found on those Pebbles/Nuggets comps. In Al’s words, they were all “trying to champion the rock & roll that those British groups had co-opted from the United States.” the Byrds weren’t doing that and neither were the Four Seasons. The one band that was doing it and hit the charts continuously was indeed the Rascals. They didn’t give the Beatles a run for their money, but I love ’em just the same. I can think of no other act that wasn’t a one hit wonder outfit.

  14. I suggested that Al not overly specify the criteria, because the ambiguity provides an opening for discussion such as how to fit the Motown groups into the concept. I like the discussions to be a little more free ranging. I don’t think my butt capable of squeezing out the diamonds of truth that EPG can produce after one of his often described bouts of constipation.

    After the Beatles hit, there was an immediate explosion of American groups that wanted to do that “thing.” Not necessarily exactly copy the Beatles but be a similarly multi-headed, self contained creative enterprise, or at least put forth that appearance. Some even tried to “pass,” remember the Sir Douglas Quintet stories.

    When I think of the Mount Rushmore of the American counterstrike, I envision the groups that pretty specifically took up this challenge in the aftermath of the Beatles big splash, just like I was trying to capture the British groups that capitalized on the initial Beatles impact to become American radio regulars.

    This is not an absurdly limiting category. I did immediately think of the Byrds. The members moved from folk to rock’n’roll immediately in the wake of the Beatles and largely because of the possibilities they saw to follow that band template. Their first hit was in January 1965, and it was huge. Amusingly, this comes very close to the circumstances that were the best argument to consider the Animals on the British side. Al cautioned me that they didn’t subsequently come close in chart action to match someone like, say, The Dave Clark Five.

    I also thought of the Young Rascals, who spiced the template with some Blue Eyed Soul, New Yawk-style showmanship and had a decent string of hits. The schtick of their weird early stage attire also were a weird view of the Beatles’ collarless suit stage attire through the lens of cheesy night club showbiz. Of course Paul Revere and the Raiders mined a similar aesthetic made even more explicit by the reference to the American Revolution.

    Another group of Beatles inspired folkies that had lots of quality hits that EPG has blanked on is the Lovin’ Spoonful. They went a little further from their folk roots than the early Byrds, had a lot of chart impact and, in my mind, are clearly deserving of a place on this Rushmore.

    I’ve been trying to figure out why although I agree with the Beach Boys inclusion, I’m really not feeling the Four Seasons. One reason is that the Four Seasons were always, more than anything, about the voice of Frankie Valli. All of the other groups I mentioned seem more of a collective than a singer and some other guys. Could you say what hits were the Four Seasons and Which were Frankie Valli based on sound?

    Again, Al and I are slightly older than most in the hall and, at least for me, that changes our perception of the limits of the British Invasion. I realized that from my point of view, the British Invasion ends when my family moved from Southwest Philadelphia to Delaware County in late ’65. By that time, some sort of truce had broken out and the British music was a common staple in the pop music kitchen.

  15. Geo, for the record, I did not blank out on the Lovin’ Spoonful, another group I like a lot. Simply put, they weren’t within the parameters of Al’s freebased-fueled “trying to champion the rock & roll that those British groups had co-opted from the United States” criteria.

  16. Sure they were EPG! That concept – “rock & roll” – can be a delicate one but I’m not defining it so narrowly as to exclude The Lovin’ Spoonful.

    I’ll throw out another contender – The Turtles.

  17. And while I’m not suggesting they belong on Mount Rushmore, is there anyone out there in Rock Town Hall willing to lie and say they knew that Gary Lewis & The Playboys had 9 top 15 hits from January 1965 through October 1966? I confess to not recognizing the last two of those nine – My Heart’s Symphony and (You Don’t Have To) Paint Me A Picture – but the first 7 were all top 10 and were in the space of 15 months. For the curious – This Diamond Ring, Count Me In, Save Your Heart For Me, Everybody Loves A Clown, She’s Just My Style, Sure Gonna Miss Her, and Green Grass

    Take that, Dino Martin!

  18. That was “throw out” as in “offer for consideration” not as in “eliminate”.

  19. I was asking “Why not?” to EPG’s remark that the “Lovin’ Spoonful” are not within the parameters Al set.

  20. Al, put the pipe down for a minute. Again, your criteria was that the contender championed the rock & roll that those British groups had co-opted from the United States. That’s not the Spoonful. Their roots were mostly folk oriented, much like the Byrds. The turtles, for the most part, started out as a surf rock band.

    Don’t know why I didn’t think of this before, but the only other contender besides the Rascals would have been CCR.

  21. By your logic EPG, the Beatles don’t count as rock & roll because they started out as a skiffle band.

    Bada-bing, bada-boom!

  22. The Turtles started out as a surf band is technically accurate but historically misleading. The Turtles made it as a folk rock band. The first real his was “It Ain’t Me, Babe, followed by Let Me Be.”

    Creedence puts out it’s first record in mid-’68. Who even remembers that thing called the British invasion by then? Save them for the “Rushmore of Back to Basics Rock’n’Roll in Reaction to the Psychedelic Age.”

  23. Just for the record, you two should most probably curb your time together. Your collaborative work has produced something not unlike what happened when Neil Schon hooked up with Jan Hammer. Let’s just leave it at that.

  24. With all due respect, here’s what I find terribly wrong about where this “counter-attack” is heading: these second-rate and first-and-a-half rate US bands that were trying to “do” the Beatles were often more like “symps” than the Resistance. US musicians didn’t combat the Beatles and their fellow invaders by dressing like them. Out musical resistance came in the form of bands, groups, and solo artists who pushed forward in their own way. I mean, look at Motown, which wasn’t in any way threatened by the British Invasion. They kept cranking out their hits, learned how to beautifully capture the sound of electric bass, and then smile as Paul McCartney got his bass to stand out like James Jamerson’s on an album entitled Rubber Soul. THAT’S a counter-attack! Dylan writing songs that would turn on the Brits – and Dylan getting them high…THAT’S a counter-attack! I love The Rascals, but they only joined the Resistance when they ditched the “Young” bit and the stupid outfits.

    I won’t get into the importance of the Four Seasons right now, because most of you won’t be able to handle it. For now, think about what constitutes the Resistance. Jimi Hendrix went over to England and took captives! He stormed the beaches of Brighton and had Pete Townshend sitting at his feet. THAT’S a counter-attack.

    I love my man Happiness Stan and I love the UK, but if this is what, I can’t be bothered with counting the hits of that pedophile symp Gary Lewis. I want my country’s best and brightest and boldest up there. James Fucking Brown says, “Step aside, Sir Douglas Quintet. You cats are a good time, but this is what. War is hell, and one day I’ll release an album called Hell.”

  25. Moderator, I agree with all that. You’re preaching to the choir! Again, I’m serving up the Rascals and CCR because they fit Al and Geo’s original freebase infested criteria, which once again is “acts trying to champion the rock & roll that those British groups had co-opted from the United States.”

    And just for the record, Al, don’t give me that skiffle bullshit. The Quarrymen played “Come and Go with Me” on that fateful day when John and Paul met. Lack of chops decided what their orientation and instrumentation would be. Even at that early stage, John and Paul were all rock and roll, be it black or white.

  26. Admittedly, I looked at this from a completely different angle. When we looked at the British Invasion, I was looking for bands that were contemporaries of the early Beatles and combined their association with that sugar rush of Beatlemania with some enduring quality. Beatles, Stones, Kinks felt right. The fourth slot was difficult to fill.

    The Beatles had an obvious effect on the American music scene. Just like we’ve seen the new Dylans over the years, there was an immediate rush to find the “American Beatles.” The most obvious of these attempts, not previously mentioned, was the very well known creation of the Monkees, but that seems too cynical to credit, although it was arguably a pretty successful endeavor.

    I’m not denying the monolithic stature of Motown, but the only significant impact on the Motown formula that I see is the psychedelic phase in the late ’60s. In the 60’s, I just see them ploughing on with their game plan right through the arrival of the Beatles. Likewise James Brown. I might even say the same about the Beach Boys, but they seem to have embraced the role as the American answer in a way that was “responsive.”

    What this discussion revealed to me was the degree to which folk rock was a reaction to Beatlemania.

    The standard line has been that before the Beatles, American music was in a bad way, an insipid brew of teen idols and resurgent pre-Elvis pop. Looking at the Top 10 lists in 1963, it is a blend of about 40% non-rock’n’roll pop, say Peggy March, with the rest a varying stew of Girl groups, Motown and Atlantic soul, and post 50’s bands such as Beach Boys, Four Seasons. Elvis shows up occasionally, usually with selections that I don’t even recognize.

    My feeling is that for a young white guys who aspired to some kind of maturity in their musical expression, the prime alternative to the vapid pre-Beatle era was folk music. Although sometimes crassly commercial, this had a veneer of tradition and sincerity. The sheer quality, freshness and power of the early Beatles inspired a lot of these folkies to reconsider their path and recast themselves as beat combos. This is true of the Byrds, the Spoonful, the Mamas and Papas and a few San Francisco acts who shall not be named. These groups generally retained elements their original folk roots in their new found identities.

  27. Happiness Stan

    And I love you all too!

    I deliberately kept out of the British invasion conversation as I had no context on which to make a meaningful, or even pseudo meaningful contribution. I’m finding this one intriguing, but, again, don’t think I’m in any position to send a man with a pack of sandwiches and a chisel halfway up a mountain.

    So, as usual, I’ll wade in from a position of ignorance and move the perspective temporarily to the other side of the water, thinking about the bands and artists the Beatles opened doors to over here. The Beach Boys were absolutely up there, along with Motown and Phil Spector.

    The Byrds and Dylan, like the Beach Boys, would almost certainly have broken through without the Beatles, owing a lot more to Chuck Berry and Buddy Holly than anything we’d turned out by then. The Byrds and Dylan cane through the door marked ‘folk’, which neither the Beatles, Stones, Kinks, Dave Clark 5 or Freddie and the Dreamers were going anywhere near.

    It wasn’t a great time for solo Brits, the only one who springs to mind is Donovan, who came out of the Scottish folk tradition and,, contrary to popular myth, would have existed without Dylan. Whether he’d have ended up as a psychedelic troubadour without Dylan and the Beatles is debatable, but probably irrelevant here.

    Even though he was initially known via the bands he passed through, Eric Clapton possibly qualifies since all his bands rode high on the cult of Eric. He and Jeff Beck certainly made it easier for Chas Chandler to bring Hendrix over here, photograph him with Beatles and Stones and pack him off to a London recording studio with a drummer from Ealing and a bassist from Kent and watch music explode.

    The first obviously Beatles influenced US band to make it huge over here were my beloved Monkees, who I will defend to my dying breath.

    The Stones probably had a wider influence in terms of opening British ears to American music. Most of the early Beatles covers were already approaching mainstream, or at least getting occasional radio play, they were doing nothing to frighten the farm animals with Honey Don’t and There’s A Place. The Stones, on the other hand, not only took Muddy Waters and Howlin Wolf songs which were a long way from what the BBC light programme were broadcasting in 1963 and making people listen up, they brought the blues guys over here and toured with them, opening our eyes to music made by black musicians, from which flowed, initially, calypso music (helped along by boatloads of immigrants encouraged to come over and drive our buses etc at that time) and the first wave of ska and reggae.

  28. Happiness Stan

    Geo, your post appeared when I hit send on mine. As one who loves both the Monkees and the folk rock stuff what you say makes sense to me.

  29. It makes a lot of sense indeed! Unfortunately, it has absolutely nothing to do with Al’s original criteria for contenders, acts “trying to champion the rock & roll that those British groups had co-opted from the United States”. Hell if you want to go that route and avoid Al’s criteria completely, you might as well discuss Bill Cosby, Herb Alpert and the Tiajuana Brass, Engelbert Humperdinck, etc. They sold a hell of a lot of records. And they too, like the Mamas and the Papas, have nothing to do with Al’s criteria.

  30. It’s funny that it took so long for The Monkees to be nominated. I’ve had fun through the years poking at people’s love for The Monkees (despite knowing how great many of their songs are – just me being a dick, sorry), but by the standards of this funny thread, I may approve of their spot on the counter-attack mount, despite them facing expected and reasonable charges of being suspected as British Invasion sympathizers.

    CCR were the first responders to hoist that Rock ‘n Roll Iwo Jima flag, 15 years before The Boss and His E Street Band of Brothers. E Pluribus Gergely was so right to bring them into the mix.

    And Happiness Stan, bless you for starting out with Donovan as the first significant solo UK artist! I like Donovan just fine and agree that he’s your nation’s first significant solo artist. I was afraid that one of my fellow Americans would skip over him and go right to some cult figure, like Nick Drake or Richard Thompson.

    Again, I’ll leave out my feelings on the importance of The Four Seasons for now.

  31. I like me plenty of Monkees but they first charted in September 1966, a full 2 1/2 years after the Beatles hit the US shores. That’s quite a delayed counter-attack. If the US waited until mid-1944 to respond to Pearl Harbor we would be living in a fascist country (oh, wait a minute,…)

    And since Creedence didn’t first chart until September 1968, well, do I have to continue?

  32. I see your point, Al. If an immediate response is what’s needed, I still say we cast aside the British Invasion symps and start with the Motown Armed Forces. The Beach Boys’ impact on The Beatles didn’t hit until 1966, with the whole Revolver-Pet Sounds-Sgt Pepper’s one-upsmanship campaign. Did they crank out hits at the same time as the British Invasion groups? Yes, but I believe only The Who would have cited classic, early Beach Boys as an influence. And you’ve already ruled out The Who for the UK mount!

    Once more, I’m not going to open a can of worms with my thoughts on The Four Seasons, but trying to put aside Motown and other soul artists – artists the British Invasion groups couldn’t wait to cover, let alone challenge in the charts – suggests the opening of another can of worms, one in these explosive times I know does not in any way represent you and Geo. Maybe I should get us to consider my case for The Four Seasons…

    Seriously, if this Mt Rushmore of US counter-attack bands consists of the wholly worthy Beach Boys and three other lily white-boy groups who were blatantly eager to cop a British Invasion Look (a GREAT Look, by the way – one worth copping) so they could freshen up their folk guitar and harmony voicings, I’m not wasting a vacation on a visit to this monument. Music doesn’t travel as fast as missiles. The expectation that the counter-attack take place in almost real time distorts the march of history. I’d rather one of those unmentionable San Francisco bands Geo referred to get a slot than America’s response to The Dave Clark Five. Seeing DC5 on a battlefield with Paul Revere & The Raiders would be akin to watching one of those military reenactment clubs or kids playing Cowboys & Indians. The real battle is among the titans. The British Invasion put up a tremendous attack with The Beatles, Stones, Kinks, and whatever fourth band anyone wants to throw in the mix. The US had forces in place already: The Beach Boys, James Brown, Motown (collectively)… When it came time to call for added troops, sure, folkies in Cuban heels were the first to enlist, but it was artists like Dylan, CCR, Hendrix (who initially sought rapprochement), and – I’ll say it – the stinking Grateful Dead who would be the officer-level recruits out of our top universities, the necessary brain trust to force the Brits down a scattered paths of psychedelia, prog-rock, and glam.

  33. BigSteve

    I can’t get my head around the restrictions. The American cult of individualism means that our greatest musicians are solo artists, not bands. I mean, there’s a reason the actual Mt Rushmore has individual faces. Also, by focusing on bands that responded to the British Invasion, the whole discussion skews white. My musical Mt. Rushmore would be Bob Dylan, James Brown, Jimi Hendrix, and George Clinton. There’s really no American equivalent to the Beatles/Stones/Who/Kinks axis.

  34. I’m not trying to encourage any systemic racism. There was a British Invasion. It was a moment (or two or two years) in time. It had certain characteristics. And it provoked a reaction in the US musically. Much like the rest of RTH, this is a silly exercise to see what people think was the best of that reaction. The British Invasion was one Mount Rushmore. This is another.

    Back a decade ago we did this one:

    Then we did this one:

    These are a couple more. I think a Mount Rushmore: Motown Ediiton would be great and I can think of dozens more.

    You buy the premise, you buy the bit

  35. Fair enough. That said, I think Steve said it best when he scribed, “There’s really no American equivalent to the Beatles/Stones/Who/Kinks axis.”

    Been listening to a lot of early Bob Dylan boot stuff lately: “I Was Young When I Left Home”, “Last Thoughts on Woody Guthrie”, “Auction Block”, etc. Jesus. Petty is worthy of discussion? I really don’t get it.

    And Al and everyone else, I need to know where you stand on the Sopranos. Last night, the wife and I finished our revisit of season 4. It was superb. The Moderator keeps giving me all this bullshit about why he’s not going to give it a good college try. I think it’s a lot of nonsense. Simply put, he’s missing out. Yes?

  36. BigSteve

    Wow we really did air out a lot of these ideas way back when. Those who forget their history are encouraged to repeat it.

  37. mockcarr

    If you are trying to ride those coattails in 1964, wouldn’t a promoter start by saying, but you’re not British? I think Big Steve makes an important point, guys with great bands were the names, not the bands. I thinking of Jan and Dean, Ricky Nelson, even the 50s R&R and R&B roots guys. Where are the bands except maybe the Crickets? To me, The Beach Boys have more in common with the Miracles than the Beatles. Gary Lewis and the Playboys popularity makes a lot of sense in that context. Let’s put a name up there with knockoff guitar songs. It’s designed to be disposable.

  38. mockcarr

    EPG, I think The Sopranos is the best tv series of the last 30 years and is the point where the medium finally moved past the cinema in quality.

    How’s that for pretentious.

  39. Thank you!!!! Pretentiousness accepted! I agree with the statement 100 percent. And the Honeymooners is arguably #2, It’s painfully obvious that Gandolfini modeled some of his Tony Soprano character on Ralph Kramden. Would you agree with that assessment?

    Again, I’m waiting for the Moderator to grow some nuts and explain, in detail, what his issues are with the Sopranos. It’s a worthwhile endeavor because he appears to be the only human being on the planet unable to see the Beatle like creativity of the show.

  40. mockcarr

    I think the Ralph-Alice vs. Tony-Carmela dynamic is an interesting comparison, but the childless nature of the Kramdens immediately makes a big difference. Are you thinking that Dr Mellfi is the non-comedic Ed Norton character that allows him to vent his violence in another outlet. If Tony kept telling Artie Bucco to leave the premises and were a more important character, there could be another homage expressed. Uncle Junior is often the real comic relief and indirect savant a la Norton.

  41. You’re certainly looking a lot deeper than me! What I picked up on was Tony’s mannerisms, especially when he knows he’s dead wrong in any number of situations. Picture Ralph when he has to grudgingly admit to Alice that women’s work is a hell of a lot tougher than he thought.

    Don’t know if you agree, but Springsteen’s greatest accomplishment was creating an avenue for Steve Van Zandt which would eventually lead to his role as Silvio Dante.

    The Sopranos is indeed a series of endless unforgettable scenes that never fail to deliver upon repeated viewings.Again, I never tire of hearing “Paperback Writer” , nor would I leave the room should somebody be watching the Sopranos episode in which Tony is told by Ralph’s girlfriend that Ralph asked her to scrape a cheese grater across his balls.

    Simply put, you’re missing out big time if you haven’t watched the thing.

  42. mockcarr

    I’m just glad Van Zandt hasn’t made use of that role to foist himself into other places. Next time you watch Goodfellas, see if you can spot all the future Sopranos actors. Even The Godfather II has Junior in it as Johnny Ola, a key figure in Fredo’s downfall. Imagine how much shorter The Irishman might have been without Van Zandt in it. Well, a few seconds anyway.

  43. Pussy’s in Goodfellas. He’s pushing a rack of furs in the back of the restaurant where the “Funny like a clown?” scene takes place.

    Me and the wife recently watched Godfather II, which was a real disappointment. It didn’t hold up, although I did enjoy seeing Junior. I actually had to snort speed to stay awake during the Irishman.

    It’s the pits when things don’t hold up. Vonnegut was my man when I was right out of college. I can’t read him anymore. The thrill is gone. Is that kind of thing happening with you? If so, with what?

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