Apr 172012

Listening to The Animals‘ “We’ve Gotta Get Out of This Place” this morning I started thinking about how well the band fit into the early ’60s UK vibe of “kitchen sink” dramas, including movies like This Sporting Life, the excellent proto-Raging Bull-like tale of a working class rugby star, played by Richard Harris. The band’s music and Look seem to naturally flow right out of that period of British film-making, moreso than contemporaries like The Rolling Stones, who always had a bit of a dandy side, and the early Pretty Things, who lacked an inherently shat-upon frontman like Eric Burdon. Maybe someone knew what they were doing in deliberately crafting this band’s image and sound, but I’d like to think they arrived at these characteristics through an artistic trickle-down effect.

Are there other artists who seem to naturally flow out of a specific period in film-making?


  11 Responses to “You Ought to Be in Pictures!”

  1. I often make these associations:

    Yo La Tengo: Hal Hartley
    Pulp: Mike Leigh
    The Velvet Underground: Andy Warhol (too obvious?)

  2. bostonhistorian

    There are a number of Gershwin pieces from the 1920s and early 1930s that are very cinematic. It’s hard not to imagine them as being envisioned for the screen.

  3. Happiness Stan

    Going off slightly at a tangent, there were several UK bands of the early 60s who were very much offspring of The Goon Show and British radio humour – The Beatles, Lennon in particular, channeled them into their public personas and the Christmas records (and George Martin had worked regularly with the Goons before becoming forever associated with the Fabs). The Bonzos are the most obvious missing link between the Goons and the Pythons, while The Goodies grew out of the early radio and TV shows which led to Python.

    Has anyone ever done the Goons on here?

  4. mockcarr

    No Goon show pieces yet, nor Spike Milligan offshoots, though I know Hrrundi is a fan. The closest comparison is probably Bob and Ray for we Americans, and that’s much gentler in its subversive effect since there was McCarthy, Cohn and Nixon to keep things “clean”. I think the US radio comedy that survived the transition to TV was more star-driven situational than ensemble, like Jack Benny, Burns and Allen, etc. Perhaps something broad like Your Show Of Shows was the only thing that got by somewhat. But naturally this was all before my time and merely syncopated viewings.

  5. mockcarr

    Having said that, of course, Jack Benny had some excellent sidemen to play off of like Rochester, Frank Nelson, and Mel Blanc.

  6. mockcarr

    Also, every bit of acting in that Sporting Life sample is impossibly hilarious in it’s Broderick Crawfordesque speed and awkwardness. I never realized what SCTV alumnus Dave Thomas used to get that Richard Harris characterization down properly. Thanks!

  7. hrrundivbakshi

    I think Bob & Ray and Spike Milligan have a great deal in common, though it may not be plain to see. Both specialized in skewering the inanity of — oh, just about everything — through the use of comedy that accentuated the absurdity of, again, just about everything. I can easily see, for example, Spike Milligan doing the straight-faced interviews with ridiculous people, like the man building a bridge across the Atlantic ocean, or the man who runs a paper clip factory where they assemble the clips by hand, etc. Long live Bob & Ray! Long live Spike Milligan!

  8. I’m glad you mentioned the Goon Show influence on The Beatles. I was thinking about them, but didn’t know if I should have muddied the waters with a radio show. As you’ve reminded us, Muddy Waters is sometimes necessary.

    I wasn’t sure if there was a band that grew out of the Ealing Studios vibe, maybe The Kinks?

  9. I’ve heard of the Goons were a big influence on Monty Python, so I assumed that they were abstract and absurd (in a good way). Wouldn’t that make their American counterpart Ernie Kovacs?

  10. hrrundivbakshi

    My dad loved the Goon Show. I always *wanted* to like it, but ultimately found it a bit too weird and, thus, hard to follow.

  11. BigSteve

    The Smiths have some of that pre ‘Sixties’ 60s British film vibe, especially in their album and single covers.

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