August 29, 2011

The Beatles at Candlestick




Today marks the 45th anniversary of the Beatles' final concert performance -- Candlestick Park, San Francisco, August 29th, 1966. The band did of course famously perform on the roof of Apple Studios in London in 1969, but that wasn't so much a concert as a short jam session -- sort of a final public performance for the band (and goodbye to the fans) as the group was in the process of disintegrating.

The Candlestick show was the final engagement on a 14-stop tour that criss-crossed the US and Canada The short set list includes a nice mix of early Beatles tracks ("Rock and Roll Music", "I Wanna Be Your Man") along with cuts from the 1966 album Rubber Soul ("Nowhere Man", "If I Needed Someone".)

There's a great article with more details about the concert here and if you'd like to download all the tracks, just click this link. A word of warning though -- although this is one of the Beatles most popular bootlegs, the audio quality is pretty terrible; it's almost painful to listen to. If you'd like a better quality concert, try this one from 1964, recorded at Convention Hall in Philadelphia.

August 25, 2011

The Payback

Heard James Brown's "The Payback" earlier today. I can remember that song from when I was a little kid (my older sister had the 45) but now, every time I hear it, I think of this scene from Dead Presidents. It's one of the best and most appropriate uses of song for a movie soundtrack that I can remember.

If you haven't seen it, the main character, Anthony (Larenz Tate) is a kid growing up in New York City in the early 70s. He's in a bar shooting pool for money against a young wannabe hoodlum, Cowboy (Terrence Howard.) Anthony wins the game and asks to get paid. Cowboy proceeds to cuss Anthony out, throw him down on the pool table and cut his face with a knife.

Later, Anthony joins the Marines and is shipped into combat in Vietnam -- where he winds up getting tough in a hurry. Anthony then gets out of the service and returns to the same bar, where he runs into Cowboy again. They start shooting pool... and then we hear that funky guitar intro to James Brown's classic. Enjoy. (Warning: Explicit Language)

August 22, 2011

Shot Through the Heart!...

Last week marked the 25th anniversary of the release of Bon Jovi's classic Slippery When Wet. The success of this album (8 weeks at number one) and its four hit singles "You Give Love a Bad Name", "Living On A Prayer", "Wanted Dead Or Alive", and "Never Say Goodbye" elevated Bon Jovi from "just another 80s hair band" to bonafide rock superstars. Here's a quick look back:

"You Give Love a Bad Name", the album's first single, was released in July of 1986 and began a steady climb to #1 on Billboard's Hot 100, ultimately reaching that peak position in November. The song's crunching guitar intro and catchy chorus help make it the ultimate "Get Psyched" song. But you don't have to believe me, just ask Barney from How I Met Your Mother.




The second single, "Living On A Prayer", was also a top hit -- four weeks at #1 in 1987 . Today, LOAP is a karaoke and Guitar Hero favorite, and it also holds the impressive distinction of being ranked #1 on VH1's list of the the 100 Greatest Songs of the 80s.




"Wanted Dead or Alive", Slippery When Wet's third single, peaked at #7 in early 1987. A few years later, Emilio Estevez asked Jon Bon Jovi for permission to use the song for the movie Young Guns II. Jon declined but did write and record a brand new song for the film's soundtrack, "Blaze of Glory", which hit #1 in September of 1990.



"Never Say Goodbye", the final single off Slippery When Wet, was released in August 1987, nearly a year to the date after the album was originally released. Though not as successful as the first three singles, the song's nostalgic, sentimental lyrics hold extra meaning for the band's older fans.


But We're Still Way Younger Than Mr. Furley, Right?


Here's a super-depressing thought for all of us who used to watch and enjoy Three's Company... We are now much closer to Mr. Roper's age then Jack Tripper's.


August 10, 2011

So Let Me Get This Straight... You're Complaining About Hot Women in Tight Leather?





Actress Anne Hathaway plays Catwoman in next summer's The Dark Knight Rises. Hathaway's a fine choice for this role. Dressed down, she has the pasty, plain Jane look of a bookwormish Selina Kyle (Catwoman's alter ego.) But Hathaway is also statuesque, and has the long lean figure you picture when you think of the classic feline villainess.



Last week, the first photos of Miss Hathaway on set in her Catwoman costume were released and apparently fanboys and other hardcore "Batman-o-philes" (should we call them "Batties") are up in arms. Judging from their comments, it seems the consensus among them is that this iteration of the Catwoman costume is too basic and boring and not "gadgety" enough.



On the one hand, I get it. These very vocal fans (all guys I presume) want something a little more sexed up. Maybe something low-cut, like this version of Catwoman from the Mortal Kombat vs DC Universe video game?


Or maybe they were thinking a kinky two-piece, strappy number with matching whip like Halle Berry wore in the 2004 Catwoman movie?



Maybe leather's not the way to go at all. Maybe they prefer the vinyl outfit worn by Michelle Pfeiffer in Batman Returns?

Or maybe go retro and put Hathaway in the original Catwoman costume worn by Julie Newmar opposite Adam West in the Batman TV series? (I took this shot of it last month at the Smithsonian Museum of American History in Washington D.C.)


A bit of perspective people. What the heck are you complaining about? Anne Hathaway is hot and her outfit is tight. And if you're looking for something sexier to "fantasize" to, just continue to troll the internet for perverted Batman fan art.


Posted by Dave Crump



Welcome Back, Welcome Back, Wel-come Baaaack

So in honor of the return of Pop Culture Fiend, here's the theme song from Welcome Back Kotter...


Now one interesting thing about this show, is that it was based on part of creator and star Gabe Kaplan's stand-up comedy routine where he recounts his high school years growing up in Brooklyn. The routine is featured on the EXTREMELY hard to find comedy album Holes and Mellow Rolls, for which the cover art originally looked like this...


















After Welcome Back Kotter became a hit, however, the album was re-released with cover art that tied into the show.
..

























In any case, it's a brilliantly funny LP, and in addition to his tales of the real-life sweathogs, Kaplan delivers hilarious bits on feminine hygiene, The Exorcist, and masturbating astronauts.

WBK ran on ABC for a total of four seasons, at which point it completely fell apart due to the departure of star John Travolta. But I was pleasantly surprised to see that when TV Land honored the series this past April, Travolta (though he's the only cast member that's still relevant in Hollywood today) happily joined his fellow cast mates, minus Ron Palillo (Arnold Horshack) to accept the award.




Of course, no discussion of WBK would be complete without a mention of rap artist Mase's use of the WBK theme song in his 2004 "comeback" song, "Welcome Back". This probably the most interesting sample in the history of hip-hop since Jay Z copped the banjo licks from Green Acres for the intro to The Blueprint. (Okay, that didn't really happen but wouldn't it be cool if it did?)



And finally, someone needs to tell me why a great show like WBK is not available on DVD. I mean, you can get the first season, but that's it. ABC, Warner Brothers Television and whoever else, please get on the ball with this. We want to see more stuff like this:


I'm Back, Big as Life and Twice as Ugly!

After an exclusive tour of Europe, Scandanavia and the Subcontinent, Pop Culture Fiend is back!!!!

Where've I been since December 2010?... Working on screenplays a bit, but mostly just painfully suffering through this mortal coil. But I'm sure you don't care about that...


I actually wanted to bring back the blog at the beginning of the year, but I felt I needed to go through the site first, fixing broken links, and give PCF.com a general facelift. But like I always say, "Time is a motherf**ker", and I just couldn't put enough consecutive hours in to get everything done. So I finally figured, "Screw it", I'll just jump right back into it and fix what I can when I can.

So what should you expect? More of what we're known for --
highlights, remembrances and discussion of American pop culture (with lots of focus on 80s and 90s related stuff), plus a new Facebook page, more reader interaction, exclusive video from the Pop Culture Fiend archives, and maybe even some guest bloggers.

So please subscribe, follow us on Twitter, share us on Facebook, and as we start pumping out the new content, be sure catch up on some of our old posts.

 
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