On This Date, October 23rd in 1972: Filming began for the British film That’ll Be the Day, a coming of age story set in the late 50s / early 60s starring David Essex (of “Rock On” fame) and Ringo Starr, with Keith Moon in a memorable, drum playing cameo. That’ll Be the Day is a fairly bleak look at life in post-war Britain and, more importantly, the central character, Jim (David Essex) isn’t a very nice guy. But if you’re a fan of The Beatles, this film is a fascinating re-creation of the environment in which they and the entire British Invasion came of age. Of further interest to fans of The Beatles and The Who, the film is somewhat based on the early life of John Lennon, and Pete Townshend wrote the song “Long Live Rock” for the soundtrack. That’ll Be the Day has never been released on DVD but you can stream it online if you subscribe to Netflix. The story moves a little slowly, but it is worth checking out.
Album of The Year, 2006
I think David Bowie started it all in 1973 with Pin Ups, an album on which he performs some of his favorite songs by mid ’60s British groups. Since then, the name-act-pays-tribute-to-its-influences album has been done well by Duran Duran (Thank You) and less well by A Prefect Circle (eMOTIVe). But now I think Def Leppard has recorded possibly the best and most exciting album of covers ever with Yeah!, which was released last Tuesday. The most amazing thing about this record is not only how it makes painfully obvious how much most modern bands completely suck, but also how vibrant and authentic Def Leppard’s versions of these songs sound. I had no idea that Joe Elliott was such a vocal chameleon. I can, with no trace of irony, say that Yeah! is my favorite album of the year so far.
The track listing for YEAH! is as follows:
“20th Century Boy” (T. Rex, 1973)
“Rock On” (David Essex, 1973)
“Hanging On The Telephone” (originally recorded by The Nerves in 1977, and Blondie in 1978)
“Waterloo Sunset” (The Kinks, 1967)
“Hell Raiser” (Sweet, 1973: Listen to the opening guitar riff and tell me Nikki Sixx didn’t conveniently “borrow” that for “Kick Start My Heart”)
“10538 Overture” ( Electric Light Orchestra, 1972)
“Street Life” (Roxy Music, 1973: My favorite Roxy Music song ever)
“Drive-In Saturday” (David Bowie, 1973)
“Little Bit Of Love” (Free, 1972)
“The Golden Age Of Rock & Roll” (Mott the Hoople, 1974)
“No Matter What” (Badfinger, 1970)
“He’s Gonna Step On You Again” (originally recorded by John Kongos in 1971 but probably better known by the Happy Mondays’ version, “Step On,” released in 1990)
“Don’t Believe A Word (Thin Lizzy, 1976)
“Stay With Me” (Faces, 1971)
Regardless of how you feel about Def Leppard — who have been one of my favorite bands forever — if you love and miss the glory days of ’70s rock, Yeah! is absolutely essential listening. Great job guys!