My criteria: The song had to be specifically written for the film in question. “Singing In The Rain” may have been the title song of a classic movie, but it was written for the film Hollywood Revue of 1929 NOT for the 1951 musical starring Gene Kelly.

The songs also had be at least twenty years old, which gives us enough time to track its longevity. It’s one thing for a song to be popular for a moment, but after twenty years, you can began to judge the quality of its vintage.

So, here’s my list, in alphabetical order.

A Hard Day’s Night  – The Beatles (From A Hard Day’s Night)

a_hard_days_night_singleThe first of two Beatles songs on this list. The idea for the song came from one of Ringo Starr’s malapropisms. Lennon wrote the song in one day, and it was recorded in three hours. Lennon shared vocals with McCartney (who could reach the high notes in the bridge – “When I’m hooome!”). Musically, the song opens with George Harrison’s iconic Rickenbacker 12-string “mighty chord” and features one of Harrison’s greatest early guitar solos. The song closes with Harrison playing an arpeggio of the opening chord for the fade-out.  A classic early Beatles rocker.

All Over The World – ELO (From Xanadu)

elo-electric-light-orchestra-jeff-lynne-7-single-p-s-all-over-the-world_29570885From a movie so bad, it inspired the creation of the Golden Raspberry Awards to mock the worst from Hollywood. However, as bad as it is (and it’s pretty awful) the music is consistently excellent, mainly thanks to the involvement of Jeff Lynne who wrote five songs for the film. John Lennon, shortly before his death, committed on how much he liked “All Over the World.” The song became a Top 20 hit in America, and was famously well used in the Simon Pegg sci-fi comedy Paul. Forty years later, it is still a concert highlight for Jeff Lynne.

Beauty and the Beast – Angela Lansbury (From Beauty and the Beast)

beauty and beastThis beautiful classic poetic ballad was written by lyricist Howard Ashman and composer Alan Menken, specifically for the Disney film. They encouraged Lansbury to “sing it as she saw it.”  Lansbury was worried that her aging voice was not up to the challenge but recorded her version in one take, which wound up being used in the final film. Producer Don Hahn recalled that the actress simply “sang ‘Beauty and the Beast’ from beginning to end and just nailed it.”

East Bound and Down – Jerry Reed (From Smokey and the Bandit)

jerry-reed-east-bound-and-down-rca-gold-standardWritten by Jerry Reed and Dick Feller, the song was a massive hit for Reed (#2 Country Charts; #3 Billboard Pop). During filming, Hal Needam, director of “Smokie and the Bandit”, commented that he didn’t have any music for the film. Two days later, Reed came back with three songs that were used in the movie unchanged, including ‘East Bound and Down.’

Eye Of The Tiger – Survivor (From Rocky III)

survivor-eye-of-the-tiger-7-single--2_25581322“Eye of the Tiger” is the song for the most famous work-out montage of all time, and is still the greatest tune to run up art museum steps to.

The song was written by Survivor guitarist Frankie Sullivan and keyboardist Jim Peterik, and recorded at the request of  Sylvester Stallone, after Queen denied him permission to use “Another One Bites the Dust”, the song Stallone originally intended as the Rocky III theme.

Footloose – Kenny Loggins (From Footloose)

footloose_soundtrack_1984Co-written and recorded by American singer-songwriter Kenny Loggins, the song spent three weeks at number one, March 31—April 14,1984 on the US Billboard Hot 100, and was the first of two number-one hits from the film. Billboard ranked it at the No. 4 song for 1984.

Freddie’s Dead – Curtis Mayfield (From Super Fly)

freddies deadThe first single from the 1972 soundtrack album for the film Super Fly. The single was released before the Super Fly album, and in fact before the film itself was in theaters. The song peaked at #4 on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100 and #2 on the R&B chart.

The song laments the death of Fat Freddie, a character in the film who is run over by a car.

Like most of the music from the Super Fly album, “Freddie’s Dead” appears in the film only in an instrumental arrangement, without any lyrics. The song’s music is featured prominently in the film’s opening sequence and also recurs at several other points. The arrangement is driven by a strong bass line, wah wah guitars, and a melancholy string orchestration.

“Freddie’s Dead” was ruled ineligible for the Academy Award for Best Original Song because its lyrics are not sung in the film.

Ghostbusters – Ray Parker, Jr (From Ghostbusters)

According to Parker, he was approached by the film’s producers to create a theme song for the film, though he only had a few days to do so and the film’s title seemed impossible to include in any lyrics. However, when watching television late at night, Parker saw a cheap commercial for a local service that reminded him that the film had a similar commercial featured for the fictional business. This inspired him to write the song as a pseudo-advertising jingle that the business could have commissioned as a promotion.

When the theme song of Ghostbusters was released, Huey Lewis sued  plagiarism, stating that Parker’s song was too similar to Lewis’s “I Want a New Drug.” Lewis had initially been approached to compose the main theme song for the film. The parties ultimately settled out of court.

It also contains footage from the film and features cameos from many celebrities of the day, all of whom exclaim the song’s “Ghostbusters!” refrain when shown.

Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas – Judy Garland (From Meet Me In St. Louis)

have-yourself-a-merry-little-christmas-judy-garland-220x220The first of two Judy Garland appearances on this list. Written by Hugh Martin and Ralph Blane, the was introduced by Judy Garland in the 1944 musical Meet Me in St. Louis.  On Christmas Eve, Judy Garland’s character, Esther, sings the song to cheer up her despondent five-year-old sister, Tootie, played by Margaret O’Brien.  In 2007 it was ranked as the third most performed Christmas song and is a bone fide classic American song.

Help! – The Beatles (From Help!)

helpWritten by John Lennon (with help from Paul McCartney.) According to Lennon’s cousin and Stanley Parkes, “Help!” was written after Lennon “came in from the studio one night. ‘God,’ he said, ‘they’ve changed the title of the film: it’s going to be called ‘Help!’ now. So I’ve had to write a new song with the title called ‘Help!’” Lennon later recounted: “The whole Beatles thing was just beyond comprehension. I was subconsciously crying out for help.”

It is ranked at #29 on Rolling Stones 500 Greatest Songs Of All Time. ‘ It is considered by critics as the first crack in the protective shell Lennon had built around his emotions during the Beatles’ rise to fame, and an important milestone in the development of his songwriting style.

Live And Let Die – Paul McCartney & Wings (From Live and Let Die)

live and let dieEven before the movie began filming, Bond producers invited Paul McCartney to write the theme song utilizing the title. McCartney asked to be sent a copy of Ian Fleming’s novel. “I read it and thought it was pretty good. That afternoon I wrote the song and went in the next week and did it … It was a job of work for me in a way because writing a song around a title like that’s not the easiest thing going.”

The producers wanted to have someone else perform it, but McCartney insisted that if they wanted the song, McCartney’s version was to be used over the opening credits. Produced by the legendary George Martin, it is now considered to be the best of the Bond themes. McCartney often wins the throw-in-an-extra-preposition-and-call-it-art award for the line, “And in this ever changing world in which we live in.”

Mrs. Robinson – Simon and Garfunkel (From the Graduate)

robinson“Mrs. Robinson” became the duo’s second chart-topper, hitting number one on the Billboard Hot 100, and peaking within the top 10 of multiple other countries. In 1969, it became the first rock song to win the Grammy Award for Record of the Year.

While recording their fourth LP, Bookends (1968) Paul Simon and Art Garfunkel pitched the song to director Mike Nichols after he had rejected two other songs intended for the film.

They had been working on a track titled “Mrs. Roosevelt“, about former first lady, Eleanor Roosevelt and performed it for Nichols. He was ecstatic about the song, later commenting, “They filled in with dee de dee dee de dee dee dee because there was no verse yet, but I liked even that.” Garfunkel later expanded upon the song’s placement in The Graduate:

“Paul had been working on what is now ‘Mrs. Robinson’, but there was no name in it and we’d just fill in with any three-syllable name. And because of the character in the picture we just began using the name ‘Mrs. Robinson’ to fit […] and one day we were sitting around with Mike talking about ideas for another song. And I said ‘What about Mrs. Robinson.’ Mike shot to his feet. ‘You have a song called “Mrs. Robinson” and you haven’t even shown it to me?’ So we explained the working title and sang it for him. And then Mike froze it for the picture as ‘Mrs. Robinson’.

Raindrops Keep Fallin’ On My Head – B. J. Thomas (From Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid)

b.j. thomas – raindrops keep falling on my headWritten by Hal David and Burt Bacharach it won an Academy Award for Best Original Song.. In the film version of the song, B.J. Thomas had been recovering from laryngitis, which made his voice sound hoarser than normal. Billboard Magazine also ranked the song 15th on its Top 50 Movie Songs of All Time list in 2014.

Thomas, who In 1968, was a run-of-the-mill moderately successful country-pop singer when he was offered the song for the movie, which changed his life. In 2011, he recounted:

“The song, initially when it came out, I believe it was October of 1969, the movie didn’t come out until December, it did get some bad reviews. It was a very unique and different sounding song, Bacharach and David never had any qualms about trying to do anything different, or push the envelope so to speak. So nowadays, it sounds pretty tame, but back then, radio resisted it to some degree. But, when the movie came out it hit hugely and sold about 200,000 to 300,000 records a day [and continued selling] for about three years.”

On December 3, 2013, the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences announced that the single would be inducted into the 2014 Grammy Hall Of Fame.

Over The Rainbow – Judy Garland (From the Wizard of Oz)

judy_garlandComposed by Harold Arlen with lyrics by Yip Harburg for the movie The Wizard of Oz and sung by Judy Garland. It won the Academy Award for Best Original Song and became Garland’s signature song.

The song was deleted from the film after a preview because MGM chief executive Louis B. Mayer and producer Mervyn LeRoy thought it “slowed down the picture.” Thankfully, it was reinstated. One of the greatest songs of the 20th century.

Rainbow Connection – Kermit the Frog (From The Muppet Movie)

Written by Paul Williams and Kenneth Ascher who were tasked with writing the songs for The Muppet Movie. For the song that became “Rainbow Connection”, Jim Henson told them that the opening scene should feature Kermit the Frog by himself, singing and playing the banjo. Williams and Ascher wrote most of the song fairly quickly at Williams’ house, but got stuck trying to think of appropriate words for the part in the chorus that eventually became the phrase “the rainbow connection”; they were looking for a way to tie in the chorus to the song’s theme of rainbows. As they sat down for dinner with Williams’ then-wife, Kate Clinton, they explained to her their predicament of looking for a phrase that would provide “a rainbow connection”, then realized, in the course of explaining the problem to her, that the phrase “the rainbow connection” would itself be a good fit.

The song has been described as on “which Kermit the Frog sings with all the dreamy wistfulness of a short, green Judy Garland. ‘Rainbow Connection’ serves the same purpose in The Muppet Movie that ‘Over the Rainbow’ served in The Wizard of Oz, with nearly equal effectiveness: an opening establishment of the characters’ driving urge for something more in life.”

(Theme from) Shaft – Issac Hayes (From Shaft )

isaac-hayes-theme-from-shaft-1971“Who’s the black private dick, that’s a sex machine to all the chicks? / (Shaft!) Ya damn right”

Written and recorded by Isaac Hayes in 1971, the song made it to #1 on the Billboard Hot 100 and is considered by some to be one of the first disco songs. The funkiest song on this list, with one of the greatest bass lines ever. Can ya dig it? Shut yo mouth!

Stayin’ Alive – The Bee Gees (From Saturday Night Fever)

bee_gees_stayin_aliveThe greatest disco song ever? Possibly. This song, and the rest of the soundtrack, pushed a mediocre movie into the stratosphere, and turned John Travolta into a movie star.

The Bee Gees were asked to write songs for a proposed movie that did not have a title; in fact, all they were told was it was based on New York magazine cover story about discomania.

They wrote “Stayin’ Alive” over the course of a few days. The track was finished, with Maurice Gibb laying down a bass line similar to the guitar riff, Barry Gibb and Alan Kendall on guitar riffs.. Barry sings falsetto on the whole song, except on the line “life’s going nowhere, somebody help me.”

Due to the death of drummer Dennis Bryon’s mother in the middle of the song’s sessions, they took two bars from the drum track of the already-recorded “Night Fever” track, rerecorded them as a recurrent loop on a separate tape, and proceeded with sessions for “Stayin’ Alive”. This accounts for the unchanging rhythm throughout the song.

We Don’t Need Another Hero – Tina Turner (From Mad Max: Beyond Thunderdome)

tinaThis classic power ballad, written by Terry Britten and Graham Lyle, who had written Turner’s massive comeback hit the year before What’s Love Got To Do With It”, were able to repeat the success with this song, giving Turner a second massive worldwide hit (#2 America). Co-starring with Mel Gibson in the 3rd of the Mad Max blockbuster, also helped ignite her career.

When Doves Cry – Prince (From Purple Rain)

prince-when-doves-cryThe lead single from his 1984 album Purple Rain, Prince performs all vocals and plays all instruments on the track. It was a worldwide hit, and his first American number one single, topping the charts for five weeks. It is unusual due to the fact there is no bass line in the song, unheard of in a 1980s dance track. After Prince’s death in 2016, the song re-entered the Billboard Top Ten and has become one of his most iconic songs.


A Review: Everybody Had An Ocean by William McKeen

31621229Didn’t learn a lot of “new” things reading this, but it’s a pretty comprehensive, journalistic overview of the underbelly of the “peace-love-surf” hippy music culture of the 60s – you know, the ones the media always claims was the greatest music ever. The book reconfirms many of my long held beliefs that half of those folks were not that talented, just a lucky product of the drug-induced culture at the time.

And, as if it wasn’t obvious to most folks already, it also reconfirmed that Mike Love is a lucky jerk and David Crosby and Jim Morrison were awful human beings. Good thing (for them) most of the awful acts these hippies inflicted upon the world was overshadowed by a legitimate evil – Charlie Manson and his family.

Charleston Night Market – March 16

eap - night market


East Atlantic Publishing will be Doin’ the Charleston in the Charleston Night Market each Friday and Saturday evening, 6:30 – 10:30 p.m.  Mark Jones and/or Rebel Sinclair will be manning a booth, and autographed copies all EAP books will be for sale. Come see us for a book, or conversation. If you have questions about Charleston history or culture, we’ll be glad to talk with you! 


atomacon - mark and reb

Mark Jones & Rebel Sinclair

Lullaby, a Spenser Novel (A Review)

I’m not a fan of other writers taking over popular series after the death of the originating author. It always looks like a greedy grab by the author’s family. As a fan of the original Spenser novels by Robert B. Parker (well, the first 20 at least) and as a huge fan of Ace Atkins, I decided to give this one a try.

My first hope was that Atkins was smart enough to realize that the major problem with the later Spenser novels was the every-growing role of the most annoying character in crime fiction history, Susan Silverman. Another issue was that Hawk had been reduced to a walk-on caricature of his former brilliant presence.

13269092Too bad, Atkins stayed with the formula of the latter Spenser books. Spenser meets a client. Spenser has dinner or sex (both) with Susan where she uses her “brilliance as a therapist” to ask Spenser questions in which he impart his fears/concerns etc … Oh God … how tedious. I’m guessing that since Susan is obviously a romanticized version of Parker’s wife, Joan, that maybe Atkins was contractually obligated to make sure Susan has a large role. Any other reason makes no sense whatsoever.

I can safely say that I will not read any of the other Atkins-written Spenser novels. If I ever do read another Spenser novel, I’ll go back to the original 20. Here’s hoping Atkins gets creative and Susan Silverman gets killed in some creative way, which will jump start Spenser and Hawk back into their former selves and seek righteous retribution.

Not holding my breath.

2 palmettos


Today In Charleston History, August 9

1792, August 9. Commerce. Culture. Theater.

The contract to construct the new theater for West and Bignall was given to Captain Anthony Toomer, with the understanding that the building was to be finished in January 1793.  The lot for the theater was a triangle parcel at Broad and Middleton streets, and the high ground of Savage’s Green (present-day New Street), purchased from Henry Middleton for £500 sterling.     

There is some evidence that the theater was designed by James Hoban, who had lived in Charleston for a couple of years while helping design and build the Charleston County Courthouse.


charleston theater, broad and new streets

Rendering of the New Theater at Savage’s Green, facing Broad Street (present day location of New and Broad Streets)


Carolina Day – June 28, 1776.

This is the entire sequence of events that took place in Charleston on June 28, 1776, from the forthcoming Charleston Almanac (East Atlantic Publishing).

1776, June 28. Rev. Cooper Prays for British Victory.

      Rev. Robert Cooper prayed from St. Michael’s pulpit that “the King might be strengthened to defeat his enemies.”

1776, June 28. Battle of Sullivan’s Island.

        Early that morning, Col. Moultrie rode on horseback from Fort Sullivan to Breach Inlet to consult with Col. Thompson. As he and Thompson were talking, they observed the British men-of-war vessels loosening their topsails, a sure sign they were preparing to get under way. Moultrie galloped the three miles back to the fort and ordered the drummers to beat the long roll. The 435 troops in the fort sprang into action to man their posts.

      The detachment inside the fort was comprised of infantrymen of the Second South Carolina Regiment and 33 artillerists from the Fourth South Carolina Regiment. Moultrie’s staff included Lt. Colonel Issac Motte, Maj. Francis Marion, and Lt. Thomas Moultrie.   

      Marion was a severe taskmaster who did not tolerate nonsense. He kept the enlisted men busy upgrading the fortifications of the fort, alongside black slaves “whether they liked it or not.” He ordered no beer or rum purchased without “specific permission.”


attack-charleston, birds eye

Charlestown harbor, 1776, with the British fleet approaching. Sullivan’s Island 
to the right and Fort Johnson to the left, creating the narrow channel that ships
must pass through to enter the harbor. Courtesy of the New York Public Library


1776, June 28. Battle of Sullivan’s Island.     

     The first major naval battle of the Revolution commenced at 11:30 a.m. when the Thunder lobbed a thirteen-inch explosive mortar shell over the fort, which landed on the roof of the powder magazine. It failed to explode and did little damage. Had the shell not been a dud, the battle could have come to an abrupt conclusion with that one shot.

      As soon as the British ships came into range, Moultrie opened fire with the guns on the southeast bastion. Moultrie termed the situation “one continual blaze and roar, with clouds of smoke curling over … for hours together.”

      Although greatly outnumbered, and with vastly inferior armaments, the South Carolina troops kept the British fleet from entering the harbor. The British cannonballs embedded themselves in the pulpy palmetto logs with no damage to the fort. At the same time, Col. Thompson and his 400 men managed to hold The Breach, thwarting British efforts to cross and land troops on Sullivan’s Island. British soldiers, weighted down with their equipment trying to cross the Breach, sank in water above their heads.

      Two hours into the fight, Gen. Lee, observing the battle at Haddrell’s Point, sent Maj. Francis Otway Byrd in a canoe to Fort Sullivan with a message to Moultrie, that “if the powder in the fort was expended” he should spike the guns and evacuate. To Moultrie, that was not an option. He was having good success and a retreat was unthinkable. Moultrie however, was running short of powder, having expended 4,766 pounds of the available 5,400 pounds. The situation was so dire that Moultrie ordered cannons fired at intervals of ten minutes for each gun, only when there was a clear target sighted. Moultrie sent Francis Marion with a small party to the armed schooner Defence and returned with 300 pounds of powder.

      Maj. Byrd returned to Haddrell’s Point and informed Gen. Lee things were going “astonishingly well.” Encouraged, Lee contacted Pres. Rutledge, who sent 500 pounds of powder to the fort with a note, “Honor and Victory, my good sir, to you and our worthy countrymen with you.”

     Seven miles away in the city, thousands of spectators watched the battle from waterfront vantage points or from rooftops and second-story piazzas.

      Around 4 p.m. General Lee arrived at Fort Sullivan from Haddrell’s Point. To allow Lee’s entrance into the fort several of the Second South Carolina had to leave their guns and remove the timber that was barricading the back entrance. The British took that as a sign the fort was being abandoned. After inspecting the fort Lee told Moultrie, “Colonel, I see you are doing very well here, you have no occasion for me.”

fort sullivan - attack



Battle of Sullivan’s Island, June 28, 1776, two views. Courtesy of the New York Public Library     


Three of the Royal ships, Syren, Actaeon and Sphinx, ran afoul of each other and grounded on a shoal called “Middle Ground” where Fort Sumter was eventually built.

       In the midst of the battle, a British projectile broke the fort’s flagstaff. Sgt. William Jasper called out to Moultrie, “Colonel, don’t let us fight without our flag!” Moultrie, well aware of the audience watching in the city, asked Jasper what could be done. Jasper volunteered to retrieve.

       He “leapt over the ramparts” and, shouted, “Don’t let us fight without a color!” Captain Horry described Jasper’s action:

He deliberately walked the whole length of the fort, until he came to the colors on the extremity of the left, when he cut off the same from the mast, and called to me for a sponge staff, and with a thick cord tied on the colors and stuck the staff on the rampart in the sand. The sergeant, fortunately, received no hurt, though exposed for a considerable time, to the enemy’s fire.

      Moultrie wrote, “Our flag once more waving in the air, revived the drooping spirits of our friends; they continued looking on, till night had closed the scene, and hid us from their view.”


jasper flag

Sgt. Jasper replacing the South Carolina flag during the battle
of Sullivan’s Island. Courtesy of the New York Public Library



      As American shot bombarded into the British men-of-war, one round landed on the Bristol’s quarterdeck and rendered Sir Peter Parker’s “Britches … quite torn off, his backside laid bare, his thigh and knee wounded.” The Acteon was grounded and severely damaged.

      More than 2,500 British troops attempted to cross Breach Inlet from Long Island (Isle of Palms) to Sullivan’s Island.  They were stopped due to the depth of the water, and the fire from Thompson’s troops on the Sullivan’s Island side.

     By 9:30 p.m. Parker withdrew and Francis Marion fired the last shot from Fort Sullivan at the retreating Royal Navy. Moultrie sent word to Rutledge that the British ships had retired and that South Carolina was victorious. The reports came in from the ten-hour battle:

  • British: 78 dead, 152 wounded. Lord William Campbell was wounded during the battle and later died of his wounds.
  • American: 12 dead, 25 wounded. 5 died of their wounds later.

      The Bristol had been hit seventy times.

1776, June 28.  Declaration of Independence.

      While the Battle of Sullivan’s Island raged, in Philadelphia Thomas Jefferson, Benjamin Franklin, and John Adams presented a final draft of the Declaration of Independence to the Continental Congress. While South Carolinians were exchanging shot-for-shot with the British Navy, the Declaration was read to the Congress.

almanac cover - official

Sarah Bernhard Appears in Charleston

bernhardt-sarah-1880Sarah Bernhardt appeared at the Academy of Music in “La Tosca” on January 21, 1892. Her appearance was treated like that of royalty. A local reviewer for the “News and Courier”, who referred to Bernhardt as “the divine Sarah,” also wrote that the theater “had rarely held as brilliant and cultivated an audience who were spellbound through love, hate, scorn, revenge, and disgust, all of which had full sway in the role.”


The two lower floors of the Academy sold out for Bernhardt’s performance within forty-eight hours. The day before, the “News and Courier” warned the audience about the “bonnet boycott” if they were attending.


(From “The News and Courier, Jan. 20, 1892)
Bonnets and Bernhardt do not go together. We do not mean … that the Divine Sarah has discarded the use of bonnets; on the contrary her headgear is said to be perfectly lovely; and we wish to convey the idea to the ladies of Charleston that bonnets will be entirely out of place at the Bernhardt performance … It is suggested that all ladies leave their bonnets at home unless indeed they are small enough not to interfere with the view.

“A Sufferer” goes so far as to suggest that it would be entirely proper for the Reporters of the News and Courier to take down for publication the names of all the ladies who go to the Academy wearing any particularly offensive hats or bonnets. Another correspondent “who paid three dollars to see Bernhardt, and not to gaze at ‘Miss Brown’s bonnet’” suggests that the new Chief of Police might distinguish the beginning of his administration by posting a strong force of men at the Academy to keep all the high hats out of the house!

It is true that some ladies have to wear hats as a protection, but the ladies of Charleston never look so sweet and charming as when they display their queenly heads unencumbered by the frippery of the milliner’s art. There is no reason why any lady in Charleston should keep her head covered at the Bernhardt performance tomorrow night.


Academy of Music photo: from “Memories of the Professional and Social Life of John E. Owens, By His Wife.” 1892.
Sarah Bernhardt photo: from Library of Congress