For the Eagles it was a risky venture breaking out from the shadows of Linda Rondstadt. For a time they were her back up group, and were going to stay that way. That is, until they decided that they had much more to offer the music world than back up vocals for someone as amazing as Rondstadt. In the end, standing up for themselves and breaking apart from Linda Rondstadt proved an incredible but successful risk for the group. Unlike the Pips, they managed to show the world they were much more than back up vocals. For many years they had to show everyone that they were a true rock band, a true group of artists and truly contributors to the mythos of classic rock much like The Who and Led Zeppelin.
Zeppelin is thankfully not a band that has spent many years announcing their retirement only to return a few years later for a revival tour. When they perform it’s a special occasion, because they rarely ever get together to jam. When they’re together, they make magic, and you know it may never happen again. Since the death of John Bonham, the surviving members of Zeppelin have spent years hesitant to try to re-capture the magic that was Led Zeppelin, so they don’t make it a habit of re-uniting and continuing on. In 2007, the band came together to perform at the Ahmet Ertegun Tribute Concert for a rare line up of some of their greatest and most rocking tunes ever recorded, and took it upon themselves to make it available to fans.
When you get down to it, Toto is the most important aspect of the entire epic. He discovers the Cowardly Lion, The Wicked Witch, The Flying Monkeys, he marches in place with the incognito troop from Oz, and surely enough he is the one who manages to uncloak The Wizard and reveal him to be nothing but smoke and mirrors. He’s the twisted government official who is little more than a sniveling little man hiding behind a sheet and some smoke. Toto has always managed to be regarded as something of a secondary element to the overall narrative of this adaptation, but when you get down to it he’s pretty much the audience, the one who watches and goes along with all of the other characters in hopes of making heads or tails of this whole charade. He’s the watcher, and surely enough, he’s the one who keeps Dorothy and the group’s moral center in tact the entire time they’re fighting with apple throwing trees and that dreaded field that puts the entire clan to sleep.
Ken Mansfield’s “The White Book” is that rare collector’s item that music buffs, and hardcore fans of classic rock and pop will want to and simply have to own to read up on The Beatles, and how utterly influential they were on the artists that succeeded them. The Beatles molded music, and even years after their split, author Mansfield tells their story from a new angle that collectors will be anxious to get into.
Upon receiving an early copy to read and review, I found myself immediately thrown into the prose that Mansfield drops into the book like a how-to manual and yet he very simplistically explains his methods of madness and his hob knobbing with big stars that he almost always adored when working with. All except the Beatles who he loved as friends, but could never really love them as artists until years later.
The Beatles are now and have always been four men who carried with them a presence that is hard to pin down or describe. Something about these fab four, these mop tops always inspired an attraction from music lovers and fans around the world. It doesn’t matter what they did or do, people responded and they came in droves to watch the four do what they did best. The transition to film is rarely a successful venture for a musical star. Many times you’ll see a singer anxiously trying to act and failing or just pretty much supplying a string of mediocre performances. “A Hard Day’s Night” makes no bones about itself. It’s a vehicle, a promotional tool, and of course a way for fans to see the Beatles without going to a concert.
In this loving ode to rock and music, the always funny Jack Black stars as slacker and freeloader Dewey Finn, a passionate rock buff who is kicked out of his band after antics and attempts to hog the spotlight. Pressured by his roommate to make some money for his share of the rent, he’s threatened to get a job or be kicked out. He then poses as a substitute teacher to make the money and stumbles onto an elementary class of shy students with zero confidence and after witnessing their musical talents decides to form a band for the battle of the bands.
The movie starts off sometime in the sixties with Francis McDormand (Wonder Boys, Fargo) talking to a young William Miller (Patrick Fugit) our reluctant hero about characters from “To Kill a Mocking Bird”, The sister comes home with a record of “Simon & Garfunkel” which the mother bans in the house along with Eggs, Bacon, and meat. Eventually The sister leaves home to become a stewardess and tells William: “Look under your bed. It will set you free”. The Young William discovers a case of classic rock records Like “Zeppelin”, “Cream” and “The Who”. He then begins playing “The Who’s Tommy” and gets introduced into another world. We fast-forward into 1973, where young William becomes an amateur rock critic. He then is sent on an assignment with a not so famous band Named “Stillwater”, where he is introduced into a world of rock, women, and love.