Friday, October 15, 2010

Weekend Listomania (Special Everybody's In Showbiz Edition)

Well, it's Friday and you know what that means. Yes, my Oriental glottal stop instructress Fah Lou Suee and I will be heading off to beautiful Flathead County, Montana, where we'll be investigating some of the odder reports in the recent Flathead Beacon Police Blotter. We're particularly taken with this item, from Monday: "Three vicious pit bulls on Kelley Road slobbered on a pregnant woman while she was out walking her dog."

That being the case, and since things will most likely be a little quiet around here for a day or two, here's a fun little project to help us all wile away the hours:

Post-Elvis Rock Group or Solo Artist Whose Life And Work Would Make a Great or Appalling Broadway Musical!!!

Totally self-explanatory, obviously, and I can't think of any arbitrary rules at all, you're welcome very much.

And my totally top of my head Top Six is:

6. The Monks



Five American GIs stationed in Germany during the Cold War shave their heads, invent Blank Generation Punk Rock ten years ahead of its time, and then return to the USA and three decades of complete obscurity. You can't make this stuff up, as it happens.

5. Patti Smith



Just finished reading her memoir, Just Kids, about her scuffling years and her love affair, if that's the phrase, with the late Robert Mapplethorpe. Fuck that Rent nonsense -- THIS has the potential to be the real La Boheme for the modern age.

4. Uriah Heep



The world's longest running, least photogenic and most clueless heavy metal band -- the real Spinal Tap, in other words, and what a comedy of errors their musical could be. Incidentally, there's a story -- possibly apocryphal -- that when this video debuted on MTV, the band's record sales began to plummet so dramatically that their management literally begged the network to stop airing the thing.

3. Michael Bolton



Dock of the Bay -- The Musical. Most Dramatic Moment: Michael changes the spelling of his last name so as not to appear too Jewish. Biggest Production Number: Michael sings "How Am I Supposed to Live Without You?" to his hair.

2. Jobriath



A story that starts in 1974 with an openly gay glam-rock star given the biggest hype in music history -- billboards in Times Square, choreography by the Joffrey Ballet, Peter Frampton and John Paul Jones playing on the album -- and ends with the now broke and forgotten hero playing Sunday brunch cocktail piano at a restaurant in Greenwich Village....



..before dying, alone and out of his mind, of AIDS in 1983. If there was ever a show about "That fame shit sure drives a hard bargain," this should be it.

And the Numero Uno musical life that most deserves to be on the wicked, wicked stage unquestionably was lived by --

1. The Kinks



For the story where Ray shoves a butter knife through Dave's ribs over breakfast alone. Although the story about the time Mick Avory thought Dave was spitting at him onstage needs to be in there too. Plus...oh, hell, there are enough great stories about this bunch to provide the book for ten musicals.

Alrighty, then -- what would your choices be?

[Shameless Blogwhore: My parallel Cinema Listomania -- theme: best or worst pop music documentaries -- is now up over at Box Office. As always, I'd take it as a personal favor if you could head over there at some point and leave something pithy in comments.]

19 comments:

Dave said...

I've always thought it would be interesting to do a musical from the POV of a "Svengalied" rock performer, as diverse a group as Fabian, Ronnie Spector, or Mary Weiss.

pete said...

The hard-luck stories come thick and fast, some with last-reel redemption, some without. Moby Grape, anybody? Gene Clark? Roky Erickson? the GTOs?

Faze said...

"Cadillac Records" brushed by it, but the real Chuck Berry story would tell an incredible tale of talent, hubris, race, sin, solitude, self-hatred and success in America. If ever a man's life had many dimensions ...

Feral said...

I've always had this goofy dream that if I were filthy rich, I'd love to turn Ian Hunter's "All American Alien Boy" into a production number. Starts with Hunter alone on a dark stage and just builds and builds as the song progresses, to near chaos at the end. Ah well, guess that will never happen.

NYMary said...

Well, I've never seen Mama Mia, or the Billy Joel musical, or the Green Day musical because, you know, I have some dignity. And I don't think it would work as a stage musical per se, but I'd love to see a video album--with a different director for every cut--of XTC's Skylarking. I would watch that a lot.

Brooklyn Girl said...

"Cadillac Records" touched on several interesting stories, like Etta James'. Too bad it wasn't a better movie.

And while this has been done as a movie, and isn't exactly a life story per se, I'd love to see "A Hard Day's Night" brought to Broadway.

Jon said...

I could see some Broadway hacks turning "Jungleland" into a big, brassy musical, with Justin Timberlake as "The Magic Rat" and Mario Lopez as "Spanish Johnny."

TMink said...

Well, the Monks are a new band for me. That is really time bending. And I enjoy two Uriah Heep records, but man that video reeks.

How about a musical about d boone and Mike Watt forming the Minutemen and fighting all the time? Seriously.

Trey

Ken J Xenozar said...

Never heard of Jobraith. Interesting. I guess growing up in Cincinnati, I missed some things.

Anonymous said...

jeez, that Kinks song is one of the most beautiful and truthful things I've ever heard. thanks for that!

The music of the Mammas/Pappas would make a great musical. Maybe it's been done already. Talk about a soundtrack of hits.

Bending the rules a tiny bit, and at the other end of the Dunhill/Trousdale offices, the story of Sloan and Barri told through their music: R'n'B, surfer, girl groups, folk rock, baroque folk, and blue eyed soul.

AP

steve simels said...

That kinks song was written for a comedy about the worlds first penis transplant.

I'm not making this up.

Noam Sane said...

Having read "Shakey," the flawed-yet-fascinating Neil Young biography, I have to vote for him.

What a life. Mom was a bit nutty - Dad a respected writer and unredeemable philanderer.

A couple years after graduating HS, he drives with friends across American to LA, has a sort of mental breakdown along the way, gets there and is about to give up until a chance meeting with Steve Stills - their cars happen to pass each other on the strip - leading to the Buffalo Springfield.

Quits that band, solo career starts (who would play Jack Nitzsche?)...CSNY...huge solo success...Crazy Horse...and on and on.

And for a killer subplot, you have to check out this story about how Ahmet Ertegun got the Springfield on Atlantic Records - by having a lackey threaten original manager Frazier Mohawk with a gun.

Karatist Preacher said...

I always thought Uriah Heep was the main inspiration for Spinal Tap.

steve simels said...

Actually, everybody -- including Harry
Shearer (who followed them on the road) and the band themselves -- has pretty much copped to the fact that Spinal Tap was based on Saxon.

Anonymous said...

Spinal Tap had a bit of The Sweet to them as well...

Anonymous said...

It would not be a happy heels kicking musical but I keep thinking a show about Sandy Denny if handled correctly could be fascinating. And the music...

ROTP(lumber)

dave™© said...

Surprised no one's mentioned Brian Wilson...

Todd said...

"Looking for the Magic" - The Dwight Twilley story or "Talent is an Asset" the Sparks Revue.

TMink said...

Ohhh, Brian Wilson. Inspired.

Trey