Name That Tune

Originally published in Sound Waves Magazine February 2021

The snow falling outside today is beautiful, magical, peaceful, refreshing, mysterious and crystalline, like a Harry Potter movie.  Which gets me thinking about movie soundtracks, and you know I love me some movie soundtracks.  Those HP movies sure have some nice, memorable scores.  Scary, yet hopeful.  Eerie and spellbinding.  The soundtrack matches each scene which requires the brilliant mind of a music supervisor and a composer to bring it all together.  I enjoy breaking a good score down and analyzing the whys and wherefores of what was chosen and when certain pieces play. 

Consequently, I have developed this weird skill, maybe you have too, where I can be in another room when a movie starts, and not even peaking at the screen, I know the movie.  I can yell out the name of it, much to the chagrin of my housemates, thinking they could stump me for once.  Sure, there are the easy ones like Jaws, Jurassic Park, Wizard of Oz, Gone with the Wind, and the like, but like I said, I can name just about any movie in two notes.  Yeah, it’s weird.

I suppose there’s a file cabinet in my brain that holds these pieces of data, albeit in musical form, that conjures this joyful yet annoying art.  It’s kinda fun!  I’ve heard they’ve brought back that old TV show “Name That Tune” which I suppose could be challenging for some, but not I.  (Just kidding, I haven’t even watched it and I’m sure it’s super hard to do, hee hee.)

Sometimes, when I think I want to watch a movie, I hum a piece of the score in order to remember the name.  Instead of thinking “I want to watch Forrest Gump,” I hear Alan Silvestri’s tinkling piano as a feather floats.  Not technically a score, but the song “Tiny Dancer” gets me wanting to watch Almost Famous.  And don’t even get me started on Disney movie scores.  John Williams, Hans Zimmer, Ennio Morricone and the like, are kind of like gods to me.  Movies about film composers, like “The Holiday” with Jack Black are super enjoyable too.  I could go on and on.

So, as the snow continues to fall, and I’m stuck within these four walls (grateful I do have four walls mind you), rather than remember the dreadfulness of loading and unloading for winter gigs, or the drudgery of shoveling the white stuff in an icy blustery mess, I will summon the joy of music, and get binging.


Music, Actually

*originally published in Sound Waves Magazine December 2018

The time is nigh for Christmas movies.  Love ’em or hate ’em, some just stick.  For me, it’s that crazy, multiple story-line, mish-mash of wonder:  “Love, Actually.”  It’s about a broken-down, dried-up, down-hearted ex-rockstar trying to make a comeback with a cover of the Troggs’ “Love Is All Around,” brilliantly played by that British dude Bill Nighy.  It’s about lots of other things too, but for me, it’s all about the soundtrack.

From the pop-up musicians at the church wedding doing “All You Need is Love,” to Norah Jones’ “Turn Me On,” to “Wherever You Will Go” as the English guy hooks up with the girls in the bar in Wisconsin, to Dido’s “Here With Me” (I can’t breathe) playing when the guy walks out of his apartment yanking his sweater zipper up, to the British Prime Minister running around 10 Downing Street to “Jump For My Love,” to Joni Mitchell’s “Both Sides Now,” to “Kelly Clarkson’s “The Trouble with Love Is,” to Eva Cassidy’s version of “Songbird,” and then  the wrap-up “God Only Knows” at Heathrow Airport.

This is what dream soundtracks are made of people.  The movie should have been called “Music, Actually.”


It’s about the music.  Everything is about music.  It’s a proven fact (in my book anyway!)  According to the Internet Movie Database (IMDB), Nick Angel was the music supervisor for the movie… apropos.  Cheers to that dude for sure.

At a gig the other night, with a festive crowd and festive lights and festive drinks, and even a Christmas tree on stage, I proudly and rather emphatically said over the mic:  “We are working on Christmas songs.  They won’t be ready until after the new year.”  Enough said!

Who needs Christmas music when there’s so much REAL music?  So, I say:  Enjoy the holidays.  And you don’t have to play that….other stuff…. just so ya know.  Good times can still be had by all.

Cheers and Happy Holidays to one and all!

I wrote a book about this stuff!  “They Made Me Play a Polka” is available here: