Songs With An “O”! Brilliant Movies! Band Battles! Led Zeppelin! Paul Williams and Malcolm McDowell!

Songs with the letter “O” includes two of my favorite films of all time, the scathing “anti-Art Garfunkel” song written by Paul Simon – and some classic Led Zeppelin as well! Let’s get started with a brilliant Brian DePalma movie that was a flop when released, but has now become a classic:

“Old Souls” by Paul Williams – sung by Jessica Harper – from the film “Phantom Of The Paradise”

In 1974, Director Brian DePalma made a rock’n’roll retelling of the classic movie “Phantom Of The Opera.” He hired Composer Paul Williams to write the film score AND star in the movie!

Williams is amazing in the film, as is the late William Finley as “The Phantom.” Jessica Harper also starred in the movie as Phoenix, the woman the Phantom loved, so he wrote a song just for her – and only her – to sing:

“Our love, is an old love baby
It’s older than all our years
I had seen in strangers eyes
Familiar tears
We’re old souls, in a new life baby
They gave us a new life to live and learn
Some time to touch old friends and still return
Our paths have crossed and parted, this love affair was started
Long,long ago”

Phantom Of The Paradise

Here is Jessica Harper’s haunting performance from the film:

My wife Alex and I chose this song as our first dance at our wedding – we love this song, and the film, and there is an amazing blu-ray out that has a ton of behind-the-scenes material, including a lengthy conversation between Williams and Director Guillermo del Toro, the acclaimed Director of “The Shape Of Water” who is an avid fan of the film – read more here:

Next up on my “O’ list is another song from a brilliant movie:

“O Lucky Man!” by Alan Price

After Malcolm McDowell’s brilliant performance in “A Clockwork Orange”, he conceived and starred in this modern retelling of the “Candide” story, as an ambitious young man learned just how harsh the world can be:

Director Lindsay Anderson made a masterpiece, and McDowell has never been better – and the music from the film is just as great:

“If you have a friend on whom you think you can rely you are a lucky man
If you’ve found the reason to live on and not to die you are a lucky man

Preachers and poets and scholars don’t know it
Temples and statues and steeples won’t show it
If you’ve got the secret just try not to blow it
Stay a lucky man!
A lucky man!”

Price was the original keyboardist for the group The Animals, and he also has a role in the movie…in fact, much of the soundtrack is played onscreen by the band in the film.

Here is the movie’s title track, from the film’s opening credits, when Price plays the song while Director Lindsay Anderson moves about during filming:

This is my second favorite film of all time – brilliant in every way – and “Seinfeld” pays homage to it! Yes, there is a very specific episode of “Seinfeld” with a scene directly from the movie! See the whole story here:

From brilliant movies to a brilliant duo who broke up in the most public way possible – by way of a song on their final album!

“The Only Living Boy In New York” by Simon & Garfunkel

This is the song that broke them up – as Paul explains on this terrific live performance I am about to share, he wrote the song after Garfunkel left him to make the film “Catch-22” – leaving him waiting in New York to record the “Bridge Over Troubled Waters” album…

“Bridge” ended up as their final album as a duo…for those who don’t know, they got their start as “Tom & Jerry”, which explains the song’s first lyrics, as Simon shares his frustration about waiting for Garfunkel to return from the film set:

“Tom, get your plane right on time
I know your part’ll go fine
Fly down to Mexico
Do-n-do-d-do-n-do and here I am,
The only living boy in New York”

Here is the live performance, with Paul’s intro setting up the meaning of the song:

There was much more to the breakup than just this song, but Paul’s scathing lyrics didn’t help, that’s for sure! You can read all about it here:

Next up, a band with the letter “O” – not that well known, but they have a monster ballad I want to share!

Orson – “Look Around”

Orson was a band from LA in 2000 – while they were very successful in England, they never really broke big in the US, which is a shame, because this song is absolutely gorgeous!

Here is the powerful ballad “Look Around” – stay to the end when it builds to a huge finale!

They are worth checking out – finally, here is art greatest rock and roll band of all time – as this picture shows, they really were “rock gods!”

“Over The Hills And Far Away” by Led Zeppelin

From their fifth album, “Houses Of The Holy” – a slow build to classic rock – here is a great live performance by the band from 1973:

So many incredible songs from the band, and their albums have all been remastered – here is a look:

Let me know your favorite “O” songs or Artists!

Categories: 70's Cinema, 70's Music, Academy Awards, Action Films, Art, Awards, Books / Media, Classic Rock, Cult Movies, Exploitation films, Film Fight Club, Film Noir, Great Films, Hollywood, Independent Cinema, Led Zeppelin, London, Los Angeles, Memoirs, Movies, Music, New York, Obscure Movies, Obscure Music, Politics, Talent/Celebrities, TV Show, Uncategorized

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8 replies

  1. Such a fantastic selection…. I loved Orson and being a Brit they were EVERYWHERE for a while, can never have too much Led Zep and am so happy you included Oh Lucky Man (love the movie, love the song) and Only Living Boy …. but I have a confession – I had never heard Old Souls not have I u seen the movie. What a gorgeous choice of first dance for you and your bride and I must seek out the film, I think. As a side note, I’d include Oom Bop by Hanson because I find it totally infectious though I know it simply annoys most people!!!

  2. Another great music post! I love everything recorded by Simon and Garfunkel and hated to see them break up. And love that you included your special song too!

  3. A nice mix as always, John. I had forgotten Orson!
    I have to add my own ‘O’ top pick.
    ‘Oh, You Pretty Things’, written by David Bowie, and also recorded by him, and Herman’s Hermits. (An inferior version, undoubtedly)
    Best wishes, Pete.

    • Pete, a great choice! Yes, Orson never “broke” here in the US, but I happened upon them and liked them – a catchy mix of pop and funk that is a nice change of pace sometimes! thanks as always for your comment!

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