The Late Night, Double Feature

If music is the lifeblood of my waking hours, then movies are inspiration for my dreams. And for me, an integral element of an unforgettable movie is a killer soundtrack.

There are many soundtracks that have fused with my identity at certain times in my life- with notable mentions including almost anything from Quentin Tarantino, the Blues Brothers, Get Shorty, Out of Sight, O Brother Where Art Thou, and Local Hero.

But if I had to pick one soundtrack that has had the most profound impact on my life, from a young age and one that still resonates with me now, it would have to be the rocky horror picture show.

Originally a stage production, it played for almost two years before its overwhelming popularity led it to secure financing to become a feature film. Still in limited release nearly 40 years after its premiere, the movie has enjoyed the longest-running theatrical release in film history. The soundtrack from The Rocky Horror Picture Show was released in 1975 and peaked at No. 49 on the Billboard 200 in 1978 and No. 40 on the Australian albums chart.

I’m not sure if there is any other soundtrack that I am able to sing word for word, and possibly compliment with a few well choreographed dance moves. Apart from Bambi, it’s probably one of the first movies I recall watching as a child…. And I loved it! I had absolutely no idea of any of the underlying tones of sexual exploration, of course- that revelation came many, many years later with a somewhat resounding ahhhhhhh, right!! Possibly a catalyst for my tomboyish ways, I idolised the character of Rocky and wanted to be like him…. I even tried drinking a raw egg a few times, much to the amusement and slight squeamishness of onlookers! It could also be held accountable for my early love of a good dress up… I recall with surprising clarity my uncle dressed as Frankenfurter, complete with corset and suspenders and the ends of a French stick bread loaf doubling as his bosoms.

There have been more than 30 cast recordings of the soundtrack, with a slew of notable celebrities contributing their vocal talents. Ironically, thirty-five years after the film release, The Rocky Horror Glee Show debuted at number six on the Billboard 200 on the week of 27 October 2010, with 48,000 copies sold. The music came from an episode of TV show Glee, which recreated several scenes from The Rocky Horror Picture Show, including the opening credits, and featured Barry Bostwick and Meat Loaf in cameo roles. For me, it could only be considered no more than a mere flickering candle in comparison to the blazing glory of the original.

How about you? Is there a soundtrack that has made a profound impact in you life? What is it?

3 Comments on “The Late Night, Double Feature

  1. Completely agree with the Tarantino and the Coens. Raising Arizona and The Big Lebowski were enormously ear-opening for me. I love the way a film can make you hear a familiar song in a completely different way too.
    Talking Heads’ True Stories is my fave Ness. I love the way the songs add such an enormous dimension to the film. And Harold and Maude too, with Cat Stevens’ gentle brilliance. The Amelie soundtrack is utterly beautiful and whenever I hear it I find myself seeing the world like the film did. Also the Mission soundtrack, Baraka, and for sheer sixties medieval schmalz, “What is a Youth?” by Nino Rota.
    As a youth I loved the Lost Boys, Singles and Heathers. Pump Up the Volume introduced me to Leonard Cohen, and John Hughes Breakfast Club and Pretty in Pink taught me heaps too.
    Thanks heaps for writing this Ness.

    • Love all your choices Liz! Plus, totally agree about hearing the song in a different way after seeing a film that incorporates it seamlessly into the soundtrack- could you ever listen to Girl, You’ll Be a Woman Soon again without thinking of THAT scene from Pulp Fiction?!

  2. Omg – had my 21st b’day party themed to the rocky horror picture show . Love it beyond words !!