As you know, I've made it a personal project to track down all the songs -- or as many as possible -- from John Waters' movies. Although I've researched the music in each and every Dreamland movie, I've mainly concentrated on the most music-heavy films: especially Mondo Trasho and Hairspray.
Besides Mondo and Hairspray there is another film which has certainly kept me busy: A Dirty Shame. There are at least THIRTY songs in this movie, only 14 of which are on the soundtrack. Through some detective work, I've managed to track down about 10 more. But there are some which have me stumped.
This is where I need the help of the Dreamland community. Here's what I'm looking for:
* "Captain Chipmunk" by The Chipmunks. This was apparently part of a CD called "The Chipmunks 35th Birthday," which is now out of print and goes for $50 on Ebay. I can't afford fifty bucks for one song, so if anyone could supply me with a copy that would be great.
* "Teddy Bears on Parade" by the Peter Pan Players. This was a apparently children's record released as a 45 RPM single. I have no idea how to get a copy.
* "Hello Darling" by Chris Mitchell. Absolutely no information available. An internet search only turns up the IMDB page for A Dirty Shame.
* Goo Goo Da Da" by the Carlises. This is available on CD from Venerable Music, but it's $15 -- which is still out of my price range for one song. That's a shame because this is one of my favorite songs in the movie.
* "The I-95 Asshole Song" by August Campbell. I have a version credited to someone named Fred Campbell, and it sounds just like the one in the movie. Anyone know the story here?
* "On Top of Spaghetti" by Tom Glazer. I should be able to round up a copy of this, but it never hurts to have a back-up plan. Anyone have an MP3?
* "Baby Let Me Bang Your Box" by Doug Clark and the Hot Nuts. This gets complicated. Doug Clark and the Hot Nuts are apparently a cover band. I actually have the original version of this song by the Bangers, and it sounds very much like the one in the movie. The Doug Clark version is long since out of print, and CDs with "Bang Your Box" are expensive Ebay items. Anyone have the Doug Clark version?
Any help you could offer would be most appreciated.
[Note: If you'd like to get in touch with Joe, please email me and I will forward your message on to him. - Jeff]
The Music in Waters Films
by Joe Blevins
"CBD" has yet to play at a theater anywhere near me, so listening to the soundtrack album is as close as I've come to it. Normally, John Waters' soundtrack albums are wonderful to listen to. "Pink Flamingos," "Hairspray," "Cry-Baby," and "Pecker" all made for teriffic CDs. The "Serial Mom" soundtrack is a bit thin -- only two songs, plus a nice instrumental score. Still, the inclusion of L7's "Gas Chamber" makes the album worthwhile, since Waters himself wrote the lyrics.
The "Cecil" soundtrack left me feeling a bit cheated. It's only 31 scant minutes in length, and it is almost nothing like Waters' previous soundtracks. The only typical Waters selection is "Ciao!" by Liberace, which is probably the most listenable song on the album. Moby's "Opening Credit Theme" is beginning to grow on me, although I wish he had used his samples a bit more creatively. He merely takes excerpts from "Music For Movies 1" and slathers them onto a techno backing track, without much thought for how the two elements combine -- disregarding such elements as rhythm, meter, and tempo. Still in all, this is the second most listenable song on the album.
In regards to the rap songs (cowritten by Waters), well... I like the gimmick of combining gangsta rap posturing with the theme of cinema extremism, but "Bankable Bitch" and "No Budget" are really one-joke novelty songs that I can't imagine listening to more than a few times. I don't hate rap, but these songs aren't exactly stellar examples of the genre. The backing tracks, for instance, are fairly mundane. Maybe a good remix could save them.
I'm glad Waters is still writing lyrics for songs, but his contributions to the "CBD" soundtrack just don't compare to his past work: the "Female Trouble" theme, "Straight Boys," "Gas Chamber," and "Don't Drop the Soap For Anyone Else But Me."
The songs by Meatjack and the Locust all sound alike to me -- just loud, aggressive noise-rock. There's no wit or humor to distinguish these songs or make them memorable in any way. "Chow" by Jerome Dillon falls in that category, too. Yawn.
"Demented Forever" (again co-wrtten by Waters) is another odd novelty number I probably won't listen to that often. I'm not exactly sure *why* this song is performed as a midtempo R&B ballad, but the cinema-obsessed lyrics are somewhat amusing. The track goes on way too long and runs out of ideas way before the five-minute mark. One minor gem on the album is the instrumental "Sprocket Holes Theme" by Zoe Poledouris, which I hope is used to good effect in the movie.
All in all, if I were evaluating the Waters soundtracks, I'd say:
CECIL B. DEMENTED.....C-
("Pink Flamingos" would be an A+ if Waters hadn't had to change some of the musical selections from the original movie for legal reasons. "Hairspray," too, would be an A+ if it weren't missing so many important songs from the movie. Still in all, there's great music on both CDs.)
Some of you may already know this, but I've got an ongoing John Waters music project going. See, there are *lots* of great songs used in JW's movies (the early ones are especially music-heavy), but only a handful of his movies have soundtrack albums: Hairspray, Cry-Baby, Pink Flamingos, Serial Mom, and Pecker.
Those albums all kick ass (if you don't own each one of 'em, shame on you)! However, even THEY have songs missing. The Hairspray album, for instance, doesn't contain any Chubby Checker songs, even though Chubby's music is very prominent in the film ("Dancing Party," "The Pony," etc.) Cry Baby doesn't contain "He's in the Jailhouse Now" by Webb Pierce. Serial Mom doesn't contain "Tomorrow" from Annie. Many of JW's movies don't even HAVE soundtrack albums!
My project has been to find all the songs that were used in JW movies and which aren't available on those five soundtrack albums. Also, "Cry Baby" contained a few songs that were remakes of other songs, and in those cases, I'm trying to find the originals upon which those were based. (Like "Mr. Sandman" by the Chordettes).
Beyond just finding the songs, I always try to get the right version that's actually used in the movie. For instance, the Little Richard songs used in Mondo Trasho all come from a 60s live album. In later movies (Pink Flamingos) he used the studio recordings of those songs.
Sometimes, there are alternate versions of the whole movie. The music in the 1972 version of Pink Flamingos, for instance, is different in spots than the 1997 version. (The song "Sixteen Candles" is used in the first version but not the second.) The TV version of Cry Baby has some extra songs, too.
Sometimes, this attention to detail blows up in my face. One big example is the Chubby Checker songs from Hairspray. Chubby's original recordings are out of print now because of copyright problems. The recordings you find on CD by him today are cheesy 80s remakes. (They're easy to spot because they're in stereo instead of mono.) Anyhow, when I found that my CD didn't contain the real 60s recordings, I took it back to the store. Then, I went to a used record shop and got a used copy of a Chubby Checker greatest hits albums with the real recordings. Imagine my chagrin when I listened closely to the music in Hairspray and found that JW didn't use the 60s recordings! He used the cheesy 80s remakes instead! Aaarrggghhh!!
What I'm asking from you guys and gals is help finding songs. I've already collected dozens of songs, but there are still many more missing. Sometimes, I can't even identify the songs used in his movies. (ESPECIALLY the instrumentals in the early movies!)
Please: scour through your record collections and rewatch JW's movies on videotape. Try to identify all the songs you can. If you have some of these songs in your collection or if you think you have some information that might be of use to me, PLEASE E-MAIL JEFF JACKSON and he will forward the message on to me!
Soon, I'll compile a more complete list of the songs I've already tracked down and which I'm still looking for, but here are some of them.
There doesn't need to be a code for "Pecker," since its soundtrack album is complete... I think.
SONGS I ALREADY HAVE
[NOTE: for all Chubby songs, I still need the generic 1980s versions. They're widely available in stores on CD. You can tell if the CD is in stereo if they're the modern recordings. The stereo recordings are the ones I'm looking for, even though they suck. I had a CD of this once, and I took it back. Now I wish I had it again, because they're the ones he used. You can especially tell in the "Limbo Rock" scene because the guitar intro has one wrong note in the 1980s version.]
MORE SONGS I ALREADY HAVE
This list used to have more songs from "Pink Flamingos," but then JW came out with a "PF" soundtrack album. When songs appeared on that album, I crossed them off my list. (Examples: "The Swag," "I'm Not a Juvenile Delinquent," "How Much Is That Doggie in the Window," etc.)
Well, as a general rule, I need everything that was used in a JW movie and which DOESN'T appear on the list above. There are tons of them in Hairspray and Cry Baby. Just scan the closing credits and spot any song that doesn't appear on my list. And remember, with Cry Baby, I also want the songs that the musical numbers were BASED on. With "Sh-Boom" I chose the Crew Cuts' version because the movie version is clearly patterned after that arrangment of the song. All of the musical numbers in CB are based on real songs from the 50s. Plus, there are songs used as background score in the film. (In Cry Baby, they listen to a song called something like "Women and Cadillacs" on the car radio.)
With the early movies, I can't always identify the songs -- like the twangy instrumental that plays at the beginning of Multiple Maniacs. And sometimes,he uses little snippets of obscure songs I can't identify... especially in Mondo Trasho.
Songs I *KNOW* I need...
Like I said, there are ton of missing songs in Hairspray and Cry-Baby. The 25th anniversary version of Pink Flamingos has the songs listed in the closing credits. Scan those for missing music.
Of course, I'm also looking for the classical music JW has used. In the case of classical music, I don't particularly care if it's the exact right version, since classical pieces tend to be recorded by dozens and dozens of different orchestras... just as long as it sounds close to the version JW used.
SONGS I ALREADY HAVE (CLASSICAL)
SONGS I NEED (CLASSICAL)
SOME CLASSICAL MUSIC I CAN'T IDENTIFY
I've given up hope of finding a decent recording of the Female Trouble theme or any of the songs from Polyester by Debbie Harry, Tab Hunter, Chris Stein, Bill Murray, etc. The best I can do is to dub copies of those songs off the movies. Maybe JW will do a Female Trouble album when that movie is reissued. He said he once had plans to do a Polyester album for Rhino Records, but the deal fell through. Maybe someday...
Joe has recently made a more complete list of the music from MONDO TRASHO
- which is esentially a silent film set to the following songs: