Robert Osborne & The Beverly Hillbillies

Osborne Beverly Hillbillies

Turner Classics Movie host Robert Osborne was born May 3, 1932 in Colfax, Washington. While most people know Osborne for his wonderful hosting duties on TCM (and before that on The Movie Channel), Osborne had a diverse career and started out as an actor before later focusing on writing and journalism.

One of his television roles was an appearance on the pilot for a TV series in 1962. There was a possibility of a regular role, but Osborne did not think that the series, The Beverly Hillbillies, would be much of a success. “The show itself seemed so loony and unimportant,” he later explained, adding, “I was sure the pilot would never sell.” Of course, the series then ran for nine seasons.

In the clip below, you may see a young Robert Osborne in that pilot episode of The Beverly Hillbillies. Check it out.

If that segment makes you want to see the entire episode, you watch the entire pilot below, “The Clampetts Strike Oil.”

Osborne has also explained that Lucille Ball, who had put him under contract at her studio, eventually encouraged him to pursue a career in writing instead of acting. She was impressed by his vast knowledge about the history of Hollywood.

Due to health reasons, Osborne has cut back on his work at TCM, and he recently announced he would not attend the TCM Classic Film Festival due to health issues. I do like Ben Mankiewicz, who has filled in for Osborne in a number of roles, although I miss seeing Osborne more often.

Anytime I watch a movie on TCM and Osborne or Mankiewicz do not appear before or after the movie, I feel like I am not getting my full money’s worth. Osborne has become a part of the life of anyone who watches classic movies since he introduced the first film the network aired, Gone With the Wind, on April 14, 1994.

For one, I’m glad that his career with The Beverly Hillbillies did not quite work out. We wish Osborne a happy birthday and good health.

Leave your two cents in the comments.

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    Uncle Tupelo’s Last Concert on May 1, 1994

    Tupelo Final Show The great alt-country band Uncle Tupelo played its last concert on May 1, 1994, at Mississippi Nights in St. Louis, Missouri. Fortunately, the concert is now available on YouTube in high quality video.

    By the time of this show, Jeff Tweedy and Jay Farrar were already not getting along well. Soon after the performance, they would both go on to create other bands, with Farrar founding Son Volt and Tweedy forming Wilco.

    But on that night in May 1994, there was one last grasp at combined harmony and greatness. In the video below, Tweedy and Farrar trade off on the lead vocals, with drummer Mike Heindon joining the band on the final song of the set, “Looking for a Way Out,” and also singing on the encore with Brian Henneman and the Bottle Rockets on Lynyrd Skynyrd’s “Gimme Three Steps.”

    So, take some time to travel back to 1994 when one of the great bands was still together. The final words of the show: “That’s got to be it.” Check it out.

    From YouTube, the songs at this performance are: “No Depression”/ “Chickamauga”/ “Watch Me Fall”/ “Grindstone”/ “Satan, Your Kingdom Must Come Down”/ “Fifteen Keys”/ “Long Cut”/ “Anodyne”/ “New Madrid”/ “Slate”/ “Atomic Power”/ “Postcard”/ “Gun”/ “High Water”/ “Acuff-Rose”/ “True to Life”/ “We’ve Been Had”/ “Give Back the Key To My Heart”/ “Everybody Knows This is Nowhere”/ “Whiskey Bottle”/ “Truck Drivin’ Man”/ “Looking for a Way Out” (w/ Mike Heidorn)/ “Gimme Three Steps” (w/ Heidorn and the Bottle Rockets, Brian Henneman vocals).

    What is your favorite Uncle Tupelo song? Leave your two cents in the comments.

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    Know the Song But Not the Songwriter: Tony Macaulay

    Tony Macaulay

    For this edition of our series about hits by songwriters who most people do not know by name, we look at some of the hits written or co-written by Tony Macaulay. The songwriter, who was born with the name Anthony Gordon Instone on April 21, 1944 in England, wrote a number of catchy songs you know.

    He provided two hits to The Foundations: “Baby Now That I’ve Found You” and “Build Me Up Buttercup.” Macaulay co-wrote “Baby Now That I’ve Found You” with John MacLeod, and The Foundations released their recording of the song as their debut single. The song eventually was a number one hit on the British charts and a hit in the U.S. too.

    Decades later, Alison Krauss also had a country hit with her version of the song as the title track of her 1995 album Now That I’ve Found You: A Collection.

    The Foundations created a classic with their 1968 release of “Build Me Up Buttercup,” a song Macaulay co-wrote with Mike d’Abo. You also may remember the song from when it appeared before the end credits for the Farrelly Brothers’ movie, There’s Something About Mary (1998). It is one of the most effective uses of a song at the end of the movie, and I would bet that you were humming it and smiling when you left the theater.

    The hits kept coming in the 1970s. The 5th Dimension had a hit with Mcaulay’s “(Last Night) I Didn’t Get to Sleep at All,” a song the band released in 1972.

    The Farrelly Brothers must have a thing for Macaulay’s pop sound because they also used another one of his songs over the end credits of another movie, Shallow Hal (2001). Macaulay wrote “Love Grows (Where My Rosemary Goes)” with Barry Mason, and the song became a hit for Edison Lighthouse.

    Talented lead singer Tony Burrows sang the version of “Love Grows (Where My Rosemary Goes)” that we all know, but by the time this video was recorded, he had left the band. So Macaulay, who had the rights to the band’s name, put together other musicians for the video.

    If you were around in 1976, you could not miss Macaulay’s song that he produced for singer-actor David Soul, “Don’t Give Up On Us.” If you mention the song today, people in the U.S. will remember it as the one hit by “Hutch” from the TV show Starsky & Hutch, which starred Soul and Paul Michael Glaser, who is still close friends with Soul.

    But Soul also had other hits in the U.K., and he pursued singing even before he was on the popular TV show. “Don’t Give Up on Us” was huge, and I even remember having a songbook for my trombone that included the song. Believe me, you would rather hear the David Soul version instead of my trombone version.

    Macaulay has used his talents in a number of ways, including writing novels and recently writing music for the play Sherlock in Love. For more about him, check out his website.

    What is your favorite Tony Macaulay song? Leave your two cents in the comments.

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    Bruce Springsteen & the E Street Band: “Purple Rain”

    E Street Band Prince

    In tribute to Prince, on Saturday night Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band opened with “Purple Rain.” The band entered the stage covered in purple light and then lit into the classic Prince song.

    As regular readers know, we are big Springsteen fans. But I have to admit that Springsteen’s version of “Purple Rain” was much better than I expected. And Nils Lofgren’s guitar solo did the Purple One justice. Check out the performance at Brooklyn’s Barclays Center on April 23, 2016.

    At least for now, Springsteen is offering the audio of the performance of “Purple Rain” as a free download on his website. The high-quality video was posted by David Arbiter.


    Leave your two cents in the comments.

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    New Jayhawks Album: “Paging Mr. Proust”

    Paging Mr. Proust

    News of a new Jayhawks album is always cause for celebration in my house. The band will be releasing Paging Mr. Proust this coming week on April 29, 2016, and from the first single, “Quiet Corners & Empty Spaces,” it sounds like the album will have the harmonies and catchy tunes we are used to hearing from the band.

    The Jayhawk’s last album of new material was Mockingbird Time, released in 2011. That album saw Mark Olson rejoining Gary Louris and Tim O’Reagan on the album, but Olson soon departed again. The band has made some great music since it formed with Olson as well as bass player Marc Perlman, so I hate to see Olson’s departure again after an unhappy split.

    But the Jayhawks historically have shown that the group can make great music without Olson too, as they did on albums like Rainy Day Music (2003), Smile (2000), and Sound of Lies (1997). So I am hoping the rest of the band pulls it off again.

    In addition O Louris, O’Reagan, and Perlman, longtime Jayhawks member Karen Grotberg (vocals and keyboard) also returns on the new album. Below is the first single, “Quiet Corners & Empty Spaces.” Check it out.

    Paging Mr. Proust was produced by R.E.M.’s Peter Buck and Tucker Martine (My Morning Jacket, the Decemberists). R.E.M.’s Mike Mills contributed vocals to the song “Leaving The Monsters Behind.” Paging Mr. Proust hits stores and the Internet on April 29.

    What is your favorite Jayhawks album? Leave your two cents in the comments.

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