Thursday, 24 June 2004

AFI's 100 Years...100 Songs

Tuesday I watched AFI's 100 Years...100 Songs on CBS. I have mixed feelings about most of the American Film Institute's top 100 lists, but I think I have more mixed feelings about this list than any other. One thing that perturbs me is the fact that the list was restricted to American songs. Now I may be wrong, but I seem to recall that in previous years British films were allowed on the lists. At the very least I remember A Clockwork Orange, Bridge on the River Kwai, and other British films making various lists. Anyhow, in restricting the list to American songs, the AFI pretty much excluded the songs from The Beatles' movies, Lulu's "To Sir With Love (from the movie of the same name)," anything from "The Rocky Horror Picture Show," and many other British songs.

Of course, the exlusion of British songs from the list I suppose is ultimately not that important. After all, it is the American Film Institute. In my opinion, there were, however, some notable omissions on the list with regards to American songs: "Our Love is Here to Stay" and "S'Wonderful" from An American in Paris, "If I Were a Rich Man" and "Sunrise, Sunset" from Fiddler on the Roof, "I Get a Kick Out of You (first featured in High Sierra, I think)," "Night and Day (first featured in The Signin' Marine, I think), "Too Darn Hot" from Kiss Me Kate, and "Wouldn't It Be Loverly" from My Fair Lady. And then there were those songs that, in my opinion, should never even made the list: all those awful 80's pop songs ("Footloose," "Flashdance-What a Feeling," "Up Where We Belong," "Wind Beneath My Wings," et. al.), "Summer Nights" from Grease, "People" from Funny Girl, and that horrible song from Titantic (I can't recall its name).

Despite the omissions and the songs that I think should not have been on the list (will "Footloose" really be remembered 50 years from now?), I have to say that over all I was happy with it. Some of my favourite songs made the list: "Puttin' on the Ritz," "Make 'Em Laugh," and "Mrs. Robinson," among others. And I am very happy with the top three, not that I think anyone can argue that they are not the three greatest movie songs of all time: "Singin' in the Rain," "As Time Goes By," and "Somewhere Over the Rainbow." As I said, I do have mixed feelings about the list, but over all I don't think it is too bad. I can't complain given that top three!

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