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Try Not To Think Of Christopher Cross
March 21, 2013 11:42 PM   Subscribe

While best remembered for his starring role in a horrible movie, once upon a time, the man had some chops. A surprising mix of world-tinged fusion and straight ahead jazz from 1969, I give you:

"The Dudley Moore Trio"
posted by timsteil (52 comments total) 21 users marked this as a favorite

 
While best remembered for his starring role in a horrible movie

Um, Arthur was awesome, kcuf you very much.
posted by dersins at 11:47 PM on March 21, 2013 [14 favorites]


Wow, this is quite good. Thanks muchly.
posted by koeselitz at 11:51 PM on March 21, 2013 [1 favorite]


In the UK he is best remembered for his work with Peter Cook.
posted by w0mbat at 11:53 PM on March 21, 2013 [18 favorites]


dersins: "While best remembered for his starring role in a horrible movie

Um, Arthur was awesome, kcuf you very much
"

I automatically assumed that was a reference to Arthur 2: On the Rocks, which was... well, not so great.
posted by Joakim Ziegler at 11:55 PM on March 21, 2013


dersins: “Um, Arthur was awesome, kcuf you very much.”

Robyn Hitchcock would like to have a few words with you about that...
posted by koeselitz at 12:00 AM on March 22, 2013 [4 favorites]


(and yes, I have never seen Arthur, and I never will based solely on the sheer mithering desolation of that horrific theme song)
posted by koeselitz at 12:02 AM on March 22, 2013


You know what? They should have had Dudley Moore do the music for the movie, because this album of his is awesome.
posted by koeselitz at 12:03 AM on March 22, 2013 [2 favorites]


Aw, nice! Thanks for my soundtrack this morning, timsteil.

btw, when I hear "Dudley Moore" and "horrible movie" in the same sentence, I just automatically think "10". ymmv.
posted by taz at 12:23 AM on March 22, 2013 [5 favorites]


By way of a quick mea culpa? My film criticism skills are roughly that of a manatee with power tools.

I just thought

a. It was pretty damned surprising, and if you would have told me it was Chick Corea bootleg I likely would have believed you.

b. I would really hate to be the guy who every time you see his face, you hear that song, and I ain't around to explain.

It's like 43 years later he was exhonorated through DNA evidence.
posted by timsteil at 12:37 AM on March 22, 2013 [2 favorites]


I'VE BEEN WAITING FOR YEARS TO HAVE A REASON TO POST THIS.
posted by Senor Cardgage at 12:45 AM on March 22, 2013 [12 favorites]


Srsly. Not a lot of frog posts intersecting with peach posts here on Metafilter.
posted by Senor Cardgage at 12:45 AM on March 22, 2013 [1 favorite]


And yes this is surprisingly good.
posted by Senor Cardgage at 12:46 AM on March 22, 2013


MehFis gonna meh, but I love that song. "When you get locked beneath a moonie, New York's shitty! The bets that you can do are falling, love". Fucking great lyrics, amazing melody - it's an American classic.
posted by the quidnunc kid at 1:25 AM on March 22, 2013 [6 favorites]


Dudley Moore went to Cambridge on a music scholarship, I thought he was well-known as a good pianist as well as for the comedy work. Arthur always surprised me as a choice, since Cook was such a well-known tragic alcoholic.

I once had lunch with him, because we were working with him as narrator on some TV I was involved with. Delightful guy.

At one point, we were alone in the studio together. He was over in a corner on the phone with his third wife (the one that he had the bad headlines about a domestic dispute later with). He hung up, turned to me, and said, "My god. I've married a child".

Never forgot that.
posted by C.A.S. at 1:27 AM on March 22, 2013 [20 favorites]


Arthur is a fine piece of comedy/drama, if for nothing else than the hilariously droll butler played by Sir John Geilgud. He got a well deserved Oscar for that, IIRC.
posted by zardoz at 1:32 AM on March 22, 2013 [4 favorites]


I'VE BEEN WAITING FOR YEARS TO HAVE A REASON TO POST THIS.

Too late, apparently.
posted by Kinbote at 2:01 AM on March 22, 2013


I still think his performances with Marion Montgomery (and, presumably, some version of his trio) are strong. This in particular is charming, sweet and sad.
posted by Jofus at 2:40 AM on March 22, 2013 [2 favorites]


Dudley Moore was a straight-up amazing musician. When Mme Tussaud's did a waxwork of him sitting at a piano, he positioned the fingers on the keys himself. Those Beyond The Fringe songs? All Dudley. Including the parody of Benjamin Britten and Peter Pears that was so painfully accurate that Britten himself asked them to stop performing it. (Link contains bonus Kurt Weill/Lotte Lenya sendup.)

But I hadn't heard his trio before-- thanks for posting, timsteil!
posted by Pallas Athena at 2:49 AM on March 22, 2013 [5 favorites]


While best remembered for his starring role in a horrible movie

Unless you happen to be old enough to remember Not Only, But Also...
posted by PeterMcDermott at 3:00 AM on March 22, 2013 [4 favorites]


Robyn Hitchcock would like to have a few words with you about that...

I can’t believe he thinks it’s a close race between "Arthur’s Theme" and "We Built This City", but I am happy to learn that the latter is thought of by many as the worst song ever.
posted by bongo_x at 3:06 AM on March 22, 2013


Original Bedazzled. Moore composed all the music in addition to starring. So much fun, that film.
posted by infinitewindow at 3:09 AM on March 22, 2013 [10 favorites]


Moore wrote and performed the score for one of the most gloriously hilarious films ever produced, Bedazzled, in 1967 (THERE WAS NO REMAKE). I'm biased, because I love that film enough to place it in my lifetime top ten, and if I'd had a bit of foresight, I'd probably have named myself Drimble Wedge instead of sonascope whilst signing up for metafilter. The music is so '67 cool, just perfectly connected to the moment and the men who produced the film.

Mark my words—one day I'm going to produce a shot-for-shot remake of the "Good morning, Mr. Moon" scene with big gay bears (it goes without saying that I will be Raquel Welch). It makes me sort of weirdly straight-curious and drag-crazy all at once.
posted by sonascope at 3:18 AM on March 22, 2013 [7 favorites]


Best remembered for changing comedy forever with Beyond the Fringe.

Come on, people.
posted by oneironaut at 3:55 AM on March 22, 2013 [7 favorites]


More of Cook + Moore in Not Only, But Also...

Bo Dudley's "Grooving the bag"


(to forestall the otherwise inevitable "but that's racist", I'll quote from one of the top-rated comments on the video which hits the nail on the head exactly:

"It's *satire* - to view it as racist is missing the point completely. It's not knocking black jazz musicians, but mocking the patronising 'empathy' of middle-class whites of that era who thought liking jazz and blues made them honorary blacks.")

posted by illongruci at 4:06 AM on March 22, 2013 [4 favorites]


I assume that the horrible movie cited by OP is 10, not Arthur; the latter is certainly not a horrible movie. And thanks for the link, very nice music.
posted by Eyebeams at 4:57 AM on March 22, 2013 [3 favorites]


The playlist doesn't include his very poppy comercial hit, Song for Suzy, written for one of his wives, Susan Anton. My apologies for the colourful sweater and overly smiley Rober Whittaker.

Do not, under any circumstances, search for videos under "Derek and Clive".


Okay, I said don't.
posted by arzakh at 5:42 AM on March 22, 2013


Yeah, I'm another one who's very surprised to see people surprised that Moore was a talented pianist. I thought it was very well known.
posted by Decani at 5:58 AM on March 22, 2013


Oh yes indeed, I'd forgotten about Derek & Clive. My 13-year-old self loved that stuff.

"So this bloke comes up to me, and says..."
posted by illongruci at 6:01 AM on March 22, 2013 [1 favorite]


It's been all these years, and we still don't know whether or not Christopher Cross ever made it to the border of Mexico.

The tension has been killing me, I tell you.
posted by jbickers at 6:08 AM on March 22, 2013 [2 favorites]


This is the tale of Alan-a-Dale.
posted by Bunny Ultramod at 6:16 AM on March 22, 2013 [4 favorites]


Say what you want about Christopher Cross, but if nothing else you have to respect him for the pivotal role he played in the epic Yatch Rock saga.
posted by grog at 6:23 AM on March 22, 2013 [1 favorite]


Dudley and Cilla: If I Fell. Insanely sweet, I think.

Also these remarkable parodies from Beyond the Fringe.

An RE teacher used to recommend Bedazzled as he felt it covered more less the same ground as Paradise Lost (w/r/t Lucifer, anyway) but was funnier and more to the point. It's worth remembering that Satan is not God's enemy: he is His employee.

And, yes, Derek and Clive are likely to make Metafilter heads asplode with all that c-word goodness.
posted by Grangousier at 6:23 AM on March 22, 2013 [1 favorite]


Dudley Moore + Beethoven = Amazing
posted by Bromius at 6:55 AM on March 22, 2013 [5 favorites]


Grangegousier: he is sweet, she is astonishingly flat. When he first appears on camera his facial expressions are exactly in sync with her fluffed notes.
posted by epo at 7:01 AM on March 22, 2013


She can't hear herself. This is the basic problem.
posted by Wolof at 7:06 AM on March 22, 2013


How fortuitous - I just this morning downloaded the fabulous soundtrack to Bedazzled, via the always awesome Trunk Records. It's today's 50p special! Get it while you can.
posted by ghastlyfop at 7:56 AM on March 22, 2013


Oh, thank you! God bless Johnny Trunk.

Grangegousier: he is sweet, she is astonishingly flat. When he first appears on camera his facial expressions are exactly in sync with her fluffed notes.

I'm sure she can hear herself. It's the BBC in the 60s, so she's probably drunk.

Well, actually it's the messiness of the performance that I like, and I suppose that includes Cilla's intonation (perhaps she's always as flat... I can't say that it's something I especially noticed, given that she's falling to pieces all over the place). The way that he negotiates between the actual arrangement, joining in the corpsing and putting on the funny voice (but not so silly that it completely undemines the song) is wonderful, I think, and there's that thing you also get with Harpo Marx, of being able to see the comic persona and the musician at the same time. What he's doing is bridging her corpsing and messiness and the song itself, making something fairly coherent out of it.

It feels spontaneous, and intimate, like something that would happen at a party, and completely unlike anything that you'd get on TV today.
posted by Grangousier at 8:42 AM on March 22, 2013 [1 favorite]


Dang, I thought this might be a post about sailing. I like sailing.
posted by humboldt32 at 8:58 AM on March 22, 2013


My Mother went and saw him in concert in the 90s. She said he was too drunk to play. He later announced he had progressive supranuclear palsy, which seems like drunkenness and which had set in years before - it had taken 4 years to get a diagnosis apparently (60 minutes vid). That has got to be harsh for so talented a pianist.
posted by Sparx at 9:00 AM on March 22, 2013


There's a DVD of the Broadway stand of Beyond the Fringe: Peter Cook, Dudley Moore, Alan Bennett and Jonathan Miller: an insanely talented group of people. The quality of the recording is pretty awful, but you soon filter that out--and the show is hilarious.
posted by yoink at 9:35 AM on March 22, 2013


Dudley Moore went to Cambridge on a music scholarship, I thought he was well-known as a good pianist as well as for the comedy work. Arthur always surprised me as a choice, since Cook was such a well-known tragic alcoholic.

I was reading a biography recently -- possibly William Donaldson's -- whoever it was, they were spending a lot of time with Cook towards the end of his life. Anyway, the author's thesis was that much of Cook's drinking was related to his jealousy of Dudley Moore, and he really never forgave him for going to the USA and making Arthur.
posted by PeterMcDermott at 10:02 AM on March 22, 2013


Dudley Moore and Peter Cook did L.S. Bumble Bee, a hilarious 1966 spoof of the Beatles' Revolver-era psychedelic output. John Lennon even appears briefly at the end of the clip.
posted by jonp72 at 10:34 AM on March 22, 2013 [1 favorite]


L.S. Bumble Bee yt ,

That was great, especially Lennon's little cameo. Amazing how few Brits could do an even half-way plausible American accent in those days, though, no? When you watch British TV from the 60s and 70s, everytime they do an "American" you suspect that they've never actually heard one speak, only had the accent vaguely described to them. It always struck me as particularly odd because most English comics and actors need to have a pretty good ear for a variety of different regional British accents as well as being able to do different class-based accents.
posted by yoink at 10:43 AM on March 22, 2013


Too bad Newman didn't ever get to see his "Newmanium" for which in 1978 he had reserved the revolving restaurant that overlooks Times Square and booked Christopher Cross. It was to be his millennium party ... the one that would have conflicted with Kramer's planned party.
posted by ericb at 11:59 AM on March 22, 2013


Speaking of an undeservedly neglected Dudley Moore album, he released "Songs Without Words" in 1991, a superb record. He was a monster musician, His playing is much more lush on it, it has some rich synthesizer backgrounds, and sounds more romantic with a "New Age" tinge than his jazz work. Well worth your time.
posted by Seekerofsplendor at 12:10 PM on March 22, 2013


"It's *satire* - to view it as racist is missing the point completely. It's not knocking black jazz musicians, but mocking the patronising 'empathy' of middle-class whites of that era who thought liking jazz and blues made them honorary blacks.")
posted by illongruci


I got to tell you, that really threw me.

Looking back, I am certainly no student of his work or that particular scene, but, it's not like it is out of the realm of possibility. If so, it is pure (and sadly unappreciated) genius.

I kind of wish you hadn't mentioned that. I just liked the damned record before. Now it's like I have to think about it.

Fink.
posted by timsteil at 12:32 PM on March 22, 2013


Ooops, that's not what I was trying to do, make someone think about it.

What exactly is not out of the realm of possibility? I don't quite get what you mean.

(Incidentally, the quote refers to the video I posted, not the album you posted.)
posted by illongruci at 3:55 AM on March 23, 2013


Dudley + Beethoven + Bosendorfer = Blimey
posted by flabdablet at 9:25 AM on March 23, 2013


Ah, the old "ironic racism" excuse. I wish people realized what a bad idea that was. Mr Moore is better off when he's not spoiling his work by trying so hard to be clever that he falls on his face.
posted by koeselitz at 11:25 AM on March 23, 2013


By "not out of the realm of possibility", I meant

Wow, maybe this IS some great ironic metaphorical statement on the current jazz scene, almost an Andy Kaufman/Weird Al sort of thing. Whatever chops he has on piano, he is also and actor and comedian, so who knows what was in his head when he did it right?.

And if he had gone to that lengths to do it, and no one got the joke, that would be a shame. If so, ferchrissakes I didn't even get it, and I kinda fall into the "not dumb" category when it comes to these things.

I'll admit it was a bit of a thin post that didn't do much justice to the entirety of the man's career

I just liked the music, and thought others would too.
posted by timsteil at 12:27 PM on March 23, 2013 [1 favorite]


Well, that silly little joke illongruci linked doesn't mean much to me – I might dislike it, but whatever.

What matters is that the music in the main link here is the real deal. It's good stuff.
posted by koeselitz at 5:07 PM on March 23, 2013


Well, apologies for the derail, then.

The linked album is indeed good. I don't think it's an ironic anything, it just is.
posted by illongruci at 8:07 AM on March 24, 2013


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