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The one and only Billy Shears ... umm, played by Peter Frampton?
January 28, 2010 9:58 PM   Subscribe

Sgt. Pepper's one-and-only Lonely Hearts Club Band. The movie. Starring Peter Frampton and The Bee Gees. Aerosmith. Alice Cooper. Steve Martin, who steals the whole thing. And cameos from about 50 other quite notable artists of the day. If you've never seen this particular "why yes, it was the 1970s, how did you guess" trainwreck, you really should treat yourself. Parts 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13.

"Quite possibly the silliest movie ever conceived." Based on an off-Broadway production, about which Time magazine said, "Sociologically, (it) proves that the infantile youth cult of the '60s, the drug scene and all the militant mini-revolutions are now a series of receding bad dreams."
posted by Cool Papa Bell (117 comments total) 31 users marked this as a favorite

 
Oh, and wait for the climax in Part 13, featuring the "fifth Beatle," Billy Preston.
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 10:02 PM on January 28, 2010


Growing up my friend had this movie on VHS. I love it.
posted by JackarypQQ at 10:11 PM on January 28, 2010


yo, EWF definitely steal the show.
posted by fingers_of_fire at 10:14 PM on January 28, 2010


Not a silly movie. A *great* movie. Billy Preston! George Burns as Mr. Mustard! The Bee Gees are gold.
posted by mrgrimm at 10:18 PM on January 28, 2010


Oh my god, Steve Martin singing Maxwell's Silver Hammer. It's like seeing his character from Little Shop of Horrors just out of dental school.
posted by zippy at 10:26 PM on January 28, 2010 [6 favorites]


Plus, f'ing Sandy Farina. How do you do this and then disappear. It's like Johnny Boy.
posted by mrgrimm at 10:28 PM on January 28, 2010 [1 favorite]


I think Star Wars was still in the theaters in my area when this came out. SPLHCB was a far, far greater influence on me. Hell, I just registered the domain computerettes.com (haven't built a site, yet). Strange, the power of cheap music.
posted by sonascope at 10:28 PM on January 28, 2010 [1 favorite]


I watched this movie many times as a young child because it was one of the only video tapes my parents had, I guess.

I'm pretty sure it fucked me up for life.
posted by mrnutty at 10:29 PM on January 28, 2010


What the bloody fuck. George Burns wasn't Mean Mr. Mustard. He was Mr. Kite. Duh.
posted by mrgrimm at 10:31 PM on January 28, 2010


I discovered this movie in my god mother's old vhs collection when I was in high school, and promptly fell in love with everyone in it. My favourite part is Billy Preston's cameo.
posted by zarah at 10:37 PM on January 28, 2010


My mom convinced me to watch this when I was a kid.

Thanks, Mom. <3
posted by Monsters at 10:38 PM on January 28, 2010


So does this post get deleted because its an actual Universal movie...pretty much just uploaded on youtube for your piracy pleasure?
posted by hal_c_on at 10:38 PM on January 28, 2010 [5 favorites]


*squeeee!* This movie made absolutely no fuckin' sense to 8 year old me and even less so now, but GODDAMN I love it so!
posted by KingEdRa at 10:38 PM on January 28, 2010 [2 favorites]


I'll embarrass myself and admit that I paid money to see this in the theater when it was originally released. It was cheesy and laughable in many parts, but I loved EWF and Aerosmith. I also developed a mad crush on Paul Nicholas (Dougie Shears), even though his version of "Heaven on the Seventh Floor" was meh compared to that of the Mighty Pope. I recently re-watched this film (old VHS copy) with Mr. Adams, who hadn't seen it previously. "This is worse than Kiss Meets the Phantom of the Park," was his only comment.
posted by Oriole Adams at 10:40 PM on January 28, 2010 [1 favorite]


A single scene with: Steve Tyler and Aerosmith, George Burns (voiceover), Steve Martin (photo), and ...

at 4:35, Lwaxana Troi's valet, Mr. Homn (Carel Struycken), from Star Trek: The Next Generation!
posted by zippy at 10:43 PM on January 28, 2010 [1 favorite]


Wait... that was for real? I thought I had a weird dream as a kid. But they really made this?
posted by Pirate-Bartender-Zombie-Monkey at 10:55 PM on January 28, 2010 [1 favorite]


43 seconds in and I can tell this is gold.

This is gold. I love you Cool Papa Bell!
posted by hellojed at 11:11 PM on January 28, 2010


I'll embarrass myself and admit that I paid money to see this in the theater when it was originally released. It was cheesy and laughable in many parts, but I loved EWF and Aerosmith.

My thoughts precisely. I still keep Aerosmith's "Come Together" and EWF's "Got to get you into my Life" in my itunes party shuffle. An enormously fucking AWFUL movie ... and yet it did it's bit to keep democracy safe for us all. Witness that neither the Bee Gees nor Peter Frampton's superstar status survived it.
posted by philip-random at 11:18 PM on January 28, 2010 [2 favorites]


Whose highly stylized jivetalkin' performance came first: Steve Martin or William Shatner?

The world may never know?
posted by Jon_Evil at 11:35 PM on January 28, 2010


I think I first heard about this film... reading Dynamite magazine when I was in grade school. Oh, internet, you make me hate you more each day. This of all things I wish I had forgot.
posted by Catblack at 11:46 PM on January 28, 2010 [2 favorites]


Catblack, you'll love this.

double-nostalgia - it's hosted on tripod!
posted by zippy at 11:52 PM on January 28, 2010 [5 favorites]


I couldn't make it through part one.
posted by wsg at 12:45 AM on January 29, 2010 [1 favorite]


Definitely the low point of the 70's. This movie inspired more punk rockers than any other. Well, it was really two movies, this one and Saturday Night Fever.
posted by telstar at 1:42 AM on January 29, 2010


Yeah, I paid money to see this at the cinema and I paid to see "Kiss Meets the Phantom of the Park" too. (it was on at the movies over here). I'm much better now, I promise.
posted by h00py at 1:52 AM on January 29, 2010


I always wanted to take LSD. Watching these clips - especially Lucy in Sky with Diamonds - I finally understand what LSD was all about. Luch in the Sky with Diamonds. LSD is all about hot Motown chicks and the Bee Gees and some funky get down ("talkin' about Lucy!") and glitter and some funky get down.

Now I understand LSD.
posted by twoleftfeet at 2:00 AM on January 29, 2010


One of my favorite movies of all time. Turned me on to Alice Cooper.
posted by Crotalus at 2:01 AM on January 29, 2010


Wow, this was one of the first movies I saw in a theater with a boy. My sister drove us in her Karmann Ghia and picked us up after. We kept bumping hands in our shared popcorn, you know, accidentally-on-purpose.

I thought it was a lame movie then (I was a misguided teen Beatles purist) but now I can see I'll love and appreciate it for the glorious pop culture cheesefest it is!
posted by quietalittlewild at 2:24 AM on January 29, 2010 [1 favorite]


(Get back yeah whoooooooo indeed!)
posted by quietalittlewild at 2:28 AM on January 29, 2010


Horrible. Absolutely horrible. So horrible that over the past 30 years I try to never watch it more than two or three times a year. Absolute garbage. Wonderful garbage.
posted by Slack-a-gogo at 3:17 AM on January 29, 2010 [8 favorites]


I used to own a novelization of this movie. As a child I would try to read it, but it made no sense to my eight year old brain. A few years later I spray-painted it silver and, while it was still wet, rolled it around in dirt. Then I threw it away.
posted by cropshy at 3:18 AM on January 29, 2010 [14 favorites]


I loved this movie then (at 13) and still love it now despite its awfulness. It's the music, I think. "Got To Get You Into My Life" is one of my favorite covers, ever.
posted by litlnemo at 3:26 AM on January 29, 2010


The only thing I can recall is Donald Pleasance singing "I Want You".
posted by ovvl at 4:02 AM on January 29, 2010


I have always loved this movie and I've seen it more times than I care to reveal. For everyone saying this is a product of it's times, go take a look at the selection of High School Musical movies at your local video store.

Maybe we're still living in the 70s?
posted by JaredSeth at 4:16 AM on January 29, 2010


I saw it the first time. But thanks.
posted by St. Alia of the Bunnies at 4:24 AM on January 29, 2010


I'll embarrass myself and admit that I paid money to see this in the theater when it was originally released.

Uh yeah, me too. I had discovered the Beatles a couple years before and of course was crushed there was no new product. We were snapping up re-packages and bootlegs, and this movie just seemed like something new that kinda sorta had something to do with the Beatles. I remember hating it at the time. Soon after that we found out about this guy named Iggy Pop.

(It was that same desperation for anything new to do with the Beatles that led me to buy this from a cut-out bin.)
posted by marxchivist at 4:29 AM on January 29, 2010


Heh, as an 8 year old I got sucked into this movie and thought it was crazy cool and wow that music! Weird but so . . catchy. Hey dad! Guess what? I'm going to save up all my allowance and get the soundtrack! Yeah they came out with this record with all of these songs . . yeah the record is called "Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band" its got the best artists ever, the Bee Gees, Peter Frampton . .

. . .silence from my dad, and a few days later . .

"jeremias, I bought a Sgt. Peppers record for you. But it's the original one by this band called 'the Beatles'. You can still buy the other one with your allowance if you want, but I think you'll like this one too."

You might think I would be disappointed but the cover of this record was pretty fascinating, even an 8 year old could recognize some of the famous people on the cover. Open it up, why is there an insert with a mustache and badges? Woah, those 4 guys look kinda cool. Put on record. . . Replay. Nice!

So I listened to the record for weeks. The funny thing is I also bought the 1978 version with a gift certificate I recieved. I guess there was somehow room in brain that they *both* could be good. That didn't last long. This started my pre-teen obsession with everything Beatles. Somehow lasted much longer than the Bee Gees . .
posted by jeremias at 4:38 AM on January 29, 2010 [3 favorites]


A few years later I spray-painted it silver and, while it was still wet, rolled it around in dirt. Then I threw it away.

Please tell me you've gone on to a successful career in Art, and where I can find some of your work.
posted by Kirth Gerson at 5:01 AM on January 29, 2010 [2 favorites]


"So does this post get deleted because its an actual Universal movie...pretty much just uploaded on youtube for your piracy pleasure?"

Pretty much my question too. I mean, this is great and all, but it ought to be knocked off of YouTube any second for TOS violations, right?
posted by caution live frogs at 5:28 AM on January 29, 2010


Cool Papa: "Treat" does not mean what you think it means. For me, as a remedy for SPLHCB, I choose Treat Williams in Hair.
posted by dances_with_sneetches at 5:36 AM on January 29, 2010


Even as a kid I thought this movie was both horrible and amazing. I have to think cocaine played a major role in getting it greenlighted.

I remember having a conversation with my neighbor's brother around the time of this movie's release - he said the Bee Gees were far superior to the Beatles. I wonder if he still thinks that?
posted by pinky at 5:43 AM on January 29, 2010 [1 favorite]


I used to own a novelization of this movie.

*still gasping at the very thought*
posted by biddeford at 5:44 AM on January 29, 2010 [1 favorite]


You know, ten years from now - when the Copyright Policeā„¢ will have purged Youtube and removed all material sung, danced, or hummed by anyone ever - this post will seem like a fever dream or an enormous in-joke.

"The only thing I can recall is Donald Pleasance singing "I Want You"."
"One of my favorite movies of all time. Turned me on to Alice Cooper."
"A single scene with: Steve Tyler and Aerosmith, George Burns (voiceover), Steve Martin (photo)"
"Billy Preston! George Burns as Mr. Mustard Kite! The Bee Gees are gold."


"Yeah, and I loved it when Pink Floyd did Yellow Submarine!"
"Man, when Mel Brooks did his bit about Paperback Writer, and the cameo by the Monty Python guys as stationery salesmen, that was awesome."
"James Caan, Jack Nicholson and Christopher Walken doing that barbershop number was a bit much, but it held up nicely compared to that trainwreck of Brando doing Help! as a soliloquy on that empty stage..."
posted by PontifexPrimus at 5:44 AM on January 29, 2010 [1 favorite]


I first saw this movie as a seven year old and loved it completely. I saw it at least twice in the theater, and bought the soundtrack and the novelization. I had heard Frampton, Alice Cooper, and the Bee Gees and knew of the Beatles, but only the "She Loves You" and "I Want To Hold Your Hand" era. (Their latter period psychedelic era was not well represented on the airwaves in Louisiana in the late 70's, at least not on the stations i was listening to.)

I didn't make the connection until several months later, looking through the LP racks at TG&Y. I came across a copy of the original album and was confused for a couple of days, until I looked it up at the library. I think that's when my childhood died.
posted by shecky57 at 5:45 AM on January 29, 2010


I used to own a novelization of this movie.

So it's a novel that's ultimately based on a record? You know, that's actually kind of an intriguing idea. I'd be interested in reading the novelization of Def Leppard's Pyromania. Or anything by Whitesnake, really.
posted by Naberius at 6:03 AM on January 29, 2010 [6 favorites]


If you're feeling masochistic, this and Xanadu would probably make for a pretty good double bill. But you'll never be the same afterward.
posted by The Card Cheat at 6:12 AM on January 29, 2010 [6 favorites]


Seeing as I'm at work and don't have time to watch this, is there a scene in this where the band is playing... going to get a little weird here... in front of a giant cheeseburger with giant (plastic) globs of cheese coming over the sides?

I swear I remember seeing that, I must have been 7 or 8 years old.
posted by smoothvirus at 6:15 AM on January 29, 2010


I used to own a novelization of this movie.

*still gasping at the very thought*


For your viewing pleasure ladies and gentlemen, the comic book adaption of Sgt. Pepper's . . in French:

Abandon all hope ye who enter here.
posted by jeremias at 6:19 AM on January 29, 2010 [2 favorites]


Definitely the low point of the 70's.

No. No, no, no.

Ladies and gentlemen, I give you Sextette, a 1978 picture. Like Sgt. Pepper, it too was a music revue with an all-star cast (and also like Sgt. Pepper, there was a Beatles connection -- Ringo had a small role).

But this was a Mae West vehicle, and was based on one of her own plays; West stars as an "it-girl" sex symbol who's just married her sixth husband (Timothy Dalton) and the paparazzi has followed them to a European hotel where they are honeymooning -- meanwhile, an international peace conference is at that same hotel, but all the diplomats are too excited about "ooh, what's Mae West doing?" to pay attention to negotiations. Many hijinks ensue. The cast also includes Dom DeLuise (as her manager), Tony Curtis (as her ex-husband and a Russian diplomat), Keith Moon, George Hamilton, and Alice Cooper, and they even got Regis Philbin to play himself and Edith Head to do the costumes.

Assorted YouTube clips from the film I've found include the assembled world leaders serernading West with "Baby Face" and Mae West and Timothy Dalton doing the most bizarre cover version of a Captain and Tenille song ever.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 6:20 AM on January 29, 2010 [5 favorites]


Somehow I never saw this, but was always aware of it. I have one question: Why was this movie made? and why was it made in 1978 instead of 1967? And why are these people in it?
Don't get me wrong, it's cool that it's so weird , i just do not comprehend how the studios thought it was worth bankrolling.
posted by Liquidwolf at 6:22 AM on January 29, 2010


I have two thoughts about this movie. One is that I kept wanting Aerosmith to kick the Bee Gees' asses. Two is that it's the perfect movie to rate on my "truckloads of cocaine" rating scale. As in "How many truckloads of cocaine did it take for people to think this movie was a good idea in the first place?"
posted by jonp72 at 6:23 AM on January 29, 2010 [1 favorite]


Don't get me wrong, it's cool that it's so weird , i just do not comprehend how the studios thought it was worth bankrolling.

Cocaine is a hell of a drug.
posted by jonp72 at 6:24 AM on January 29, 2010 [5 favorites]


So it's a novel that's ultimately based on a record?

In a roundabout way. The movie used songs from Abbey Road, Let It Be, and Revolver, sorta jammed in to fit the (and I use this term loosely) "narrative", so it's not like the movie followed the thematic arc of the source album to begin with. (It's also missing "Lovely Rita" and "Within You Without You".) I remember having the book, but I can't recall if it used lyrics for dialogue or not. (The movie had only one narrator, "Mr. Kite". There was no other dialogue other than singing and pantomime.)

The only thing I remember from the novelization was that it listed all the participants in the reprise at the end, so it was an invaluable reference from that perspective.
posted by shecky57 at 6:25 AM on January 29, 2010


Why was this movie made? and why was it made in 1978 instead of 1967? And why are these people in it?

Thinking back, I think there were a lot of other "musicals with an all-star cast" films that came out at about that time. There were also "comedies with an all-star cast" (Cannonball Run) and "disaster movies with an all-star cast" (The Poseidon Adventure). Presumably, at some point early on, one of them worked well, and the others were all made to follow suit; kind of like how there are a lot of 3-D movies in vogue again. It was just the flavor of the month.

The big question is what the ur-Musical of the time was; I don't recall, myself (I was about seven when Sgt. Pepper came out, I think).
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 6:25 AM on January 29, 2010


I liked the part about the drugs.
posted by tommasz at 6:28 AM on January 29, 2010 [1 favorite]


Seeing as I'm at work and don't have time to watch this, is there a scene in this where the band is playing... going to get a little weird here... in front of a giant cheeseburger with giant (plastic) globs of cheese coming over the sides?

No. It was mustard. Mean Mr. Mustard had taken over Heartland, USA and remade the town in his own image (shades of Pottersville in It's a Wonderful Life). The roof of the gazebo in the town square was made over to look like a hamburger with mustard dripping off the sides. When the band made a triumphant return to town in order to perform a benefit concert (for Mr. Kite, of course), they performed in the gazebo.

God, I know way too much about this travesty. I will now beat myself with reeds to atone for my shame.
posted by shecky57 at 6:31 AM on January 29, 2010 [3 favorites]



Cocaine is a hell of a drug.


Yeah. I guess this is what can happen if you do a lot of coke and listen to Sgt Peppers vs doing LSD and listen to Sgt Peppers (in which case you get Yellow Submarine).
posted by Liquidwolf at 6:33 AM on January 29, 2010 [2 favorites]


Man, I loved this movie when I was a kid.

My brother and I were reading the TV listings for the upcoming week and saw that they were going to play it on channel 56, and we were PSYCHED. We were talking about it in our carpool on the way to school, about how great it was going to be, and my brother asked one of the girls in the car if they were planning on watching it and her mother, who was driving the car, growled back at us, "My children will NOT be watching That Movie", and it was clear that she was afraid of it, but my brother and I weren't sure just why.

She was afraid of how AWESOME it was, was our guess.
posted by dirtdirt at 6:35 AM on January 29, 2010 [3 favorites]


One more thing. I love how the ancillary bad guys (Donald Pleasence, Dianne Steinberg, and Paul Nicholas) are greedy scumbags, exploiting the band and its image for personal financial gain, damn the consequences. I wonder if the producers of the movie recognized the similarities...
posted by shecky57 at 6:40 AM on January 29, 2010


No. It was mustard. Mean Mr. Mustard had taken over Heartland, USA and remade the town in his own image (shades of Pottersville in It's a Wonderful Life). The roof of the gazebo in the town square was made over to look like a hamburger with mustard dripping off the sides. When the band made a triumphant return to town in order to perform a benefit concert (for Mr. Kite, of course), they performed in the gazebo.

Holy shit, it's even weirder than I remember it being.

When I was a little kid, the pediatrician's office had a little waiting room for kids, there was a TV in there that you could watch cartoons on, and, a poster from this movie with the aforementioned cheeseburger.
posted by smoothvirus at 6:43 AM on January 29, 2010


And just think, our kids will do this in twenty years for Across the Universe.

I pick up vinyl copies of the soundtrack whenever I find them at thrift stores. I give them to Beatles fans for various celebrations. It's fun to see if they either smile or frown.
posted by 1f2frfbf at 6:43 AM on January 29, 2010


Spent my allowance to see the movie and buy the album.

Used to call the local AM Top 40 station to request 'She Came In Through The Bathroom Window', "But not the Beatles one. The good one by Peter Frampton and the Bee Gees."

"Aww, kid, come on. Quit calling and requesting that."
posted by notyou at 7:01 AM on January 29, 2010 [4 favorites]


I saw this on HBO way back in the day when I was a kid. I thought it was pretty fun, actually. I was somewhat aware that older people who were true Beatles fans hated it, but I was too young to know the Beatles as anything but a few oldies, so I had no such reverence. So I loved all the big crazy spectacle of the whole thing. I bought the album too.

This makes me wanna buy the DVD and inflict it on my friends...mwahahahaha....
posted by dnash at 7:05 AM on January 29, 2010


8 Million Ways to Die gets deleted and this gets to stay up? The mods are obviously high.
posted by dortmunder at 7:09 AM on January 29, 2010 [3 favorites]




8 Million Ways to Die gets deleted and this gets to stay up? The mods are obviously high.


it's amazing what a truckload oc cocaine can do.
posted by lester at 7:11 AM on January 29, 2010 [1 favorite]


I remember the late 70s endcap in the record store: Saturday Night Fever, Grease, and the St. Pepper soundtrack.

All three were on RSO, all double LPs. All were something to do with Bee Gees (Barry wrote the Grease theme). You just had to find some way to get them all.
posted by quarterframer at 7:12 AM on January 29, 2010 [1 favorite]


I've got enough policy questions about this that I've gone Metatalk.
posted by dortmunder at 7:24 AM on January 29, 2010


8 Million Ways to Die gets deleted and this gets to stay up? The mods are obviously high.

nah. the mods were also 7-8 years old when this movie came out and remember it in all its awesome awesomeness.

train wreck? sure. but for me, the real train wreck came a couple of years later when my cool brother bought me Sgt. Pepper's and Abbey Road and I had to get used to the way the Beatles' versions sounded. I was like, What? You mean "Because" isn't supposed to be full of menace? You mean "You never give me your money" isn't a joke song, it's actually one of the baddest songs of all time?

but, still, EWF, all the way baby. it took me like 20 more years to love the Beatles' version of "Got to Get You Into My Life"
posted by toodleydoodley at 7:32 AM on January 29, 2010


For a detailed explanation of How Something Like This (the movie, not the FPP) Could Happen:

Robert Stigwood
posted by toodleydoodley at 7:36 AM on January 29, 2010


Why was this movie made? and why was it made in 1978 instead of 1967? And why are these people in it?

Well in addition to the requisite cocaine as noted above, from a financial perspective you could easily see how this could fly. The Bee Gees and Peter Frampton were among the top-selling artists of the time. It hit the disco demographic and that included all us kids (at the time) I was in third grade and this was like the Superfriends in musical form.

The album debuted at #5 and stayed there for six weeks, eventually becoming multi-platinum.

EmpressCallipygos: The big question is what the ur-Musical of the time was; I don't recall, myself (I was about seven when Sgt. Pepper came out, I think).

I'm not sure if there was one, I think there was leftover goodwill from the relative success of movie adaptations of Godspell and Jesus Christ Superstar with a little Tommy and a lot of Saturday Night Fever thrown in.

Reading the list of brutally horrible "rock musicals" from '78 and '79 feels like slowing down to gawk at a car crash: American Hot Wax, The Wiz, Thank God It's Friday, Hair.

Actually "Hair" wasn't so bad. The only "good" movie musicals I can think of (not being a fan of the genre) from that time might be Scorsese's "New York, New York", "All That Jazz", "Rocky Horror Picture Show".

But the best was definitely "The Muppet Movie".
posted by jeremias at 7:38 AM on January 29, 2010 [1 favorite]


If any movie cries out for the MST3K treatment, it's this one. The only way I'm re-watching this is if there are three silhouettes in the lower right hand corner vociferously tearing it a new asshole.

The timing of this FPP is funny: I was just talking about this movie with doctor_negative and some other friends last weekend, and I had forgotten just how many famous and talented people were involved in this trainwreck. Like jonp72 said, cocaine is a helluva drug. Although we did agree that we liked Aerosmith's and EW&F's arrangements of songs they performed. But my God, the horror, the horror...
posted by mosk at 7:46 AM on January 29, 2010


Why has this movie returned to haunt me now? Somebody brought it up on Monday night - I hadn't thought about it in years. I went to see it when it first came out. I was twelve and I went with my best friend, her twin brother and his best friend. We pretended we were actually on a Double Date. To be honest, we the girls pretended that; the boys just punched each other in the shoulder a lot. It didn't matter, because, you know, somebody in the theater lobby might totally have thought that we were on a Date. Even at twelve I hated the Bee Gees and the movie sucked, but who cared? I was almost on a Date.
posted by mygothlaundry at 7:49 AM on January 29, 2010


I both loved, and was terrorized by, this movie as a kid. For some reason it was on our local UHF station every other Saturday. Neither of my parents were really into the Beatles, or music at all, but I remember their disgust.

My best friend and I convinced ourselves that if you watched the whole Alice Cooper section without looking away would get hypnotized...we kept trying to do it and then chickening out.

(I have also seen and loved Sextette and Xanadu, in their entirety. I have no quality filter.)
posted by JoanArkham at 7:58 AM on January 29, 2010


This movie has a perfect wrongness about it that makes it a classic. Think a 70's pop music version of "It's a Mad, Mad, Mad World". Pre MTV, Pre internet, It was a way of seeing just about everybody happening in music and entertainment in one place at one sitting. Sure stuff didn't fit, but it really wasn't expected to. This was the era of the Ken Rusell films as well.
posted by djrock3k at 8:05 AM on January 29, 2010 [2 favorites]


I have also seen and loved Sextette and Xanadu, in their entirety. I have no quality filter.

Oh, no, honey -- that is your taste for "so bad it's good" coming out. Embrace it.

Me, I've reacted with sheer glee to things like Manos: The Hands of Fate and Reptilicus and Night Of The Lepus. I loved the film Blood Freak so much that I bought it on two different forms of media (VHS first, and then DVD), and I actually edited that Wikipedia link because it hadn't been fleshed out enough for my taste.

There's something endearing about the "so bad it's good" genre, no matter how much you're recoiling at the work itself.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 8:10 AM on January 29, 2010


Wow. I can finally pinpoint the very axis of the hinge that opened the door to my parents' never having really grown up. Thanks meatfilter.
posted by The Potate at 8:15 AM on January 29, 2010


This made me hate the Beatles.
posted by stormpooper at 8:24 AM on January 29, 2010


Even though I could tell, at the tender age of 12, that the trumpet in the movie wouldn't play, I still wanted to heft it.
posted by plinth at 8:28 AM on January 29, 2010 [1 favorite]


I bought this movie on Laserdisc when our local AV place was selling their rental library. I paid $5 for it.

It was about $4.98 more than it was worth.
posted by Lucinda at 8:38 AM on January 29, 2010


All right, I heard it was a joke when it came out and tried to forget about it. But now, after looking at this thread...it's going on my Netflix queue, although I know I'll regret it.
posted by kozad at 8:41 AM on January 29, 2010


Watched this for the first time in almost thirty years last month. It's the same stinking pile of cheese I remembered. And I write that with quite a bit of affection.
posted by eyeballkid at 8:59 AM on January 29, 2010


When I was a little kid, my cousin dragged me to the theater (the long gone Benson theater in Brooklyn) to see this. I remember enjoying the movie a lot. But more importantly, it introduced me to the music of The Beatles. That summer we also bought the soundtrack and played it constantly. My first Beatles record wasn't even a real Beatles record but The Bee Gees and Peter Frampton performing Beatles music! How embarrassing. We even went back and saw the film a second time. I regret nothing!
posted by cazoo at 9:01 AM on January 29, 2010


Ladies and gentlemen, I give you Sextette

OH MY GOD that is the most surreal thing I've seen in a while. Way-too-old-to-be-playing hot Mae West with eight pounds of pancake make-up on, shuffle-walking and talk-singing while a room full of men improbably tell her she has the cutest little baby face--and then young Timothy Dalton so enthusiastic as her doting young husband, singing "Love Will Keep Us Together" as animatronic Mae West shrugs and tries to sneer cutely as she shuffles along.

I thought this cocaine-fueled Sgt. Pepper was the trippiest thing I'd seen, but Sextette easily takes the cake.
posted by LooseFilter at 9:02 AM on January 29, 2010


I was 7 when this came out. I was a little familiar with the Beatles at the time and was a big Bee Gees fan (Spirits Having Flown, y'all). But I think this was the first time I ever actually SAW someone play the electric guitar - or rather, hold an electric guitar and pretend to play it, as the case may be. Anyway, my 7 year old mind was sufficiently blown, and sure enough I asked for (and received) a guitar and lessons. Thanks, Mom and Dad.

Flash forward 30 years, here I am in NYC working as a freelance musician. I turn up to work one day, playing with the bassist Wilbur Bascomb, and I get to asking him about his experiences (he's played with EVERYONE). Turns out he was the bassist on the sessions for the SPLHCB soundtrack. Felt kind of full circle to me.

Still and all, what a shitty movie.
posted by fingers_of_fire at 9:03 AM on January 29, 2010 [2 favorites]


Embarrassed to admit I loved this movie as a kid and asked for the soundtrack for Xmas. Thank God my cool aunt gave me the Beatles' version instead, opening up a whole new world for me. Thanks Jeanne, wherever you are!
posted by rough at 9:11 AM on January 29, 2010 [1 favorite]


I pick up vinyl copies of the soundtrack whenever I find them at thrift stores. I give them to Beatles fans for various celebrations. It's fun to see if they either smile or frown.

You must not know any actual Beatles fans. If you did, you'd have stopped this shenanigan long ago, or you'd be dead.

Maybe we're still living in the 70s?

I was a teen when this came out. As I recall the 70s looked like this.
posted by philip-random at 9:13 AM on January 29, 2010


Liquidwolf: " i just do not comprehend how the studios thought it was worth bankrolling."

The soundtrack album went double platinum - a less common feat than it later became.
posted by Joe Beese at 9:14 AM on January 29, 2010


On preview, what jeremias said.

I was only really aware of the project because it was prominently featured in an issue of Marvel Comics' short-lived kids magazine Pizzazz. The cover had a shot of the stars "performing" in front of the aforementioned dripping burger/gazebo thing which, even as a boy, somehow struck me as a Thing That Should Not Be.
posted by Joe Beese at 9:21 AM on January 29, 2010


When the movie and its soundtrack album came out, my uncle worked as a DJ at KSRA radio in Salmon, Idaho. He was so pissed off that the Bee Gees were ruining his beloved Beatles music that he took the album out to the parking lot of the radio station and did burnouts on it.

Good times.
posted by mr_crash_davis mark II: Jazz Odyssey at 9:28 AM on January 29, 2010 [1 favorite]


Witness that neither the Bee Gees nor Peter Frampton's superstar status survived it.

The Bee Gees "superstar status" is pretty much based on Saturday Night Fever and Saturday Night Fever alone (despite making some damn good albums long before that).

If you're feeling masochistic, this and Xanadu would probably make for a pretty good double bill.

Throw in Head by the Monkees and you have a trifecta of pop brilliance.

I pick up vinyl copies of the soundtrack whenever I find them at thrift stores.

Heh. I have 4 copies of the LP myself. Honestly, it's nothing like "so bad it's good" - SPLHCB, Xanadu, Head - I like them all.
posted by mrgrimm at 10:05 AM on January 29, 2010 [1 favorite]


I hate to be the voice of dissent here, but I like Steve Martin, love the Beatles, and I'm pretty sure this is awful.
posted by condour75 at 10:05 AM on January 29, 2010 [1 favorite]


Thanks meatfilter

heh heh heh... best typo ever.
posted by Bonzai at 10:43 AM on January 29, 2010


Reading the list of brutally horrible 'rock musicals' from '78 and '79 feels like slowing down to gawk at a car crash: American Hot Wax, The Wiz, Thank God It's Friday, Hair.

I haven't seen American Hot Wax, so maybe the movie sucks, but the soundtrack is great, with live performances by Chuck Berry, Jerry Lee Lewis, and Screamin' Jay Hawkins.

8 Million Ways to Die gets deleted and this gets to stay up?

I never finished the movie because I couldn't get past the immortal line, "The street light makes my pussy hair glow in the dark."
posted by kirkaracha at 11:03 AM on January 29, 2010


If any movie cries out for the MST3K treatment, it's this one. The only way I'm re-watching this is if there are three silhouettes in the lower right hand corner vociferously tearing it a new asshole.

Would you settle for a rifftrax?
posted by pahool at 11:08 AM on January 29, 2010


Throw in Head by the Monkees and you have a trifecta of pop brilliance.

Yeah but Head is legitimately brilliant, not merely ironically brilliant.
posted by notyou at 11:14 AM on January 29, 2010 [3 favorites]


Though it was the Bee Gees, for God's sake, I remember my local rock station, WPLR in New Haven, breathlessly promoting the soundtrack for weeks and then dedicating the night of its release to playing the entire two-record set straight through.

About halfway through Side 2 the DJ pulled the record in mid-song (you could almost hear the screech of the needle) and said something to the effect of, "Well, this is just awful. No need to continue."
posted by stargell at 11:42 AM on January 29, 2010 [1 favorite]


If you're feeling masochistic, this and Xanadu would probably make for a pretty good double bill. But you'll never be the same afterward.

I was thinking this and Zardoz. Definitely Zardoz first, to give the audience the opportunity to recover from this image.
posted by zippy at 12:01 PM on January 29, 2010


Oh I was so in love with this movie when it came out. I think my best friend Lynn and I saw it half a dozen times and would sit up in her bedroom playing the soundtrack on her little portable record player all day long. She was in love with Peter Frampton but I was way more interested in Andy Gibb so I was content to indulge her. Miraculously we then started listening to the still-awesome Bee Gees records (Odessa!) from much earlier and I also found my way into the Beatles from this movie. But it's still Peter Frampton's face, mourning the death of Strawberry Fields that I see whenever Golden Slumbers comes. I made my husband, a hard-core Beatles fan who had never even heard of the film, watch it a few years ago. he was horrified but I still kinda love it.
posted by otherwordlyglow at 12:24 PM on January 29, 2010


Earlier this decade, I rented this movie on VHS for camp value. Transferred it to a DVD and gave it a viewing. Then I snapped the DVD in half.

The Village People vehicle Can't Stop the Music is a much better film.
posted by porn in the woods at 12:32 PM on January 29, 2010


But it's still Peter Frampton's face, mourning the death of Strawberry Fields that I see whenever Golden Slumbers comes.

I always thought he was mourning his career there.
posted by philip-random at 12:56 PM on January 29, 2010 [1 favorite]


I used to own a novelization of this movie. As a child I would try to read it, but it made no sense to my eight year old brain. A few years later I spray-painted it silver and, while it was still wet, rolled it around in dirt. Then I threw it away.

Me too (except for the part about the spray paint)! And it did actually make sense to me, a little bit. I dont know why. I way maybe 9 or 10 and my older siblings wouldnt take me (damn you Kathy). I have loved Peter Frampton ever since, though. I thought (and think) that he was awsome.
posted by ameliajayne at 1:22 PM on January 29, 2010


This was the movie that made me realize adults were stupid too.
posted by Aquaman at 1:36 PM on January 29, 2010


I distinctly remember seeing this at the theatre as a 13-year old in a brand new pair of Gitano jeans with rainbow stitching up one leg and around the butt. After seeing Aerosmith, I started buying lots and lots of scarves and doing my best to look like Steven Tyler in my own mind. Never cared much for the movie, but I did think Peter Frampton was one of the best looking men I'd ever seen. I think he's still quite handsome.
posted by Heretic at 1:44 PM on January 29, 2010 [1 favorite]


OMG, Empress...I love Night of the Lepus! I've got a copy on DVD for viewing on Easter. (For Christmas: the Pee-Wee Christmas special.)
posted by JoanArkham at 1:54 PM on January 29, 2010


I Just got to the bit with the robot in a bad wig. I will be sending you my therapist's bill, Cool Papa Bell.
posted by Sparx at 2:59 PM on January 29, 2010


American Hot Wax, The Wiz, Thank God It's Friday, Hair

One of these things is not like the others.
posted by bonefish at 3:55 PM on January 29, 2010


Let's not forget Phantom of the Paradise, with Paul Williams as unironic sex-symbol.

Were they really doing THAT much coke? Ferreal?
posted by Pirate-Bartender-Zombie-Monkey at 4:43 PM on January 29, 2010 [1 favorite]


Were they really doing THAT much coke? Ferreal?

As I remember it, cocaine had no accepted dark side in the mid-late 1970s (unless you were a laughably uptight cop on a bad TV show). It was just the latest, coolest, whitest thing, a little pricey but man did it get the party started right!

Then a very good friend got into big time. From casual user to dealer to massively in debt to very bad people to dead, all within maybe six months. Another friend almost went down with him in the same basic incident. Two more friends from the same scene were dead within a year (both suicides).

Meanwhile, what was the popular culture throwing at me to help me make sense of it all? The likes of Grease, Xanadu, Sgt Peppers.

No wonder, I finally just threw in with the punk rock thing.
posted by philip-random at 5:05 PM on January 29, 2010


I too saw this movie in the theater, I liked the Aerosmith number, possibly Billy Preston as well it's hard to remember ( I was 10). My mom dragged me to so many music oriented movies in the '70s SNF, American Hot Wax (Jay Leno, Laraine Newman and Fran Drescher - how could you go wrong?),Grease etc... I actually have a fondness for these movies good and bad (but I'm pretty sure my one viewing of Sgt. Pepper's was enough to last a lifetime).
posted by MikeMc at 5:10 PM on January 29, 2010


I am not ashamed to admit that I LOVE this film so much that it hurts! I was 18 when it came out, and something about it just burrowed it's way into my soul and remains there still. Is it cheesy? HELL yes! Is it cringe-inducing in more than just a few places? DAMN straight! Is it still a masterpiece of overindulgence that is worthy of repeated viewings? Well...I say YES! Along with Phantom of the Paradise and Rocky Horror Picture Show, it is the quintessential 70's musical experience. Plus, the album cover is still one of the absolute BEST graphic images I have ever seen. I stlll have it hanging on my wall...
posted by Quasimike at 5:14 PM on January 29, 2010 [2 favorites]


Metafilter: I always wanted to take LSD.
posted by thescientificmethhead at 8:22 PM on January 29, 2010


I think I was 7 when this came out, and it was my introduction to the music of the Beatles. And for quite some time I was convinced that their music only existed as related to this movie.

In my defense, at that age I was also convinced that Parliament/Funkadelic and KISS were the same group,The Rolling Stones were Black, and Earth Wind and Fire were possibly from outer space.
posted by billyfleetwood at 9:13 PM on January 29, 2010 [1 favorite]


When I was five, I thought the Monkees were actually monkeys (playing guitars, singing songs, why the hell not?). Imagine my disappointment when I finally saw the TV show.
posted by philip-random at 1:15 AM on January 30, 2010


Ah, well, if we're just talking about weird musical things we believed as kids...

When I was around 3 or 4, I thought the deejays on the local top-40 radio station (which was KJR at the time) actually performed the music themselves. I thought they announced the songs and then ran out on a stage and sang the songs, with a big mic in front of a gold velvet curtain. (I don't know why I thought they had to run on stage. I guess they could have just announced the songs from the stage, too. But for some reason I remember thinking they had to stop talking and run to the stage.)

Let me tell you, I was disappointed to find out it wasn't true.
posted by litlnemo at 6:39 AM on January 30, 2010


Ah, well, if we're just talking about weird musical things we believed as kids...

When I was eight, I thought the Rolling Stones song "Shattered" was actually called "Shazzbot", and was about Mork and Mindy. ...My father may have encouraged me in this misconception because he thought i was cute.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 6:54 AM on January 30, 2010


i found this comment on a private torrent tracker:
I remember seeing this at the theater with my best friend. Even though we were kids, we knew how really bad this movie was. There's one scene where Frampton stands on a balcony or ledge or something and we started yelling "Jump!" and pretty soon the whole theater was yelling "Jump!"
posted by Hammond Rye at 7:28 AM on January 30, 2010 [1 favorite]


Along with Phantom of the Paradise and Rocky Horror Picture Show, it is the quintessential 70's musical experience.

I am stunned by the utter wrongness of that statement.
posted by Kirth Gerson at 5:20 AM on January 31, 2010 [2 favorites]


C'mon shecky57, can I get a spoiler warning in here? Jeez.
posted by Nabubrush at 7:10 PM on January 31, 2010


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