From the Vault...


"Bugsy Malone"

© Polydor Records

Year of Release: 1976

track listing
  • Bugsy Malone
  • Fat Sam's Grand Slam
  • Tomorrow
  • Bad Guys
  • I'm Feeling Fine
  • My Name Is Tallulah
  • Do You Wanna
    Be A Boxer
  • Ordinary Fool
  • Down And Out
  • You Give A Little Love

  • WSVNRadio Archives
    A B C D E F G H I J K L M
    N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z

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    "Bugsy Malone"

    "And everybody wants that man.... Bugsy Malone..."

    With the popularity of gangster movies in the early 1970s - The Godfather, and The Sting, it was time for the young crowd to enjoy a crime movie for their own. In 1976, Bugsy Malone was released, having a crime-related storyline. But the catch was the cast of the movie would appeal to the much younger crowd. The movie starred (and introduced) Scott Baio, who would later become more popular in his teen years as Chachi, in the popular TV series, Happy Days. The movie also starred Jodie Foster. Both Baio and Foster were the main characters.

    The movie is based on the crime character Bugsy Malone, set in the 1920s. Malone learns the ropes of the criminal life, in New York. What makes the movie even more G-rated, is how in crime scenese were used. Instead of gunfire, firearms of gunfire and bullets were replaced by ping-pong balls, and whip cream. What a huge impression for the young kids at the time. Being the year 1976, I was 12 years old, and I did see this movie in the theater, and remembering this was a very good music. Not just for the kids' theme in mind, but for the music.

    The movie was directed and written by Alan Parker, and English film director, producer and screenwriter. Among his credits were other musicals like Bugsy Malone -- Fame (1980), Pink Floyd - The Wall (1982), The Commitments (1991), and Evita (1996). Other movies of a non-musical theme, were Midnight Express (1978), Mississippi Burning (1988), Come See Paradise (1990), and Angela's Ashes (1999). Family dramas were Shoot The Moon (1982), and horror thrillers as Angel Heart (1987) and The Life Of David Gale (2003). He has also won enetertainment awards, from both the U.S. and U.K.

    Parker asked Paul Williams to conduct the movie's soundtrack. Paul Williams is best known more of a songwriter, than that of singing. He had penned big hits from the 1970s, such as The Carpenters' "We've Only Just Begun," "Rainy Days And Mondays" and Three Dog Night's "(Just An) Old Fashioned Love Song," "Family Of Man." He also wrote "Evergreen", recorded by Barbra Streisand. This song earned him an Oscar, as it was in Streisand's film, A Star Is Born.

    As for the music, Williams saw it as a challenge. He wanted to provide songs that reflected the period, being the 1920s. Ne wanted to maintain a quality that would hold the young audience's attention. Rather than have the young cast sing the songs, they were performed by adults. Paul Williams, Archie Hahn, Julie McWhirter, and Louise "Liberty" Williams provided the vocals. Paul Williams has always had a distinctive singing voice, as I always remembered his singing of the title tune, "Bugsy Malone." He also sang on two other tracks for the movie, "Fat Sam's Grand Slam," and "You Give A Little Love."

    Based from the 1920s, the soundtrack does reflect from this decade in sound on some songs, but others do have a similarity to another movie musical, Cabaret. Another song to point out, is "Tomorrow." My guess is Archie Hahn is on vocals, yet this song's vocalist has a similarity to that of Leon Russell.

    As for Paul Williams' singing, he is truly a great vocalist, yet he never did enough recognition for it. There is a 2-disc anthology of his music, Songs For The Family Of Man -- which spotlights not only the songs he wrote, but him singing. Credit his songwriting, he is also a great songwriter as well. Another song I remember, and enjoy, is "Here's Another Fine Mess," which was in the Burt Reynolds/Dom DeLuise movie, "The End." Glen Campbell also recorded this song, yet it is Paul Williams' version I always remembered. Surprisingly, the songs from Bugsy Malone were not in the 2-disc anthology, but The End track is.

    There are only 10 songs on this soundtrack, as it does reflect on the 1920s, and as you listen (whether you've seen the movie or not), you can tell these were songs written by Paul Williams that easily fit the Roaring 20s. It's been a long time since I've seen the movie again, and I'm sure watching it as an adult, it just maybe cheesy to watch now. (I've often felt this way, being an adult, when I watch shows such as Happy Days,)

    But when you're 12 years old, and seeing other kids using guns that displayed whip cream and ping-pongs, back then you really didn't know what real gunfire and violence was. Remember, it was 1976 when this movie came out, and being a kid, you didn't really see or hear about how violent the world really was. (I didn't.) Yet in today's world, however, you can't seem to NOT see today's violence, and being a 12-year kid now in 2017, you really wonder if the kids of today can't really get away from today's cruel world, of drugs, violence, and sex.

    "Ah, it's not like it used to be..." When you think about it... 1976, Bugsy Malone and the movie 1776 come to mind, and how "clean" those movies were, and how they were enjoyed by people of all ages. I'm sure as we watch those movies today, you can't often think how you'd like to go back in time, and being a kid again. Regardless, I know I will enjoy it, forty years later, because I enjoyed it back then.

    But thanks for those memories, Bugsy Malone just makes you want to chuckle a bit, and say, Yes, that was a "cheesy time" and how you'd want to back to the time and place, for those who were a kid back then. But then again, you can, for the length of time of the movie Bugsy Malone, and actually think you're a kid. It's just for 93 minutes, being young, and watching Scott Baio and Jodie Foster when they were much younger. We all know how both Scott and Jodie turned out. For most, you either like them or not. They surely became their own persons. They would both work in TV and movies. Their personal lives would be quite different from acting.

    Scott Baio: Baio is a registered Republican, supporting Republican Presidential nominees Ronald Reagan, Mitt Romney, and Donald Trump. (Reagan and Trump would become Presidents.) Yet his controversial views of another President, Democrat Barack Obama, would consider many to dislike him. His quote on Obama was that he is "either dumb, a Muslim, or a Mulim sympathizer, and I don't think he's dumb." He accused the wife of Red Hot Chili Peppers band member Chad Smith's wife, Nancy Mack of physical assault. With Baio's support of Donald Trump, Hack was just trying to show how Donald Trump hugs women, and denied any physical aggression towards Baio. Lastly, Baio tweeted regarding the 2012 Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting, indicating that the death of one of the victims, Heather Heyer, was a hoax. A total of 28 deaths occurred, including that of the perpertrator, 20-year old, Adam Lanza.

    Oh, and did you know... Scott Baio recorded two music albums? Scott Baio (1982), and The Boys Are Out Tonight (1983). [They will be reviewed here, at a later date.)

    Jodie Foster: Foster would star in two adult character movies. Taxi Driver, which also starred Robert DeNiro. This movie would become an obsession with John Hinckley, Jr. Hinckley attempted to assassinate President Ronald Reagan on March 30, 1981. Reagan was wounded. Hinckley claimed that his motive was to impress Foster. This resulted in social media attention, causing life for Foster difficult. The other movie was in 1991, Silence of the Lambs which also co-starred ANthony Hopkins. Foster's sexual orientation was the subject matter from this movie, protesting hombophobia, and claimed that Foster was a "closeted lesbian." Her partner is Cydney Bernard, whom she met in 1993 on the set of Sommersby They were partners from 1993 to 2008. In April, 2014, Foster married actress and photographer Alexandra Hedson. She had always stated her private life is private, she had always been in the public eye. In 2007, she publicly acknowledged her relationship with Bernard, and in 2013, she addressed her "coming out" speech, which led to the media that she was lesbian or gay. However, she did not acutally use those two words in her speech.

    Paul Williams: Bugsy Malone is a soundtrack. Paul Williams' "Bugsy Malone" is the main track that should be recognized by music fans. He has released 11 albums of his own, from the 1960s to 2005. And throughout those years, he has been part of six soundtracks. Not only has he been successful in music (preferrably songwriting), he has appeared in television and movies.

    Again... "Ah, it's not like it used to be..." The music of Bugsy Malone is a soundtrack. Paul Williams' "Bugsy Malone" is the main track that should be recognized by music fans. His songwriting is what he'll be most famous for. As for his singing, it's distinctive, and probably would not be accounted for. His voice is just as good as his songwriting. Paul Williams... the little guy (5 feet, 2 inches), with the big heart in music.

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