Top 25 Elton John Songs: Numbers 5-1

It’s reached my personal top 5 for my all-time 25 favorite songs by Sir Elton John. It’s been a fun trip down memory lane with this fantastic artist and I’m already thinking about which performer/band I’ll do next!

If you missed numbers 25-6 of my Elton entries, you can find them here:

https://toddmthatcher.com/2018/09/12/top-25-elton-john-songs-numbers-25-21/

https://toddmthatcher.com/2018/09/13/top-25-elton-john-songs-numbers-20-16/

https://toddmthatcher.com/2018/09/14/top-25-elton-john-songs-numbers-15-11/

https://toddmthatcher.com/2018/09/15/top-25-elton-john-songs-number-10-6/

Let’s get to it!

5. “I’m Still Standing” from Too Low for Zero (1983)

4. “Mona Lisas and Mad Hatters” from Honky Chateau (1972)

3. “Funeral for a Friend/Love Lies Bleeding” from Goodbye Yellow Brick Road (1973)

2. “I Guess That’s Why They Call It the Blues” from Too Low for Zero (1983)

1. “Tiny Dancer” from Madman Across the Water (1971)

Top 25 Elton John Songs: Number 10-6

We’ve reached the top 10 of my personal top 25 songs by the amazing Elton John, who is embarking on a lengthy retirement tour. If you missed my posts listing numbers 25-11, you can find them right here:

https://toddmthatcher.com/2018/09/12/top-25-elton-john-songs-numbers-25-21/

https://toddmthatcher.com/2018/09/13/top-25-elton-john-songs-numbers-20-16/

https://toddmthatcher.com/2018/09/14/top-25-elton-john-songs-numbers-15-11/

I’ll have the top 5 up tomorrow!

10. “I Don’t Wanna Go on with You Like That” from Reg Strikes Back (1988)

9. “Your Song” from Elton John (1970)

8. “The One” from The One (1992)

7. “Rocket Man” from Honky Chateau (1972)

6. “Blue Eyes” from Jump Up! (1982)

Top 25 Elton John Songs: Numbers 15-11

Continuing on with my personal top 25 Elton John tracks of all time, we arrive at day 3 and numbers 15-11 on my list. If you missed my previous posts encompassing my 25-16 picks, you can find them here:

https://toddmthatcher.com/2018/09/12/top-25-elton-john-songs-numbers-25-21/

https://toddmthatcher.com/2018/09/13/top-25-elton-john-songs-numbers-20-16/

Let’s get to it with the top ten starting tomorrow!

15. “This Train Don’t Stop There Anymore” from Songs from the West Coast (2001)

14. “Bennie and the Jets” from Goodbye Yellow Brick Road (1973)

13. “Goodbye Yellow Brick Road” from Goodbye Yellow Brick Road (1973)

12. “Someone Saved My Life Tonight” from Captain Fantastic and the Brown Dirt Cowboy (1975)

11. “Mama Can’t Buy You Love” from The Thom Bell Sessions (1979)

Top 25 Elton John Songs: Numbers 20-16

We’re at day 2 for my favorite 25 songs by the legendary Elton John! If you missed 25-21, you can find it right here:

https://toddmthatcher.com/2018/09/12/top-25-elton-john-songs-numbers-25-21/

There’s some heavy hitters here and a deep cut at 19. Look for 16-11 tomorrow!

20. “Saturday Night’s Alright for Fighting” from Goodbye Yellow Brick Road (1973)

19. “Tell Me When the Whistle Blows” from Captain Fantastic and the Brown Dirt Cowboy (1975)

18. “Sorry Seems to Be the Hardest Word” from Blue Moves (1976)

17. “Levon” from Madman Across the Water” (1971)

16. “Philadelphia Freedom” from Captain Fantastic and the Brown Dirt Cowboy (1975)

Top 25 Elton John Songs: Numbers 25-21

This blog has been so inundated with film festival and Oscar Watch coverage in the last couple of weeks. So I’ve decided to switch it over to the rare musical posts with my latest personal top 25 songs for one of my very favorite artists… Sir Elton John.

As you may have read, Sir Elton is embarking on what he’s terming his retirement tour (one that’s supposed to last three years). Coming up with a top 25 here wasn’t easy so let’s get this out-of-the-way… among the hits not included:

“Daniel”

“Candle in the Wind”

“Don’t Let the Sun Go Down on Me”

“Little Jeannie”

“Can You Feel the Love Tonight?”

All fine songs, for sure. Yet this man has over 30 albums and a lot to choose from. I’ll post five entries each day and we start with numbers 25-21:

25. “The Bitch Is Back” from Caribou (1974)

24. “I Think I’m Going to Kill Myself” from Honky Chateau (1972)

23. “Shine On Through” from A Single Man (1978)

22. “Crocodile Rock” from Don’t Shoot Me I’m Only the Piano Player (1973)

21. “Sad Songs (Say So Much)” from Breaking Hearts (1984)

Numbers 20-16 coming your way tomorrow!

Top Ten Summer Hits of 1988: A Look Back

Today marks the first official day of summer 2018 and that means some seasonal traditions are back on the blog! For the past few years, I have recounted the top summer tunes from the last 30, 20, and 10 years. It’s a chance to put on our nostalgia goggles and for me to take a look back on if the songs are a summer smash or summer bummer in hindsight. We begin with the tracks of 1988. As in posts from previous summers, I rank each ditty on a scale of 1 (awful) to 10 (classic) and reveal the most important detail of all – whether said song is on my personal Apple Music collection.

In the coming days, we’ll travel to 1998 and 2008. In July, I’ll get to the movie side recounting the top 10 hits, notable pictures, and flops of ’88, ’98, and ’08.

Let’s get to it!

10. “I Don’t Wanna Live Without Your Love” by Chicago

This group that’s been around for decades scored numerous power ballad smashes in the 1980s. This is… one of them. And it’s not nearly as memorable as many of their others from earlier in the period. That said, it nearly deserves an extra half star for its gloriously cheesy music video.

My Ranking: 5

Is It On My Apple Music: Yes (but only because I have their greatest hits downloaded… I never listen to this one)

9. “I Don’t Wanna Go on with You Like That” by Elton John

Keeping on with the “I Don’t Wanna…” themed hits of three decades ago… ok, so it may not be one of the legend’s classic tunes, but this synth heavy concoction is a well-crafted effort at a time when Elton’s career needed a boost.

My Ranking: 8

Is It On My Apple Music? Yes

8. “Make Me Lose Control” by Eric Carmen

Best known for “Hungry Eyes” from Dirty Dancing, Carmen’s follow-up is a decent sing-along in the car with the windows down experience.

My Ranking: 7

Is It On My Apple Music?: No

7. “Sweet Child O’ Mine” by Guns n Roses

One of the signature tracks from the band with its unmistakable guitar riff to start it off, “Sweet Child O’ Mine” is part of our DNA now. That said, there are certainly songs from GnR I would rank higher.

My Ranking: 8 and a half

Is It On My Apple Music?: Yes

6. “Hands to Heaven” by Breathe

The London pop group came and went fairly quickly, but ballad “Hands to Heaven” was their initial smash. Cheesy, sure. Solid chorus – yes.

My Ranking: 6 and a half

Is It On My Apple Music?: No

5. “Pour Some Sugar on Me” by Def Leppard

VH-1 ranked it the second best song of the 1980s in a poll and it certainly is the signature tune of the rock group’s career. I wouldn’t go quite that far, but it’s pretty darn iconic. I will, however, confess that the hair bands fad isn’t totally my cup of tea for the most part.

My Ranking: 8 and a half

Is It On My Apple Music?: No

4. “Hold On to the Nights” by Richard Marx

Another rather cheesy power ballad, this was nevertheless a smash from Marx that actually kept Leppard’s “Sugar” from hitting #1.

My Ranking: 6

Is It On My Apple Music?: No

3. “Monkey” by George Michael

The fourth single from his landmark Faith album, this uptempo dance track (with production assistance from Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis) gets the job done even if it doesn’t quite rank with some other classics from the 1987 multi-platinum effort.

My Ranking: 9

Is It On My Apple Music?: Yes

2. “The Flame” by Cheap Trick

A bit of a comeback single from the Illinois group, it found them traveling down the power ballad lane that dominated this particular summer. It’s fine. I don’t love it. Give me “I Want You To Want Me” any day.

My Ranking: 6 and a half

Is It On My Apple Music?: No

1. “Roll With It” by Steve Winwood

Is it catchy? Sure, but I was surprised to recall just how much of a hit this was. Four weeks at #1 and multiple Grammys, but I find it just perfectly adequate and far from a summer classic.

My Ranking: 7

Is It On My Apple Music?: No

I’ll have 1998 up soon! “I Don’t Wanna” keep you waiting long…

Music Biopics: The Name Game

A growing trend in movies for the past few years (and a bit beyond) is the musical biopic that incorporates one of the band or artist’s songs into the title. The latest example will come out this fall with Bohemian Rhapsody, the behind the scenes story of Queen.

2019 will bring us Rocketman with Taron Egerton as the legendary Elton John.

We’ve seen this trend in years past. For instance, the 1980s saw La Bamba about Richie Valens.

The 1990s gave us Angela Bassett in her Oscar nominated role playing Tina Turner in What’s Love Got to Do With It?

In 2005, we had Walk the Line with Joaquin Phoenix in his Academy nominated turn as Johnny Cash and Reese Witherspoon winning as June.

More recent ones have been in the hip hop world with Straight Outta Compton (N.W.A.) and All Eyez on Me (Tupac Shakur). There’s also Get On Up with Chadwick Boseman as the Godfather of Soul, James Brown.

So this got me thinking. What would be some other movie/song titles if certain iconic musicians got their biopic? For this blog post’s purposes, I tried to focus on artists where I feel a big screen treatment on them is at least feasible. In other words, while Rico Suave might be a spectacular title, I don’t envision two hours on Gerardo coming anytime soon.

There is already a Madonna flick reportedly in the works and it takes its name not from a tune, but from one of her tours – Blond Ambition. I suppose Material Girl or Like a Prayer could have worked, but Blond Ambition is just about perfect.

Some choices seem obvious. You gotta call the Bon Jovi story Livin on a Prayer, after all. And My Way seems like the natural fit for Frank Sinatra. And Born to Run for Bruce Springsteen. And there’s Piano Man for Billy Joel.

It doesn’t end there. Respect (Aretha Franklin) and Fire and Rain (James Taylor).

When it comes to some recently dearly departed legends, Prince presents a challenge because you can’t call it Purple Rain. And a number of his other massive hits don’t fit. When Doves Cry is probably the name the studio would go for considering it’s his biggest hit. Personally, I rather like the thought of My Name is Prince, taken from his Love Symbol album of 1992.

With Michael Jackson, Thriller would work but it’s hard to imagine Man in the Mirror not being the choice.

For David Bowie, Starman seems like the winner, but that’s also the name of a fairly well-known 1980s science fiction effort starring Jeff Bridges. That may not matter, but if so, Space Oddity or simply calling it Ziggy Stardust might fit.

Tom Petty? How about Free Fallin or Runnin Down a Dream. George Michael? Faith or Freedom. Whitney Houston? Tough one. Perhaps a studio would want I Will Always Love You. Maybe So Emotional works as well.

Some bands have more than one title that seem appropriate. Aerosmith has three great ones: Dream On, Sweet Emotion, or Walk This Way. With AC/DC – Back in Black or Thunderstruck.

Guns n Roses is an interesting one. Welcome to the Jungle is fantastic, but it was just the subtitle for the blockbuster Jumanji reboot. In this matter, you might have to go with their album name Appetite for Destruction, which is ideal.

Metallica could have For Whom the Bell Tolls or Enter Sandman. Nirvana might have Smells Like Teen Spirit as the studio choice, but I’m a little partial to Come As You Are.

I like Runnin with the Devil for Van Halen and I suppose Stairway to Heaven would be the choice for Led Zeppelin.

Let’s move off rock. How about Britney Spears? That may depend on what direction the studio goes. It could be Toxic or Stronger. Maybe Baby One More Time instead.

Stevie Wonder? Superstition or Sir Duke are possibilities, but I like Higher Ground.

With Bob Marley, maybe Get Up, Stand Up or One Love.

Circling back to hip hop, Fight the Power is the clear pick for Public Enemy and the same may hold true for Mama Said Knock You Out with LL Cool J.

And then there’s my favorite… the Rick James biopic Super Freak. Why hasn’t this been made already?

I could go on, but you get the idea. Let’s see if any of these suggested titles end up playing out in the future. Maybe there will be surprises… Barbie Girl: The Aqua Story, anyone?

Sherlock Gnomes Box Office Prediction

Seven years after its predecessor posted solid box office numbers, animated sequel Sherlock Gnomes debuts in theaters next weekend. Produced by Paramount Animation and MGM, the 3D computer drawn comedy is the follow-up to 2011’s Gnomeo and Juliet. Returning voices include James McAvoy (Gnomeo), Emily Blunt (Juliet), Michael Caine, and Maggie Smith. Known faces bringing fresh voices to the follow-up include Chiwetel Ejiofor, Mary J. Blige, and Johnny Depp. Elton John contributes some music.

In February 2011, Gnomeo debuted to $25 million and ended up with $99.9 million overall. Fun fact: that makes it the highest grossing domestic earner of all time to not join the century club. One problem with Gnomes matching the first: a lot of the kiddos who went to see Gnomeo are now preteens or teenagers. Unlike Pixar sequels, there may not be enough goodwill for this to warrant them returning or bringing in a fresh batch of youngsters.

That said, competition for family audiences is rather light. I’ll predict Sherlock ends up in the low to mid teens for its start.

Sherlock Gnomes opening weekend prediction: $13.7 million

For my Pacific Rim Uprising prediction, click here:

https://toddmthatcher.com/2018/03/13/pacific-rim-uprising-box-office-prediction/

For my Paul, Apostle of Christ prediction, click here:

https://toddmthatcher.com/2018/03/14/paul-apostle-of-christ-box-office-prediction/

For my Midnight Sun prediction, click here:

https://toddmthatcher.com/2018/03/16/midnight-sun-box-office-prediction/

For my Unsane prediction, click here:

https://toddmthatcher.com/2018/03/16/unsane-box-office-prediction/

Kingsman: The Golden Circle Box Office Prediction

British spies join forces with their American counterparts in Kingsman: The Golden Circle, the sequel to the 2015 action/comedy hit Kingsman: The Secret Service. Matthew Vaughn is back directing with returning stars Colin Firth, Taron Egerton, and Mark Strong. We also have some new but very familiar faces that include Channing Tatum, Jeff Bridges, Julianne Moore, Halle Berry, and even Elton John!

Two and a half years ago, the original hit its mark with both critics and moviegoers. Opening to $36 million, The Secret Service went on to gross $128M overall domestically. With the relatively small gap between the sequel and its predecessor, I don’t see sequelitis kicking in here.

Circle could find itself in a real battle for the #1 spot with The Lego Ninjago Movie. Both pictures are expected to post debuts in the low to mid 40s. There’s also the third weekend of It to consider, as it still should be raking in plenty of cash.

I’ll project that the second go-round for the Kingsman (and now the Statesman) debuts about $7 million above the first.

Kingsman: The Golden Circle opening weekend prediction: $43.6 million

For my The Lego Ninjajo Movie prediction, click here:

https://toddmthatcher.com/2017/09/13/the-lego-ninjago-movie-box-office-prediction/

For my Friend Request prediction, click here:

https://toddmthatcher.com/2017/09/17/friend-request-box-office-prediction/

Ladies and Gentlemen: The Best of George Michael

On Christmas Day – the world lost another musical icon in 2016 when George Michael passed at age 53. I’ve been a huge fan of the singer for whole life and I wanted to provide my personal Top 25 list of my favorite GM tunes. The listing also includes songs from his work in Wham! prior to him going solo in 1987. I did make the choice not to include covers. However, check out his covers of Elton John’s “Don’t Let the Sun Go Down on Me” and Queen’s “Somebody to Love” in particular.

For those not intimately familiar with this brilliant singer’s work, I urge you to explore your Apple Music or other streaming service to appreciate just how remarkable he was. And these 25 songs represent a solid start.

RIP George Michael.

25. “Monkey” from Faith (1987)

24. “Spinning the Wheel” from Older (1996)

23. “Outside” from Ladies & Gentlemen: The Best of George Michael (1998)

22. “Fantasy” – B-Side Single (1990)

21. “Move On” from Older (1996)

20. “Amazing” from Patience (2004)

19. “I’m Your Man” from Music from the Edge of Heaven (1986)

18. “I Want Your Sex” from Faith (1987)

17. “Too Funky” from Red Hot + Dance Compilation (1992)

16. “A Different Corner” from Music from the Edge of Heaven (1986)

15. “The Edge of Heaven” from Music from the Edge of Heaven (1986)

14. “Hard Day” from Faith (1987)

13. “One More Try” from Faith (1987)

12. “Freedom” from Make It Big (1984)

11. “Kissing a Fool” from Faith (1987)

10. “Father Figure” from Faith (1987)

9. “Last Christmas” from Music from the Edge of Heaven (1986)

8. “Praying for Time” from Listen Without Prejudice (1990)

7. “Wake Me Up Before You Go -Go” from Make It Big (1984)

6. “Careless Whisper” from Make It Big (1984)

5. “Faith” from Faith (1987)

4. “Fastlove” from Older (1996)

3. “Cowboys and Angels” from Listen Without Prejudice (1990)

2. “Everything She Wants” from Make It Big (1984)

1. “Freedom ’90” from Listen Without Prejudice (1990)