What’s Up Doc?
My professional life has been a constant record of disillusion, and many things that seem wonderful to most men are the every-day commonplaces of my business. – Harry Houdini
A friend of mine once referred to Houdini as the first great marketer. Lessons may be taken by those looking to spread their own good word…it’s right there in his repute: “the master of illusion” —and the highest paid man in vaudeville.
With mystery of the unknown comes curiosity. Give ‘em just enough. Give em a story. Build tension.
In a post reality TV world, the social dynamic tides have shifted at a frog in boiling water pace. While once mystery sold, today, it’s a tweet all, bare all world. Forty somethings now in the music industry grew up reading about their heroes in Rolling Stone…but never had the opportunity to share direct exchanges with them over 140 characters on Twitter, much less read their favorite artists’ ponderings, gaining greater insight into them as a person vs. an artist. These days, there’s a desire to knock down the fourth wall. Kids have been weaned on The Real World, now selfie-ing their way through their own day to day lives, documenting daily moments.
So, it’s no wonder that a bevy of rock docs are now available, peeling back the curtains to those “Celebrities: They’re Just Like Us” moments. At 25, Demi Lovato has released Simply Complicated via YouTube. Longtime friend Selena Gomez has proclaimed her support of Lovato’s disclosures about her substance abuse problems and eating disorder.
Just dropped on Netflix, Lady Gaga’s long-awaited Five Foot Two offers plenty of behind the scenes on the queen. For its part, Five Foot Two provides glimpses into the singer’s interactions with fans, as well as her struggles with chronic pain.
You can also on demand your way to some rare, previously unreleased Beatles footage via 2017’s It Was Fifty Years Ago Today! The Beatles: Sgt. Pepper and Beyond which explores the making of the legendary record.
Also on Netflix is 2014’s gut-wrenching tribute to Glenn Campbell, I’ll Be Me, an up-close look at Campbell’s recent performances, never shying away from filming Alzheimer’s’ impact on the artist and his family. Local theaters have organized screenings complete with expert Q&A sessions regarding the illness, all to raise funds for the Alzheimer’s Family Organization.
Standard-bearer HBO continues to see success with The Defiant Ones, their captivating look at Jimmy Iovine and Dr. Dre. In it, Jimmy Iovine opens up about resisting pressure to offload Dr. Dre’s Death Row Records from his own Interscope amidst response to gangster rap’s growing popularity.
As the title suggests, it’s an homage to shared traits of the unlikely duo’s impact on culture as a whole. (In the context of hip-hop and post 90s music, one can forget Iovine’s roots as a producer dating back to John Lennon, Patti Smith, Bruce Springsteen, and Tom Petty and Stevie Nicks –who, as legend has it, Iovine was dating prior to the magical release of “Stop Draggin’ My Heart Around.”) Petty shared “Next thing I know he goes, ‘Hey, I got something I gotta play you,’ and he plays me ‘Stop Draggin’ My Heart Around,’ the same track, with her singing…I go, ‘Jimmy, you just took the song?’… His comeback was like, ‘This is gonna buy you a house.’ But it pissed me off because … [Nicks’ track and ‘ours’] came out at the same time, so I think our single suffered.”
Such reveals are also inevitable with Apple’s release of Clive Davis: The Soundtrack of Our Lives. It’s a title that’s really not too big for its britches: Davis’ golden touch has impacted or launched the careers of countless artists across nearly every conceivable genre: Janis Joplin, Bruce Springsteen, Simon & Garfunkel, Santana, Miles Davis, Billy Joel, Barry Manilow, Patti Smith, The Grateful Dead, Kenny G, Aretha Franklin, Whitney Houston, Sean Combs, Alicia Keys…just scratches the surface. The biopic and look at history features archival footage and contemporary interviews in tribute to the legend Aretha called “the greatest record man of all time.”
Grab the cuddlduds blankie and the popcorn–with the winter months looming, we music freaks have more than enough binge-ing to sink our teeth into.