the door to yesteray vol. 4 no. 21. alan warner. celluloid heroes.

 

 

 

celluloid heroes and heroines. name dropping songs citing movie stars. the door to yesterday. 2020.

 

You Are the Star Mural. The Dioor to Yesterday. alan Warner. 2020

 Back in the days when the latest films were only shown in movie theaters,

going to the cinema was seemingly more of an event than it is now.


Many of the major movie stars of years gone by are transfixed in 

our memories and their names and faces conjure up a very different 

entertainment world compared with modern times. 


Over the decades, songwriters have celebrated such 

movie icons or have made reference to them in a wide range of tunes.

kim carnes. jackie deshannon. alan warner. bete davis eyes. the door to yesterday. 2020.


 One of the first songs that comes 

to mind is BETTE DAVIS EYES,

 the Jackie DeShannon/Donna Weiss

 composition recorded by Kim Carnes


Produced by Val Garay on EMI America, 

the Grammy-winning single topped the 

Billboard Hot 100 in May 1981 

and reached the UK Top Ten.


Not only is actress Bette Davis celebrated 

but the very first line of the song’s lyric 

references another Hollywood legend: 

“Her hair is Harlow gold”.  


The words further 

allude to movie royalty with the line: 

“She’s got Greta Garbo’s standoff sighs,

 she’s got Bette Davis Eyes”. 

Here’s a YouTube link:

https://youtu.be/qAqXDZoa624



madonna vogue. the door to yesterday. 2020. alan warner.

Nine years after the success of BETTE DAVIS EYES, Madonna crested the Billlboard chart in 1990 with the song she co-wrote with Shep Pettibone titled VOGUE. 


This stylish ballad from her “Like A Prayer” album mentioned not just Bette Davis, Greta Garbo and (Jean) Harlow, but also (Marilyn) Monroe,(Marlene) Dietrich, Marlon Brando, Jimmy Dean,

 Grace Kelly, Gene Kelly

Fred Astaire,  Ginger Rogers, 

Rita Hayworth, Lauren (Bacall), 

Katharine (Hepburn) & Lana (Turner). 

https://youtu.be/ydFYm-oomec


 Following is a list of just some of the other vintage

songs in which film stars were named in their titles

Selected lyric lines are also included:


BELA LUGOSI’S DEAD 

(Peter Murphy/Daniel Ash/David Jay/Kevin Dompe)  

by Bauhaus 

(Small Wonder: 1979) 

https://youtu.be/2RoGtU3Y7FA


BOGART 

(Nik Kershaw) 

by Nik Kershaw 

(MCA: 1984) 

https://youtu.be/alMY_CKkUrk  

‘Wish I could whistle like the “Big Sleep’s” famous lover’


BRUCE LEE 

(Rick Smith/Karl Hyde/Darren Emerson) 

by Underworld 

(Junior Boys Own: 1999) 

https://youtu.be/kXNwmwvASac


CLINT EASTWOOD 

(Damon Albarn/Jamie Hewlett/Teren Jones) 

by Gorillaz 

(Virgin: 2001)


ELVIS AND MARILYN 

(Leon Russell/Kim Fowley/Dyan Diamond) 

by Leon Russell 

(Paradise: 1978) 

https://youtu.be/xu2UlQ65-6k 

‘Elvis and Marilyn never shares the stars above’


ERROL FLYNN 

(Tyla) 

by The Dogs D’Amour 

(UK China: 1989)


GOODBYE MARLON BRANDO 

(Elton John/Bernie Taupin) 

by Elton John 

(MCA: 1988)

https://youtu.be/6SWoG82ozTE 


HE LOOKS LIKE SPENCER TRACY NOW 

(Ricky Ross) 

by Deacon Blue 

(Columbia: 1988) 

https://youtu.be/hqoc8CLNptk


IF I’M JAMES DEAN, YOU’RE AUDREY HEPBURN

 (Kellin Quinn) 

by Sleeping With Sirens 

(Rise: 2010)


JAMES DEAN 

(Jackson Browne/Glenn Frey/J.D. Souther/Don Henley) 

by The Eagles 

(Asylum: 1974) 

‘You were too fast to live, too young to die’


JOAN CRAWFORD 

(Albert Bouchard/David Roter/Jack Rigg) 

by Blue Oyster Cult 

(Columbia: 1981) 

‘Joan Crawford has risen from the grave’ 


LAUREL AND HARDY 

(Eddy Grant) 

by The Equals 

(UK President: 1968) 

https://youtu.be/u2MWgc9ZpVQ  

‘Saturday morning pictures are free

MARY PICKFORD 

(Mike Batt) 

by Katie Melua 

(Dramatico: 2007)


MICHAEL CAINE 

(Carl Smyth/Dan Woodgate) 

by Madness 

(Geffen: 1984) 

https://youtu.be/vK67VnWgA80


ROBERT DeNIRO’S WAITING 

(Steve Jolley/Tony Swain/Sarah Dallin/Keren Woodward) 

by Bananarama 

(London: 1984) 

https://youtu.be/JvRU30qMhfE


STEVE McQUEEN 

(Sheryl Crow) 

by Sheryl Crow 

(A&M: 2002)


To complete this blog, here’s a random list of vintage songs 

in which the actual lyrics referred to one or more movie icons by name:


AMERICAN PIE 

(Don McLean) 

by Don McLean 

(United Artists: 1972)

refers to James Dean 

‘In a coat he borrowed from James Dean’ 

https://youtu.be/iX_TFkut1PM 


ANYTHING GOES 

(Cole Porter) 

1934

refers to Mae West, Anna Sten 

‘If Mae West you like/Or me undressed you like

Why, nobody will oppose’


AT THE MOVING PICTURE BALL 

(Howard Johnson/Joseph Santly) 

1920

refers to Wallace Reid, Theda Bara, Alice Brady, 

Douglas Fairbanks, Mary Pickford, Charlie Chaplin, 

Blanche Sweet, (Mack) Sennett’s bathing girls


BERLIN 

(Lou Reed) 

by Lou Reed 

(RCA: 1972)

refers to Humphrey Bogart, Lauren Bacall  

https://youtu.be/OL-QY9eM1ZM


BICYCLE RACE 

(Freddie Mercury) 

by Queen 

(Elektra: 1978)

refers to John Wayne 

‘You say John, I say Wayne’


BLOODNOK'S ROCK'N'ROLL CALL 

(Tony Carbone) 

by The Goons 

featuring Major Dennis Bloodnok, 43rd Deserters (Rtd.) 

(UK Decca: 1956)   

refers to Marilyn Monroe 

‘You’ve got to march with a Marilyn Monroe sway’


CADILLAC RANCH 

(Bruce Springsteen) 

by Bruce Springsteen 

(Columbia: 1980)

refers to James Dean, Burt Reynolds 

‘'Even Burt Reynolds in that black Trans Am’


CANDLE IN THE WIND 

(Elton John/Bernie Taupin) 

by Elton John 

(MCA: 1973)

refers both to Norma Jean 

and to her professional name Marilyn Monroe 

https://youtu.be/MYU3F8uUGiw


CARY GRANT’S WEDDING 

(Craig Scanlon/Kay Carroll

Marc Riley/Mark Smith/Stephen Hanley) 

by The Fall 

(UK Rough Trade: 1980)

refers to Cary Grant, Buster Keaton



RAY DAVIES KINKS THE DOOR TO YESTERDAY ALAN WARNER 2020 CELLULOID HEROES

CELLULOID HEROES 

(Ray Davies) 

by The Kinks 

(RCA: 1972)

refers to Greta Garbo, Rudolph Valentino, Bela Lugosi, 

Bette Davis, George Sanders, Mickey Rooney, Marilyn (Monroe) 

https://youtu.be/zL0cG7a2PW0


THE CHANUKAH SONG 

(Adam Sandler/Ian Maxstone-Graham/Lewis Morton) 

by Adam Sandler 

(Warner Bros: 1995)

refers to James Caan, Kirk Douglas, Dinah Shore, Paul Newman, 

Goldie Hawn, O.J. Simpson, Harrison Ford, The Three Stooges, Tom Cruise


CHINA GIRL 

(David Bowie/Iggy Pop) 

by David Bowie 

(EMI America: 1983)

refers to Marlon Brando 

‘I’m feeling tragic like I’m Marlon Brando’


COWBOY HOP 

(Ernest Tucker) 

by Ernest Tucker 

(Jubilee: 1959)

refers to Roy Rogers, Gene Autry


COWBOY MOVIES 

(Waylon Jennings) 

by Waylon Jennings 

(BMG: 1993)

refers to John Wayne, The Muppets


THE CURLY SHUFFFLE 

(Peter Quinn) 

by Jump ‘N The Saddle 

(Atlantic: 1983)

refers to Curly, Moe, Shemp of The Three Stooges 

https://youtu.be/EkHsbO4zU2o


DEAR MR. GABLE 

(Roger Edens)

A 12-bar verse written as an intro 

to the 1913 song 

YOU MADE ME LOVE YOU 

(Joseph McCarthy/James V. Monaco). 

The intro plus the song were performed by Judy Garland 

while gazing at a photo of Clark Gable in the 1937 MGM musical 

“Broadway Melody Of 1938”.


DETECTIVE AGENCY 

(The Lucksmiths) 

by The Lucksmiths 

(Candle: 1995)

refers to Fred MacMurray, Barbara Stanwyck


DONE TOO SOON 

(Neil Diamond) 

by Neil Diamond 

(Uni: 1970)

refers to Fanny Brice, Humphrey Bogart,

 Chico Marx, Buster Keaton 

https://youtu.be/gEPkewfBN8A


ELECTROLITE 

(Michael Stipe/Bill Berry/Peter Buck/Mike Mills) 

by R.E.M. 

(Warner Bros: 1997)

refers to Martin Sheen, Steve McQueen, Jimmy Dean


GOOD DAY 

(Ray Davies) 

by The Kinks 

(Arista: 1984)

refers to Diana (Dors)


HALLOWEEN PARADE 

(Lou Reed) 

by Lou Reed 

(Sire: 1989)

refers to Greta Garbo, Alfred Hitchcock, (Joan) Crawford, 

(Bette) Davis, Cary Grant


HECKLE & JECKEL 

(Max T. Barnes/Max D. Barnes) 

by George Jones 

(MCA: 1991)

refers to Laurel & Hardy


HOORAY FOR HOLLYWOOD 

(Richard A. Whiting/Johnny Mercer) 

1937

refers to Lassie, (Marilyn) Monroe, Donald Duck, 

Tyrone Power. 


HOPPY, GENE AND ME

(Snuff Garrett/Steve Dorff/Milton Brown) 

by Roy Rogers 

(20th Century: 1974) 

Singing cowboy movie & TV star Roy Rogers 

paying tribute to his fellow western actors

  Hopalong Cassidy and Gene Autry


I LOVE BEING HERE WITH YOU 

(Bill Schluger/Peggy Lee) 

by Peggy Lee 

(Capitol: c.1961)

refers to Fred Astaire, (Marlon) Brando, 

Yul Brynner, Cary Grant, (Jimmy) Durante


I MAY BE WRONG (But I Think You’re Wonderful) 

(Harry Ruskin/Henry Sullivan) 

1930

refers to John Barrymore


I SHALL BE FREE 

(Bob Dylan) 

by Bob Dylan 

(Columbia: 1963) 

refers to Brigitte Bardot, Anita Ekberg, 

Sophia Loren, Elizabeth Taylor, Richard Burton


I THINK I’M GONNA KILL MYSELF 

(Elton John/Bernie Taupin) 

by Elton John 

(Uni: 1972)

refers to Brigitte Bardot 

‘Brigitte Bardot gotta come/And see me every night’


THE INTRO AND THE OUTRO 

(Vivian Stanshall) 

by The Bonzo Dog Doo-Dah Band 

(UK Liberty: 1967)

refers to John Wayne, Robert Morley, 

Roy Rogers & Trigger


INVITATION TO THE BLUES 

(Doris Fisher/Arthur Gershwin/Allan Roberts) 

1944

refers to (James) Cagney, Rita Hayworth


JACK AND DIANE 

(John Cougar Mellencamp) 

by John Cougar 

(Riva: 1982) 

refers to James Dean 

‘Scratches his head and does his best James Dean’


JAMES CAGNEY 

(Nik Kershaw) 

by Nik Kershaw 

(UK MCA: 1984)

refers to James Cagney, (Rudolph) Valentino


JOHN WAYNE 

(Charles Fox/Paul Williams) 

by Seals & Crofts 

(Warner Bros: 1977)

refers to Gene Kelly, John Wayne

https://youtu.be/fVEPbFvxdPw


KEY LARGO 

(Bertie Higgins/Sonny Limbo) 

by Bertie Higgins 

(Kat Family: 1981)

refers to Bogie & Bacall


MAN ON THE MOON 

(Michael Stipe/Bill Berry/Peter Buck/Mike Mills) 

by R.E.M. 

(Warner Bros: 1992)

refers to Andy Kaufman, Elvis Presley


ME AND JIMMIE RODGERS 

(Shel Silverstein) 

by Tom T. Hall 

(RCA: 1980)

refers to Audie Murphy, John Wayne, Betty Grable and “High Noon”


MESSAGE OF LOVE 

(Chrissie Hynde) 

by The Pretenders 

(Sire: 1981)

refers to Brigitte Bardot 

Oh it’s good, good, good/Like Brigitte Bardot’


MY BABY JUST CARES FOR ME 

(Walter Donaldson/Gus Kahn) 

1930; lyric extended c.1957

refers to Liz Taylor, Lana Turner, Liberace


NEVER GONNA DANCE 

(Jerome Kern/Dorothy Fields) 

by Fred Astaire 

(Brunswick: 1936)

refers to Groucho Marx, Harpo (Marx)


NEW AGE 

(The Velvet Underground) 

by The Velvet Underground 

(Cotillion: 1970)

refers to Robert Mitchum 

‘And when you kissed Robert Mitchum

Gee but I thought you’d never catch him’


(NO MORE) THE SUB-MARINER 

(Peter Hamill) 

by Peter Hamill 

(Charisma: 1974)

refers to Humphrey Bogart, Victor Mature


ONE MORE ARROW 

(Elton John/Bernie Taupin) 

by Elton John 

(Geffen: 1983)

refers to Robert Mitchum


ONE NIGHT IN BANGKOK 

(Tim Rice/Benny Andersson/Bjorn Ulvaeus) 

by Murray Head (

RCA: 1984)

refers to Yul Brynner 

‘In a show with everything but Yul Brynner’


PAMELA, PAMELA 

(Graham Gouldman) 

by Wayne Fontana 

(MGM: 1967)

refers to Laurel & Hardy


PEDAL PUSHIN' PAPA

(Billy Ward/Rose Marks) 

by Billy Ward & His Dominoes 

(Federal: 1953) 

refers to Gene Autry, Fred Astaire


PUTTIN’ ON THE RITZ 

(Irving Berlin) 

1930

refers to Gary Cooper 

‘Trying hard to look like Gary Cooper, super-duper’


THE ROAD TO MOROCCO

(James Van Heusen/Johnny Burke) 

by Bing Crosby & Bob Hope 

(Decca: 1942)

refers to Dorothy Lamour


ROCK ON 

(David Essex) 

by David Essex 

(Columbia: 1963)

refers to Jimmy (James) Dean


TEACHER I NEED YOU 

(Elton John/Bernie Taupin) 

by Elton John 

(MCA: 1973)

refers to John Wayne, Errol Flynn 

I’ve got John Wayne stances/I’ve got Errol Flynn advances’


TEN CENTS A COUP 

(Phil Ochs) 

by Phil Ochs 

(A&M: 1970)

refers to Laurel & Hardy


THERE GOES A TENNER 

(Kate Bush) 

by Kate Bush

(EMI America: 1982)

refers to (Humphrey) Bogart, George Raft, 

(James) Cagney, Edward G. (Robinson) 

THESE FOOLISH THINGS (Remind Me Of You) 

(Harry Link/Holt Marvell/Jack Strachey) 

1936

refers to (Greta) Garbo, (Bing) Crosby


WALK ON THE WILD SIDE 

(Lou Reed) 

by Lou Reed (RCA: 1973)

refers to James Dean


WE DIDN'T START THE FIRE 

(Billy Joel) 

by Billy Joel 

(Columbia: 1989)

refers to Doris Day, radio commentator Walter Winchell, 

Marilyn Monroe, Marlon Brando, James Dean, 

Elvis Presley, Brigitte Bardot, Grace (Kelly)


WHERE DO YOU GO TO (MY LOVELY) 

(Peter Sarstedt) 

by Peter Sarstedt 

(World Pacific: 1969)

refers to Marlene Dietrich


WHERE HAVE ALL THE COWBOYS GONE 

(Paula Cole) 

by Paula Cole 

(Warner Bros: 1996) 

refers to John Wayne


YOU ARE MY LUCKY STAR 

(Arthur Freed/Nacio Herb Brown) 

1936

refers to (Greta) Garbo, (Norma) Shearer, 

(Joan) Crawford, (Katharine) Hepburn, (Jean) Harlow.


As in all my postings, the recordings listed and referenced above are personal 

selections and are in no way intended as definitive collections of the genre.


Please send any comments or suggestions to 

thedoortoyesterday@gmail.com


Rock on.


Alan Warner


© Alan Warner, 2020. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this site’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Alan Warner with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.