Friday, February 5, 2010

Cotton Candy: The Gold Standard of Rock 'n' Roll Narrative Movies

If ever a narrative film about a band inspired me to play rock 'n' roll, it wasn't Kiss Meets the Phantom of the Park (no way!) or Magical Mystery Tour (as good as that is). It was Cotton Candy (dir. Ron Howard, 1978). This is the story of a struggling high school band that existed as a kind of chump-rock salute to REO Speedwagon and The Carpenters. Actor Charles Martin Smith actually sang these songs, I think. Did he write them, too? Was there ever a soundtrack lp released? Get Teen Beat Records on the line pronto! The song "Starship" rules (if that's the song's name).

The most memorable performance in this flick, however, wasn't Smith or even the too-cool-for-school send-up of "I Shot the Sheriff" done by our heroes' rival band, Rapid Fire. It was Clint Howard as the manic band-manager Corky, with his bow-tie and touring-cap a-floppin'. I owe it all to one Papa Jon for turning me on to this masterpiece of a rock 'n' roll saga back in the murky yesteryears. Alas, I believe only part of this movie is available on the "you tube," and no one has had the taste to release it on DVD for the hungry masses. Enjoy what you can:

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