Good Morning, Vietnam
Welcome to the massive group effort Film [Soundtrack] Festival! From November 1-14, we’re covering all sorts of movie soundtracks. There’ll surely be lots for everybody! Huge thanks to Bruce at THE VINYL CONNECTION for this fantastic group post idea! COMMUNITY!
I’ve heard this disc so many times, over the years. I’ll admit it’s weird to listen to this now, for my first time through since Robin Williams killed himself in 2014. It seemed like he had everything going his way, family, fame, money, beloved cultural icon… but then, after years of substance abuse (and rehabs), came the Parkinson’s diagnosis (which was actually, as it was diagnosed post-mortem, Lewy body dementia – neither of these are a picnic, kids) and then he’s out by his own hand, at 63 years of age…
It feels like we oughta talk about that some more, but I suppose there’s really nothing else to say. He’s gone now, and it’s an incredible fucking loss of an incredible actor and comedian, and a husband and father too. And us, out here in the crowd, all we’re left with is the work he did, since we didn’t actually know the man personally. This film and soundtrack surely stands among some of his best work.
Whew! What an intro. A real ray of sunshine. Ready? Me too.
Up first is Williams’ hilarious Good Morning Vietnam… intro, just riffing. You think it’s scripted, but you know it probably wasn’t. Martha Reeves and the Vandellas Nowhere To Run kicks us off. Great track, and fitting for the entire Vietnam war too, honestly. We roll into the Beach Boys’ I Get Around. Classic. Wayne Fontana and the Mindbenders’ Game Of Love is next. I love how the word ‘love’ falls to the guy with the deepest voice. Ba ha! Nice Buddy Holly-style breakdowns.
Williams is back, riffing again as Bob Cramer, Artillery. Oh man, “anything, just play it loud, OK?” Hahaha. The Searchers’ Sugar & Spice is a little light for me, but it was a tune at the time so there ya go. Williams again, and he’s already chewing on the scenery. Crete/Gomer/Lyndon is a killer, oh man. The Castaways’ Liar, Liar is next, another one you know well. I love that it’s that little bit different than everything else, yet still fits in. Then it’s the Beach Boys again with The Warmth Of The Sun. Ahhhh yes.
Williams is back yet again, because why not, as Mr. Leo. Then it’s James Brown’s I Got You (I Feel Good) before Williams riffs again with Lawrence Welk. Them’s Baby Please Don’t Go is a classic, of course. Love me some early Van Morrison! Then it’s that dan Williams again with Nixon. Haha wow does this guy ever miss? No. The Marvelettes’ Danger Heartbreak Dead Ahead comes in perfectly.
The Vogues’ Five O’Clock World is one we all know, of course. Fun side story: it’s actually off the LP the guy gave me when I bought my stereo. True story! The fun carnival of the Rivieras’ California Sun you know forwards and backwards. Then Williams comes back one more time, just destroying Here’s The News. And finally, it’s the tune I most associate with this film, Louis Armstrong’s What A Wonderful World. You know what I mean.
A perfect soundtrack? I would say yes. The sound, the tone, the song selections, and Williams’ work… Total home run. This is how it’s done, kids.