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Sunday, January 19, 2014

Two Hearts

Okay, so once again, I'll tell you all what I'll be doing for this year in the Sunday Jukebox. I've decided that for the Sunday Jukebox, I would throw in a little bit of a Tuesday Timeline in the mix and do songs that were #1 hits at one point in time. So, what you'll be seeing in today's blog will be a song that hit the top of the charts this week many years ago.

But I'll admit that this week, I'll be doing a song that actually didn't hit #1 until January 21, so it's not exactly a true timeline spotlight. However, since the song did hit the top of the charts the same week, I thought I'd cheat a little.

(Besides, I kind of like this song better than the song that actually hit the charts January 19, 1989.)

So, yes, I thought it fair to announce that we'll be going back in time at least a quarter-century to the year 1989, in which one of the final singles of 1988 hit the #1 position for two weeks. And, well, we'll be talking about the song itself, the man who was responsible for the single, the creative music video behind it, and the 1988 film that the song appeared on its soundtrack.

So, are you ready to take a look at today's Sunday Jukebox? It comes courtesy of the man who also performed as the drummer/lead singer of the progressive rock band, “Genesis”.

ARTIST: Phil Collins
SONG: Two Hearts
ALBUM: Buster – The Original Motion Picture Soundtrack
DATE RELEASED: November 29, 1988


Today we're looking at a song by British musician Phil Collins – and it also happens to be in what I could call one of my three favourite Phil Collins songs (the other two being 1981's “In The Air Tonight”, and 1999's “You'll Be In My Heart”). 

So, what do we know about the song?

Well, we know that the song spent at least two weeks on the top of the charts between January 21, 1989 and February 3, 1989.  And we know that it was one of Phil Collins' biggest hits.  But did you also know that the song actually won a Golden Globe Award in 1989?  Well, okay...technically it tied for the award for "Best Original Song" with Carly Simon's "Let the River Run" from the 1988 film "Working Girl".  It was still a win!  And this particular song was also nominated for an Academy Award for "Best Song" that same year.  Unfortunately, it did not win - losing to Carly Simon.

But whatever the case, it was - and remains - a great song.  

Now, the music video might seem a little bit familiar to you, because the concept has been repeated at least twice.  You might recall that the 1960s variety show angle has been used before in Nirvana's "In Bloom" and Outkast's "Hey Ya".  But this version of the music video has Phil Collins also doing the variety show spoof (and note that he did it before Nirvana and Outkast), and doing it quite well.

Directed by Jim Yukich, the video above features Collins as four members of the same band, as well as him acting as some sort of film editor behind the scenes.  And all five Phils happen to have their own distinct look.  I imagine that a lot of crafty camera angles and editing techniques were used to make this video seem extremely cutting edge at the time, and I think it looked great.  I especially like the idea of the Phil Collins video being filmed in such a way that the performance really looked as if it were shot during the 1960s!  It was a nice added touch!

TRIVIA:  Although this is the music video that most people associate with the song, it's actually not the only video for this song.  A second version was filmed (also directed by Jim Yukich) that featured Phil engaged in battle with wrestling champ "The Ultimate Warrior" in a ring.  That particular video was featured in a television special that aired on CBS in 1990, and you can watch a clip of that video below.

But just going back to the other, cooler, 1960s themed video that I posted near the beginning of this blog entry, you might notice that the video is peppered with clips from what appear to be a movie.  So, let's talk a little bit about the film in which this song is featured in, shall we?

As it turns out, Phil Collins not only contributed music to the 1988 film "Buster", he also starred in the film in the lead role!

Now for those of you who were around fifty and a half years ago, and if you happen to live in the UK, you might recall the events of August 8, 1963, in which a Royal Mail train en route from Glasgow, Scotland to London, England was hijacked and robbed by a group of fifteen robbers.  It was an event known nationally in the UK as "The Great Train Robbery".

Well, one of those robbers was a man by the name of Ronald "Buster" Edwards.  And, Phil Collins played the role of Buster Edwards.  The film depicted the events immediately after the train robbery, what Buster did to try and escape charges, and the impact that it had on his family.

(And because this technically is not a Monday Matinee, I certainly won't hold back on spoilers.  In fact, in order to finish off this blog right, I have no choice but to reveal the ending of "Buster".)

So, anyway, when the film begins, we are immediately introduced to Buster, an East End criminal who before the Great Train Robbery committed petty crimes.  Despite his criminal acts, Buster's wife June (Julie Walters, whom you might remember as Ron Weasley's mother from the Harry Potter film series), does everything she can to support her husband as well as their young daughter, Nicky (Ellie Beaven).  But when she learns that she might be married to one of the fifteen people that orchestrated the Great Train Robbery, she is quite conflicted.  A part of her wants to stay with him, and the other part wants to kill him, especially after the entire family is turned in to the police by a nosy neighbour.

But Buster seems to have found a way out.  Another one of the robbers, Bruce Reynolds (Larry Lamb, who played Archie Mitchell in EastEnders from 2008-2009) has used the majority of the funds he stole in the robbery to live a life of luxury in Acapulco, Mexico.  Buster flies out to Mexico to get settled in before sending for June and Nicky.  But, June decides that living a life on the run with a felon husband is not the best life for her or her daughter, and she and Nicky head back home to England.  Now, this decision must have been very hard for June as she knew that if Buster followed her home, he would be arrested on the spot.  And once June and Nicky are gone, Buster certainly misses them, and wonders if the money that he stole is really worth it if those who mean the most to him weren't there.

So, I'm sure that if you read up on the real life story of Buster Edwards, you'll know that he spent nine years in prison after deciding to return to England to face the music so he could finally do right by his family.  He later set up a flower stall outside of Waterloo Station, but was found dead in November 1994, apparently by his own hand.

But while the ending for Buster Edwards wasn't so happy, the ending for Phil Collins was grand.  Sure, "Buster" ended up getting mediocre reviews, but Phil's performance was praised.  And besides, two songs from the "Buster" soundtrack hit #1 in North America!  "Two Hearts", and this other song above!  I'd call it a win-win!

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