Tag Archives: Harry Potter

Rocks In The Attic #728: John Williams – ‘Home Alone (O.S.T.)’ (1990)

RITA#728I’ve just re-watched Home Alone. It’s probably the twentieth time I’ve seen it, but it felt like the right time to finally show it to my three daughters, aged seven, five and three. The three-year old was a little scared, but the other two enjoyed it as much as I hoped they would.

It’s funny how much of an evergreen hit the film has become. Upon its release it was a throwaway comedy, albeit a very successful one, but in the last decade or so it seems to have become as synonymous with festive TV scheduling as The Great Escape was in my youth.

What’s not to like? The McAllister family are as ignorant and self-absorbed as you’d want late ‘80s yuppy suburbanites to be portrayed, Macauley Culkin’s acting is just on the right side of precociousness, and Joe Pesci and Daniel Stern’s wet bandit burglars are laughably moronic. But it’s the two white knights of the film that give it its heart: John Candy’s polka-playing airport saviour to Catherine O’Hara, and Roberts Blossom as the ominous neighbour Old Man Marley.

The film’s other secret weapon is its soundtrack and score by John Williams. Rehashing the childhood wonder / childhood danger motif that Williams has used many times, first with Close Encounters Of The Third Kind and E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial, but later with Jurassic Park and his Harry Potter scores, Home Alone stands alongside his seminal work from the ‘70s and ‘80s.

This expanded soundtrack release, from Mondo Records, includes the festive pop songs from the film. These are another highlight of the film, as they’re not the obvious, popular versions of the Christmas classics (and presumably selected for cost reasons): the Drifters’ version of White Christmas, Mel Tormé’s Have Yourself A Merry Christmas, and Please Come Home For Christmas by Southside Johnny Lyon.

Hit: Home Alone Main Title (‘Somewhere In My Memory’)

Hidden Gem: O Holy Night

Rocks In The Attic #385: Elton John – ‘Elton John’ (1970)

RITA#385…or Red Dwight Piano Hits – Vol. 1.

I do like a bit of Elton. Only in short doses though. Unless it’s that video of him falling over at the tennis, in which case I can watch it all day. I’m Still Standing? No, you’re not.

This is Elton’s first international album (it’s actually his second album). It starts as he means to go on, with the ubiquitous Your Song opening side one. Overall, it’s a very gentle, understated singer-songwriter album – with singer (Elton) and songwriter (lyricist Bernie Taupin) taking centre-stage on the record’s rear-cover photo.

They’re the only ones wearing any colour in this photo. Moog player Diana Lewis is allowed to wear a jacket with some muted puce tones, and cellist / arranger Paul Buckmaster sports a red hat, but apart from this the photo belongs to the songwriters.

Elton is wearing his best Harry Potter costume – a long scarf that wouldn’t be out of place at Hogwarts, and a great pair of wizard glasses. But it’s Bernie Taupin who realy looks out of place – wearing a blue string singlet, an oversized hat and belt, and gauntlets across his wrists. If you didn’t know he was the silent partner in all of this, you’d be forgiven for thinking he was the charismatic frontman of the band.

In fact, having the rest of the band – including the producer, Gus Dudgeon – in the rear cover photo is quite a nice move, and very out of step for the type of controlling character Elton ‘Centre Of The Universe’ John would become.

Hit: Your Song

Hidden Gem: I Need You To Turn To

RITA#385a