Monday, May 12, 2003


by Wayne Robins

Listening to the surprisingly good new Yardbirds album, "Birdland," I went back to the archives to the soundtrack for the 1967 Michaelangelo Antonioni movie "Blow-Up." (1992, Sony Music Special Products). For those who've forgotten, Herbie Hancock composed, arranged and conducted the score, which was performed by an extraordinary band including Phil Woods and Joe Henderson (saxes), Freddie Hubbard and Joe Newman (trumpets), Paul Griffin (organ), Jim Hall (guitar), Ron Carter on bass and Jack DeJohnette on drums.

There was one exception, of course, a scene in a swinging Soho (London) club featuring the Yardbirds. The group then had both Jeff Beck and Jimmy Page on guitar, doing a song called "Stroll On," which was actually just an appropriation of "Train Kept A Rollin' ," the quintessential Yardbirds rave-up tune. (I think they destroy their instruments at the end, in the manner of The Who).

The movie hasn't stood up well over the years, striking some as a deliriously-dated period piece. And so it may be. But it will always have a place in my heart because I saw it on my first real date with Paula Sue, and for some reason "Blow-Up" was the remnant that provided us a cosmic connection for years to come. And since today is May 12, I must say, happy birthday, Paula Sue, wherever you are. I hope you are alive, and well, and may we one day play another set of pantomime tennis.

(c) 2003. Wayne Robins. All rights reserved. Contact: it's just a click away.

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