As I type these words, I'm just hours away from boarding a plane en route to Los Angeles to work the press junket for Disney's THE JUNGLE BOOK, and to attend the film's red carpet premiere at the famed El Capitan Theatre in Hollywood. Thanks to technology, I've set this to post while I'm cruising at 35,000 feet in the air, somewhere high above the American Midwest. In preparation for Director Jon Favreau's live-action reimagining of the 1967 animated feature (reviewed here), my mind has been loaded with earworms... those from the soundtrack of the original. The iconic music of the Sherman Brothers, along with Terry Gilkyson's "The Bare Necessities" are classic, and over the years, these timeless songs have been covered many times. With that in mind, and using the BIG BAD VOODOO DADDY version of "I Wanna Be Like You" as a jumping-off point (after all, that band and Favreau have the SWINGERS connection), I've curated a new Spotify Playlist that features nearly one hour of the best JUNGLE BOOK covers out there. You'll find FALL OUT BOY, ROBBIE WILLIAMS, THE JONAS BROTHERS, BOWLING FOR SOUP, SIOUXSIE AND THE BANSHEES, TONY BENNETT, SELENA GOMEZ and more, all putting their signature styles to the famous soundtrack. Check it out via this link, or in the embedded player below, and for coverage of 2016's THE JUNGLE BOOK, follow #JungleBookEvent on Social Media to check-in with 25 writers on the ground in L.A.!
I've long had an interest in music-based films, at times indulging in a heavy diet of documentaries and biopics. When Bill Pohlad's LOVE & MERCY came along, I approached it not just with interest, but with curiosity - I, like many, questioning the dual casting of both Paul Dano and John Cusack as THE BEACH BOYS' Brian Wilson. As audiences quickly came to see, the dual casting of 60s Brian and 80s Brian was inspired - and the occasional glimpses of the real Brian Wilson through archive footage only added to the surreal portrayal of one of music's finest writers and arrangers. Yes, they look different from one another (though Dano really nails the 60s appearance), but they feel like the same person - the film playing as a seamless portrait between an artist on the cusp of greatness, and an artist both lost and trapped. LOVE & MERCY is one of my featured picks for music lovers in my 2015 Holiday Wish Guide, and through November 1st, Lionsgate and THE ROCK FATHER are giving you a chance to win a copy!