So long, Bannatyne, hello, Hollywood.
If you’ve seen the trailer for the biopic drama The Eyes of Tammy Faye, which opened in theatres earlier month, you’re probably aware the Guess Who’s 1969 hit These Eyes has a "guest" role in the film, which stars Jessica Chastain as title character Tammy Faye Bakker.
That came as great news to fans of the Winnipeg band, which got its start in 1962 as Chad Allan and the Expressions.
"Thank you for the Guess Who; These Eyes, genius choice for music," commented a person who viewed the official trailer on YouTube.
"These Eyes is an awesome song from a classic Canadian band called the Guess Who," somebody else remarked.
These Eyes’ inclusion in the flick, which also stars Andrew Garfield as televangelist Jim Bakker, isn’t the first time a director or producer has turned to the Canadian Music Hall of Famers to set the stage, so to speak. Anybody familiar with the 2007 coming-of-age comedy Superbad will recall Michael Cera’s character being forced to warble These Eyes by drugged-up party goers — that or suffer a beating at their hands.
Also, Lenny Kravitz’s cover of American Woman, a No. 1 smash for the Guess Who in 1970, shows up on the soundtrack to 1999’s Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged Me, while the original version is employed in a Season 28 episode of The Simpsons titled The Cad and the Hat.
Little surprise, streams of These Eyes have picked up noticeably since the trailer for The Eyes of Tammy Faye came out in early June. Given that number has continued to swell now that the film, an early Oscar contender, has landed in theatres, we thought we’d take a look at other songs by the Guess Who that have been utilized on the big screen — and on the little screen to boot. Here’s what we discovered.
Christine is a 2016 movie that tells the true story of news reporter Christine Chubbuck, who — spoiler alert — committed suicide in 1974 by shooting herself in the head during a live broadcast.
At the 1:19:25 mark of the film, which netted Rebecca Hall, who portrays the title character, a best actress award at the 2016 Chicago International Film Festival, Chubbuck is out for dinner with a co-worker named George, played by Michael C. Hall (Six Feet Under, Dexter).
The second she slips into the restroom to freshen up, Laughing, from the Guess Who’s 1969 album Canned Wheat, can clearly be heard in the background.
It’s a poignant pick. Despite its cheerful title, the song is no laughing matter at all. Rather, it’s about "losing at the game," and how the "best years have come and gone," chosen, perhaps, to foreshadow what ultimately transpires.
No Time (Supernatural, Season 14, Episode 11)
Spot, or rather, hear the blooper.
Supernatural is an action-adventure TV series that ran for 15 seasons, from 2005 to 2020. In a Season 14 episode entitled Damaged Goods, Dean Winchester (Jensen Ackles), who along with his brother Sam (Jared Padalecki) spend the bulk of their time fighting demonic creatures, enters what we’re guessing is his home garage.
In the mood for some music, he reaches for an eight-track tape copy (kids, ask your parents) of the Guess Who’s American Woman album, popping the cartridge into a player at the 11:49 mark of the episode. Here’s the thing: watching from the couch, we expect to hear the title tune, which kicks off the tape, but instead we are treated to No Time, the tape’s second track.
Not that we’re complaining: we adore the soaring, Randy Bachman-Burton Cummings composition, a Top 5 hit in Canada and the United States in 1970, as much as the next Guess Who devotee.
No Sugar Tonight (This Is Us, Season 3, Episode 4)
An hour-long Season 3 flashback episode of weepy TV drama This Is Us centres around brothers Nicky and Jack Pearson’s experiences during the Vietnam War.
Following a deadly skirmish, Jack’s battalion is reassigned to a fishing village far removed from the fighting, which seems to please Jack (Milo Ventimiglia), as it’s closer to where he believes his brother is stationed.
A helicopter carrying him lifts off at the 18:32 mark. As it takes flight, the instantly recognizable opening notes of the Guess Who’s No Sugar Tonight kick in, ahead of Cummings’ lead lyric, "Lonely feeling, deep inside..."
Albert Flasher (Almost Famous)
The best-remembered scene from the 2000 movie Almost Famous, the story of a teenage journalist (Patrick Fugit) hitting the road with a fictitious rock band, Stillwater, fronted by Russell Hammond (Billy Crudup), is undoubtedly when group members and their entourage break into a full-throated version of Elton John’s Tiny Dancer, while on a tour bus headed to yet another gig.
What viewers may not recall is an earlier scene — at the 40:08 mark — when Fugit’s character is in a hotel room with a gaggle of Stillwater groupies, chief among them being Penny Lane (Kate Hudson). That’s when a pillow fight breaks out to the strains of Albert Flasher, a piano-driven, Top 20 hit for the Guess Who in March 1971.
Incidentally, in 2001 the Almost Famous soundtrack, which included Paul Simon’s America, Todd Rundgren’s It Wouldn’t Make Any Difference and Thunderclap Newman’s Something in the Air, became the first-ever winner of the Grammy Award for Best Compilation Soundtrack Album for a Motion Picture, Television or Other Visual Media.
Undun (Jackie Brown)
Gallons of ink have been spilled debating the best tunes heard in movies directed by Quentin Tarantino.
Some go with Stealer’s Wheel’s Stuck in the Middle With You, from Reservoir Dogs, while others opt for Urge Overkill’s expertly executed cover of Neil Diamond’s Girl, You’ll Be a Woman Soon, heard in Pulp Fiction. (Us? We were over the moon when Leonardo DiCaprio’s character was grooving to the Royal Guardsmen’s Snoopy vs. the Red Baron near the end of Once Upon a Time in Hollywood. Also, the fiery scene in Inglourious Basterds that was set to the pounding beat of David Bowie’s Cat People.)
All that said, we couldn’t help but be hometown proud when we twigged into Undun, which Bachman has called his favourite Guess Who song, playing in the background at the 1:41:30 mark of 1997’s Jackie Brown, during a scene with Robert De Niro as hoodlum Louis and Bridget Fonda as hippie chick Melanie.
Dave Sanderson was born in Regina but please, don’t hold that against him.