Five distinctive sounds of Marvin Hamlisch: A video gallery
Given the march of time, there’s most likely an entire generation that responded to the news of Marvin Hamlisch’s death on Monday with a curious “Who?” While Hamlisch’s compositions forged a deep link with either the stage or screen where they were initially heard, the songs often reverberated years after their release into pop culture. Here are five examples.
This video doesn’t indicate a year it was recorded, but judging by Radiohead’s look and guitar-centric approach, smart money is on somewhere around the band’s sophomore album “The Bends” in the mid-’90s. What’s a bit startling in this loving take on Hamlisch’s song for “The Spy Who Loved Me” is how well Thom Yorke’s ever-vulnerable vocal meshes with a song that was so closely tied with Carly Simon.
Hamlisch’s “One” from the musical “A Chorus Line”was regularly cited as one of his signature songs. And even if you haven’t seen the musical or its movie adaptation, you may have seen “The Simpsons’” “Treehouse of Horror” episode that closes with a reworked verson of the song led by Groundskeeper Willie after the cast has been stricken by “that fog that turns everyone inside out.” Given the improbable absence of of the clip on YouTube, we’ll have to watch the version above, with the cast of the 2006 Broadway revival, and this somewhat horrifying image.
The theme song from “The Way We Were” won Hamlisch a best song Academy Award and two Grammys in 1974, and it remains a signature piece for Barbra Streisand, who also starred in the film. But Beyonce’s 2008 performance from the Kennedy Center Honors for Streisand proves the song still has legs. Just watch Streisand nodding in approval from the audience.
Needless to say, somebody on the writing staff of “The Simpsons” is a serious Hamlisch fan. In a take on “Thelma & Louise,” one of the characters reaches for a song of rebellion and comes up with Hamlisch’s “Sunshine, Lollipops & Rainbows,” which was a hit for Lesley Gore in 1963. Maybe one of the most aggressively cheerful songs ever recorded, it was also heard on 2009’s “Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs.”
Of course, no talk of Hamlisch’s enduring legacy would be complete without his take on “The Entertainer” for the 1974 film, “The Sting.”An adaptation of the music of Scott Joplin, the song is so tied with a certain kind of Americana that you might’ve have heard it at some point tinkling out of an ice cream truck. But Hamlisch will be remembered for putting ragtime in so many people’s homes.
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