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Hal Ashby

CAT STEVENS AND HAROLD AND MAUDE: THAT IS SOME TRYST

 

Poster for the film Harold and Maude with Cat Stevens

Music in the movies got more interesting when I was a approaching my teens. Of course I didn’t realize that until I saw Jeff Beck smash his guitar to bits in Blow-Up, which I wouldn’t have seen at all but Mrs. Silverman wanted her son Robert and me out of her house. So Mr. Silverman, the projectionist, brought us to work with him and sat us down in the darkened movie house where we watched in amazement a double feature of Blow-Up and Tom Jones. I have never been the same.

The music thing became what I liked most about seeing movies as a snotty adolescent. Blow-Up, was quickly followed by Simon and Garfunkel’s more rock than folk sounds in The Graduate, the Lovin’ Spoonful’s electric jugband music meets Tin Pan Alley in You’re A Big Boy Now, the diverse banquet of Easy Rider, Apple band Badfinger in The Magic Christian, and before my passion for rock documentaries took over completely, the ultimate expression of movie music as soundtrack for my teenage ennui, the nine Cat Stevens songs that permanently lift Hal Ashby’s Harold and Maude into greatness.Why these songs have only been released together on vinyl and why that didn’t happen until 2007 are riddles buried under impenetrable layers of showbiz archaeology. Actually, there could be a very simple explanation; I just don’t have a clue.