April 28, 2014
By Chrissy Mauck
We offered a list of five great Gretsch movie moments a few months back. Since there’s plenty more where they came from, however, here are a few more great Gretsch cinematic appearances.
Directed by Richard Lester, Help!, was the second feature film from the Beatles. The comedy adventure’s plot was based around the band running up against an evil cult that was about to sacrifice a woman to the goddess Kaili. Unfortunately, the woman in question is not wearing the sacrificial ring. Guess who has the ring stuck on their finger? Beatles drummer Ringo Starr.
We won’t spoil the rest of the flick for you, but it should be noted that there were several musical performances during Help!, as well, and the soundtrack was even released as an album. Most notably during a performance of “You’re Going to Lose That Girl” in the film, George Harrison is seen strumming a Country Gentleman.
Private Parts, 1997
An adaption of shock jock Howard Stern’s best-selling 1993 autobiography, the film Private Parts chronicles his rise from college DJ to one of the top radio hosts in the nation.
The film tracks Stern as he assembles the in-studio crew that he then broadcasted alongside for many years, gets married, has kids and builds up his massive following. One of the biggest moments, however, came in the form of a concert by AC/DC that Stern put on to thank his fans. While the footage of the show is abbreviated because Stern’s then-wife went into labor, we still get to see guitarist Malcolm Young on stage with the Gretsch Duo Jet for which he has always been known.
Fast-forward to the 1:43 mark to catch a glimpse of Young.
La Bamba, 1987
Another biopic, La Bamba followed the rise of Chicago rock and roller Ritchie Valens. Lou Diamond Phillips did a masterful job of bringing Valens to life on the screen, and the soundtrack was truly a gem. As well as featuring six Valens’ covers by Los Lobos, it also had an excellent version of Brian Setzer performing Eddie Cochran’s “Summertime Blues.”
In fact, Setzer earned a credit in the movie for playing Cochran on stage. Check it out below.
The Buddy Holly Story, 1978
Gary Busey was nominated for an Oscar for his portrayal of rock legend Buddy Holly, who tragically passed away in a plan crash with Valens and the Big Bopper in 1959.
Before “the Day the Music Died,” as that moment is known, however, Holly had performed with his friend Eddie Cochran, who is depicted in the film by Jerry Zaremba. During one scene, Busey and Zaremba join forces in an explosive version of Jerry Lee Lewis’ “Whole Lotta Shakin Goin On.”
The Girl Can’t Help It, 1956
A musical comedy starring Jayne Mansfield, The Girl Can’t Help It had a profound influence on rock and roll. The film included several musical cameos, such as a Little Richard’s offering of ”She’s Got It” and a performance by Eddie Cochran of “Twenty Flight Rock.”
When the movie made it over to the U.K., the story goes that a young John Lennon was amazed at seeing the musicians he idolized as actual human beings and was inspired to make his own music.
Video of Cochran doing his thing can be seen below.