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Showbiz History: Band-Aid and "Best Original Song" Behemoths

6 random things that happened on this day (Nov 25th) in showbiz history...

1932 Claudette Colbert infamously bathes in milk in Cecil B DeMille's The Sign of the Cross, new in theaters.

1947 The Hollywood Blacklist begins, denying employment to those with perceived Communist ties or sympathies. This period has haunted ever self-reflecting Hollywood since as witness in Trumbo, The Way We Were, Guilty by Suspicion, Good Night and Good Luck, and numerous other movies.

1984 Bob Geldolf's blockbuster charity single "Do They Know It's Christmas?" recorded in London...

The song featured a who's who of British pop stars of the time singing the chorus with Sting, Bono, Boy George, Paul Young, and George Michael on lead vocals. (Its success will help inspire the American blockbuster charity single "We are the World" which will be brainstormed by activist and world treasure Harry Belafonte and be recorded just two months later!)

1992 Aladdin and The Bodyguard both open wide in movie theaters, the day before Thanksgiving and become ginormous hits, before battling it out for Best Original Song at the Oscars with "Friend Like Me" and "A Whole New World" versus "I Have Nothing" and "Run To You." "A Whole New World" wins as Disney theme songs tend to. (I was rooting for "I Have Nothing")

1995 Whitney Houston's "Exhale (Shoop Shoop)" from the hit movie Waiting to Exhale hits #1 on the Hot 100. The song is nominated at the MTV Movie Awards and the Grammy Awards but not the Oscar.

2013 The soundtrack to Frozen is released, eventually going triple platinum, winning Grammy's Best Soundtrack, Billboard's Album of the Year, and Oscar's Best Original Song for "Let it Go".

Unfortunately that charming movie musical also became a terrible stage musical.

Today's Birthday Suit
Best Actor César and Lumiere winner Gaspard Ulliel (Saint Laurent, It's Only the End of the World, A Very Long Engagement). 100% Not Safe for Work... do you think that scene (among others) is why Oscar didn't bite for Saint Laurent for Best Foreign Film in 2014? I only bring this one up because I talked to him about that scene. I dont know what possessed me. 

More Celebrity Birthdays
Oscar Winners: None
Oscar Nominees: Cinematographer Stephen H Burum (Hoffa)
Actors: Christina Applegate, Katie Cassidy, Kathryn Grant, Jill Hennessey, Jeffrey Hunt, Joel Kinnaman, John Laroquette, Ricardo Montalban, Dougray Scott, and Amy Seimetz
Showbiz Peeps: Writer Chris Claremont, Athlete Joe DiMaggio, Comic Cole Escola, Writer Mark Frost, Singer Amy Grant, Writer Charlaine Harris, Director Jonathan Kaplan, Heir Elect John F Kennedy Jr, Singer Percy Sledge, and Makeup artist Robert Kurtzman.

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Reader Comments (12)

Exhale would easily made my Whitney Houston Top 3.

Oscar didn't bite for Saint Laurent because is the opposite of biopic they love, right? Please, tell us more about that meeting with Gaspard. I mean, word by word. Embellish the memory.

November 25, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterPeggy Sue

Sometimes you'll laugh
Sometimes you'll cry
Life never tells us, the when's or why's
When you've got friends, to wish you well
You'll find your point when
You will exhale

November 25, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterJakey

I’ve seen old movies that blacklisted artists have worked on, directors, screenwriters, actors and actresses. And they still have this magnetic appeal. Those guys are so good.

They seem to have this intense commitment to life, to other people, to courage, to telling the truth. I often find myself shaking and crying, and forgetting to breathe. They still have this power to connect.

I sometimes wonder if jealousy was a motive in sabotaging their careers.

November 25, 2018 | Unregistered Commenteradri

Do They Know It’s Christmas is one of the most racist and colonial songs of all time.

November 25, 2018 | Unregistered Commenterbeyaccount

beyaccount -- yeah, I guess they shouldn't have raised money for famine relief.

November 25, 2018 | Registered CommenterNATHANIEL R

Nathaniel - Disappointed in your response! It's a pretty universally accepted opinion among musicologists (since 1992!!!!) that the song is racist and neocolonialist. I mean you can see it in the White Man's Burden virtue-signaling in the title alone: "Do They Even Know It's Christmas" a.k.a. "Do These Savage, Pagan-following Black Kids Even Know The Day Our Lord And Savior Died For Them?"

Same goes for "We Are the World".

If you need more convincing:

November 25, 2018 | Unregistered Commenterbeyaccount

Do They Know It's Christmas? is a rarity : a charity song that is actually GOOD. Haunting and beautiful.

November 25, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterMichael R

@beyaccount: "Do They Know It's Christmas?" is a song ABOUT black people in Africa that was written and performed BY white people of the United Kingdom FOR white people of the United Kingdom and North America. I don't think it tries to be anything more than that.

Bono's solo line is tellingly blunt: "Well tonight thank God it's them instead of you." (Also telling is the fact that it was changed to "Well tonight we're reaching out and touching you" for the 30th anniversary version.)

Even the name Band Aid suggests that the effort is limited in scope, and hardly a white savior cure-all.

The Counterpunch article that you linked above is a painfully bad argument about how one thing can be corrupt because another, unrelated thing was corrupt. There was nothing there to suggest that Band Aid 30's charitable funds were in any way misappropriated. It was an increasingly common example of published writing where you wonder why the author gets paid at all.

Like many things from the 1980s, the song has not aged particularly well, but unlike many people in the 2010s, I don't believe it should be vilified just because it can't anticipate the standards of today. That kind of criticism is also increasingly common, and to those critics who re-assess the past looking for misery, I hope they find as much misery as possible.

November 26, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterBrevity

Why Natalie King Cole sang instead WH at the Oscars?

November 26, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterDan

A song to raise funds to feed starving children is racist? Seriously?

November 26, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterJaragon

I love "Exhale (Shoop Shoop)." The Best Song category at the Oscars has always been a mess, but for most of the 80's and 90's it seemed like you had to have written a song for a Disney movie or some believing-in-yourself anthem or power ballad to get nominated. "Exhale" and Mary J's "Not Gon' Cry" from the Waiting to Exhale soundtrack would have made great nominees.

Anyway ... Cyndi Lauper, Whitney Houston, Madonna, REM, Timbaland, and several others should be Oscar nominees for songs they have written or co-written that made their way into films. The Academy seems to be a bit more expansive in their tastes now, which is great, but a whole generation of iconic performers and songwriters missed out on scoring Oscar nods. It's kind of annoying that the aforementioned artists didn't earn nods for songs like "Good Enough," "Queen of the Night," "Live to Tell," "Into the Groove," "This Used to Be My Playground," "Beautiful Stranger," "Man on the Moon," and "Are You That Somebody?" ... but Justin Timberlake can now get an Oscar nomination for a fluffy dance song from the Trolls soundtrack.

November 26, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterJJM

Wow, I never knew Natalie Cole sang both songs during that Oscars ceremony. I didn’t watch the show as a kid, so I kinda just figured Whitney sang them at the time. Same as Nell Carter subbing for Robin Williams and “Friend Like Me.”

November 27, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterGeorge P.

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