Sunday, September 28, 2008
Paul Newman: 1925-2008
With the tragic news of Paul Newman's passing yesterday, I was left unsure of what exactly to say on the subject. And then it dawned on me that when a body of work such as his is left behind, nobody should be at a loss for words or material.
Since we're on the topic of 80s music, I figured the best way to honor the man in context would be with how even a classic 1960s leading man managed to exert an influence on film (and consequently its music) decades later.
The following song and video is It's in the Way that You Use it by guitar legend Eric Clapton, who was himself one of the film soundtrack forces of the 1980s (Back to the Future, Lethal Weapon). And in this case, through this video, we get to see the combined talents of one of the greatest screen presences and one of the most talented musicians of all time.
The song also appeared on Eric Clapton's album August, itself a success with a handful of very listenable and single-worthy tracks. Grab the album and check out Miss You and Hung Up on Your Love Again and you'll see why Clapton stayed supremely relevant so much longer than most of his rock contemporaries from the 1960s and 1970s.
So with Clapton's musical score, Paul Newman's Oscar-winning reprisal of his Fast Eddie role from the 1961 classic The Hustler, and what was ultimately a generational passing of the torch to then-up-and-comer Tom Cruise, and you have a fusion of genre-crossing talents that left us with a modern classic on many levels.
So, rest in peace, Mr. Newman. You contributions to film, the acting profession, salad dressings and charities will not be forgotten. We'll close with the theatrical trailer to The Color of Money, which gives a glimpse of the legend in action.