"Say Goodbye to Hollywood":
Popular Music and Mythic Deconstruction in Shampoo

Americana: The Journal of American Popular Culture (1900-present), Fall 2005, Volume 4, Issue 2
http://www.americanpopularculture.com/journal/articles/fall_2005/tayyar.htm



Paul Tayyar
Golden West College

Nothing is more natural than allowing memory to replace truth with nostalgia; our first historian, Herodotus, laid the blueprint for his descendents when he loaded his Histories with second-hand myths in lieu of dates and facts. His desire was certainly understandable. Why tell things as they were, when how they might have been is so much more entertaining? The above line could well be the catch-phrase for many Hollywood filmmakers who have time and again given us historical epics, period pieces, and “faithful” re-creations that more often than not adhere to a simple objective: give ‘em what they want. The “they” in this case is the audience, who (it is often rightly assumed) could not care less about the world as it was, as long as they are being entertained. This modus operandi is how we end up with films like Gladiator, in which the women of classical antiquity seem to have had rather liberal access to liposuction, breast enlargements, and bikini-waxes.

This romanticizing of the past in films is not simply confined to the visual image. Caryl Flinn, in her book Strains of Utopia: Gender, Nostalgia, and
Hollywood Film Music,
sees this systematic white-washing occurring with frequency in the scoring of films as well; the attendant music exists to create an aural soundscape in which the viewer is taken back into a mythic world whose realities bear little resemblance to the actual realities the given time period possessed:

Film music has been handed down to us as something ethereal, timeless, and deeply ahistorical. It is easy to see how a utopian understanding of it can emerge – and indeed has emerged – from this ensuing set of assumptions. The ensuing conception of utopia, moreover, is utopian in the strictest sense of the word, a “no-place,” an impossible, unrepresentable, and idealized condition with little in common with the facts of actual social and historical significance. (91)

If this is the case (and I believe it is), then no decade’s image has been more carefully re-scored than the 1960s, as many Hollywood films have created a reductive reality, in which the very real socio-political carnage that occurred is often romanticized (or completely re-configured) by the music that soundtracks these images. Such films as Forrest Gump, The Big Chill, Shag, and There Goes My Baby present the sex, drugs, and social protest of the decade in a simplistic way rather than examining the contradictions and nuances of the era.

There is no denying that the 1960s was a decade largely defined by loosening sexual mores, staggering civil rights advances, and groundbreaking rock and roll; there is also no denying the 1960s was a decade defined by a devastating war in Vietnam, bloody race riots in Los Angeles, Detroit, and Chicago, and the assassinations of several important political icons. How then, can a film tell a story set in the 1960s without simplifying, trivializing, or romanticizing the time period? In the case of Shampoo (1975) – directed by Hal Ashby, written by Warren Beatty and Robert Towne – which takes place in the twenty-fours before Richard Nixon is elected President in 1968 – the film chooses to present the multi-faceted truths that accompanied the decade in a most interesting way: through the soundtrack. In doing so, the film takes an unerring look at the decade as it was (at least as it was in the Beverly Hills of 1968). In the process, Flinn’s discussion of musical utopias is presented with a dark antithesis: aural dystopia.

Shampoo’s ambitious intentions begin as the credits rise: a dark screen and the opening verse to the Beach Boys’ wistful ode to 1960s youth and exuberance, “Wouldn’t It Be Nice,” firmly establish the film’s project. Challenged to maintain our aural equilibrium, we are presented with competing soundscapes: besides the song, the sounds of a man and a woman – whom we will soon realize are the film’s protagonist, George Roundy (Warren Beatty) and Felicia (Lee Grant) in the middle of a rather halting, struggling form of sexual intercourse. The song, playing on the alarm radio next to the bed, goes unnoticed by the struggling lovers. So much for music’s effects on the masses, eh? As Brian Wilson’s achingly fragile falsetto cries “we could be married/and then we’d be happy,” Felicia is frustratingly demanding that George put his hand “here,” and George responds with grunting acquiescence. Seconds later, long before either has a chance to consummate (by the sounds of the two, we wonder if given all night whether they would be able to), the telephone rings, breaking whatever sexual and emotional harmony there is between them. For a solid three or four seconds, the viewer – the screen is nearly entirely black – is greeted with the competing diegetic sounds of radio, voices, and a ringing telephone. George, in one of his rare moments of sensibility, turns off the radio before answering the telephone. Immediately, forty-five seconds into the film, one of the most enduring songs of the 1960s is cast in the rather unappealing role of aural nuisance; such re-casting of popular music in unexpected roles will continue throughout.

J. Hoberman, in his book Dream Life: Movies, Media and the Mythology of the
Sixties
, states that the bracketing of the film’s credits with “Wouldn’t It Be Nice” (the film closes, after George has lost both women in his life, with the latter part of the song) is “deeply sentimental” (345). This may be true – though we must question what it is the film is being sentimental about – but I believe there are more complex factors at play here. Looking at the context within which this song is placed (the viewer doesn’t get to hear more than two or three seconds of the song unimpeded by other diegetic sounds) as well as the fact that we know, given a perspective that by 1975 includes the knowledge of a fallen Saigon, the murders of Bobby Kennedy and Martin Luther King, and a crooked, exiled ex-President – the childlike wistfulness of the song acts instead as ironic commentary. The fact that “Wouldn’t It Be Nice” plays during a scene of passionless, uncomfortable intercourse, rather than during a moment of unbridled, passionate romance, only enhances this darker reality. The lack of sentimentality in Shampoo’s opening scene (humorously evident in George’s decision to answer the phone, furthered moments later when he leaves Felicia to pursue another sexual possibility) is a stark welcome to the decade simplistically dubbed “the era of free love.” There is no love going on between George and Felicia; instead, we are greeted with a sexually vacant darkness, where even the most beautiful of music is nothing more than annoying accompaniment to uninterested intercourse. Wilson’s repeated pleas, “then we’d be happy,” are set in strikingly humorous contrast to George’s impromptu lie to Felicia that he is going to visit a girl in the middle of the night because she has a “pancreatic ulcer.” By establishing the gap between the music we are hearing and the artificiality of the characters we are seeing at Shampoo’s outset, the filmakers cue the viewer as to the complex narrative power of the soundtrack.

As we continue to watch the film, we find it necessary to reevaluate the supposed transcendent abilities the best popular music has been said to possess; in Shampoo, popular music’s calls for a new world order – whether it be The Beach Boys’ wishes for marital bliss or The Jefferson Airplane’s decrying of sexual hypocrisy – never seem to reach the ears of the film’s main characters. This disjunction between image and sound sets up recurring counterpoints, the meaning of which is best articulated by Kathryn Kalinak:

Counterpoint [is] music which does not duplicate visual information. Music which foreshadows, undercuts, provides irony, or comments upon situation or character has been termed contrapuntal. (26)

Shampoo contains many moments of counterpoint (the opening scene is a moment of classic counterpoint), as the passions and desires of the songs stand in stark contrast to the superficial concerns of the characters. In other words, hardly the concerns of a united revolutionary generation that filmmakers as diverse as Stone, Zemeckis, and Kasdan would later have us believe. “Some people never took part in the revolution,” Shampoo tells us, because “they already had other plans.” The fact that the decade’s music is (more often than not) falling on deaf ears in Shampoo represents the first key step in the film’s deconstruction of monolithic constructions of the 1960s: while there were certainly individuals who took the music’s revolutionary calls to heart, others, like the characters here, simply weren’t listening. Shampoo gradually creates a dystopic atmosphere by way of its soundtrack: while the film certainly shows the free-wheeling sexuality and counter-cultural fashions embodied by many of the generation, when taken in conjunction with the music, the embracing of these elements did not automatically signify socio-political motivations. Shampoo’s characters are interested primarily in themselves. With the moment of moral bankruptcy that opens the film (both George and Felicia are cheating on their significant others), “Wouldn’t It Be Nice” highlights the lack of domestic and social bliss that existed in much of the country at the time, therefore re-instituting the variegated experiences and realities that the America of the 1960s possessed, rather than the one-note, music-and-activism strains films like Forrest Gump and The Big Chill would have us believe existed.

This studied look back at Los Angeles in the 1960s hinges upon the viewer’s understanding that the liberal, free-swinging lifestyle that was at its halcyon peak in 1968 was living on borrowed time; the film constantly reminds us of this through its repeated use of Paul Simon’s “Night Game,” which operates as a theme score for George Roundy. The version we hear in the film is an instrumental, comprised of plucked arpeggios and Simon’s plaintive, wordless humming. As melancholy as it is simple, it is the only piece of music played throughout the film that does not belong to the internal diegesis of the characters; likewise, it is the only song written in the 1970s (everything else is 1968 or earlier). Shampoo uses George’s theme as a wizened “counterpoint” to the seemingly innocuous, free-floating sexual jaunts George partakes in, as well as to emphasize George’s hopeless attempts at attaining financing for his salon. The song accompanies George and Jackie as they stare reflectively into the steamed-up bathroom mirror, their attempted tryst interrupted mid-penetration by Lester’s (Jack Warden) unexpected arrival. It plays again after George leaves the bank after being turned-down for a loan, thus elevating George’s frustrated knocking over of a trash can to a moment of despair. According to Flinn, music creates (filmic) utopias by placing music into a theoretical “no-place” (91) where it has no connection “to [a] larger cultural context.” “Night Game,” however, derives its considerable power not only from its melancholy tones, but from the fact that it is played at moments during which George physically expresses his frustrations. Thus, music does not take the viewer into a nostalgic “no-place”; rather, it grounds the viewer in an un-romanticized, conflicted “this-place”; the music refuses to dilute the visceral impact with which the scene is charged. As I have been arguing, Shampoo complicates our assumptions about the 1960s, here with a theme rooted in minor-key chord progressions and wordless moaning perfectly capturing the confusion of the decade.

Just as Shampoo utilizes the wordless dirge of “Night Game” to highlight George’s pending doom (and, by extension, the doom of the sixties swinger that he represents), the film expertly understands when not to use music as well. Whereas films like The Big Chill, Shag, and Forrest Gump have given modern viewers the sense that the 1960s was a decade awash in melodic sounds, free love, and unified social protest, Shampoo is careful to point out this was not the case through, as we have seen, aural dystopia. One of the ways in which the film accomplishes this effect is with the absence of music altogether. Almost the entire middle third of the film confines its soundtrack to diegetic noise, further jarring the viewer. The banal, unmelodic, diegetic sound governs many of the scenes with Lester, the calculating (if somewhat sympathetic) businessman who is unwittingly competing with George for Jackie’s (Julie Christie) and Felicia’s sexual attentions. Lester drives his Mercedes, usually while moving between the principle hustles in his life: his job and his women. During these trips, the radio is tuned to the stock market reports. In one scene, he switches through both a song and a news report discussing the war in Vietnam, a particularly telling joke considering a great deal of Lester’s activity throughout the film centers on his preparing to host a Republican fundraiser. Though the lack of music in Lester’s life can be seen as one of the film’s many in-jokes, given that Lester represents one of the right-wing spenders that will soon be running the country, we can put more interpretive pressure on this analysis. Since George, who is the film’s embodiment of the counter-culture – from his chrome-plated motorcycle to his tussled hair, from his flowing scarves to his repeated assertions that “making love to a beautiful woman makes [him] feel like [he’s] going to live forever” – also has no recognizable connection to the popular music that seemingly inspired such rebels-and-swingers philosophies, then Shampoo’s main contention becomes readily apparent: the 1960s were not strictly the protest opera that later films would have us believe. Rather, the era could be (and often was) as mundane as any other decade, where the dominant walls-of-sound came not courtesy of guitars, bass, and drums, but from a mundane cacophony of car engines, hair dryers, and talk-radio hacks delivering financial reports on the hour. Further, even when music is used to soundtrack various scenes in the film, never is song able to extend beyond the respective capabilities of the sound-system speakers the song is playing on, a fact that strips the music of any god-like power.

The final third of the film reminds the viewer just how resonant and prophetic much of the decade’s best music was. In fact, rock and roll succeeds in providing an aural landscape that re-inserts the wild, complex, violent chaos that was the late 1960s; this re-contextualization of music is one of the final steps in creating the film’s dystopia. The psychedelic party that comprises most of the film’s final half hour stands as a multi-faceted, truthful account of the generation that was to witness the end of the 1960s.

The site of this psychedelic party – a literal party-at-the-end-of-an-era, occurring as it is while Nixon is about to take office – occurs at an opulent Beverly Hills mansion owned by a character named Sammy (who, like literature’s most famous host, Jay Gatsby, is notable at his parties through his conspicuous absence). While the party certainly captures the Babylonian excesses the 1960s landscape possessed in spades, we must be careful not to see it as Hoberman does, with a blanket assertion that the scenes (and the songs that soundtrack them) are there for “sentimentality” (345). Watching George (who acts as the viewer’s unofficial Virgil, leading the viewer through the various salons and the attendant decadence they house), we come to see this microcosmic representation of the 1960s as an invented, funhouse Eden, where a multitude of would-be Adams and tainted Eves have one last (though, like their biblical counterparts, unaware) blowout before the hammer comes down, and they are thrown into the terrifying wasteland of Nixon and the 1970s. The fact that the soundtrack is, for the first (and only) time in the film, placed center stage, we must consider the attendant images the music tracks, and the resultant effects the connection of music and image leave on the viewer.

Arriving at the party after leaving Lester’s political fundraiser, where a bunch of fat-cat investors and would-be policy makers have been watching the voting returns, backed by a geriatric big-band churning out soulless versions of Frank Sinatra’s “Strangers in the Night,” and the Beatles’ “Yesterday” (the fact that “Yesterday,” one of the decade’s most famous songs is played alongside a veritable greatest-hits set-list of Rat Pack era standards, Hoberman correctly postulates as a “complex in-joke at right-wing appropriation of liberal art” [345] as well as foreshadowing popular music’s immersion into the safe, sanitized nostalgia-mortuaries of oldies radio and supermarket muzak stations), any hopes of a nostalgic trip down hippie memory lane are erased with their arrival at Sammy’s palatial estate. It is very clear from the circular drive, the impressive fountains, and the uniformed valets, that Shampoo interrogates those who considered themselves members of the free love movement, but embodied a bourgeois lifestyle to the hilt. Sammy has obviously done his time with the white-collar set, which immediately locates the site of the party as a corrupted, false (and heavily financed) retreat, rather than as a nexus of forward-thinking sexual and political discourse. This last moment of silence Shampoo provides us with (before being greeted by the full-throttle pulsing of the Beatles’ “Sergeant Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band” once George and Jackie are inside) is a cutting dig at the white-collar fraudulence of those who appropriated leftist sensibilities while never coming down off their paid-for hills to take part in the revolutions that were being fought, in countless ways, across the country.

Once inside, dystopia reigns as The Beatles’ song blares, and the camera tracks the attendant revelers of Sammy’s party: a dashiki-wearing, afro-laden Black Panther (who, rather than talking politics, stands idly by), a bearded, pipe-smoking, professorial thinker (who, rather than talking literature, attempts a seduction of Jackie), and a nubile blonde (whom we first see as Lester enters the party, breast-feeding her baby while smoking a joint). With this sound/image montage, the film swiftly encapsulates its distaste for the superficial, would-be leftists whose anti-establishment lifestyles were hollow posturing. (It can certainly be argued that Beatty, as active and passionate a political activist as Hollywood has ever produced, was calling out so many of the bourgeois fakers that aligned themselves with sixties ideologies such as John Kennedy’s New Frontier.) During these early moments inside the party, Flinn’s analysis of “utopias…possessing a womblike haven from the world, replete with their soothing waters” (92), has been up-ended, thus finalizing the dystopian conditions Shampoo claims the 1960s possessed. To wit: if we are to see the party itself, closed off as it is from the outside world, as a type of womb, it is a womb that has been thoroughly corrupted, given that the mother figure we encounter is high on drugs while she is breast-feeding. With dystopia now firmly established, Shampoo can utilize rock and roll to articulate the variegated reasons that much of the 1960s counter-cultural leanings failed. “Sergeant Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band” is the first to call out the superficial strains that ran through the decade.

“Sergeant Pepper’s” exposes the lack of authenticity the revelers at Sammy’s party (and, by extension, pretenders to the revolution everywhere) possessed. The song, which is an attempt by the Beatles to de-mythologize themselves by performing under a fictitious alter-ego, is a parodic form of counter-cultural role-playing: we’re not really rebels, we just play them on television. Thus, the party begins with a self-consciously derisive, mocking song from a non-existent band; if the “free love” generation was about finding the true self, Shampoo illustrates that much of the Hollywood counter-culture was doing just the opposite. The song that opens the soundtrack to Sammy’s party is a song that celebrates the fake; this superficiality is furthered with the next song, The Jefferson Airplane’s “Plastic Fantastic Lover.”

“Plastic Fantastic Lover” not only cements the socio-political vacancy that “Sergeant Pepper’s articulated,” but furthers it as well: where “Sergeant Pepper’s embraces superficiality with a tongue-in-cheek playfulness, “Plastic” presents the very real dangers that exist when individuals have detached themselves from their ethical mores:

Super-sealed lady, chrome-color clothes
You wear ‘cause you have no other
But I suppose no one knows
You’re my plastic fantastic lover

This truth is strengthened by the attendant image “Plastic Fantastic Lover” tracks: George’s encounter with twin sisters whose naked bodies would not be out of place within the pages of Playboy magazine. As the nude siblings beg George to “come to the Jacuzzi with [them],” the song articulates the morally vacant (and incestuous) implications of the scene: George considers their invitation even as he stands next to Jackie (whom he will profess his undying love for minutes later), and as Jill (Goldie Hawn), his current girlfriend, wanders the nearby gardens. The violent distortion of the song, in unison with the dark lyrics, turns the scene from one (had there been no attendant music) of enticing, humorous sexual freedom, into a scene rife with heartless, obsessive philandering. If “Sergeant Pepper” was the perfect song to pull back the veil on the non-existent revolutionary leanings of the revelers at Sammy’s, “Plastic Fantastic Lover” does the same for the sexual mythology they embraced:

Her neon mouth with a bleeding talk smile
Is nothing but electric sign
You could say she has an individual style
She’s a part of a colorful time

The insertion of the song – detailing as it does an illusory, violent temptress – provides a bleak re-evaluation of the sexual freedoms much of the love generation embodied. As the song progresses, the film broadens the scope of this sexual corruption: naked men and women play water sports, a woman in body-paint carries a tray full of various drugs. The unbridled sexual philandering that has been mythologized in several Hollywood films is deflated here through the inclusion of various rock and roll classics. “Plastic Fantastic Lover” is hardly an ethereal piece meant to idealize the way of life many 1960s individuals indulged in; rather, it is a melodic oracle, calling out the characters for what they are: shallow, apolitical frauds.

In fact, perhaps the most important element of the party scenes is the lack of political discourse that takes place; the next song (The Buffalo Springfield’s “Mr. Soul”) fittingly exposes the revelers lack of political context:

Oh, hello Mr. Soul
I dropped by to pick up a reason
For the thought that I caught in my head
Is the event of the season
Why in crowds just a trace of my face
Could seem too pleasing
I’ll cop out to the change
But a stranger is putting the tease on.

Contrary to Hollywood’s established version of counter-culture, socio-politics, where, in films like Forrest Gump and There Goes My Baby, hippie stoners smoked pot and talked politics in equal measure, the scenes that accompany “Mr. Soul” show not a stoned-but-activist population, but a well-funded orgy. In fact, the music plays at such impressively high decibels that the viewer is unable to hear the myriad conversations that occur, which sets up a rather telling reality: with the election of Nixon looming (a man who represented everything the counter-culture was against), there is no discernible proof that the partygoers are even aware an election is taking place. In contrast to Lester’s party – which is decadent in its own, white-bred way – where the entire purpose of the soiree is to follow the ballot returns, Sammy’s party provides a disturbing illumination: there was no revolutionary spirit behind much of the counter-culture. What Shampoo presents us with is a genuinely deaf cross-section of the American populace, willing to have their country’s ethical foundation gutted (Watergate), its leaders assassinated (the Kennedys, Martin Luther King, Malcolm X, Medger Evers), its young men sentenced to die (Vietnam), just so long as there was enough weed and LSD to get them through the night. While the right wing suits watch the election returns on several televisions placed strategically throughout the house, the only visuals at Sammy’s are of a big screen monitor televising a repetitive, shape-shifting, psychedelic image above the heads of the audience, morphing in strange time to the four-four beats of “Sergeant Pepper’s” and Jimi Hendrix’s “Manic Depression.” Therefore, the viewer is aware that this paid-for Eden is strictly apolitical, irrevocably doomed. And rock and roll music is the messenger of these bleak truths.

However, for all the harsh indictments the film makes on the counter-culture’s lack of political commitment, it also captures the bittersweet notes of a generation’s time passing. Though Shampoo illustrates that George Roundy is complicit in his own fate (as well as the fate of the nation at large) through his lack of political engagement, the film is not thick-skinned enough to take pleasure in his imminent doom. The final two songs we hear played at the party possess a wistful resonance that, though they continue to further the failings that much of the generation possessed, allows for a considerable level of sympathy towards George and, to a lesser extent, Jackie. As George and Jackie retire to the clubhouse (walking hand-in-hand across a vacant tennis court) to the sounds of Jefferson Airplane’s electrified cover of the standard, “Good Shepherd,” the viewer is presented with a momentary eulogy for this passing world; the song fittingly places the generation’s misguided decadence onto a Biblical level of tragedy. “They had a chance at Paradise,” the film seems to be saying, “but they blew it.” Listening to the acoustic, melancholy tone of the song, we are aware that, though juvenile in their pursuits, even the most superficial of the love generation hardly deserve the fate that awaits them:

If you want to get to heaven
Over on the other shore
Stay out of the way of the blood-stained bandit
Oh good shepherd
Feed my sheep

Such understated eulogy – the song competes with a cacophony of other diegetic sounds – is short-lived, as George’s theme re-emerges to downshift from a grand statement on the failure of the 1960s anti-establishment to a more personal elegy for George’s own pending failure. We hear the melancholic chords as George makes his fruitless attempt to win Jackie’s heart by describing a dream he had the night before:

I was fifty years old, and I was supposed to meet Jill at the shop. Scared the hell out of me….I can’t imagine not being with you when I’m fifty.

George, for the first time in the film, speaks honestly about his feelings. Though he succeeds in drawing Jackie’s sympathy enough to bed her, The Beatles’ “Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds” slips through the clubhouse windows to soundtrack, with an aching, surreal sweetness, their final kiss. The song, which describes an impossibly surreal, uniquely fascinating woman of hybrid mythic-urbane sensibilities, fuses with the image of George and Jackie kissing to solemnly highlight the central flaw at the center of the 1960s ideology: escapism is ultimately doomed. The choice of “Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds” is not meant to be simply wistful, but also to darken the scene. What better song is there to state that George (and, by extension, the free love generation) cannot win than one that describes a world where domestic happiness, unbridled innocence, and worldly imagination exist only in a “sky of diamonds?” Indeed, if such a world even exists, Shampoo’s characters will never see it. “Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds” is a coda loaded with both dystopian and elegiac resonance, as one of the final popular songs we hear in the film is one that emphasizes the distance between the creative, imaginative work being done by the decade’s musicians, and a country whose government was in the process of being taken over by killers and crooks. “Lucy,” as the second to last song to be played at the party, understands what the viewer, in the America of 1975 also knows: the end is near for these people.

Though it may seem that the soundtrack’s unexpected moments of elegiac tenderness towards the characters hinders the dystopian elements the film has worked so hard to convey, the opposite is true. Dante’s Inferno postulated that true hell means being aware of one’s past happiness, and yet not possessing the ability to regain it; the final songs cement this type of hellish dystopia by eliciting sympathy on the part of the viewer. When we watch the film’s final scene (which occurs the morning after Sammy’s party), George stands atop a Los Angeles hill, as Jackie (who has just turned down his proposal) drives off into the distance with Lester. This bleak image is, one final time, accompanied by George’s theme, eliciting a moment of pure tragedy. Jackie, who was the closest thing to a physicalized version of The Beatles’ Lucy, takes the last ride out of town with Lester, the film’s symbol of establishment Republicanism. Nixon has been elected, Cambodia and Altamont are around the corner, and George, now aware that he has irrevocably wasted years of his life, is left alone with his failures. In a final moment of stark montage, the screen goes black as George’s theme ceases, and the viewer is once again aurally confronted with “Wouldn’t It Be Nice.” Sounding bleaker than ever, with everything that has come since we first heard it, the song that began the film as ironic counterpoint ends as funereal dirge, lamenting not only what never was, but what was never to become.

In closing her review of the film, Pauline Kael wrote that “watching Shampoo, one is amazed that [era] ever existed at all” (606); with the film’s creative use of musical soundtrack, we are given a fuller representation of what that time really was: wild, beautiful, violent, superficial, confused, hellish, wistful. By establishing a dystopian reality within one of the most romanticized eras in America’s history, Shampoo succeeds in complicating Hollywood’s simplified peace-and-love-and-protest ideology, and, perhaps even more importantly, illustrates the vast, complex narrative capabilities of a brilliantly utilized musical soundtrack.

Works Cited

Alighierei, Dante. Inferno. Ed. Robert M. Durling. Oxford: Oxford UP, 1996.

Balin, Marty. “Plastic Fantastic Lover.” Perf. Grace Slick, Marty Balin, Paul Katner, Jack Casady, Jorma Kaukonen. Volunteers. RCA Records, 1969.

Biskind, Peter. Easy Riders, Raging Bulls: How The Sex-Drugs-And-Rock ‘n’ Roll Generation Saved Hollywood. New York: Simon and Schuster, 1998.

Flinn, Caryl. Strains of Utopia: Gender, Nostalgia, And Hollywood Film Music.
Princeton: Princeton UP, 1992.

“Good Shepherd.” Perf. Grace Slick, Marty Balin, Paul Katner, Jack Casady, Jorma Kaukonen. Volunteers. RCA Records, 1969.

Herodotus. The Histories. Oxford: Oxford UP, 1998.

Hoberman, J. The Dream Life: Movies, Media And The Mythology of the Sixties. New York: The New York Press, 2003.

Kael, Pauline. “Shampoo: Beverly Hills as a Big Bed.” For Keeps: 30 Years at the Movies. New York: Dutton Publishing, 1994. 603-609.

Kalinak, Kathryn. Settling the Score: Music and the Classical Hollywood Film.
Wisconsin: The U of Wisconsin P, 1992.

Lennon, John and Paul McCartney. “Sergeant Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band.” Perf. John Lennon, Paul McCartney, George Harrison, Ringo Starr. Sergeant Pepper’s Lonely Heart’s Club Band. Capitol Records, 1967.

Lennon, John. McCartney, Paul. “Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds.” Perf. John
Lennon, Paul McCartney, George Harrison, Ringo Starr. Sergeant Pepper’s
Lonely Heart’s Club Band
. Capitol Records, 1967.

Shampoo. Dir. Hal Ashby. Perf. Warren Beatty, Julie Christie, Goldie Hawn. Columbia Pictures, 1975.

Simon, Paul. “Night Game.” Perf. Paul Simon. Still Crazy after All These Years. Warner Bros., 1975.

Wilson, Brian. “Wouldn’t It Be Nice.” Perf. Brian Wilson, Carl Wilson, Dennis Wilson, Mike Love, Al Jardine. Pet Sounds. Capitol, 1966.

Young, Neil. “Mr. Soul.” Perf. Neil Young, Steven Stills, Richie Furay. Buffalo
Springfield Again
. ATCO, 1967.

 

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