That weird Golden Oldie tucked into “The Gray Man” — “Silver Bird”

Remember how cute it was that Chris Pratt’s hero in “Guardians of the Galaxy” totes around a mix tape from his late mother? Planet to planet, stolen ship to shoot-out — all set to tunes like “Hooked on a Feeling” or “I’m Not in Love” or “Cherry Bomb,” “Go All the Way,” etc.” heard on Peter Quill’s Sony Walkman?

Sure, it felt like pandering to a fanboy demo trapped in 1970s classic rock and pop, but it was adorable, right?

That’s what those hacks the Russos were trying to tap into by having a sickly little girl obsess over a tune by Mark Lindsay, formerly of Paul Revere and the Raiders, in “The Gray Man.” After leaving his group, the solo Lindsay had a couple of anthemic hits — big arrangements, soaring melodies, power chords with horns like “Arizona” and the song used in the movie — this one, “Silver Bird.”

It’s not explained, a song that predates the child, the child’s parents and almost predates her uncle, an ex-spook played by Billy Bob Thornton.

Why does she like it? No idea. How obvious is this “Guardians” pilfering? Pretty obvious. Even the fact that the Russos went to Lindsay, whose tunes turned up in Tarantino’s latest and “Licorice Pizza,” seems like something they “lifted” from their betters.

How cheesy is the tune?

Well, maybe little Claire’s uncle was into motorcycles. Maybe he remembered “Silver Bird” was sold as a jingle, almost straight off, to a Japanese motorcycle company trying to make early ’70s inroads into the American market.

“Silver Bird, won’t you fly me a-waaaaay” became “Yama-HAaaaaaa, today is the day.”

Stupid memory, remembering that. Stupid movie, punching in that ear worm. Stupid Youtube. They even have the Yamaha commercial!

About Roger Moore

Movie Critic, formerly with McClatchy-Tribune News Service, Orlando Sentinel, published in Spin Magazine, The World and now published here, Orlando Magazine, Autoweek Magazine
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10 Responses to That weird Golden Oldie tucked into “The Gray Man” — “Silver Bird”

  1. rAdishhorse says:

    Maybe not the first to do it or popularize it, but there is a scene in John Woo’s Face/Off where a little girl listens to “Somewhere Over the Rainbow” on her headphones while the people around her kill each other… Thought these Avengers auteurs were going for that. Not really Guardians.

    • Roger Moore says:

      Yeah, I seem to remember some ’80s film, maybe “Diva,” using it as ironic counterpoint. Probably goes back even further. But its use here is “Guardians” comic. Did the kid’s parents die in a plane crash? Might explain the use of the song, but being facile and glib filmmakers, I don’t know how much thought they put into it.

  2. Bobbie says:

    The song did not begin as a jingle. It became a jingle after the hit song.

  3. Mark Gage says:

    I liked it, go get a life.

  4. Evan says:

    Thanks for clearing up this brain worm. I honestly never remembered the pop song by Lindsay, and I listened to a lot of pop at age 11. I own and have restored many vintage Yamahas, so I guess the Yamaha ads worked. I remember hearing/seeing Yamaha’s commercials many times, and simply believed Yamaha ginned it up. I just saw the ‘The Gray Man’, and my curiosity peaked. Thanks again.

  5. Sharon says:

    In the age of the #metoo movement I am surprised that that they chose any Mark Lindsay song let alone gave it to an under age girl to play on a record player. He is the guy who wrote a song called ‘Just Seventeen” when he was pushing 30 about his experience in Montana when he knowingly invited a 17 year old girl into his hotel room. He sings about the police showing up and how it was a crime while at the same time moaning “help me baby.” Then there was the song where he sang how he longs to hold the “Little Girl in the 4th Row” in his arms. Beyond creepy! Stay away fron my kids! It also makes no sense in the scene to even use that song. It gave me the willies!

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