Back at Canadian Music Week in May, I had the privilege of introducing a celebrity interview featuring producer Nile Rodgers and his good friend, Paul Williams.
Most people will remember Williams as (a) a Grammy Award-winning composer; (b) the man who wrote “Rainbow Connection” for Kermit the Frog; (c) the writer of hits of songs for The Carpenters, Helen Reddy, Three Dog Night and many others; and (d) the guy who wrote the theme for The Love Boat. If you’re acquainted with the machinations of the American music industry, you’ll also know him as the President and Chairman of ASCAP.
Williams is a tiny man, piled no higher than five feet. He also has the smallest feet I’ve ever seen attached to a grown man. I mean, they are tiny, I can’t imagine he’s ever shopped in the adult section.
To me, though, he’s a giant. This was the man who played Eric Swan in Brian De Palma’s awesome 1974 musical schlockfest, Phantom of the Paradise. I bet I’ve seen this film three dozen times. Maybe more.
I told him so backstage. I explained that it was a seminal movie of my youth. A puzzled expression came over his face. He paused. Then he looked up at me and said one word: “Why?”
At this point I should state that I grew up in Manitoba, one of the few places on the planet where Phantom of the Paradise was a bona fide and completely explicable hit.
I wore out several copies of the vinyl record–I remain a fan of the soundtrack–but for some reason never was able to locate a copy on CD. As for the movie itself, the only time I saw it was back in the early 80s when VHS movies sometimes sold for $99 (yes, that was the way it used to be), so I passed.
Now, though, Phantom is back as a deluxe Blu-Ray. Not only are we promised a pristine print but all kinds of bonus material.
I’ve already ordered my copy. I expect most of Winnipeg has, too.