Friday, 24 June 2022

Celebrity Jukebox #1: Robert Mitchum

In a desperate effort to move this blog away from wall-to-wall misery, self-pity and middle-aged grumpiness, here's a new feature in which I pay tribute to celebrities who have been immortalised in song.

I don't know why I chose to start with Robert Mitchum, other than I wanted the list to be random and he was the first person who popped into my mind. When I was younger, and a huge Humphrey Bogart fan, I never liked Robert Mitchum. I found him rather wooden compared to Bogie: given they both played Philip Marlowe, it was hard not to line them up together. 

In later years though, I grew to appreciate Mitchum's performances more, and I could see why he was considered a very cool dude. In modern times, I felt the same way about Keanu Reeves at first, thinking him a one-note actor (that note being Ted "Theodore" Logan), but over time I developed a lot more respect for him. Like Mitchum, he has real screen presence. And that indefinable cool.

Julian Cope was the first person to immortalise Robert Mitchum in song...

The part in Ryan's Daughter when you lose your wife
I've never seen a more dignified man in my life

But when you start looking for Bob Mitchum songs though, you'll be amazed how popular he is...

"Can I have your autograph?"
He said to the fat blonde actress
"You know I've seen every movie you've been in,
From Paths of Pain to Jewels of Glory
And when you kissed Robert Mitchum
Gee but I thought you'd never catch him"

He said, I want to grow up
And look like Robert Mitchum
And I hope that when I'm gone
There'll be some say that I miss him

Imports and altercations
My faculties on a shoe-string vacation
I settled down on a hurt as big as Robert Mitchum
And listen to Lucinda Williams

But there he'd sit
At his table at the Edgewater Hotel
Wearing his ecclesiastical furs
And lunching with two giggly and none too healthy looking young men
And in his shirt pocket up close to his heart was his autographed picture of Robert Mitchum
Which he no doubt used in an impure way

Solvents glue and heroin she said
I don't want to do that at all
I took her to see Robert Mitchum in
Night of the Hunter

Shelley Winters has a vision of
Righteousness from up above
She trades her children for the love
Of a preacher with a soul decay

Before we get onto this week's winning tune, it's worth remembering that Mr. Mitchum had a short-lived musical career of his own... and I'm guessing a certain Mr. B. Springsteen might be aware of it...

Now I can't guarantee that every week I'll find quite so many songs about one celebrity... I'm sure there are plenty with only one to their name. But when I first thought about starting with Robert Mitchum, this was the song I knew I'd finish with. Because it's almost as cool as he was...


  1. Impressive
    Never knew that Bobbie M had featured in so many songs or that there was a song called Lucinda Williams.

  2. Looking forward to songs about Barbara Stanwyck, Mercedes McCambridge, Joan Crawford.......

    1. Just don't expect to see Tom Hanks here.

  3. I had never expected there to be so many songs that mention Robert Mitchum but you are right, he had that indefinable cool.

    Wondering who else is going to pop up in this series now. I know of one song where Peter Lorre is mentioned but surely there can't be many more. Maybe time to prove me wrong.


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