The O’Jays sang “I love music. Any kind of music.” The Doobie Brothers said “Music is the doctor. Makes you feel like you want to.” Joan Jett exclaimed succinctly, “I love rock and roll.”
In The Big Chill, Kevin Kline’s character, Harold, could simply find no words. As his ensemble castmates are preparing to clean up after dinner, he drops a record on his turntable, reacts with delighted spasms at the opening Motown drum shuffle, snaps his fingers slightly off-beat three times, just stares at a Temptations album cover for five or six seconds as a goofy smile forms, finally holds it up to his face, and smooches it. I know just how he feels.
The film’s theme may have been about lost idealism, dogged cynicism, cultural unease, and a general jadedness toward mid-life existence, but none of that could ever touch the music. Why is kind of hard to explain. As a wise man once said, “It’s only rock and roll, but I like it, like it, yes I do.”
The Rolling Stones themselves re-did this Temps classic eight years later, and like pretty much anything they ever touched, it was phenomenal.