Starring Ben Affleck, Tye Sheridan, Lily Rabe, and Christopher Lloyd, The Tender Bar was a 2021 comedy directed by George Clooney. According to movie critics and fans, it received mixed reviews despite Affleck’s standout performance that earned him Golden Globe and Screen Actors Guild nominations. The theme behind the movie focused on a mother (played by Rabe) and son (played by Sheridan) having to move back to live with his grandparents in 1970s Long Island, New York after separating from his father. While there, the young lad finds himself stuck between the encouragement of his Uncle Charlie (played by Affleck) to pursue his desire to become a writer and a mother who’d rather see him attend law school. When the movie was released, it was October 10, 2021, at the London Film Festival. On December 17, 2021, it made a limited theater appearance before Amazon’s Prime Video began streaming the movie as of January 7, 2022. As for the music featured on the soundtrack of The Tender Bar, the lineup of songs featured set the tone of this coming-of-age story during an era where it was all bellbottoms and bowling shirts. For listeners, The Tender Bar Soundtrack offers older listeners a trip down memory lane while introducing new listeners to a sound that was hip and gentle at the same time.
19. Modern Life (performed by Devo)
Devo first gained recognition at a worldwide level after releasing the hit single, (Whip It), in 1980. However, in the movie and on the soundtrack of The Tender Bar, (Modern Life) was the song of choice, which came from the album, Recombo DNA, a 2000 release by Rhino Entertainment. The lyrics simply mocked the modernization of today’s society, along with all the absurdities that have come with it.
18. Different Drum (performed by Stone Poneys and Linda Rondstadt)
The original recording of (Different Drum) came from the bluegrass band known as The Greenbriar Boys for their 1966 album, Better Late than Never!. This song was originally meant for the Monkees, but it was turned down. In 1967, Stone Poneys and Linda Rondstadt teamed up to cover this song, which became a number thirteen hit on the US Billboard Hot 100. It also became an international hit by peaking as high as number nine in Australia and at number five in New Zealand. The subject of the song revolved around two lovers who had a difference of opinion about their relationship. While the one wanted to settle down, the other wanted to separate. In the movie, the start of the storyline witnessed the separation of the main character’s parents, seeming to parallel the reality check message the song sang about.
17. Good Times Charlie’s Got the Blues (performed by Danny O’Keefe)
1967’s (Good Times of Charlie’s Got the Blues) was a song first recorded by Danny O’Keefe but was not released. In 1968, The Bards released it on the B-side of their record that featured (Tunesmith) on its A-side. It wasn’t until he released his self-titled debut album in 1971 would his version of this song come out. However, he recorded it a second time as a slower version for his second album in 1972 and that one was released as a single by him. It peaked at number nine on the US Billboard Hot 100 and was a number five hit on the US Billboard Adult Contemporary chart. It also peaked at number sixty-three on the US Billboard Hot Country Songs chart, making this a crossover hit for the artist. Since then, it has been covered by a number of recording artists from various genres but it was O’Keefe’s hit version that was featured in The Tender Bar and its soundtrack.
16. 50 Ways to Leave Your Lover (performed by Paul Simon)
(50 Ways to Leave Your Lover) was a Paul Simon hit that came from his 1975 solo album, Still Crazy After All These Years. It became one of Simon’s signature hits as it topped the US Billboard Hot 100, the US Billboard Adult Contemporary, and the RPM Canada Top Singles charts. Later, it became a certified gold seller by the Recording Industry of America (RIAA) and was certified silver with the UK’s British Phonographic Industry (BPI). The lyrical list of suggestions to part ways with one’s lover was more than just a huge hit for Simon. This song became iconic and has been used many times in a variety of films and television shows over the span of over forty years.
15. Dynaflow (performed by Parish Hall)
In 1970, Parish Hall released the song, (Dynaflow) from the trio’s self-titled debut album. The mix of blues and hard rock was what defined this band and earned international success twenty years later among the European nations for their Jimi Hendrix-like style. Because (Dynaflow) and its album were released by a local Californian label, the nationwide it deserved was not there as it did not appear on any official music charts.
14. Two of a Kind (performed by Bobby Darin & Johnny Mercer)
1961’s (Two of a Kind) was a song performed by Bobby Darin and Johnny Mercer that came from Darin’s album also titled Two of a Kind. For Mercer, this was a break away from the jazzy standards he is best known for. Not really a standout hit as it was not released as such, (Two of a Kind) still served its purpose as a two-peas-in-a-pod number that was enjoyable enough in The Tender Bar’s movie and on the soundtrack.
13. I Thought I Was a Child (performed by Jackson Browne)
In 1973, Jackson Browne released the album, For Everyman, along with (I Thought I Was a Child). This lyrical tale perfectly matched the theme of The Tender Bar, both as a movie and for the soundtrack, as it also was a coming-of-age story in its own right. The transition of a small, innocent child to becoming a teenager, and later an adult, was the whole point behind the movie as the main character struggled to find his own path as an evolving human being. Although this song never found its way on any official music charts, it is still classic Jackson Browne and worth the listen.
12. Turn Back the Hands of Time (performed by Tyrone Davis)
(Turn Back the Hands of Time) was a number one hit on the US Billboard Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs chart for Tyrone Davis when it came out in 1970. It was also a number three hit on the US Billboard Hot 100. For Davis, it was his second major hit since 1968’s (Can I Change My Mind) and it was among his signature songs, selling over one million copies to become certified gold by the RIAA. At the time, it was considered among the best R&B singles released and it still remains a fan favorite today.
11. It’s Your Thing (performed by The Isley Brothers)
Coming from the album, It’s Our Thing, is the single, (It’s Your Thing) by The Isley Brothers. Released in 1969, it was a number one hit on the US Billboard Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Singles chart and peaked as high as number two on the US Billboard Hot 100. The popularity of this song at the time also reached Canada, peaking at number three, and in France at number nine. The UK Singles chart witnessed (It’s Your Thing) chart as high as number thirty. For The Isley Brothers, they were fed up serving second-fiddle to The Temptations by Motown. After a successful British tour that saw their popularity even greater there than in America, the group shifted their musical style to involve more funk-related material in their songwriting. This proved to be a good move on their part as not only did this song earn a Grammy Award in 1970 for Best R&B Vocal Performance by a Duo or Group, but paved the way for this group to become iconic music legends that globally won over a flurry of fans clean through the 1970s, 1980s, and even the 1990s. They’re still them over today.
10. My Opening Farewell (performed by Jackson Browne)
Jackson Browne’s (My Opening Farewell) came from his 1972 self-titled debut album. It was the final song from his list of ten tracks and was not released as a single like (Doctor, My Eyes) and (Rock Me on the Water). Overall, the album received positive reviews from the critics, even though it was mislabeled as Saturate Before Using as this was also written on the album’s cover. Although not a hit single, (My Opening Farewell) served as a fitting theme as a goodbye but not really a goodbye by Browne as a songwriter as he continued to produce additional albums and additional hit singles.
9. Shotgun (performed by Junior Walker & the All-Stars)
In 1965, Junior Walker and his group, the All-Stars, brought forth the dance tune, (Shotgun) and it became a number one hit on the US Billboard Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Singles chart and a number-four hit on the US Billboard Hot 100. For Walker, this served as his debut single as a vocalist as the original singer hired to perform this song failed to show up. Walker’s performance was impressive enough for the producer to keep it and have it released instead. The trigger of a shotgun blast starting the song off, followed by the drum roll, later witnessed Walker and the saxophone alternate between each other as the song progressed as one chord clean through.
8. Magic (performed by Pilot)
In 1974, (Magic) was a song brought forth by the Scottish rock group, Pilot. It was their first single from their debut album, From the Album of the Same Name. For the group, the inspiration behind the song came after witnessing a sunrise on Blackford Hill in Edinburgh, Scotland, and how the wife of David Paton witnessed it for the first time in her life. As a song, (Magic) was a number one hit in Canada and a number five hit on the US Billboard Hot 100. On the UK Singles Chart, it peaked at number eleven and it was also a top twenty hit among the nations of Australia, Ireland, the Netherlands, and South Africa.
7. Sooner or Later (performed by The Grass Roots)
1971’s (Sooner or Later) was a hit song produced by The Grass Roots, which came from their third compilation album, Their 16 Greatest Hits. On the US Billboard Hot 100, this single peaked at number nine and was the third and final occasion the group realized a top ten hit. In the lyrical tale of a boy falling for a girl only for such affection not to be returned, was met with the belief she would come around, (Sooner or Later).
6. Dancing in the Moonlight (performed by King Harvest)
(Dancing in the Moonlight) was a hit single for King Harvest after it was released in 1972. On the US Billboard Hot 100, it peaked as high as number thirteen and was even more popular in Canada by charting as high as number five there. The song revolved around an alternative reality where there was no such thing as pain, suffering, and violence. Sherman Kelly, who wrote this song, did so after he was brutally attacked and left for dead while visiting St. Croix in the Caribbean. Unlike the eight fellow American tourists who died from the vicious attack, he survived. While in recovery, he wrote (Dancing in the Moonlight) and not only was it a song of inspiration for him, but for millions of fans and other recording artists who covered this hit single. In 2000, the English group known as Toploader turned it into a multi-platinum mega-hit that won over the fans globally.
5. Love Will Find a Way (performed by Pablo Cruise)
When it was released as a single in 1978, Pablo Cruise’s (Love Will Find a Way) became a number six hit on the US Billboard Hot 100 and a number five hit in Canada. In Australia, it peaked at number eight and it was a number twenty hit in New Zealand. Bittersweet and inspirational, this became a musical source of hope among romantics who still believe love always finds a way to overcome adversity, no matter what.
4. Do It Again (by Steely Dan)
Steely Dan’s (Do It Again) was his 1972 debut single which became a number six hit on the US Billboard Hot 100 and on the Canada Top Singles chart. It also made a solid impression in Australia, Germany, and the Netherlands. What made this song so great was the electric sitar solo performed by Denny Dias and the organ solo by Donald Fagan. Fagan’s vocals were second-to-none in what became one of the group’s signature hits.
3. A Long Time Ago (performed by Jim Croce)
You Don’t Mess Around with Jim was an album produced by Jim Croce in 1972. The song, (A Long Time Ago) may not have shared the same mega-hit status as (Time in a Bottle) but it still served as a beautiful piece of lyrical work by a recording artist of world-class talent. Reminiscing of what was in this song paralleled beautifully with Croce’s hit, as well as the rest of the tracks featured on his album. As for The Tender Bar Soundtrack, this also worked as the whole point behind growing up is to remember who you were once upon a time and where you came from. Doing so allows a person to move forward to become better versions of their prior self.
2. Rock Your Baby (performed by George McCrae)
George McCrae’s (Rock Your Baby) was his debut single that was released in 1974 and became a worldwide hit, topping the charts belonging to a multitude of nations. On the US Billboard Hot 100 and the US Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Singles chart, this single quickly reached number one, therefore earning McCrae his place as an elite recording artist. Not only was this a chart-topping smash, but earned gold certifications from Germany’s BVMI and the UK’s BPI. Overall, it sold eleven million copies and has since joined the small list of all-time singles to have surpassed the ten million copies sold mark.
1. Good Times (performed by Chic)
(Good Times) was so much more than some 1979 hit single produced by the superstar R&B group, Chic. This featured pop culture at its finest as the disco scene swept clean across America like a tidal wave. It has also become one of the most sampled tunes in the history of music and remains an all-time favorite around the world. When it was first released, it became a number one hit on the US Billboard Hot 100, as well as in Canada. At the time, one would be hard-pressed to enter a dance club without this song playing at least once or twice before the evening was over. This cheery song became a certified gold seller with the RIAA of the USA and was certified silver with the UK’s BPI. The reason why (Good Times) earns its place as the highest-ranked song associated with The Tender Bar Soundtrack is due to the timeline this movie focused on, along with the message it delivered where life is best enjoyed when approached with nothing less than a positive attitude.