NPR logo

Parting Words From Jack Black, Stevie Wonder

  • Download
  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/103251825/103251734" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
  • Transcript
Parting Words From Jack Black, Stevie Wonder

Parting Words From Jack Black, Stevie Wonder

Parting Words From Jack Black, Stevie Wonder

  • Download
  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/103251825/103251734" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
  • Transcript

Parting words this evening from one of the ultimate record store movies, High Fidelity. Here's a scene of Jack Black — the ultimate snobby record store clerk — interacting with a customer. The guy's looking for a present for his daughter: Stevie Wonder's "I Just Called to Say I Love You."

JACKI LYDEN, host:

Sometimes getting older means watching the things you loved as a child become obsolete: twisting your finger around the cord of a telephone, making that satisfying clack on a typewriter or tweaking the rabbit-ear antenna on the living room TV.

Actor and musician Billy Bob Thornton misses the sounds, the smells, the characters of his hometown record store. Today is Record Store Day, created to draw attention to the independent record stores still fighting to stay open in the digital age. Billy Bob Thornton has this remembrance.

Mr. BILLY BOB THORNTON (Actor and musician): When I was growing up in my little town of Malvern, Arkansas, we had a shop called Paula's Record Shop. And the old lady that ran it, Paula, used to chase us out of there because we'd come in there and just stay all day, just looking at the records. We couldn't really afford to buy them.

And she was a nice woman but -, or at least she was nice when you first got there, but she could be a little cranky, but that store to me, to this day, is just a magical memory.

The first record I ever bought was in Paula's. It was "I Want to Hold Your Hand" by The Beatles. I bought the 45. It was the first time I ever bought anything with my own money.

(Soundbite of song, "I Want to Hold Your Hand")

The BEATLES (Singers): (Singing) Oh, yeah, I'll tell you something…

Mr. THORNTON: To this day, that record is the thing that I credit as being the catalyst for me wanting to be in the entertainment business, period.

(Soundbite of song, "I Want to Hold Your Hand")

The BEATLES (Singers): (Singing) I want to hold your hand. I want to hold your hand.

Mr. THORNTON: I got my entire musical education from that record store and the radio. We'd hear the songs and the bands on the radio, and then we'd go straight to Paula's and stare at the covers and read the album notes.

It was the only record store in town. There weren't any big conglomerates or other record outlets, really. It was just this one little shop. It seemed at that time to be so huge to me, but I know now it was just this little-bitty building, kind of dusty, I don't know. At the time, it just seemed like a palace.

Now, when we're out on tour or on location, I'll find whatever independent record store is around, and that's where I go. It's pretty much where I spend my time.

There are still some cities that have record stores that give me that same feeling when I used to walk into Paula's. In Austin, I go to Waterloo. And when I'm in Minneapolis, I go to the Electric Fetus. I usually have to get an extra suitcase to bring home with me on the plane, to carry everything I bought at those shops.

I was doing a movie up in Minneapolis one time, and I bought over 500 CDs at the Electric Fetus. I think I put their kids through college.

Anyway, independent record stores are really the only places left with the actual spirit of music as we knew it growing up, and hopefully, those will be around for 50 years from now because that's where it feels magical: You don't feel like you're buying a tire iron, a tube of shampoo, a bag of Cheetos and a record. You're just in there to buy records, or at least look at them.

LYDEN: Actor and musician Billy Bob Thornton. He's about to release a new record with his band, The Boxmasters. This is Billy Bob, singing the very song that inspired him so many years ago.

(Soundbite of song, "I Want to Hold Your Hand")

Mr. THORNTON: (Singing) Oh yeah I'll tell you something, I want to hold your hand. I want to hold your hand. I want to hold your hand. I want to hold your hand.

LYDEN: And parting words this evening from, I think, the ultimate record-store movie "High Fidelity." Here's a scene of Jack Black, the ultimate snobby record-store clerk interacting with a customer. The guy is looking for a present for his daughter, Stevie Wonder's "I Just Called to Say I Love You."

(Soundbite of movie, "High Fidelity")

Unidentified Man #1 (Actor): (As character) Can I have it then?

Mr. JACK BLACK (Actor): (As Barry) No, no you can't.

Unidentified Man #1: (As character) Why not?

Mr. BLACK: (As Barry) Well, it's sentimental, tacky crap, that's why not. Do we look like the kind of store that sells "I Just Called to Say I Love You"? Go to the mall.

Unidentified Man #1: (As character) What's your problem?

Mr. BLACK: (As Barry) Do you even know your daughter? There's no way she likes that song. Oh, is she in a coma?

(Soundbite of song, "I Just Called to Say I Love You")

Mr. STEVIE WONDER (Singer): (Singing) I just called to say I love you…

LYDEN: And we'll let those be our parting words from Stevie Wonder.

And that's ALL THINGS CONSIDERED from NPR News. I'm Jackie Lyden.

Copyright © 2009 NPR. All rights reserved. Visit our website terms of use and permissions pages at www.npr.org for further information.

NPR transcripts are created on a rush deadline by Verb8tm, Inc., an NPR contractor, and produced using a proprietary transcription process developed with NPR. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Accuracy and availability may vary. The authoritative record of NPR’s programming is the audio record.

We no longer support commenting on NPR.org stories, but you can find us every day on Facebook, Twitter, email, and many other platforms. Learn more or contact us.