Harry Nilsson’s hard rock showstopper from 1971’s “Nilsson Schmillson” album. “Fire’s” most famous appearance was as the main musical piece during the extended paranoid climax of Martin Scorsese’s 1990 gangster-film classic “Goodfellas.” Apparently Scorsese’s first choice for this scene was the Rolling Stones’ 1983 rocker “She Was Hot,” but since Scorsese has a strict policy of only using music that was recorded during the period he’s depicting or earlier (the scene in question took place in 1980), he went with Nilsson’s song instead. I have to say this is a much better choice as it is a lot more ominous sounding. And seriously, could you imagine that final climactic scene with any other music than “Fire”? A great song for being paranoid. And as they say, paranoia is just reality on a finer scale.
One of the better songs from the 1980s era Rolling Stones, this was from the Stones’ decent but uneven 1983 album “Undercover.” The “hot” woman in the video is Anita Morris, who first gained fame starring in the original Broadway version of “Nine” and subsequently played sexy women “of a certain age” in many 1980s films (“The Hotel New Hampshire,” “Ruthless People”). It’s nice to see the Stones let a sexy older woman be the object of lust instead of the usual young bimbo. Sadly, Morris died of ovarian cancer in 1994. So, in honor of Ms. Morris and sexy older women everywhere, I’m raising a glass in tribute.
The video here is the uncensored version which was edited for MTV. From what I remember, the cut parts were the buttons flying off the pants of someone watching Ms. Morris and fire shooting out of her ass. Maybe there was more, but it’s been nearly 30 years since I watched this video.
Trivia note: this was Martin Scorsese’s original song choice to underscore the cocaine-helicopter freak-out scene from “Goodfellas.” However, he chose Harry Nilsson’s “Jump Into the Fire” instead, because the scene in the film took place in 1980 and “She Was Hot” came out in 1983. Scorsese advised he only uses songs that could have been out / released at the time a scene would take place. I think the Nilsson choice was better, but “She Was Hot” would have played wonderfully in that famous scene.