Music and movies had gone together since–well, since there were movies. Part of the reason for the development of long-playing album technology in the 1940s was to allow original cast recordings from movie musicals and Broadway plays. Later we started buying movie soundtracks, some with a clear rock’n’roll bent.
Question: What are your favourite music movies of all time? Before you answer, let’s set down some rules for this list.
- No Sound of Music or Saturday Night Fever. Try to be cooler than that.
- It doesn’t have to be a musical.
- No concert films.
- No soundtracks that just feature disconnected songs in the background. I’m looking for movies where I music played an integral part in the story. You’ll see what I mean with these examples which I’ve listed in no particular order.
1. The Phantom of the Paradise (1974)
Since I just attended Phantompalooza in Winnipeg, home of the biggest cult following of this 1974 Brian De Palma movie, I need to include it while it’s still fresh in my mind. This is a clip from Swan’s grand opening of The Paradise, his over-the-top rock theatre. This performance by the fictional band The Undead was filmed in 1974, five years before there was a Bauhaus or a goth movement. (BTW, I had dinner with lead singer Peter Elbling who, um, resurrected his singing role with the house band that night.)
2. Twenty Four Hour Party People (2002)
The lightly fictionalized story of Madchester (Joy Division, New Order, Factory Records, Happy Mondays, etc.)and the rave/club scene that followed. Whenever I pass by on my TV’s guide, I always finished it off.
3. High Fidelity (2000)
My wife’s review: “This isn’t a movie. It’s a documentary about you and your friends!” She’s not wrong.
4. Spinal Tap (1984)
Biting satire or a serious document of an era in rock? Both.
5. Cha-Cha (1979)
I have no reason to recommend this one other than back in university I was smitten with a girl who was smitten with this film.
6. The Rocky Horror Picture Show (1975)
It’s gotta be here. It just has to.
7. Tommy (1975)
Yeah, I know Ken Russell’s film adaptation of The Who’s classic rock opera is way over the top, but it speaks to me. Or maybe it’s because Ann Margaret was so damned MILFy.
Anton Corbijn’s bleak black-and-white study of the crawsh of Joy Division’s Ian Curtis is filled with brilliant performances.
Care to weigh in?