Apart from music, I’ve also always been interested in movies. And of course I always liked it when both genres came together and resulted in some entertaining hours at the movie theater or in front of the telly. There are lots of great music-movies, lots of cheesy, but still decent ones, and naturally, a lot of crappy ones. Here’s a little rundown on some I remember:
I didn’t watch many movies during my younger days in the 70s, at least not at the cinema. One of the first I remember seeing on TV was Hair, and later The Who-vehicle Tommy. While the first one left me with some hippie spirit, I was rather disturbed by Tommy. But when I re-watched it a few years later, I really liked it. Some years after that, the world went crazy for Saturday Night Fever (a movie that I still haven’t seen and don’t intend to do so…), and the Rocky Horror Picture Show started its glorious quest to become one of the world’s most beloved cult movies. Riding high on the success of Saturday Night Fever, hot-shot John Travolta later starred in Grease and became a role-model for thousands of teens (luckily, I wasn’t one of those!).
Which brings us into the 80s, and straight to another cult-movie: the Blues Brothers. Those two guys defined the meaning of cool long before the Men In Black, and the diner scene with Aretha Franklin is still pure magic! 1980 also saw the release of Fame, and this one – as cheesy as it might sound – is still one of my favourite music-movies of all time. I like the story, I like the music, I like the look of it… and still get goosebumps when Irene Cara starts singing Out Here On My Own! Director Alan Parker later directed more fine music-based movies, amongst them the Pink Floyd classic The Wall, and don’t forget the 1991 hit The Commitments, probably my favourite music-movie!
Of course you can assume that I must like Flashdance as well. I do, mostly because of the soundtrack, but also because of the very loveable Jennifer Beals, one of my first teenage crushes. The movie itself is watchable, but not that special. I always preferred Footloose for the funnier story and an equally great soundtrack… and a VW beetle, my dream car by that time (at least this dream came true a few years later! 🙂 ).
Mr Travolta tried to reinstall his career with a somewhat sequel to Saturday Night Fever in 1983, but Staying Alive really wasn’t the expected success. A short guy from Minneapolis did it better; Prince launched his international career with Purple Rain, and the title track became an instant must-play for those slow-times at the disco. The movie itself… well, ok. Not as bad as one could think…
Another 1984 movie, which is not necessarily a music-movie, but heavily based on music, was Streets Of Fire. It was rebellious, atmospheric and – the most significant difference to the other movies – it really rocked! And talking about rock: there was another rock movie at that time that has now become a cult hit: This Is Spinal Tap, a mockumentary about a fictional hair-metal band. I’ve only seen this one once somewhen in the 90s, but it was reflecting so much what made the whole 80s rock affair so ridiculous… it’s about time that I re-watch that one again!
There you have it; I know there probably are lots more movies than I mentioned here, but I’m not gonna torture you with Dirty Dancing or Moonwalker. And of course there were those movies that were not necessarily about music, but spawned some classic movie-music-moments (think about Breakfast Club or Ghostbusters). That is another story though, and I will take a look at it in another episode of Flashback Friday. For now, enjoy some classic music-movie-tunes:
From Hair: Cast From Hair – Aquarius
From Tommy: The Who – Pinball Wizard
From Fame: Irene Cara – Fame (Disconet Remix)
From Flashdance: Irene Cara – Flashdance… What A Feeling (Remix)
From Purple Rain: Prince – Let’s Go Cracy (Special Dance Mix)
From Blues Brothers: Aretha Franklin – R.E.S.P.E.C.T.
From This Is Spinal Tap: Spinal Tap – Sex Farm
From Streets Of Fire: Fire Inc – Tonight Is What It Means To Be Young