As early as 1956, the film industry began to engage in rock music, thanks to the king of films B. Sam Katzam and director Fred F. Sears.
The musical “Rock Around The Clock” stars Bill Haley and the Comets along with Alan Freed, the Platters, Tony Martinez and his band, and Freddie Bell and the Bellboys band.
The time when the film was shot was when the cinema was considered as a destination for the great heroes of Pop.
Just as Elvis used his fame to make as many films as he could, the Beatles also starred in three films between 1964 and 1967.
The films, as expected, were treated with respect to the protagonists, but the music?
How was Rock music treated by the music industry?
Undoubtedly there have been many documentaries that capture the power of Rock music in the best possible way.
For example, “The Last Waltz” and “Stop Making Sense” are typical.
The question is not addressed to documentaries, which for better or worse is their role, but to the original feature films.
Typically, we will mention some movies that reflect all this power that Rock music has.
The Departed, 2006
We could not start with anyone other than metr of direction Martin Scorsese.
Scorsese is also famous for the soundtracks he chooses for his films and “The Departed” of 2006 is another.
The film opens with “Gimme Shelter” from The Rolling Stones (“Let it Loose” is also heard later).
In many cases, he plays “I’m Shipping Up to Boston” by Dropkick Murphys.
In the film, we also hear the live version of Pink Floyd’s “Comfortably Numb” from the 1990 Berlin Wall Concert.
Although “Gimme Shelter” is heard twice in the film, the song is not included on the soundtrack album.
Easy Rider, 1969
One of the most interesting films is the Easy Rider of 1969, directed by Dennis Hopper.
The film was described in 1998 as “culturally, aesthetically and historically significant” by the Library of Congress.
In terms of music, the film includes rock artists such as The Band, The Byrds, The Jimi Hendrix Experience, and Steppenwolf.
Although Bob Dylan was asked to contribute to the music, he was reluctant to use his own recording of “It’s Alright, Ma (I’m Only Bleeding)”.
Nevertheless, a version used by Byrds frontman Roger McGuinn was used.
Also, instead of writing a new song for the film, Dylan simply wrote the first verse of “Ballad of Easy Rider”.
He even said to the cast: “Give this to McGuinn, he will know what to do”, so McGuinn completed the song and performed it in the film.
Another noteworthy fact is that Hendrix, after the release of the film, wrote the song “Ezy Ryder”, with lyrics inspired by the plot of the story.
Dazed and Confused, 1993
Another well-known rock star is 1993’s “Dazed and Confused” directed by Richard Linklater.
Although the film was a commercial disappointment, over the years it became a cult and is among the 50 best films of all time.
Its title does not need special recommendations, as we have all heard it from Led Zeppelin, with lyrics by Jake Holmes.
In terms of melodies, it includes songs (mainly by Rock), from the ’70s.
The songs “Hurricane” by Bob Dylan, “Hey Baby” by Ted Nugent, and “Sweet Emotion” by Aerosmith were also included in the film.
Geffen Records tried to persuade the rising (then) Jackyl to do a cover of Grand’s “We’re an American Band”, but Linklater refused.
In addition to all this, in the film we hear:
- Rick Derringer – Rock and Roll, Hoochie Koo,
- Foghat – Slow Ride,
- Alice Cooper – School’s Out,
- Black Oak Arkansas – Jim Dandy,
- ZZ Top – Tush,
- Nazareth – Love Hurts,
- Ted Nugent – Stranglehold,
- The Runaways – Cherry Bomb,
- Sweet – Fox on the Run,
- War – Low Rider,
- Lynyrd Skynyrd – Tuesday’s Gone,
- Deep Purple – Highway Star,
- Kiss – Rock and Roll All Nite, and of course
- Black Sabbath – Paranoid.
Almost Famous, 2000
Writer-director Cameron Crowe tells his story.
It tells the story of a teenage journalist who wrote about Rolling Stone in the early 1970s, his own story.
He mentions his tour with the fictional rock band Stillwater and his efforts to publish his first cover.
In “Almost Famous”, there are more than 50 songs that Crowe chose for the film and which won the Grammy Award in 2001.
Indicatively some of the songs used are:
- Simon & Garfunkel – America,
- The Who – Sparks,
- Lynyrd Skynyrd – Simple Man,
- Cat Stevens – The Wind,
- David Bowie – I’m Waiting for the Man,
- The Stooges – Search and Destroy,
- Black Sabbath – Sweet Leaf,
- Jethro Tull – Teacher,
- Yes – Roundabout,
- The Guess Who – Albert Flasher,
- Deep Purple – Burn,
- The Jimi Hendrix Experience -Voodoo Child (Slight Return).
It is noteworthy that Led Zeppelin prevented him from using “Stairway to Heaven”.