Music Documentaries

Ignatius L Hoops

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I didn't see a thread devoted to Music Documentaries so here we go.

I'll kick it off with a film I saw during a film festival at the old Bell Museum auditorium. (At least my memory says it was at the Bell). It's called "Shell Shock Rock" and documents the late 70's punk outbreak in Northern Ireland during the troubles. Stiff Little Fingers and The Undertones are among the bands. Belfast in the '70's, what could go wrong?

The film sort of disappeared for a couple of decades before being reconstructed in 2008. I'm certain a few scenes didn't make the transition. There's no intro and they truncated the ending which was backed by the Cascades 1963 classic "Rhythm of the Rain"-a brilliant choice, by the way.

Here's the trailer and the film. The bands and songs are listed in the end credits.


 


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I didn't see a thread devoted to Music Documentaries so here we go.

I'll kick it off with a film I saw during a film festival at the old Bell Museum auditorium. (At least my memory says it was at the Bell). It's called "Shell Shock Rock" and documents the late 70's punk outbreak in Northern Ireland during the troubles. Stiff Little Fingers and The Undertones are among the bands. Belfast in the '70's, what could go wrong?

The film sort of disappeared for a couple of decades before being reconstructed in 2008. I'm certain a few scenes didn't make the transition. There's no intro and they truncated the ending which was backed by the Cascades 1963 classic "Rhythm of the Rain"-a brilliant choice, by the way.

Here's the trailer and the film. The bands and songs are listed in the end credits.


Thank you.
 

Ignatius L Hoops

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Before, "coming like a ghost town", there was DANCING!

This is "Dance Craze", the best of British Ska from 1981. The Bodysnatchers were so cool and The Beat one of my favorite bands. I saw this at the Uptown.

Trailer: "It may not be uptown Jamaica":


The movie:

 

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Before, "coming like a ghost town", there was DANCING!

This is "Dance Craze", the best of British Ska from 1981. The Bodysnatchers were so cool and The Beat one of my favorite bands.

Trailer: "It may not be uptown Jamaica":


The movie:

I received this as a bootleg many years ago. Great introduction to Ska for those who are new to it.
 


short ornery norwegian

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Got sick of watching the endless Twins game Weds nite, so I watched a documentary on AXS TV on the making of the album "Tommy" by the Who.

Nothing too earth-shattering, but Townsend and Daltrey are both great story-tellers. Townsend admitted that the 'pinball wizard' aspect was not part of his original concept, but a friend of his who was an avid pinball player suggested the idea.

Townsend also got very frank about some of his personal experiences - including suggestions of childhood sexual abuse or molestation. In fact, Townsend had so much trouble with those songs that he had to have John Entwistle write them.

And watching some concert footage - nothing will ever be cooler than Entwistle playing "Tommy" live while wearing a skeleton costume on stage.

If you have AXS TV on your cable or satellite package, they run a lot of music docs.
 

MennoSota

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I loved watching "The Wrecking Crew." Right up there with "Searching for Sugar Man."
 


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New York Doll, about Arthur Kane of the New York Dolls is a fantastic doc. Of all the music docs I have watched this has the most surprising ending. If you're not familiar with him or at least not familiar with his post Dolls story, don't look it up. Just watch.

 



stocker08

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Music documentaries basically all rule. I'm sad that Palladia is gone. Documentaries and live concerts. MTV supposedly "relaunched" it as MTV Live. Yet they still fill the schedule with Jersey Shore and entire days of Ridiculousness. Pathetic. Nothing even close to resembling Palladia.

Oh....and 'Back and Forth'....the Foo Fighters doc is great. The 'Sound City' doc is fantastic too. Dave Grohl's documentary about the Sound City recording studio that was the site of some of the greatest albums of all time. Might as well throw out Dave Grohl's HBO doc series, Sonic Highways as well.
 

LakevilleBro

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The Lynyrd Skynyrd and Kansas documentaries on AXS TV, are excellent to watch.
 





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I understand not everyone was a fan but Amazon Prime has a great 6 part Grateful Dead documentary available. Really done well. Long Strange Trip is the title.
 

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We really liked American Epic, the exploration of American roots music put together by Jack White.

 

Ignatius L Hoops

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I understand not everyone was a fan but Amazon Prime has a great 6 part Grateful Dead documentary available. Really done well. Long Strange Trip is the title.

Speaking of the Grateful Dead, there's also this documentary about Bob Weir. It covers the Dead's creation (his meeting Jerry Garcia when Weir was 16) and many subsequent strange encounters (for instance: meeting Neal Cassady while Cassady was driving the Merry Pranksters bus).

 

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Speaking of the Grateful Dead, there's also this documentary about Bob Weir. It covers the Dead's creation (his meeting Jerry Garcia when Weir was 16) and many subsequent strange encounters (for instance: meeting Neal Cassady while Cassady was driving the Merry Pranksters bus).

I thought this one was really well done as well. Bob did well being the only cute one...
 


Frink

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Get tipsy with Rush. Regardless of what you might think of their music, they are really good dudes and it's amazing and endearing that after more than 40 years together they still get along like this. This is an extra to the doc Beyond the Lighted Stage.
 

Ignatius L Hoops

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Here's the Pete Seeger "The Power of Song" documentary from 2007. I've included the trailer plus a performance from "Rainbow Quest" which was a public TV show Seeger hosted in the mid-sixties. There are complete episodes on YouTube featuring a wide range of guests. This snippet has Pete backing Mimi (Baez) and Richard Farina.

Trailer:
Documentary:
"Rainbow Quest"
 

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Here's the Pete Seeger "The Power of Song" documentary from 2007. I've included the trailer plus a performance from "Rainbow Quest" which was a public TV show Seeger hosted in the mid-sixties. There are complete episodes on YouTube featuring a wide range of guests. This snippet has Pete backing Mimi (Baez) and Richard Farina.

Trailer:
Documentary:
"Rainbow Quest"
Mimi and Richard were awesome. Sad story.
 

Costa Rican Gopher

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I've watched a ton of music docs, but my favorite is 'No direction home', the Bob Dylan doc by Martin Scorsese.

I love watching Dylan interviews. He is the essence of punk rock, or counter culture, or whatever you want to call it. He just doesn't give a flying rip what people think about him.

The press conference in Berkeley is great: "Bob, how many protest singers are there?" "136. No wait...137". "Bob who are some of your favorite poets?" "W.C. Fields. The family that does the trapeze in the circus.............um....Smokey Robinson.". "Do you think of yourself primarily as a singer, or as a poet?" "I think of myself more as a song & dance man.".

Also great is when Dylan's in London about to play electric & the crowd are booing, and yelling "Judas!". As they tear into 'Like a rolling stone', Dylan looks over at the band and shouts "play it f*cking loud!!!".

Clearly Bob hasn't gotten over that as evidenced in the following quote I saw on Wikipedia. It's Dylan responding to criticism that he gets inspiration from other people's songs: "Wussies and pussies complain about that stuff. It's an old thing — it's part of the tradition. It goes way back. These are the same people that tried to pin the name Judas on me. Judas, the most hated name in human history! If you think you've been called a bad name, try to work your way out from under that. Yeah, and for what? For playing an electric guitar? As if that is in some kind of way equatable to betraying our Lord and delivering him up to be crucified. All those evil motherfuckers can rot in hell."

Lastly, as part of his ultimate anti-hero persona, I loved that Dylan later turned down the Nobel Peace Prize, saying he "was busy".

 


Costa Rican Gopher

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Actually, it was the Nobel Prize in Literature and while Dylan didn't attend the award ceremony, he sent Patti Smith to accept it.


Nobel Prize for Literature, that's correct, my bad. Looks like we're both a little fuzzy on the details as Dylan didn't send Patty Smith to accept it for him, she was already scheduled to sing at the ceremony, but when Dylan was announced, and didn't attend, she changed her song to 'A hard rain's a gonna fall' to honor Dylan.

It's been a while, so I had to refresh my memory. Still a very Dylanesque story in which he refused to even take, or return the Academy's calls for the first couple weeks. The Chairman of the committee called it "impolite and arrogant.". Then he returned their call but said he was busy & wouldn't be attending their ceremony. It really irked some people, who got very down on Dylan for it. Basically these are the same pompous asses who Dylan despised when he was 21 y/o, all grown up & with money.

"Literary circles rang with chaos and indignation; Dylan appeared equally stumped, quipping, “Not once have I ever had the time to ask myself, ‘Are my songs literature'”—in a speech that he didn’t even deliver himself, as he declined to attend the official prize-giving ceremony in Sweden in December."

Eventually Dylan sent an acceptance speech & the US Amabassador to Sweden read it at the ceremony. The next year when Dylan was in Sweden for a scheduled concert he attended a small ceremony at the academy with no press.

Here's the video of his acceptance speech. I got 5 seconds in, and shut it off. It's prettgy obvious why Dylan wanted no part of it:

 



Bad Gopher

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The Wrecking Crew was excellent. And speaking of excellent and the Wrecking Crew here's "Session Legend: Carol Kaye".

She's a great storyteller. Her playing style was very influential. I remember hearing that how she played on Pet Sounds influenced Paul McCartney, who's a huge fan of that album. It influenced the way he played on some Sgt. Peppers tracks, where you can hear her bouncy, precise picking in his playing. This compares to his typical style before and after that--not to mention a couple other tracks on Sgt. Peppers.
 

Ignatius L Hoops

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I've been reading Joey Selvin's, Here Comes the Night: The Dark Soul of Bert Berns and the Dirty Business of Rhythm and Blues. I'm trying to find the Bert Berns documentary on the normal streaming services with no luck thus far.

 

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I like The Pogues but don't know much about their backstory. This looks like it could be good. Comes out in December.

 

Ignatius L Hoops

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Here's a 1995 documentary, "My Generation", about the influential Brits, Small Faces. "They were Mods that became a band". First up, though is their 1966 appearance on the the German "Beat, Beat, Beat".


 




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