Friday, April 20, 2007


My post on Stop Making Sense got me thinking of music in films. I am not talking about musicals like Singin' in the Rain, or documentaries like Woodstock, but movies where musical performances push the story forward and show us something about the characters we haven't seen before. Here is a chronological list of some of my favorites. Please add to it or tell me I am full of it.


The Beatles- Can't Buy Me Love from Hard Days Night. Great sequence of them in the field goofing off.

The Yardbirds- Blow Up. They tear it up in a scene critical to the film- they tear it up, literally. A really young Jimmy Page and Jeff Beck trade licks on Train Keeps a Rolling.

The Monkees in Head. Yes, The Monkees. Jack Nicholson co-wrote this film. Worth it to see The Monkees on acid. There are some good Peter Tork and Mike Nesmith compositions. I like Circle Sky.

The Who- Rock and Roll Circus. Their performance of the "mini opera" A Quick One While He's Away steals the show. The distributors wanted to rename the film The Who's Rock and Roll Circus. They blow the Stones away. Look for Pete nudging his microphone up with his nose.

Tim Burton as Dr. Frank-N-Furter in Rocky Horror Picture Show. Sweet Transvestite- great song, great performance- Dammit Janet!

Diane Keaton singing Seems Like Old Times in Annie Hall. Great performance and the song really frames the whole film.

Dexter Gordon in Round Midnight. It takes a French man, Bertrand Tavernier, to make a great film about the American music form- Jazz. Great performances

Spinal Tap- Big Bottom and others. I love the scene where they open for a puppet show.

Meryl Streep singing the late, great Shel Silverstein's (A Boy Named Sue) song, I'm Checkin' Out. A key song to the character Streep plays in Postcards From the Edge.

Jack Black and The School of Rock covering AC/DC at the end credits of School of Rock. It's a Long Way to the Top (If You want to Rock and Roll). They cast kids who were real musicians, not actors to play the roles. They are really playing and singing.


AmyMeacham said...

Wow, you covered a lot! I need to see some of these again as it's been a very long time for most of them. I need to think about this to see what I can remember...

PeterH said...


Do check these out, and thanks for the Pulse rec. I don't know it.


PeterH said...

OK, I blew it. Thanks to my friend Denise who told me it is Tim Curry (of course) not Tim Burton as Dr. Frank...

My friend VA would have received credit, but she just teased me I made a mistake and offered no correction.

I will try to be more perfect in the future.


denise said...

yes, peter, please don't let a mistake of this magnitude happen again!!

Wonder Woman said...

You've definitely listed some greats! First thing I though of was School of Rock.

Layla (aka Barbara) said...

Some great movies listed here. I really liked Jack Black in School of Rock, I forced my son to watch it to prove to him that I was NOT the only person to listen to "that music".

What did you think of "Almost Famous"?

PeterH said...

Loved Almost Famous. I could add the scene on the bus when they sing Tiny Dancer to the list.


Chuck Anthony said...

Great post, Peter. I had no idea that Jack Nicholson had anything whatsoever to do with the Monkees, which proves he must've been on acid too. Regarding "Spinal Tap", I understand the story was loosely based on the adventues of the band, Foghat -- I always liked that band so, automatic thumbs up!

I might add to this my Beatles picks; "Get Back", the rooftop performance from the film "Let It Be" and my favorite: The opening sequence of The Beatles Anthology; "In My Life", the opening scenes of Liverpool, England and a montage of images depicting their life and times in the '60s.

PeterH said...

Get Back was right on my list, and then I excluded documentaries. That In My Life sequence from Anthology was great, I agree.

What's your list?