The nights are cooling and crab-apples are thunking to the ground; the first whispers of Fall are in the air. Now don’t get scared; it’s still summer! But it is good to be prepared, and since Winter in New England is what it is, it’s getting to be about time to restart your Netflix subscription or at least update that queue. With that in mind, here are some of our favorite music movies you should definitely consider watching!
Stop Making Sense (Talking Heads)
Stop Making Sense is one of the best concert films we’ve ever seen, with striking imagery and direction and a flawlessly energetic performance by a great band. The movie was filmed over three nights on the band’s 1983 “Speaking in Tongues” tour, but is edited together so well it forms a cohesive story-like structure like the best singular concert experience of your life.
A Hard Day’s Night (The Beatles)
Part concert film, part mockumentary, A Hard Day’s Night describes a couple of days in the lives of the group as they perform, deal with celebrity, and get into trouble. It’s funnier than you would expect it to be, and the Beatles are at their charming best. If you like the band at all and haven’t seen it yet, do it!
The Devil and Daniel Johnston (Daniel Johnston)
Artist, singer, and songwriter Daniel Johnston has written some of the most strikingly honest and clever lyrics we’ve ever heard. This documentary explores the life and creativity of a fascinating character who dances on the edge of what we would call ‘sanity’ and creates amazing art because of it. Never heard of him? Watch it. You won’t forget.
Gimme Shelter (The Rolling Stones)
Created by the amazing documentary filmmaking team of Albert and David Maysles (also responsible for the awesome movies The Beatles: The First U.S. visit, Grey Gardens, and Salesman), this film explores Rolling stones 1969 tour, culminating in the disastrous Altamont Free Concert. With a lot of great footage of the Rolling Stones seriously rocking it, behind-the-scenes insights into what it was like putting a free festival together, and an unbiased look at the sinister events that transpired as the show went on, this is as much an important cultural film as a musical one.
The Last Waltz (The Band, Eric Clapton, Bob Dylan, Neil Young, Van Morrison, Dr. John, Muddy Waters and many more)
The Last Waltz documents The Band’s performance at San Francisco’s Winterland Ballroom in 1976. They perfomed with a ton of awesome singers/musicians all in their prime with amazing energy and stage presence, sublimely directed Martin Scorcese. Is this the best concert film of all time, as has been stated by many? We’re not saying no!
Anvil! The Story of Anvil (Anvil)
Anvil?! Who is Anvil? Exactly. All of the bands that performed at Japan’s Super Rock Festival in 1984 made it big (Bon Jovi, Scorpions, Whitesnake) except for this Canadian metal band. This documentary explores what it is like now for the once-promising band to continue trying to ‘make it’ as they deal with middle-aged life. It is hilarious, charming, and surprisingly moving. Even if you have absolutely no interest in heavy metal music as a genre, you will still fall absolutely in love with this movie. (We did!)
We hope you enjoyed our music movie roundup, although it was by no means comprehensive. We would love to know what your favorite music movies are!