I have always shunned prog rock, well, not always. When I was from 7-12 I listened to a lot of it, but I was liberated by garage music and punk rock (and later, folk and country music). Prog will never be my favorite kind of music, but lately a lot of the bands I’ve listened to have had elements of progressive rock, symphonic elements, conceptual ideas, rapid changes and far-out lyrics.
I have liked experimental Beatles, Frank Zappa, a bit of Genesis, two records by King Crimson (Discipline and Three of a perfect pair) and some Pink Floyd, but this was different…
What the hell was happening? I needed to find out some more…
The best way to do this is for me to go to YouTube, and I found several very good programs.
Documentary: Richard Thompson – Solitary Life BBC 2012
Personal portrait of the critically-acclaimed and enigmatic British folk rock singer Richard Thompson, providing an insight into his fascinating life alongside exclusive footage. Contributors include Billy Connolly, Bonnie Raitt, ex-wife Linda Thompson, Harry Shearer and Richard’s wife Nancy Covey. The documentary visits him at home in both London and Los Angeles – the first time such intimate access has been granted to this private and complex artist.
In the 60s whilst still a teenager, Thompson wrote generation-defining songs like Meet on the Ledge. As founder member of Fairport Convention, as a duo with then-wife Linda and more recently as a solo artist, Thompson’s unique mix of rock and traditional music has ironically become more popular now in America than in the UK.
Down The Tracks: Bob Dylan and the Music That Influenced Him (documentary)
Just as Bob Dylan has inspired four decades of musicians, so too was his own musical style influenced by those who came before him. This documentary profiles the folk performers who had the greatest impact on Dylan’s early career. Leadbelly, Pete Seeger, Mississippi John Hurt and other musicians appear in vintage clips, while special focus is given to Woody Guthrie, whose bond with Dylan is reflected in nearly all of Dylan’s music.
While there isn’t a note of Bob Dylan singing in this documentary from 2008, it is still a very worthwhile watch. It gives us a depiction of what influenced Bob Dylan as he grew into the greatest songwriter of all time. There are great and rare clips of Pete Seeger, Leadbelly and many more.
A very interesting addition to all the films about Dylan and the music that influenced (and still influences) him.
May 21: American Masters – Marvin Gaye What’s Going On (documentary)
Marvin Gaye released What’s going on May 21, 1971, we present a great documentary about the album.
Marvin Gaye is one of the great and enduring figures of soul music, but his life was one of sexual confusion, bittersweet success and ultimately death by the hand of his own father.
Marvin Pentz Gay, Jr. (April 2, 1939 — April 1, 1984), better known by his stage name Marvin Gaye, was an American singer-songwriter and musician with a four-octave vocal range. Starting as a member of the doo-wop group The Moonglows in the late fifties, he ventured into a solo career after the group disbanded in 1960 signing with the Tamla Records subsidiary of Motown Records. After starting off as a session drummer, Gaye ranked as the label’s top-selling solo artist during the sixties.
Because of solo hits such as “How Sweet It Is (To Be Loved by You)”, “Ain’t That Peculiar”, “I Heard It Through the Grapevine” and his duet singles with singers such as Mary Wells and Tammi Terrell, he was crowned “The Prince of Motown” and “The Prince of Soul”.
His work in the early and mid-1970s, including the albums What’s Going On, Let’s Get It On, and I Want You, helped influence the quiet storm, urban adult contemporary, and slow jam genres. After a self-imposed European exile in the early eighties, Gaye returned on the 1982 Grammy-Award winning hit, “Sexual Healing” and the Midnight Love album before his death. Gaye was shot dead by his father on April 1, 1984. He was posthumously inducted to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1987.
In 2008, the American music magazine Rolling Stone ranked Gaye at number 6 on its list of The Greatest Singers of All Time, and ranked at number 18 on 100 Greatest Artists of All Time.
This fine documentary is directed by Samuel D. Pollard, also an editor and producer, known for 25th Hour (2002), 4 Little Girls(1997) and When the Levees Broke: A Requiem in Four Acts (2006). Including interviews with the singer’s family, friends and musical colleagues.
Classic Documentary: The Rolling Stones Gimme Shelter
“It’s creating a sort of microcosmic society, which sets an example to the rest of America as to how one can behave in large gatherings.”
– Mick Jagger
“Altamont was supposed to be like Woodstock, only groovier, and their movie would be groovier still. Instead, the Stones got what no one had bargained for: a terrifying snapshot of the sudden collapse of the sixties.”
– Godfrey Cheshire
Gimme Shelter is a 1970 documentary film directed by Albert and David Maysles and Charlotte Zwerin chronicling the last weeks of The Rolling Stones’ 1969 US tour which culminated in the disastrous Altamont Free Concert. The film is named after “Gimme Shelter”, the lead track from the group’s 1969 album Let It Bleed. The film was screened at the 1971 Cannes Film Festival, but was not entered into the main competition. It is one of the greatest documentaries ever made, not just in the music documentary genre. The last third of the picture is painful to watch but difficult to turn away from.
Gimme Shelter (full documentary/concert movie):
The Maysles brothers filmed the first concert of the tour at Madison Square Garden in New York City. After the concert, the Maysles brothers asked the Rolling Stones if they could film them on tour, and the band agreed.