When Martin Scorcese makes a film with Bob Dylan about his life, you watch. Not because you’re expecting to know more about the mind of the singer, songwriter, musician, painter and author or why kids are still singing,
‘Blowin’ In The Wind’, but because you grew up on Rock ‘n’ Roll. With the weather going grey on us, it is a great time to understand whether you grew up listening to The Beatles, The Rolling Stones or Bruce Springsteen, Netflix has a smorgasbord of rockumentaries that will take you on an unforgettable rock ‘n’ roll journey, and perhaps you will discover music that you will come to love…
Dylan gives away so much of himself here, but don’t forget, it’s a film, made in a documentary style. It’s called
Rolling Thunder Revue. And when Dylan begins to sing Tambourine Man I’m automatically transported to connections the song has to newer music like Coolio’s Gangsta’s Paradise…
‘And take me disappearing through the smoke rings of my mind,’ Dylan sings. And you know that the super relaxed playing and easy listening of this philosophy was built on the footsteps of greats who died for their beliefs. Yes, I’m talking about none other than the great Bob Marley who changed the politics of his home country and took the Rastafarian message of peace to the whole world.
All music is political, and there’s redemption in music. I have often wished I had lived when music by Muddy Waters was laying the foundation of Chicago Blues when Jimi Hendrix was making guitar magic with his teeth (yes, playing the guitar like that was a ‘thing’), when Robert Johnson was making a deal with the devil… Did he? Didn’t he? How on Earth did the boy who disappeared for a year come back to change guitar playing forever and ever?
At the Crossroads explores this mystery:
The mystery of music transforms the stage into a raunchy experience. How does the man who is practically embarrassed at being hailed as the best guitar player in the world become the sex god, thrusting his guitar suggestively at the audience? He’s
And then you hear
‘I can get no satisfaction’ and let go of the device you are reading this and begin to dance… Or at least sing-along.
Netflix gives you a glimpse on just how popular The Rolling Stones are across the world, even in Cuba…
You’re still nodding your head. Because somewhere at the back of your head, you know the words to that song and the words to
Angie, Jumpin’ Jack Flash, Start Me Up, Honky Tonk Woman, Paint It Black, Brown Sugar, Get Off My Cloud, and just when you’re singing It’s Only Rock ‘n’ Roll you stick your tongue out and search frantically for that one college pal who was on your side when you once grew your hair against everyone’s wishes and whose cousin smuggled a bootleg copy of a Rush Concert for you to listen to you and practice your air guitar…
Speaking of air guitar, who can miss out on papa bear of rock, Jerry Garcia’s guitar and The Grateful Dead? Beautiful Bob Weir - who is magnificent on the guitar himself - says, that he was okay being the second best guitarist in the world when you are playing alongside the best… That they were family and ‘If blood is thicker than water, then they were thicker than blood.’
These young men of rock created a trope to fall in love with forever and ever. Long haired lads who play the guitar, the dreams in their eyes thwarted by real life. No matter how much of life they strummed away, in words that still mesmerize us,
’When You’re Strange, No One Remembers Your Name’ Jim Morrison sang. But even if you did not live at the time when he was raising hell you know what ‘Riders On The Storm’ meant...
They worked hard, they played harder and they all had one thing in common, they had too much money. Watch how the band Chicago became the phenomenon it still is:
But the music that women made created icons too. Their talent went with the troubled lives they led. Their fame burnt them up from the inside. They were true stars: What Happened Miss Simone shares that fire with us:
And of course, you cannot forget the simply brilliant Whitney Houston. Who shone and shone and then burnt out. They did not know who they were at one point in their short lives. Fame taking a toll on that incandescent life, forcing her to ask:
Can I Be Me?
There are also men like Keith Richards who laugh at fame and reinvent themselves whenever things get too much. Looking for inspiration in soul and blues.
And I would be amiss if I don’t share the link to the world’s most widely known musicians, the Fab Four themselves. How John, Paul, George and Ringo made teenage women scream for something they had never known before…
And your connection to music is in your blood. Yes, there’s room for Kishore Kumar and RD Burman and Asha Bhonsle in your heart, but there’s also Janis Joplin and Amy Winehouse. And yes, they were
27, Gone Too Soon.