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Book Reviews
Rock on Film The Movies That Rocked the Big Screen
By: Fred Goodman - Running Press, $28.99

Description: For rock music and film buffs alike, Rock on Film: The Movies That Rocked the Big Screen, from renowned author Fred Goodman, is the ultimate guide exploring the electrifying, entertaining, and often daring marriage of rock & roll and cinema.

Verdict: When the use of Bill Haley�s �Rock Around the Clock� turned 1955�s Blackboard Jungle into a teen sensation and a box-office smash, it proved the opening shot in a cinematic and cultural revolution.

Starting with Elvis Presley and the teensploitation films of the �50s and �60s, in Rock on Film award-winning author and former Rolling Stone editor Fred Goodman takes readers on a wide-ranging journey through film and pop history.

Along the way, he measures the transformative impact of the mid-�60s landmarks A Hard Day�s Night and Don�t Look Back and how they seeded an almost unbelievably broad genre of films made by increasingly ambitious musicians and filmmakers across the past seven decades.

From the carefree to the complex, the mindless to the mind-bending, rock films have staked out their own turf by simultaneously celebrating innocence and challenging artistic and social conventions.

With an insightful round-up of fifty must-see rock films spanning crowd-pleasers, art-house favorites, underground gems, and undisputed classics, Rock on Film surveys the nearly seventy-year canon of a genre like no other.

With a genuinely heartfelt, and stoically driven approach taken by Goodman here in Rock on Film: The Movies That Rocked the Big Screen, ok, sure, he cannot be expected to list everyone�s favorites, far from it, and sure, he has left some beloved troopers by the wayside in his progression onward, but my goodness, Goodman sure has encapsulated a massive amount of informational wealth in this quite wondrous new book.

In what is a very entertaining, informative and, at times, light and humorous page-turning book, while maintaining the due respect for it all that it (the discussional topic) deserves, each section of the book is full of history, cross references, and thoroughly exhaustive insight.

I mean, come on now, this book without Goodman�s encyclopedic knowledge of rock and the films that used the noted tracks, is one that wouldn�t come across so damn entertaining. The man clearly loves music, and rock music in particular, and through his well written prose we get some eye-opening facts strewn about also.

And yes, as aforementioned, those left by the wayside include Eddie and the Cruisers, Everyone Stares (Stewart Copeland�s excellent documentary about The Police), oh, and most definitely Head (the Monkees), but it is what it is and there had to be a cut off point in here somewhere.

But included in this dutifully glossy hardback book are such gems as the much-underrated Dave Clark Five opus Having a Wild Weekend (aka Catch Us if You Can), Martin Scorsese�s Rolling Thunder Revue Bob Dylan extravaganza, The Girl Can�t Help It, A Hard Days Night, The Kids Are Alright, The Harder They Come, a pair of Elvis classics in the form of Jailhouse Rock and Viva Las Vegas, the brilliant Quadrophenia, and newer films such as The Runaways, Almost Famous, The Punk Singer, Inside Llewyn Davis, amongst a slew of others!

That all aside, Goodman�s skillfully and engagingly written, thoughtfully curated and handsomely packaged latest work does not pretend to be an unabridged encyclopedia of rock movies (bear in mind that even the R&R Hall of Fame has never been able to convincingly define the genre).

Rather, the author has focused on a meaningful overview of significant films about both the music style, its relatives, and the elements and artists who have masterfully presented it and for that alone the man should be Knighted!

The range of examples is broad, yet never leaving the Reservation, so to speak, and always finds its intended reader target. And if you don�t find your favorite here, or have an internal discussion with yourself about what was wrongly missing, if you can manage to put all that aside, you might actually come away with a refreshed outlook on the subject. One that will have you searching out a new viewing experience.

Inclusive of a most wonderful introduction by Sir Michael Lindsay-Hogg and sharp interviews with respected directors who truly understand the genre add even more welcome value to this very enjoyable offering.

There is also a series of original interviews with Cameron Crowe, Jim Jarmusch, Penelope Spheeris, Taylor Hackford, and John Waters which wholly illuminates how rock has influenced the work of some of the most divergent and thoughtful directors in movie history.

In closing, sumptuously illustrated throughout by more than 150 full-color and black-and-white images, Rock on Film brings the history of music in the movies to vivid life, whilst also educating the reader about a whole slew of things that, perhaps, they never realized going in.

About the Author - Fred Goodman is a former editor at Rolling Stone, whose work has appeared in the New York Times and many other publications. His previous books include the award-winning The Mansion on the Hill: Dylan, Young, Geffen, Springsteen and the Head-on Collision of Rock and Commerce and Why Lhasa de Sela Matters. He lives in New York.

Official Book Purchase Link

Fred Goodman @ Twitter