Lists are always fun. They usually incite a lot of good chatter. The people at Rolling Stone have compiled a list of the “Top 25 Music DVDs of All Time” for everyone to blast or embrace. Let us know what you think. I know there are going to be some angry Flaming Lips fans.
1. The Last Waltz
After years on the road, the Band gave their farewell show in San Francisco on Thanksgiving 1976, with old pals like Joni Mitchell, Neil Young, Muddy Waters, Eric Clapton, Neil Diamond, Mavis Staples and some guy named Dylan. Martin Scorsese captured the concert (and interviewed its participants) with a poignant portrait of hippie outlaws running scared in the Seventies, with highlights like Van Morrison’s “Caravan” and Emmylou Harris’ “Evangeline.” The funniest moment had to be airbrushed out: Young went onstage to sing “Helpless” with a lump of cocaine hanging out of his nose (via Rolling Stone).
2. Monterey Pop
Mama Cass of the Mamas and the Papas captures the enthusiasm of June 1967′s Monterey Pop music festival as she watches open-mouthed while Janis Joplin tears through “Ball and Chain.” Cinema verite master director D.A. Pennebaker goes for varied moods and grooves in his original documentary’s selection of performances from the Who, Simon and Garfunkel, Ravi Shankar, Jefferson Airplane, Country Joe and the Fish, Canned Heat and others, but numerous outtakes and entire sets from Jimi Hendrix and Otis Redding clinch this three-disc set as the Sixties’ defining moments (via Rolling Stone).
3. A Hard Day’s Night
Named after a Ringo Starr quip, the Beatles’ 1964 film debut is a delicious, featherweight comedy with practically no plot at all — director Richard Lester basically just let John, Paul, George and Ringo be charismatic, goof around and sing some songs for eighty-seven minutes, and the rest took care of itself. (George met his future wife Patti Boyd on the set too.) Lester cut the images to the beat of the music, which some say played a role in the development of modern music videos, and Alun Owen’s endlessly quotable screenplay captures the lightning-paced madness of Beatlemania, although nobody ever utters the word “Beatles” (via Rolling Stone).
4. Woodstock: Three Days of Peace and Music
Or: Why people wanted to be hippies. Michael Wadleigh’s doc about the 1969 music festival that defined a generation lingers over flower children in all their stoned, muddy, inarticulate glory. But mostly it’s notable for capturing Crosby, Stills and Nash’s second-ever performance, Sly and the Family Stone grooving magnificently and Jimi Hendrix recasting his version of “The Star-Spangled Banner” as the new national anthem (via Rolling Stone)
5. Metallica: Some Kind of Monster
Joe Berlinger and Bruce Sinofsky’s unsparing 2004 documentary may be the best film ever made about the dark side of the creative process. Alienated from one another, burned-out and bass-player-less, Metallica reconvened in 2001 for the slow, grinding work of making St. Anger, with a full-time shrink encouraging them to talk about their feelings. Most hair-raising scene: Lars Ulrich’s father informing his son that his new song sucks (via Rolling Stone)
The rest of the list is as follows. Click on the titles for more information.
7. Wild Style
9. Purple Rain