Baz Luhrmann’s next release Elvis biopic (June 24) is further proof that musicians often make the best subjects for movies. Although many great musical films have been produced about famous artists, there are still glaring omissions in the biopic genre of musicians.
Rock royalty like Led Zeppelin for pop superstars like Britney Spears, there are still plenty of compelling musical stories to tell on screen. While almost any famous musician would be somewhat interesting, Reddit users have taken to the site to mention artists they think deserve a biopic.
ten talking heads
The late 1970s and early 1980s were a hotbed of interesting New Wave music that combined elements of past genres in a whole new style. A deleted user mentioned one of the preeminent new wave bands when he wrote “Talking Heads. My idea of making one is to make a sequel to True stories with David Byrne still playing the stranger but talking about David’s life”.
Extremely popular in their day and today, the Talking Heads’ music is instantly recognizable. Accustomed to the cinema, the singer of the group, David Byrne, even made his own quirky film entitled True stories. If a film were made that involved the creative energy of the band members, it would be a surefire box office success.
9 tom is waiting
Some musicians are hard to pin down and their catalog defies typical genre or style labels. User MattN92 elevated such an artist when they said “I feel like there’s a Tom Waits movie out there, not necessarily a movie about the events of his real life but a movie where the line between reality and fantasy is constantly blurred”.
He had a career spanning five decades in music and even had a prolific acting career that landed Waits big roles. What makes him so special is that his music is unlike any other. His lyrics invoke a lot of imagery, and it wouldn’t be hard to import that lyrical style into a movie.
8 pink floyd
Some bands are instantly recognizable and their legacy has extended far beyond even the music for which they are known. When discussing which biopics they would like to see, the user VictorBlimpmuscle wrote “Would love to see one on Pink Floyd that focuses on Syd Barrett”.
British psychedelic hitmakers Pink Floyd are best known for their hugely popular period which saw the release of albums like The dark side of the moonand the legendary Rock Opera The wall. However, their beginnings are a fascinating story, and the departure of founding member Syd Barrett was a major turning point in the life of the young band which is full of cinematic drama.
7 Led Zeppelin
The 1970s saw the rise of Arena Rock, and a select handful of bands lived up to that lofty title. A deleted the user saw a glaring omission in the musical biopic genre when he wrote “Very surprised no one mentioned Led Zeppelin… I feel like they’re an obvious choice, huge super band which was so closely related that it split instantly when one of their own passed away.”
There’s no denying that Led Zeppelin are one of the greatest bands in rock ‘n’ roll history, and they find new fans with each successive generation that listens to them. They would certainly put butts in seats at the cinema, but coming up with a narrative could be tricky. However, if a biopic were to focus on the music and its legacy, there’s no doubt it would be a hit.
6 Towns Van Zandt
Country music films are rare, but they have proven to be a rich source of filmmaking when done correctly. User Non-Standard-9727 thought a country musician deserved a biopic when he wrote “Townes Van Zandt would be interesting”.
Although he never reached the heights of the country music scene, folk-country icon Townes Van Zandt has inspired generations of singers. His life story was filled with tragedy and triumph, and there was a certain poetic nature to his biography that oddly echoed his own songs. Although it’s probably not a blockbuster, a Townes Van Zandt film would have the opportunity to be a beautiful thing.
5 Daniel Johnson
If the documentaries are any proof, the stories of some musicians are enough to keep even non-fans watching. User BrandTheBroken opted for an obscure biopic choice when they commented “Daniel Johnston. If you don’t know his story, you should know. Possibly the greatest songwriter of all time”.
Daniel Johnston was never going to be a music superstar, his unorthodox singing voice and quirky style matched his quirky personality perfectly. Living his whole life as an underground music sensation, Johnston’s personal issues severely limited his career. That said, the 2005 documentary The Devil and Daniel Johnston showed its story to be gripping and drew a wave of new fans to the indie sensation.
Some bands are remembered for their music, and others for their clashes of legendary and unstable personalities. User AllHailDanda had many ideas for a potential musical biopic, writing “An Oasis biopic being or feeling like an Edgar Wright comedy sounds perfect and spectacular to me”.
Oasis were an unstoppable force in the 1990s, but their high-profile clashes eclipsed their legacy as an incredible band. A biopic would be a great opportunity to shine more light on the band’s characters, and there’s a wide range of options for a film in terms of tone. The band members are known to take themselves very seriously, but a biopic doesn’t necessarily have to.
3 Britney Spears
Musicians are often gigantic superstars, and that fame leads fans to believe that they really know a person’s life story. User drumsbatterykaboom thought a certain artist deserved exposure when he wrote “Britney Spears. Don’t even focus on the music, focus on how the industry, the public and even your family will destroy you”.
Pop icon Britney Spears’ recent legal battles over her conservatorship have brought new awareness to the life of a misunderstood musician. Spawning countless documentaries and musings, Spears’ story seems almost pre-packaged to become a gripping biopic. As long as the subject is treated with class, it would undoubtedly be a resounding success.
2 Robert Johnson
Blues is generally considered an old-school style of music, but its influence on popular music is undeniable. User rekniht01 got creative with his idea when he said “I want to see a Robert Johnson sequel/spinoff of O brother, where are you?“.
Generally considered one of the Coen Brothers’ finest films, O brother, where are you? was a fictional tour of American musical history. Robert Johnson was a key figure in the early days of the Blues, and his relatively short life was filled with interesting stories that may or may not be true. Because so little is known about him, a biopic about the life of the Blues man would have to get creative to fill in the gaps.
1 Stevie Nicks
Even when their best years have been in a band, some musicians have a certain star power that helps them stand out. Even going so far as to assign the role, the user standing places were adamant about who should get a biopic when they said “Stevie Nicks. I think Chloe Grace Moretz would be amazing like her in the 80s”.
As a member of the unforgettable band Fleetwood Mac, Stevie Nicks made a name for herself with her lyrics and beautiful singing voice. Even years later, when she struck out on her own, the White Witch captivated listeners with even greater success. While her life was relatively stable, Nicks’ career brought her into contact with other members of rock royalty, and it would serve as a fascinating introduction to the era of classic rock.
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