Rockin’ Hollywood: Rock & Roll and the Movies from Bill Haley to the Beatles with Brian Rose
Rock music exploded on the big screen when Bill Haley & the Comets sang “Rock Around the Clock” at the opening of Blackboard Jungle in 1955. Frenzied teenagers danced in the aisles and there were reports of violence and vandalism at theaters around the world. Rock’s notoriety would end up contributing to its appeal and Hollywood, recognizing the power of the teen audience, would begin to unleash a series of films featuring rock and R&B musicians performing their hits in the midst of plots ranging from rebellious high schoolers, out-of-control hot rodders, or the romantic antics of spring break college students. Movies and rock formed a valuable commercial partnership, whether it was Elvis Presley’s 31 mostly forgettable films or the Beatles’ groundbreaking A Hard Day’s Night from 1964. This presentation will look at the first decade of rock movies and how Hollywood helped reflect the power of this music around the world.
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