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What do rock documentaries really tell us

01:00 Mon 07th Jan 2002 |

A.� Some of the world's biggest names� in music and rock have revealed all on the big screen. Traditionally the on-the-road documnetary marks the point at which super celebrities deel the need to prove they have substance than their own stage persona.

Q.� What were the first documentaries

A.� Hollywood began capturing the uncomplicated innocence of rock in the late 1950s with fictional movies such as Don't Knock the Road, Jailhouse Rock and King Creole. The spirit of fun continued into the 1960s when the Beatles made A Hard Day's Night� and Help. D.A Pennebaker recorded Bob Dylan's 1965 British tour in Don't Look Back, released in 1967. This was a defining moment for rock documentaries as it revealed the true Dylan - he was much more talented and ambitious than previously thought, and vicious towards rivals and newspapers.

By the early 1970s, the public had had to endure the deaths of heroes such as Hendrix, Morrison and Joplin and the outrcy over Vietnam was reflected in the industry at that time. The hippy dream was captured in Pennebaker's Monterey Pop, released in 1968, Michael Wadleigh's Woodstock in 1970, the Monkees' satire Head in 1968 and Frank Zappa's 200 Motels in 1971.

When the Rolling Stones made Sympathy for the Devil in 1968 they had Jean-Luc Goddard in the director's chair and some of the world's finest film-makers have since embarked on the rockumentary road - Martin Scorcese in The Last Waltz with the Band, Jonathan Demme in Stop Making Sense with Talking Heads and Jim Jamusch in Year of the Horse with Neil Young. In 1979 the Sex Pistols' manager Malcolm McLaren revealed some of the scams necessary in The Great Rock 'n' Roll Swindle.

Then in 1984 the spoof 'rockumentary' This Is Spinal Tap was released and many critics thought it would signal the end of this form of cinema. Current pop stars refused to let it die and along came In Bed With Madonna and Elton John's Tiaras and Tantrums.

Q.� Who's the latest celeb to bare all on screen

A. Robbie Williams is the unremitting star of Nobody Someday, directed by Brian Hill, who was given unlimited access. The film contains concert footage, hotel room interviews and insights from Williams' security staff, road crew and management.

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By Katharine MacColl

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