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Beat Generations

Every generation finds its own beat, and every scene has been caught on camera. This toe-tapping tour guides us through pop's glorious past.

From the dawn of rock 'n' roll, music and film have been inextricably linked. This wildly eclectic collection explores the sometimes peculiar history of (mostly) pre-video pop music in Britain, starting from the 1950s and taking in the Mersey beat explosion, hippy dreaming, punk pogoing, reggae rebellion and more besides.

Ephemeral, of-the-moment, and sometime quickly knocked up, many of the toe-tapping titbits you'll see and hear in this classy collection were never meant to endure. Some have since slipped off the cultural radar altogether. They re-emerge now as fascinating pop artefacts, splendidly stuffed with groovy sounds and casually-captured social history. Straight from the fridge, dad!

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Beat Generations

RECOMMENDED

View Discomania
Discomania
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Discomania 1980

Nerdy teenage mummy's boy David dreams of wowing the girls with his disco dance moves - but alas he was born with two left feet.

25 mins Great Britain

View Shellshock Rock
Shellshock Rock
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Shellshock Rock 1979

The Undertones and Stiff Little Fingers play live in this vivid music doc capturing all the vibrancy of the 1970s Northern Irish punk scene.

47 mins Northern Ireland Director. John T. Davis

View The Jah People
The Jah People
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The Jah People 1981

Followers of the Rastafari way of life bring tales of Haile Selassie, Jah and Zion to the streets of inner-city Birmingham.

22 mins United Kingdom

View Beat Girl
Beat Girl
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HD

Beat Girl 1960 12

A cult classic British film about late-fifties youth-rebellion set against an intoxicating Beatnik backdrop.

85 mins United Kingdom Director. Edmond T. Gréville

View The Adventures of the Son of Exploding Sausage
The Adventures of the Son of Exploding Sausage
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The Adventures of the Son of Exploding Sausage 1969

The Bonzo Dog Band freak out at the farm and strange sounds abound in this cheery, charmingly childlike stream-of-consciousness music short.

13 mins United Kingdom Director. David Korr

View The Organ of a Thousand Moods
The Organ of a Thousand Moods
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The Organ of a Thousand Moods 1951

Enjoy pre-dinner cocktails in the company of organ maestro Nick Olson, tickling the ivories at Uncle Tom's Cabin, Minnis Bay, Birchington.

5 mins United Kingdom

EXPLORE THE COLLECTION

View Story of the Hare Who Lost His Spectacles
Story of the Hare Who Lost His Spectacles
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Story of the Hare Who Lost His Spectacles 1973

Prepare to be freaked out big time by a thoroughly theatrical 1970s psych-prog-folk-rock fairy tale from English eccentrics Jethro Tull.

7 mins United Kingdom

View Liverpool a Go-Go
Liverpool a Go-Go
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Liverpool a Go-Go 1965

Bob Wooler, the Cavern Club compere who introduced the Beatles to Brian Epstein, hosts this gear pop extravaganza

49 mins United Kingdom Director. Philip Burton

View Shane Fenton & the Fentones - Cindy's Birthday
Shane Fenton & the Fentones - Cindy's Birthday
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Shane Fenton & the Fentones - Cindy's Birthday 1962

Snake-hipped popster Shane Fenton - later reborn as Alvin Stardust - sings 'n' twists to his biggest 60s hit in this fab full-colour jukebox film.

3 mins United Kingdom

View Punk Can Take It
Punk Can Take It
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Punk Can Take It 1979

This power-packed promotional film for the UK Subs also showcases the distinctive talents of unconventional writer and director Julien Temple.

19 mins United Kingdom Director. Julien Temple

View Eden Kane - Forget Me Not
Eden Kane - Forget Me Not
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Eden Kane - Forget Me Not 1961

Silver-suited 60s popster Eden Kane sings 'n' swaggers his way through his third Top 10 hit single in this fab full-colour jukebox film.

2 mins United Kingdom

View Getting It Straight in Notting Hill Gate
Getting It Straight in Notting Hill Gate
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Getting It Straight in Notting Hill Gate 1970

Spaced-out sitar music and the prog rock grooves of Quintessence soundtrack this psychedelic flashback to Notting Hill Gate in 1970.

26 mins United Kingdom Director. Jo Gannon

View Jack the Ripper
Jack the Ripper
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Jack the Ripper 1961

Screaming Lord Sutch belts out his bloodthirsty single in this splendidly tasteless full-colour promo film

2 mins United Kingdom

View Hold Tight / Hideaway
Hold Tight / Hideaway
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Hold Tight / Hideaway 1966

Hold Tight! Take a very groovy road trip with beat group Dave Dee, Dozy, Beaky, Mick and Tich in this marvellous 1960s pop promo.

5 mins United Kingdom

View The Jazz Band Ball
The Jazz Band Ball
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The Jazz Band Ball 1963

A delirious 60s jazz dance night at a legendary Newcastle nightspot, the Majestic Ballroom, scene of the Beatles first gig in the city.

9 mins England

View Death Is Their Destiny
Death Is Their Destiny
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Death Is Their Destiny 1978

Fascinating amateur footage of London punks, and a glimpse of fashion designer Vivienne Westwood, filmed on the King's Road in 1978.

14 mins United Kingdom Director. Phil Munnoch

View Dance Festival
Dance Festival
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Dance Festival 1969

Join distracted onlookers at a protest “be-in” at Camden’s Roundhouse –alongside portraits of Lenin and a giant inflatable phallus.

22 mins United Kingdom

View Cleo and John
Cleo and John
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Cleo and John 1982

Cleo Laine and Johnny Dankworth cook up red hot jazz together live on stage, chat about married life together, and recall lengthy musical careers.

51 mins United Kingdom Director. Vernon Lawrence

View Expresso Bongo
Expresso Bongo
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HD

Expresso Bongo 1959 12

Val Guest's 1959 London-shot Brit Beat classic charts the fortunes of aspiring musician Bert Rudge (Cliff Richard)

United Kingdom Director. Val Guest

View Jubilee
Jubilee
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Jubilee 1977 18

The mythological past and a soon-to-be bleak future converge on the sparse, grey streets of London in Jarman’s personal vision of the punk movement.

106 mins United Kingdom Director. Derek Jarman

View Control
Control
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HD

Control 2007 15

The life story of Ian Curtis, the tortured singer of Joy Division who suffered epilepsy and crippling self-doubt, filmed in stunning monochrome.

122 mins United Kingdom Director. Anton Corbijn

View Midnight Breaks
Midnight Breaks
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Midnight Breaks 1988

Big Audio Dynamite’s Don Letts made his acting debut in this gripping, gritty 1990 drama of dreads, drugs, and music business corruption.

102 mins United Kingdom Director. Laurens C. Postma

View The Stone Roses: Made of Stone
The Stone Roses: Made of Stone
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HD

The Stone Roses: Made of Stone 2013 15

Avid Stone Roses fan Shane Meadows records the reunion of the pivotal 1990s rock band, in this heartfelt and inspiring documentary

97 mins United Kingdom

View Privilege
Privilege
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HD

Privilege 1967 PG

An exalted pop star holds the country's youth in his thrall, but secretly his popularity is being carefully managed by the state.

103 mins United Kingdom

View Travelling for a Living
Travelling for a Living
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Travelling for a Living 1966

This "musical profile of the Watersons" is a precious document of the British folk revival, much of it shot in their hometown, Hull.

38 mins United Kingdom Director. Derrick Knight

View Indian Pop Instrumental - C.1970
Indian Pop Instrumental - C.1970
Watch for free 3 mins

Indian Pop Instrumental - C.1970 1970

Sit down, turn on, tune in and drop out with this psychedelic slice of evocative sitar rock from the hippie era

3 mins United Kingdom

View Brook Benton - It's Just a Matter of Time
Brook Benton - It's Just a Matter of Time
Watch for free 5 mins

Brook Benton - It's Just a Matter of Time 1959

Two pop promos from ace American crooner Brook Benton, including his 1959 crossover hit, 'It's Just a Matter of Time'.

5 mins United Kingdom

View Grove Carnival
Grove Carnival
Watch for free 19 mins

Grove Carnival 1981

West London echoes to the sound of reggae and steel pans in this kaleidoscopic record of the 1980 Notting Hill Carnival.

19 mins United Kingdom Director. Henry Martin, Steve Shaw

View Life and Music of Black Anna
Life and Music of Black Anna
Watch for free 10 mins

Life and Music of Black Anna 1973

Well and truly steering the helm at The Jolly Butchers pub in Ber Street, Norwich is Antoinette Hannent better known as 'Black Anna'.

10 mins United Kingdom

View Pulp: A Film about Life, Death and Supermarkets
Pulp:  A Film about Life, Death and Supermarkets
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HD

Pulp: A Film about Life, Death and Supermarkets 2014

Jarvis and co’s farewell concert is captured in Florian Habicht’s affectionate and intriguing documentary, which also acts as a profile of Pulp’s home city of Sheffield and its residents.

90 mins United Kingdom Director. Florian Habicht

View A Hard Day's Night
A Hard Day's Night
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HD

A Hard Day's Night 1964 U

The Beatles’ freewheeling film debut remains the pinnacle of rock-n-roll cinema; still deliriously entertaining 50 years on.

87 mins United Kingdom Director. Richard Lester

View The Beatles at Ipswich Gaumont
The Beatles at Ipswich Gaumont
Watch for free 1 mins

The Beatles at Ipswich Gaumont 1964

This is one Halloween night that certainly was one big scream as the Fab Four played the Ipswich Gaumont (then Regent).

1 mins United Kingdom

View The Beatles
The Beatles
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The Beatles 1963

Love, Love me do! The Beatles twist and shout in Plymouth on the 10th date of their 1963 Autumn Tour.

6 mins United Kingdom

View Fan Fever
Fan Fever
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Fan Fever 1956

Straight from the earliest days of teenage pop-star adulation, an eye-opening investigation into the strange and startling world of obsessional fans.

22 mins United Kingdom Director. Peter Morley

View Beatlemania
Beatlemania
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Beatlemania 1963

All four Beatles reveal all in this unedited interview, shot the night after their legendary 1963 Royal Variety Performance.

10 mins United Kingdom

View Cool for Cats
Cool for Cats
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Cool for Cats 1958

The only known existent edition of this long-running 1950s ITV pop show features songs by Tommy Steele, Paul Anka and Connie Francis.

26 mins United Kingdom Director. Brian Taylor

View Pop Pirates
Pop Pirates
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Pop Pirates 1984

Home taping almost kills music as a schoolboy band's dreams of talent show glory may be scuppered by video piracy.

58 mins United Kingdom Director. Jack Grossman

View I've Gotta Horse
I've Gotta Horse
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HD

I've Gotta Horse 1965 U

Great British rock and roller Billy Fury buys himself a racehorse in this colourful musical for all the family.

92 mins United Kingdom Director. Kenneth Hume

View The Destructors
The Destructors
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The Destructors 1983

Punk rebellion and anarchy with Peterborough-based punk band The Destructors, six years after their formation.

United Kingdom

View The Music Machine
The Music Machine
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HD

The Music Machine 1979

Get Saturday night fever - North London style - with Patti Boulaye and Gerry Sundquist in this bubbly British disco drama.

90 mins United Kingdom Director. Ian Sharp

View Bread
Bread
HD

Bread 1971 15

A fun tale of hippies and rock and roll directed by the legendary Stanley Long and featuring cult British rock bands Juicy Lucy and Crazy Mabel.

79 mins United Kingdom

View The Flip Side
The Flip Side
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The Flip Side 1964

A rave up, a ball, or just a plain old racket? The unseen side of the 1960s pop music business is revealed.

25 mins United Kingdom Director. Mike Hodges

View Some People
Some People
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Some People 1962 PG

Cult 1960s musical drama about a leather boy who forms a Shadows-style guitar band.

89 mins United Kingdom

View Tom Jones
Tom Jones
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Tom Jones 1967

Bernard Braden talks to singer Tom Jones about his recent million-dollar US contract and his future acting plans

12 mins United Kingdom

View Lulu
Lulu
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Lulu 1968

Pop star Lulu talks to Bernard Braden about everything from acting in films to her hopes regarding marriage and children

20 mins United Kingdom

View Cilla Black
Cilla Black
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Cilla Black 1967

The young star discusses her career and her forthcoming screen acting debut.

31 mins United Kingdom

View Anthony Newley
Anthony Newley
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Anthony Newley 1967

The multitalented actor, singer and songwriter discusses his new life in California and his countercultural values.

31 mins United Kingdom

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