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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Drama197924 mins Location: London

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.

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Shellshock RockShellshock Rock

197948 mins Location: Belfast

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

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The Jah PeopleThe Jah People

Documentary198122 mins Location: Handsworth

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

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Jack the RipperJack the Ripper

Promotional19613 mins

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

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The Adventures of the Son of Exploding SausageThe Adventures of the Son of Exploding Sausage

196913 mins

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

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The Organ of a Thousand MoodsThe Organ of a Thousand Moods

Performance19515 mins Location: Minnis Bay

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

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The BeatlesThe Beatles

Magazine and Review show19636 mins Location: Plymouth

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

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Life and Music of Black AnnaLife and Music of Black Anna

News197310 mins Location: Norwich

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

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The Beatles at Ipswich GaumontThe Beatles at Ipswich Gaumont

Amateur film19642 minsSilent Location: Ipswich

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

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Liverpool a Go-goLiverpool a Go-go

Performance196549 mins Location: Liverpool

Exploring the hidden depths of the early 60s Mersey beat scene, including a visit to the legendary Cavern Club.

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Story of the Hare Who Lost His SpectaclesStory of the Hare Who Lost His Spectacles

19737 mins

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

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

Performance music video19595 mins

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

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Shane Fenton & the Fentones - Cindy's BirthdayShane Fenton & the Fentones - Cindy's Birthday

Music video19622 mins

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.

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Punk Can Take ItPunk Can Take It

Promotional197919 mins

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

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The DestructorsThe Destructors

Documentary198312 mins Location: Brixton

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

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Death Is Their DestinyDeath Is Their Destiny

Amateur film197813 mins Location: London

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

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Indian Pop Instrumental - C.1970Indian Pop Instrumental - C.1970

Music video19703 mins

A psychedelic sitar freak-out from an age when western musicians looked east for inspiration.

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Eden Kane - Forget Me NotEden Kane - Forget Me Not

Performance19612 mins

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.

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Getting It Straight in Notting Hill GateGetting It Straight in Notting Hill Gate

Documentary197025 mins Location: Notting Hill

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

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Dance FestivalDance Festival

Non-Fiction196921 minsSilent Location: Camden Town

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

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Hold Tight/HideawayHold Tight/Hideaway

Music video19665 mins Location: Chiswick

Take a very groovy road trip with Dave Dee, Dozy, Beaky, Mick & Tich in this early pop promo.

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Jazz Band BallJazz Band Ball

Amateur film196310 mins Location: Newcastle upon Tyne

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

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Inside Film196818 mins

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

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Tom JonesTom Jones

Inside Film196712 mins

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

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Travelling for a LivingTravelling for a Living

Performance196645 mins Location: Kingston upon Hull

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

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Take it easy with the Walker BrothersTake it easy with the Walker Brothers

Current affairs19664 mins Location: Plymouth

The Walker Brothers perform off and onstage for the camera

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Musical Motorcycles - Cachito cha cha cha (Coursée)Musical Motorcycles - Cachito cha cha cha (Coursée)

Performance19613 mins

The musical motorcycles hit Paris to a Cuban vibe.

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Frankie Vaughan visits BidefordFrankie Vaughan visits Bideford

Current affairs19761 minsSilent Location: Bideford

Mr. Moonlight', Frankie Vaughan on flit to Bideford.

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Pop PiratesPop Pirates

Children's198458 minsDirector: Jack Grossman

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

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The Flip SideThe Flip Side

Current affairs196425 minsSilent Location: Bridlington

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

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Davy JonesDavy Jones

196831 mins

The Manchester-born Monkee reflects on Britain and America in the aftermath of the shooting of Robert Kennedy.

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Dave Clark Five and Catch Us If You CanDave Clark Five and Catch Us If You Can

Current affairs19651 minsSilent Location: Bigbury

On set with The Dave Clark Five for John Boorman’s directorial debut.

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Anthony NewleyAnthony Newley

196732 mins

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

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Barsham FaireBarsham Faire

Amateur film19746 minsSilent Location: Barsham Hill

In the 70s, Barsham Faire on August Bank Holiday became a tradition for many to celebrate things 'medieval' and raise funds for local arts events. It put Barsham on the map.

More related films in the Free collection, Other Grooves.

More related films in the Free collection, The Pleasure Principle.

More music films in our Subscription collection, Sonic: Music in Movies.

More music films in our Rentals collection: Sonic.