By Joseph McLauchlan / @joe_mclauchlan
Following the massive success of Bohemian Rhapsody and Rocketman, which is due for release on home media tomorrow, there’s never been a better time for musical biopics.
Some, such as the upcoming Stardust which follows David Bowie’s transition into his titular alter ego, and Baz Luhrmann’s Elvis Presley biopic, are already in production, but what other internationally acclaimed artists are still awaiting their place on the silver screen?
Here at Zavvi, we’ve rummaged through the history of modern music to tell you just that.
Voted Rolling Stone magazine’s second‐greatest drummer of all time, Keith Moon’s life was a rollercoaster of drugs, drink and destroyed hotel rooms.
The inspiration for The Muppets character Animal, Moon was a force to be reckoned with on and off the kit.
In an interview with GQ, The Who singer Roger Daltrey described Moon as living ‘his entire life as a fantasy’, and for a man who spent much of his free time flushing explosives down hotel toilets, it’s not hard to see why.
As the best‐selling band in history, The Beatles are no strangers to the silver screen. Despite this, however, the band’s most famous surviving member has yet to have his own story put to film.
From humble beginnings, the self‐taught McCartney quickly became one of the best known faces in the world, and by the age of 22 he, alongside band-mates John Lennon, George Harrison and Ringo Starr, were selling out arenas all over the globe.
Known by many as the ‘Queen of Pop’, Madonna is no stranger to controversy. From the moment she burst onto the music scene in the early 1980’s, the singer, actress and businesswoman has rarely been out of the limelight.
When Madonna was just five years old, her mother passed away from breast cancer. The loss had a profound impact on the young Madonna, who cites her mother’s absence as the main reason she developed the rebellious, subversive personality that her career has since been built on.
Over this time, she has been dubbed a feminist idol to a sex symbol to a gay icon, and continues to be one of the most influential artists in all of pop.
Blind from birth, the Motown legend Stevland Hardaway Morris – better known by his stage name, Stevie Wonder – is widely regarded as one of the most talented musicians alive.
A child prodigy, Wonder received his first record deal when he was just 11, with his debut album The Jazz Soul Of Little Stevie being released the following year.
At 13, Wonder’s single Fingertips Pt. 2 went straight to the Billboard number one, and he remains the youngest ever person to top the US music charts to this day.
Having moved to Hollywood when she was just 16, Cher (a.k.a. Cherilyn Sarkisian) quickly became a rising star as part of the folk‐rock duo Sonny and Cher, alongside her first husband Sonny Bono.
The pop icon has since collaborated with everyone from David Bowie to Lady Gaga, and remains the only artist in the world to have a number one single on the Billboard charts over six consecutive decades.
In fact, you’d be hard‐pressed to find someone the Californian hasn’t worked with during her 56‐year‐long career.
In addition to music, Cher is known for her outspoken politics (particularly her support of the LGBT movement) and substantial film career, even winning the Best Actress Oscar for her role in 1987’s Moonstruck. With such a diverse and illustrious life behind her, the only issue would be working out where to start.
‘The Godfather of Heavy Metal’, John Michael ‘Ozzy’ Osbourne has been stalked by controversy his whole career. From his rise to fame as the front-man of Black Sabbath, to his hugely successful solo debut and starring role in reality TV show The Osbournes, the singer’s life is a seemingly never‐ending stream of tales so outlandish they need to be seen to be believed.
The eldest son of a working‐class family, Ozzy frequently dabbled in petty crime before getting into music, whereupon the unexpected success of Black Sabbath’s first album led to wealth, fame and his well‐documented chemical dependency.
The events that occurred during this period – and how he eventually overcame them – seem prime material for a film adaption. After all, he’s not called ‘The Prince of Darkness’ for nothing.
Despite being a shy child, George Michael’s good looks and innate musical talent soon saw him catapulting to stardom as the face of pop duo Wham!, before becoming a hugely successful solo artist with the release of his debut album, Faith, which won the Grammy Award for Album of the Year.
Over his 35‐year long career, the singer endured frequent run‐ins with the law and had a history of substance‐abuse, ultimately dying of fatty liver disease on Christmas Day, 2016.
In the weeks following his death, Michael was revealed to have been an extraordinarily generous philanthropist, donating an untold amount of his wealth to charities and individuals alike.
Much like the man himself, Michael’s life was a mass of contradictions – simultaneously open for the world to see, yet shrouded in secrecy – and absolutely deserving of a place on the silver screen.
International peace symbol and the driving force behind reggae’s mainstream success, Bob Marley’s life was a potent combination of art and politics that has become renowned worldwide following his untimely death in 1981.
Born Robert Nesta Marley, the Jamaican singer/songwriter spent much of his youth struggling with poverty, and it was the experiences he had during this time, mixed with his growing interest in Rastafarianism, that would inform much of his music. Many theorise this is why, whilst rehearsing for a show in 1976, Marley was the victim of an assassination attempt.
The attacker shot Marley once, and his manager, Don Taylor, five times. Miraculously, however, both survived, and Marley fled the country the next day. Decades after his death, Marley’s music still holds a special place in the public consciousness – and for good reason.
In the years since his death, Kurt Cobain’s life has become something of a modern myth. The talented but troubled rock star first rose to prominence in the early 1990’s as the front-man of Nirvana, and over the next few years the grunge band achieved levels of success that the genre had never before seen.
Their newfound popularity came at a price however, as Cobain found himself struggling to reconcile his anti‐establishment beliefs with the various companies vying for control over both his work and his future. The strain this put on Cobain’s already turbulent psyche caused him to fall further into drug abuse, and in turn created discord between him and his then wife, Hole vocalist Courtney Love.
On April 5, 1994, Cobain committed suicide, leaving his wife, young daughter, and a revered musical legacy that remains as popular today as it was almost 30 years ago.
Amy Winehouse first burst onto the UK music scene with her debut album, Frank – a critically acclaimed cocktail of jazz, pop, soul and hip‐hop – but it was 2006’s Back to Black that saw Winehouse catapulting into the stratosphere, winning a slew of awards and garnering international fame. Despite her overwhelming success, however, Winehouse was hitting headlines for other reasons.
Over the course of her lighting‐in‐a‐bottle career, Winehouse dealt with depression, substance‐abuse, eating disorders and a number of alarming relationships – both romantic and familial. This, in turn, affected the singer’s ability to perform, and she was forced to
cancel a large number of concerts while she focused on her mental and physical wellbeing.
Tragically it was not be, and Winehouse died from accidental alcohol poisoning in 2011, aged only 27. Winehouse remains a household name to this day, and has unarguably become one of Britain’s great musical icons. Two months after the musician’s death, her family set up the Amy Winehouse Foundation, an award‐winning charity that aims to help disadvantaged young people in Amy’s honour.
Rocketman will be released on home media in the UK on 30th September.