A lot of rock music movies were produced in the 1970s—Led Zeppelin’s The Song Remains the Same, the Who’s Quadrophenia, and Kiss Meets the Phantom of the Park, for example. But for whatever reason, many more rock movies were planned but never got made. (Perhaps 1970s rock stars were not the most reliable bunch.)
After the Gold Rush
One of Neil Young’s most enduring albums is After the Gold Rush. The 1970 release contains some of Young’s best-known songs (“Southern Man,” “Only Love Can Break Your Heart”) and in 2003 Rolling Stone placed it at no. 71 on its “500 Greatest Albums of All Time List.” Young’s inspiration for the album was a screenplay about the end of the world written by his friend, actor Dean Stockwell (best known as Al on the 1990s science-fiction series Quantum Leap). Young loved the script, and asked Stockwell if he could provide the soundtrack. Young got to work on the songs, but Stockwell never made the movie. Shortly after he got the screenplay back, he lost it. The script never resurfaced and the so the movie never got made.
In 1974, Jethro Tull released its seventh album, War Child, a collection pared down from a double album’s worth of songs. There were so many tunes because the band wrote it to serve as the soundtrack for a movie its members had conceived, also called War Child. (The plot: a teenage girl dies, meets God and the devil, and has to justify her bad deeds.) But even after writing the soundtrack, and hiring Monty Python’s John Cleese as a “humor consultant,” Jethro Tull, couldn’t get a Hollywood movie studio to produce the movie, so they called it off.
The Thin White Duke
David Bowie was a musician first and foremost, but he did a fair amount of acting, both on screen in films like Labyrinth and on stage as one of his various personas, such as alien Ziggy Stadust or ice-cold gentleman the Thin White Duke. In the mid-‘70s Bowie and his friend, T. Rex lead singer Marc Bolan, told reporters that they were working on a science-fiction movie about the Thin White Duke. They claimed that a script had been written and Bolan was going to direct it, but he died before the production got off of the ground (and Bowie soon dropped the character anyway).