A growing trend in movies for the past few years (and a bit beyond) is the musical biopic that incorporates one of the band or artist’s songs into the title. The latest example will come out this fall with Bohemian Rhapsody, the behind the scenes story of Queen.
2019 will bring us Rocketman with Taron Egerton as the legendary Elton John.
We’ve seen this trend in years past. For instance, the 1980s saw La Bamba about Richie Valens.
The 1990s gave us Angela Bassett in her Oscar nominated role playing Tina Turner in What’s Love Got to Do With It?
In 2005, we had Walk the Line with Joaquin Phoenix in his Academy nominated turn as Johnny Cash and Reese Witherspoon winning as June.
More recent ones have been in the hip hop world with Straight Outta Compton (N.W.A.) and All Eyez on Me (Tupac Shakur). There’s also Get On Up with Chadwick Boseman as the Godfather of Soul, James Brown.
So this got me thinking. What would be some other movie/song titles if certain iconic musicians got their biopic? For this blog post’s purposes, I tried to focus on artists where I feel a big screen treatment on them is at least feasible. In other words, while Rico Suave might be a spectacular title, I don’t envision two hours on Gerardo coming anytime soon.
There is already a Madonna flick reportedly in the works and it takes its name not from a tune, but from one of her tours – Blond Ambition. I suppose Material Girl or Like a Prayer could have worked, but Blond Ambition is just about perfect.
Some choices seem obvious. You gotta call the Bon Jovi story Livin on a Prayer, after all. And My Way seems like the natural fit for Frank Sinatra. And Born to Run for Bruce Springsteen. And there’s Piano Man for Billy Joel.
It doesn’t end there. Respect (Aretha Franklin) and Fire and Rain (James Taylor).
When it comes to some recently dearly departed legends, Prince presents a challenge because you can’t call it Purple Rain. And a number of his other massive hits don’t fit. When Doves Cry is probably the name the studio would go for considering it’s his biggest hit. Personally, I rather like the thought of My Name is Prince, taken from his Love Symbol album of 1992.
With Michael Jackson, Thriller would work but it’s hard to imagine Man in the Mirror not being the choice.
For David Bowie, Starman seems like the winner, but that’s also the name of a fairly well-known 1980s science fiction effort starring Jeff Bridges. That may not matter, but if so, Space Oddity or simply calling it Ziggy Stardust might fit.
Tom Petty? How about Free Fallin or Runnin Down a Dream. George Michael? Faith or Freedom. Whitney Houston? Tough one. Perhaps a studio would want I Will Always Love You. Maybe So Emotional works as well.
Some bands have more than one title that seem appropriate. Aerosmith has three great ones: Dream On, Sweet Emotion, or Walk This Way. With AC/DC – Back in Black or Thunderstruck.
Guns n Roses is an interesting one. Welcome to the Jungle is fantastic, but it was just the subtitle for the blockbuster Jumanji reboot. In this matter, you might have to go with their album name Appetite for Destruction, which is ideal.
Metallica could have For Whom the Bell Tolls or Enter Sandman. Nirvana might have Smells Like Teen Spirit as the studio choice, but I’m a little partial to Come As You Are.
I like Runnin with the Devil for Van Halen and I suppose Stairway to Heaven would be the choice for Led Zeppelin.
Let’s move off rock. How about Britney Spears? That may depend on what direction the studio goes. It could be Toxic or Stronger. Maybe Baby One More Time instead.
Stevie Wonder? Superstition or Sir Duke are possibilities, but I like Higher Ground.
With Bob Marley, maybe Get Up, Stand Up or One Love.
Circling back to hip hop, Fight the Power is the clear pick for Public Enemy and the same may hold true for Mama Said Knock You Out with LL Cool J.
And then there’s my favorite… the Rick James biopic Super Freak. Why hasn’t this been made already?
I could go on, but you get the idea. Let’s see if any of these suggested titles end up playing out in the future. Maybe there will be surprises… Barbie Girl: The Aqua Story, anyone?