It Don't Come Easy

Got to pay your dues if you wanna sing the blues, and you know it don’t come easy.

For some reason, Ringo Starr’s song got stuck in my head the other day. It made me think about musicians and singers who have entertained us over the years. Hollywood has had a love affair with music ever since Al Jolson said, “You ain’t heard nothin’ yet!” Although musicals are not the movie staple they once were, we still have movies about singers, giving the studios a chance to make non-traditional musicals.

Below I’ve listed fairly recent movies about real-life singers. Occasionally you’ll find a story that shows us how the magic of a successful career seemed to happen “overnight.” But more often we see the struggles that many of these performers went through, whether in their professional lives or personal. Sometimes they manage to overcome hard times and personal demons. Other times, tragically, they don’t. And sometimes fate takes a hand. But these are stories worth watching.




La Bamba (Richie Valens)
The Buddy Holly Story
Coal Miner’s Daughter
(Loretta Lynn)
For Love or Country: The Arturo Sandoval Story
Introducing Dorothy Dandridge
Lady Sings the Blues
(Billie Holiday)
Notorious (Notorious B.I.G.)
Ray (Ray Charles)
The Runaways (Joan Jett & Cherie Currie)
Sid and Nancy
(Sid Vicious)
La Vie en Rose (Edith Piaf)
Walk the Line (Johnny Case & June Carter)


That's some list! I have

That's some list! I have fond memories of the old-style musicals of yesteryear (a breed that was dying out by the time I was in grade school) and saw The Buddy Holly Story and Coal Miner's Daughter when they came out, and Lady Sings the Blues somewhat later on, but I'm mortified to report I've missed all the others, in particular Marion Cotillard's Academy Award-winning turn in La Vie en Rose. Time to catch up.

Hi! Like you, I love the old

Hi! Like you, I love the old musicals. I've lost count of how many times I've seen the Astaire-Rogers musicals, not to mention the Garland-Rooney, Day-MacRae, Kelly-Anyone! pairings. And then there's Busby Berkeley. (I think I need to do an entry on traditional musicals!)

Still, I do like that Hollywood hasn't totallly given up on musicals, even if they're in a guise of biographical movies. And we get magnificent (often Oscar nominated and awarded) performances from actors like Spacek, Cotillard, Foxx, Phoenix, and Witherspoon.

Thanks so much for writing!