Go, Johnny, Go! (1959):
With such early rock ‘n roll pioneers as Chuck Berry, Eddie Cochran and Ritchie Valens blazing across the screen, Go, Johnny, Go! is not only an invaluable pop culture document but an immensely entertaining and occasionally cynical look at the burgeoning music industry of the late fifties.
It’s Trad, Dad! (1961):
The threadbare plot – two teenagers organize a music festival in their small town despite resistance from the mayor and his closed-minded supporters – is merely an excuse to string together an array of musical acts – 26 in all! But what distinguishes It’s Trad, Dad from countless other pop music film pastiches is the stylish look and sense of fun that Richard Lester brings to it plus the impressive array of musical talent which covers the pop spectrum from Dixieland (Kenny Ball and His Jazzmen) to rhythm ‘n blues (Gary “U.S.” Bonds) to ballads (John Leyton) to rock ‘n roll (Gene Vincent).
Also on the roster: Rock Around the Clock, Jailhouse Rock and Viva Las Vegas.