Head-Trip Rock Movies from the 'Easy Rider' Era

“Rainbow Bridge” was one of a series of avant-garde/art-house movies with a rock soundtrack during the “Easy Rider” era. Here’s a quick look at some of those films, a mix of the indulgent and exploitive, the innovative and inspired:

“The Song Remains the Same” (1976): Late to the game, perhaps, but Led Zeppelin were not to be outdone in the self-indulgent concert-documentary sweepstakes. The performance footage was actually drawn from a 1973 stand at Madison Square Garden, but took three years to fashion into a film as the band tinkered with “fantasia” vignettes from each band member. Where else are you going to see Jimmy Page climb a mountaintop to meet a hooded wizard or Robert Plant wield a flaming sword? Golden gods? Perhaps. “Lord of the Rings” super fans? Undoubtedly.

Greg Kot is the editorial director of The Coda Collection. He is also the cohost of the nationally syndicated public-radio show and podcast “Sound Opinions” with Jim DeRogatis, and previously the music critic at the Chicago Tribune for 30 years. His books include acclaimed biographies of Mavis Staples (“I’ll Take You There”) and Wilco (“Learning How to Die”) and a history of the digital music revolution (“Ripped”). He also coauthored “The Beatles vs. the Rolling Stones: Sound Opinions on the Great Rock ‘N’ Roll Rivalry” and has written extensively for Rolling Stone, BBC Culture and Encyclopedia Britannica. When he takes off the headphones, Kot coaches in his Chicago-based youth travel basketball program (OTEhoops.com). In addition, he has coauthored two best-selling editions of the book “Survival Guide to Coaching Youth Basketball.”

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