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Teenage Angst Set to Music

Updated on April 12, 2015

The Musical

Music has defined teenage angst since the beginning of time. It's great to see in our current age, and overblown use of technology; MP 3 music downloads, Youtube videos and listening to music online that the teen musical is still very popular.

Musicals have been around for a very long time. The concept is a simple one; main characters sing lots of songs and perform dance routines, which are woven into a plot. Most spotlight popular music of the day sung by popular entertainers of the day. Accompanying the genre are humor and musical comedy.

Of course the stage musical made its appearance first, and film musicals allowed the producers to introduce extravagant back drops and scenery not confined or restricted by space.

Garland and Rooney

Teenage Musicals

One of the earliest film musicals, specifically geared toward teenagers, were the Andy Hardy vehicles. Mickey Rooney and Judy Garland were the headliners. The Hardy series had the pair forever putting together rag tag shows for one good reason or another in an effort to showboat their singing and dancing prowess.

Rock Around the Clock

Rock and Roll

Bill Haley and the Comets burst on to film with the musical Rock Around the Clock.

The group shared the film showcase with a host of other popular rockers of the era.

Its very tame compared to today's standards, but was banned in several cities around the world after it's release.

West Side Story

Musical Drama

In October 1961 United Artist released a musical directed by Robert Wise and Jerome Robbins was born. The film version was adapted from the Broadway musical with the same name. Based on the play Romeo and Juliet , written by William Shakespeare. The filming was done in Los Angeles, but the storyline local was New York based, where the opening shots were taken.

Behind the scenes was riddled with arguments, backstabbing and conflict, mainly between the directors.  The musical was nominated for eleven Academy Award categories and won ten. Winning more awards than any musical in history. The soundtrack was also pure gold earning more money than any other album prior to its release.

Ann - Margaret

Hilarious Tribute to Ed Sullivan

Bye Bye Birdie

This is my coming of age musical. During my usual channel surfing I came upon on AMC (American Movie Channel) and was completely stopped in my tracks. The channel was presenting Bye Bye Birdie . I sat through the movie from beginning to end, singing along, out of tune, knowing every word of the script and songs almost verbatim. Tears welled in my eyes at the end. Yeah I know the movie is corny, but it's my corny teen musical.

Beautiful Ann-Margret, skinny Bobby Rydell, Janet Leigh, Dick Van Dyke and funny man Paul Lynde. The plot is loosely based on the historic departure of Elvis Presley into the Army. A young fan, Ann-Margret, is picked out of thousands, to appear on the Ed Sullivan show ( Jay Leno of the period) and give idol, Conrad Birdie, an on-air goodbye kiss. Meanwhile the "Elvis" character Conrad Birdie, sings the song of songwriter, Dick Van Dyke, so he and his fiancee' , Janet Leigh can get married. I do so love this movie.

Bye Bye Birdie the Movie

The Rocky Horror Picture Show

The Show

The Rocky Horror Picture Show was a British stage play first. Horror Picture show was thrust into eternal limelight when in 1977 audience participation was allowed at a midnight showing. The film was the first to ever have this particular time slot, and since it is the most successful financially, and most well known.

In 2005 The Rocky Horror Picture Show was inducted into the United States National Film Registry by the Library of Congress. Excellent credentials for a film about a young couple stranded in the middle of nowhere by a flat tire. Who happen to come upon a creepy castle owned or run by a " Dr. Frank N. Furter" a transvestite from Transsexual, Transylvania no less.

The couple are entertained or scare witless by a host of characters right out of a run of the mill horror movie. Loosely based on Frankenstein, the movie is chock full of sexual innuendos, cannibalism, song and dance routines galore. A favorite Halloween get together for it's serious cult following. The film is still in limited release 35 years after its opening.

Where Words Fail, Music Speaks - Hans Christian Andersen

Do you have a favorite musical?

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One Final Note (pardon the pun)

Okay . . okay before you readers get all in a tizzy because your coming of age musical was not profiled let me explain. There is not enough room on this page to list all the great musical films produced in the last 50 years. I've only cracked the door to allow a few to enter. I tried to pick films that highlighted a generation.

Musical films have been a mainstay in the entertainment industry like no other. We as a people put into music what is difficult to express in words to express the angst of our youth. Most have cult followings; Grease the Musical, Hair the Musical, Hairspray the Musical , Jesus Christ Superstar, Tommy , all the Beach Party movies of the early sixties. Saturday Night Live, High School, the Musical , 1 - 3 and least we forget Glee .

This genre knows no gender, teenage boys and girls alike love these vehicles. Mainly due to the highlight of popular music. Musical movies or shows are not classified as "chick flick" fluff, but satisfying entertainment to all.

More Musicals on Sale at Amazon

Musicals on Sale at Amazon

Nothing separates the generations more than music. By the time a child is eight or nine, he has developed a passion for his own music that is even stronger than his passions for procrastination and weird clothes.

Bill Cosby


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    • pmccray profile imageAUTHOR


      8 years ago from Utah

      Micky Dee - there were quite a few folks in Rocky who became stars of some note later. You're right when you see them in other vehicles it does bring a smile.

      RevLady - I know . . seems all I have are memories, but hey at least I can remember them.

      Mike L. Pink Floyd oh my yes..I even had the album. Never heard of Phantom of the Paradise I'll check that one out.

      creativeone59 - you're welcome!

      Thank you for taking the time to stop by for a read and leaving your comments.

    • pmccray profile imageAUTHOR


      8 years ago from Utah

      Whoops Nell Rose - how could I have possibly forgotten Saturday Night Live! To the edit button!! Thank you my dear.

    • creativeone59 profile image

      benny Faye Douglass 

      8 years ago from Gold Canyon, Arizona

      Thank you PMC, for a very interseting and enlightening hub. Thank you for sharoing it. Godspeed. crativeone59

    • Mike Lickteig profile image

      Mike Lickteig 

      8 years ago from Lawrence KS USA

      I have always been a fan of musicals, and I have enjoyed them not only as motion pictures but as live theatre performances. West Side Story and Fiddler on the Roof were two of my early favorites.

      I also enjoyed Jesus Christ, Superstar and Tommy as a teenager. Pink Floyd: The Wall is tough to watch now, but I loved it as a young adult. Jesus Christ, Superstar was the movie I followed to cult status levels. If it was showing somewhere, I was there to see it--live or in the movie theaters.

      For anyone who enjoys Rocky Horror Picture Show, I would recommend a similar film with less notoriety called "Phantom of the Paradise." It is an odd little film, but if I'm not mistaken, it came first and led the way.

      Thanks for this wonderful look at musicals.


    • Nell Rose profile image

      Nell Rose 

      8 years ago from England

      Hi, I always remember the old ones that used to be on a saturday morning, Carasel, west side story, etc, they were a bit before my time but I loved them. but my teenage years were dominated by saturday night fever etc! I loved them, thanks for the trip down memory lane, cheers nell

    • RevLady profile image


      8 years ago from Lantana, Florida

      As always PM, Thank you for the delightful tour down memory lane. It is so refreshing in times like these. I so appreciate you and your hubs.

      Love and hugs my gifted sista,

      Forever His,

    • Micky Dee profile image

      Micky Dee 

      8 years ago

      I remember these. Rocky Horror Picture Show was a cult movie for sure. I must smile when I see the star (Tim? ?) in another movie. He is so good. Thank you for more beautiful memories Sister pmccray!


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