I’m sure many of us or the opposite even know who Sparks are. Last year Edgar Wright (Last Night In Soho, Shaun Of The Dead) released Documentary which premiered at 2021 Sundance Film Festival. How can one rock band be successful, underrated, hugely influential, and criminally overlooked all at the same time?
Brothers Ron and Russell Mael collectively known as Sparks, this is their story. 50 years making music and they still keep going reinventing themselves , this film celebrates their legacy and the endless number of famous fans who adore them.
Next to the brothers, former band members everyone from Vince Clarke, Flea, Beck, Jason Schwartzman to name a few share their love for the band. Throughout the 50 years they have had many times virtually no or little success, but they never gave in, reinvented themselves. Kicked off in the late 1960’s under the name of HalfNelson only to become Sparks in the early 1970s. It was in 1974 when they finally made it onto Top Of The Pops with their biggest UK hit (no 2 in the charts) with This Town Ain’t Big Enough For The Two Of Us.. From this John Lennon apparently called Ringo Starr to tell him that Marc Bolan was performing with Adolf Hitler.
That song was their Glam Rock era, it was in 1979 when they hooked up with Giorgio Morroder when they create their electro dance floor filler The Number One Song In Heaven. This elevated them to scary heights, once again that success didn’t continue globally. Germany however kept the flame burning.
Some may argue about the 2 hours 20 minutes running time. The unpredictability of Ron and Russell makes this an unenjoyable watch, got to love their passion not to conform to what mainstream want them to be . They make music they want to make and mainstream cinema may forget about them, bands can’t hide that somewhere in their history Sparks have inspired them.