Hannah Berryman does far more service to Rockfield Studios than the cringe-worthy cheese of Bohemian Rhapsody did. Music fans can breathe a sigh of relief and celebrate the farm-turned- studio where Queen recorded its famous song. Rockfield: The Studio on the Farm is an appropriately fun and freewheeling portrait of the offbeat farm studio that was the birthplace of many hits by iconic bands including Queen, Black Sabbath, Oasis, and Coldplay. This documentary is quite possibly the most Baby Boomer-friendly film since Echo in the Canyon and fans of the seemingly endless parade of nostalgic music docs will relish its trip down memory lane.
Berryman captures the significance of the ramshackle recording studio up in Wales by securing interviews with many of the stars who cut tracks with its unique flavour. Interviewees in Rockfield include Ozzy Osbourne, Robert Plant, Liam Gallagher, Chris Martin, and members of bands like the Boo Radleys, Simple Minds, Stone Roses, and Manic Street Preachers. The who’s who nature of this talking heads flick makes Rockfield Studios into an essential element within the larger history of music. Berryman goes beyond the celebratory by drawing out the idiosyncrasies that give Rockfield records their distinct flavour. Among the nuggets? The wondrous wall that inspired Oasis’s anthemic “Wonderwall” is a piece of the Rockfield landscape. It’s now as popular an attraction as Stonehenge and rightly so.
Rockfield: The Studio on the Farm premieres at Hot Docs 2021. and is in digital release June 1.