Thirty-eight years after he began his career as a teenage journalist for Rolling Stone, filmmaker Cameron Crowe has re-immersed himself in documenting musicians' lives, with two movies out this year: Pearl Jam Twenty, marking the band's 20th anniversary, and The Union, about Elton John and Leon Russell's 2010 LP. "For Elton, the camera is a buddy," Crowe says. "Pearl Jam is not prone to opening the curtain the same way – but that's the delight of it."
Narrated by John, The Union captures the creation of the record and includes interviews with Brian Wilson and Stevie Nicks. Twenty was assembled from "every piece of archival stuff we could find," says Crowe, who has known Pearl Jam since he worked with them on the 1992 movie Singles. "It's equal parts complimentary and really painful," says PJ's Jeff Ament. "it's Cameron's love letter to us."
This story is from the May 26th, 2011 issue of Rolling Stone.