ROCK & ROLL - 10 HOUR/PART PBS WGBH BBC MUSIC DOCUMENTARY SERIES (1995)
A savvy, lively celebration of the music that has rocked the world – Rock & Roll, public television’s epic 10-hour series – classic rock, soul, funk, punk, reggae, rap, techno, house and much, much more.
Part 1: Renegades
Renegades travels southern backroads to New Orleans, Memphis and Nashville, then north to Chicago, interviewing Little Richard, Bo Diddley, Chuck Berry, Jerry Lee Lewis, pioneer disk jockey Hoss Allen and producers Dave Bartholomew, Sam Phillips and Phil and Marshall Chess along the way. These renegades of the 50’s reveal how they borrowed from rhythm and blues, country, gospel, and jazz to create a whole new sound – rock and roll. Listen for: Little Richard’s “Tutti-Fruity”, and “Good Golly Miss Molly”, Elvis’ Blue Suede Shoes”, “Bo Diddley” by Bo Diddley, Chuck Berry’s “Mabelline”, and “Johnny B. Goode”, and Jerry Lee Lewis’ “Whole Lotta Shakin’ Goin’ On”.
Part 2: In The Groove
In the Groove reports on the years between Elvis and The Beatles, when the hit single became and intricately crafted work of art and producers, songwriters and musicians crated studio magic. In interviews with Jerry Leiber and Mike Stoller, Ben E. King, Brian Wilson, Carole King, Sonny Bono and “king of the surf guitar” Dick Dale among others, this episode recounts the era of sweet soul and girl groups when a new rock genius reigned – the producer. Great songs include Ben E. King’s “Stand By Me” and “Spanish Harlem”, The Drifter’s “The Goes My Baby”, The Shirelles’ “Will You Love Me Tomorrow”, The Ronnettes’ “Be My Baby,” and The Beach Boys’ “Surfer Girl”.
Part 3: Shakespeares in the Alley
Shakespeares in the Alley looks at the towering influences of Bob Dylan and The Beatles on rock and roll and “folk rock”. In this episode: footage of Dylan and the Fab Four and interviews with Beatles producer George Martin, key Dylan session musician Al Kooper, Peter Yarrow of Peter, Paul and Mary, Roger McGuinn and David Crosby of The Byrds and beat generation poet, Allen Ginsberg. Great songs include: The Beatles’ “She Loves You”, and “Eleanor Rigby”, Bob Dylan’s “Subterranean Homesick Blues”, “Like a Rolling Stone” and “Mr. Tambourine Man”, Simon and Garfunkel’s “Sounds of Silence”, Sonny and Cher’s “I Got You Babe”.
Part 4: Respect
Respect chronicles the transformation of black gospel music into a defining sound for all Americans. On hand to tell the tale: Berry Gordy Jr., Ray Charles, Martha Reeves, Mary Wilson, Booker T. and the MG’s, Wilson Pickett, Maxine Powell of the Motown “Charm School”, Motown choreographer Cholly Atkins and many more. The episode journeys from Detroit’s Motown Records to Stax Records in Memphis. Last stop: the FAME Studio in Muscle Shoals, Alabama where Aretha Franklin made musical magic. Listen for: Martha and the Vandellas’ “Dancing in the Streets”, The Temptations “The Way You Do The Things You Do”, The Supremes’ “Where Did Our Love Go?”, Wilson Pickett’s “In the Midnight Hour”, and Aretha Franklin’s “RESPECT”.
Part 5: Crossroads
Crossroads traces the blues – another African American tradition that changed the sound of rock and roll – from the Mississippi Delta to Chicago to the UK, where this earthy rich sound inspired a host of young British musicians bored with the pop music of the day. Eric Clapton, John Mayall, Keith Richards and Bill Wyman of The Rolling Stones and Jeff Beck tell how their hits introduced American rock fans to their own indigenous blues masters, like Howlin’ Wolf and John Lee Hooker. Also in this episode, Led Zeppelin’s Robert Plant and Jimmy Page on Jimi Hendrix, the dawning of the guitar hero and the birth of heavy metal. Memorable music includes: The Rolling Stones’ “(I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction”, The Animals’ “House of the Rising Sun”, Eric Clapton and Cream’s version of “Crossroad Blues”, Jimi Hendrix’s “Wild Thing”, and Led Zeppelin’s “Whole Lotta Love”.
Part 6: Blues in Technicolor
Blues in Technicolor takes viewers on a trip into the psychedelic rock world of the late ‘60’s and early ‘70’s. Using interviews with The Byrds, Grateful Dead, Jefferson Airplane and Pink Floyd, this episode shows how a bohemian folk culture based in San Francisco set off an international explosion of musical experimentation and eclecticism – much of it drug inspired. Listen for: “Eight Miles High” by The Byrds, Jefferson Airplane’s “Somebody to Love” and “White Rabbit”, The Beatles’ “All You Need Is Love” and Pink Floyd’s “Arnold Layne”.
Part 7: The Wild Side
The Wild Side tours through the rock and roll theatrics of the 70’s, when artists like the Velvet Underground, the Doors and David Bowie brought the decadent dramas of life in the underground into the limelight. Take a walk down the darker side of the street in Los Angeles, New York, Detroit and Berlin with the Doors’ Ray Manzarek and producer Paul Rothchild, Lou Reed, Iggy Pop, David Bowie, Alice Cooper and Kiss’ Gene Simmons and Paul Stanley. Listen for Lou Reed’s “Walk On The Wild Side”, the Velvet Underground’s “I’m Waiting for the Man”, the Doors’ “The End” and “Light My Fire”, David Bowie’s “Oh You Pretty Things” and “Heroes”, and Alice Cooper’s “Eighteen”.
Part 8: Make It Funky
Make It Funky: Soul music stretches to create a rock and roll revolution in rhythm and attitude in the 70’s. Innovators James Brown, Sly and the Family Stone, George Clinton and famed bass players Larry Graham and Bootsy Collins take viewers on a tour of Funk as the music becomes bolder and more expressive of the realities of black life. Filmed in New York, San Francisco and Philadelphia, the episode also examines how funky dance hits blazed a musical trail to the disco craze of the late 70’s. Great songs include: James Brown’s “I Got You(I Feel Good)” and “Cold Sweat”, Dance to the Music by Sly and the Family Stone, Donna Summer’s “Hot Stuff” and “Flashlight” by George Clinton and the Parliament Funkadelic.
Part 9: Punk
Punk explores two late 70’s musical innovations: punk and reggae. In New York, members of Blondie, Talking Heads, Television and The Ramones tell how they inadvertently created the cynical, urban sound that became punk rock. In London, punk takes off with the Sex Pistols, and members of The Wailers and The Clash recall how Jamaican reggae crossed international boundries, deeply influencing punk and pop rock. Listen for The Ramones’ “Blitzkrieg Bop”, Patti Smith’s “Horses”, Talking Heads’ “Psychokiller”, Blondie’s “Heart of Glass”, The Sex Pistols’ “No Fun”, The Clash’s “London Calling”, and Bob Marley’s “Concrete Jungle”.
Part 10: The Perfect Beat
The Perfect Beat begins at a time when megastars like Bruce Springsteen and Metallica filled arenas around the world and moves on to chronicle the rise of a new musical form: rap. From Grandmaster Flash to Run-DMC, from De La Soul to British innovators New Order to the Beastie Boys, the episode traces the evolution of this new sound in the 80’s and early 90’s. The program shows how superstars like Madonna and Prince folded rap, techno and house into their music, and how MTV ultimately embraced. The soundtrack includes “The Message” by Grandmaster Flash and the Fusrious Five, “Planet Rock” by Afrika Bambaata & Soul Sonic Force, Michael Jackson’s “Billie Jean”, “Walk This Way” by Run-DMC and Aerosmith, the Beastie Boys’ “No Sleep Till Brooklyn”, and Public Enemy’s “Fight the Power.
We Also Recommend
WALK ON BY: THE STORY OF POPULAR SONG - EIGHT EPISODE BBC DOCUMENTARY SERIES (2001)
SGT. PEPPER'S MUSICAL REVOLUTION WITH HOWARD GOODALL - 2017 BBC BEATLES DOCUMENTARY FILM
MY LIFE AS A ROLLING STONE - BBC TV 4-PART MUSIC DOCUMENTARY SERIES (2022)
MR. BLUE SKY: THE STORY OF JEFF LYNNE & ELO - BBC FOUR MUSIC DOCUMENTARY FILM