The History of Rock and Roll
History of Rock 'N' Roll (DVD)
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Top Customer Reviews
The whole feeling of the thing is cheap and exploitative. I didn't care for the way ALL the same musicians were quoted about ALL periods and ALL types of music. So you get Tom Petty and Elvis Costello (both of whom I love, don't get me wrong) talking about the Beatles AND Elvis AND punk, etc., as opposed to in "Rock & Roll", where as much as possible the people on camera are the people who were there -- Chuck Berry, Sam Phillips, the earliest rock and roll DJs. Also, other than trying to pander to lowest common denominator segment of the audience, what's the point of singling out rap and disco for the "fair and balanced" treatment -- i.e., giving equal time to musicians who hate that kind of music? Skunk Baxter and Gregg Allman, weighing in on rap ("...short for CRAP!") come off as smug hillbilly bigots.
Pandering is evident in the structure of the show as well. Although the idea of starting in the middle (Bob Dylan goes electric) and then proceeding from the beginning is interesting, I can't be too impressed with later chapters like "The 70's" -- again, I'm biased toward the thematic episodes of "Rock and Roll" rather than the grab-bag approach. The last chapter is almost embarassing in the way it rushes through the final 15-odd years post-1980 to get to Green Day (very hot in 1995, but can you imagine they'd make the cut if this series were made today?).
Long story short, wait for the next PBS pledge drive and watch "Rock and Roll" instead.
even topics in which I had little interest (e.g. punk rock).
The other series, "The History Of Rock And Roll", by Time-Life (now Time-Warner), which appears to be what you see here, is enjoyable but shallow, and I was annoyed that the live performance clips are very short (don't expect to see a complete song).
Both series were produced several years ago, and unless this series has been updated it has no coverage of recent music.
If you could only afford one series, I would normally recommend "Rock And Roll", not this one. However, PBS seems to have a monopoly on "Rock And Roll", and last time I checked they would sell it only to educators, not the general public.
At $100 for 10 hours, this is also not a particularly good
value. The price per hour is nearly 3 times the price of, for
example, a year's worth of M*A*S*H episodes (24 episodes,
each with 22 non-commercial minutes, for about $35).
Thus, this series is not the best on the topic, and it's
not the best value for your DVD dollar. I did enjoy the
series, however, and if you are fortunate enough to be
able to fit this into your budget, I do recommend it. I
am ordering a copy for myself.
Disclaimer: This review is based on what I remember from
seeing the series on PBS. The DVDs have not yet been
released yet and I have not seen them.
We get some great footage of Woodstock, the Isle of Wight (where Joni Mitchell has to calm down a hostile crowd), and of course the Greatful Dead (I Will Survive). As Jerry says the sixties opened a door for a moment and we saw a quick glimpse of how things could be; then that door slammed shut. With this documentary we also have a moment where we feel we are actually back in the sixties--sex, drugs, rock, and revolution in the air.
Also included are some sixties hecklers including Ronald Reagan who denounces rock shows. And as David Crosby says the counter-culture was right about everything...except drugs.
Overall a great overview of the most incredible decade in history.
Good points: Excellent footage of rock and roll heroes (Beatles, Jerry Lee Lewis, Elvis, Led Zepplin, etc.) as well as lesser known groups (The Hollies, Gerry and the Pacemakers, etc.). Outstanding interviews from artists and figures such as Hank Ballard, Carl Perkins, Ozzie Osborn, Dick Clark, Bono, Eddie Van Halen, Jackson Browne, Bruce Springsteen, Little Richard, Mick Jaggar, Tom Petty, Lindsey Buckingham, and countless others. Footage of various historical events help put the music in perspective (civil rights, Vietnam, sexual revolution, etc.).
Bad Points: Some material may not be for younger audiences. Nearly all volumes (2 & 3 excluded) have some PG-13 language (including Pete Townsend's liberal use of the F-word). A couple of tapes (I'm thinking of volume 6 & 8 in particular) have some female nudity. Anyone thinking about letting a class view this should keep that in mind. Some movements in Rock and Roll are touched on too lightly: Soul, Motown and funk are kind of grouped together, Jazz Rock is barely mentioned, etc.
Final Verdict: Probably the best Rock and Roll series out there now. We need Ken Burns's take on this subject.
Most recent customer reviews
I ordered this and it was in my hands the very next day. These documentaries are a great addition to any DVD collection. I only wish that the videos were a little more up to date.Published on Oct. 28 2011 by Roger
Very good truly the "Guitar Heroes was excellent" ,could do with out the "punk DVD" but it`s the History of Rock N Roll had to show it all! Read morePublished on April 10 2005
OK FOR THE CASUAL MUSIC BUFF BUT SOOO MUCH LEFT OUT. EVERY HEARD OF ONE HIT WONDERS ? 4 SEASONS (WHAT WOULD THE EARLY 60'S BE WITHOUT SHERRY,LET'S HANG ON,BIG GIRLS ETC ,ETC),DION,... Read morePublished on July 11 2004 by Alex Aberbom
For many years I'd been hoping someone would make a comprehensive documentary detailing the fascinating history of rock music, which in a real sense is the history of America in... Read morePublished on July 9 2004 by James R. Odom
This series is a good place to start to learn the history of Rock 'n' Roll music, especially the roots. Read morePublished on July 9 2004
This review is based on the VHS tapes, but I have been waiting for this release on DVD for a long time! This is an excellent production and well worth owning. Read morePublished on June 10 2004
I love rock and roll and the cover it self explains it all. I have preordered it. Plus you get[some discount]Published on June 8 2004
Don't listen to gerryedwards!! This is rock n roll. Full of social conciousness, rebellion, disdain for authority and religion. Well put together, it is extremely interesting. Read morePublished on Feb. 27 2004 by j. lacoss
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