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The History of Rock and Roll

18 customer reviews

Price: CDN$ 248.95
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Product Details

  • Actors: Various
  • Directors: Various
  • Format: Box set, Closed-captioned, Color, DVD-Video, NTSC, Subtitled
  • Language: English
  • Subtitles: English, Spanish
  • Region: Region 1 (US and Canada This DVD will probably NOT be viewable in other countries. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 5
  • Canadian Home Video Rating : Ages 14 and over
  • MPAA Rating: UNRATED
  • Studio: Warner Bros. Home Video
  • Release Date: July 6 2004
  • Run Time: 120 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (18 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B0002234XQ
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #29,902 in DVD (See Top 100 in DVD)
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Product Description

History of Rock 'N' Roll (DVD)

Customer Reviews

4.2 out of 5 stars
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Most helpful customer reviews

9 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Jarret A. Cooper on July 13 2004
Format: DVD
In 1995, two -- count 'em -- TWO ten-part TV series on the history of rock and roll were broadcast: the superb "Rock & Roll" on PBS, and this one in syndication. Unfortunately, this is the one that seems to persist; VH1 ran it a few years back, and now it's on DVD. There's really no comparison -- think "I Love The 80's" (minus the humor) vs. "Ken Burns' Jazz".
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.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By M. Gilkey on June 15 2004
Format: DVD
If you want this because you think you enjoyed it on PBS, it's important to know that PBS has broadcast at least two similarly-named 10-hour series on the topic of rock music history. One, titled "Rock and Roll" by "The Experience Project", as I recall, is relatively "deep" and I gained some appreciation of
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.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Adam Bernstein on Sept. 15 2003
Format: VHS Tape
This History of Rock'n'Roll segment "My Generation" covers the '60s counter-culture and puts it in coherent framework. Interviews with Chet Helms (who put Janis Joplin into Big Brother), Janis, Hendrix, Arlo Guthrie, Pete Townshend, Levon Helm (The Band), Jerry Garcia, Country Joe, Ray Manzarek, and many others make this a true Sixties experience.
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.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful By David S. Merrill on Feb. 1 2001
Format: VHS Tape
I purchased this video series for my high school History of Rock and Roll class. I was thoroughly impressed by a majority of the material in this series.
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.
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