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The History of Rock and Roll

4.1 out of 5 stars 9 customer reviews

Price: CDN$ 195.88
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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: 4.1 out of 5 stars 9 customer reviews
  • ASIN: B0002234XQ
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #36,510 in DVD (See Top 100 in DVD)
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Product Description

History of Rock 'N' Roll (DVD)

Customer Reviews

4.1 out of 5 stars
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Top Customer Reviews

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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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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Format: DVD
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 the last half of the twentieth century. Then, suddenly, within a three year period, not one, but two excellent documentaries are released: this one, produced by Time-Life; and another, titled simply "Rock and Roll", produced for public television by a PBS station in Boston. "History of Rock and Roll" is marginally better and combines concert footage (some familiar, some rarely seen) with artists, producers, and arrangers, who give their reflections and interpretations of the entire era. My favorite chapter is "Guitar Heroes" which provides a fascinating history of the electric guitar and how it became such an integral part of rock and roll.
Addendum: I originally purchased the VHS edition when it was released. I just bought the DVD set for the better picuture/sound quality, of course, but also because Amazon describes it as having "80 bonus minutes". I'm halfway through,
but have not yet seen any additional footage.
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Format: DVD
This series is a good place to start to learn the history of Rock 'n' Roll music, especially the roots. Most of the time is spent in the early years and highlights the genres that Rock spun out of and the early artists that Rock artists came to emulate. The producers have succeeded in showing how Rock has stayed true to its roots even with the subsequent various styles.
The main problem with the series is that it does offer a shallow look at much of rock's history as it omits many of its offshoots in the later years. None of the early history should be shortened, but a couple of more episodes going more in depth with some of the later variations would have been nice. (Note: This series was released in 1995, so Nu Metal and other genres since 1995 will not be represented.) An example would be that the series does get into how corporate the music became in the 70s, but really gives too few examples of the groups that embody that distinction. While I personally like late 70s and 80s rock, it was corporate and very few of the bands of that era are even mentioned. Hair Metal was not mentioned at all. It was very popular in the late 80s and its media overkill is what really brought on grunge - grunge was NOT a seamless transition from 70s punk like the series portrays. A whole era was simply erased in this documentary. Prog-Rock of the 70s was barely given a notice, with the exception of Pink Floyd. What about the Heavy Metal and Thrash movements (and any mention of the perceived Satanic influence of Rock in general)? Not covered. What about Country Music's crossover success in the early 90s, thus reuniting one of Rock's root sources with its offspring? These eras should have been discussed in a "history of Rock and Roll.
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