The History of Rock’n’Roll Vol 1-5
Big Home Video/Warner
Don’t get put off by the catch-all title and the cheesy intros to each of the films in this five-disc, ten-programme box set. This is not an airy-fairy, lazy and languid stitch job of the kind floating around in the YouTube. The History of Rock’n’Roll is filled with rare and exciting footage, minimal voiceover and plenty of interviews from the people who made rock’n’roll — from Little Richard and Chuck Berry to Joey Ramone and Kurt Cobain they are speaking about the ‘scenes’ and about the music — and producers and journalists and talent scouts who fuelled this beast.
The saga is broken up into digestible parts, not in the finger food form of late night VH1 documentaries, but in the manner of chapters in one big book, one story leading up to and echoing in another. Apart from the obvious giants — Elvis, the Beatles, the Rolling Stones, Bob Dylan, Jimi Hendrix and the gang — we get closer to the backroom and understand how the Beach Boys have something in common with the Ramones, and how U2 learnt much from Patti Smith and why punk started not with the Sex Pistols but with Detroit band MC5. And don’t miss out a very early 70s interview with Iggy Pop where on being asked how he may have influenced other bands, he replies (with David Bowie looking on) with utter seriously: “I hated everything about the American Dream. We killed the 60s.” This Time-Life production is a must-have for music lovers who want to go beyond the blather gospel of MTV.