7 FILMS. CHARTING THE HISTORY OF ROCK.
A definitive landmark series charting the emergence and re-emergence of rock music as a global force, told through the musicians who have shaped this most enduring of genres. The series makes heavy use of archive material. These early performances of musicians are interspersed with interviews with various other musicians. Naylor could use interviews from various other music series he had made for the BBC, such as with David Bowie, who was not available for an interview this time.
In an interview about the series, Naylor says that he has noticed the time is ripe for a revival of rock because he sees a growing popularity of slightly uncomfortable music and a somewhat arrogant attitude, precisely what rock needs. He also claims the series finally says what needed to be said, that England made Jimi Hendrix. He even states that rock music started on 24 September 1966 in London, when Jimi Hendrix went there.
Ep. 1 – The Birth of Rock
The rock revolution of the 1960s seen through the life and music of Jimi Hendrix. The first doomed icon of rock, Hendrix was the synthesis of everything that had gone before him and all that was to come. The Birth Of Rock also explores the influence of rhythm & blues on a generation of British musicians such as The Rolling Stones, Cream and The Who, and how the song-writing of Bob Dylan and studio developments of The Beatles transformed the possibilities and ambitions of rock.
Ep. 2 – White Light, White Heat
The story of how artistic and conceptual expression permeated rock. From the pop-art multi-media experiments of Andy Warhol and the Velvet Underground to the sinister gentility of Peter Gabriel’s Genesis, White Light, White Heat traces how rock became a vehicle for artistic ideas and theatrical performance. We follow Pink Floyd from the fated art school genius of Syd Barrett through the global success of Dark Side of the Moon to the ultimate rock theatre show, The Wall. Along the way, the film explores the retro-futurism of Roxy Music and the protean world of David Bowie.
Ep. 3 – Blank Generation
A tale of two cities, London and New York and the birth of punk. Each city created a bastard child that marked the biggest and fundamental shift in popular music since Elvis walked into Sun Studios. Blank Generation unpicks the relationship between the bankrupt New York and the class and race-riven London of the mid-1970’s and explores the music of The Sex Pistols, The Clash, Ramones, Television, Patti Smith, The Damned and Buzzcocks.
Ep. 4 – Never Say Die
The story of the longest surviving and certainly the loudest genre of rock, heavy metal. With no sign of disappearing, metal has been the most controversial and misunderstood of all rock genres. Emerging at the tail end of the hippy dream from the rust belt of industrial England, heavy metal would go on to secure the most loyal fan base of all. With Black Sabbath as the undisputed Godfathers, we follow their highs and lows, and, along the journey, meet Deep Purple, Judas Priest, Iron Maiden and Metallica.
Ep. 5 – We Are the Champions
We Are The Champions follows the development of some the biggest names in Rock, among them Queen, Bruce Springsteen, The Police and Dire Straits and shows how, through events such as Live Aid and the rise of MTV, rock achieved a global influence on culture and politics. The film concludes in the early 90s, as U2 effectively brought the era to a close by reinventing the big rock show so completely, that fifteen years later most major rock tours are still pale facsimiles.
Ep. 6 – Left of the Dial
The rise of alternative rock in the USA. From its early underground days where bands like Black Flag drew inspiration from the DIY ethos of punk, Left Of The Dial traces the history of the network of fans, clubs and fanzines that sustained the scene and launched the careers of bands like REM, The Pixies and Hüsker Dü. The film takes a fresh look at the explosion of the Seattle scene, culminating in the success of Nirvana’s ‘Nevermind’ and the tragic loss of Kurt Cobain, an artist whose triumph and tragedy continues to cast an inescapable shadow.
Ep. 7 – What the World Is Waiting For
The story of British indie, beginning with The Smiths, the archetypal indie group. The film follows The Stone Roses as the heirs to the indie crown, Suede’s dark sexuality and the media saturation of Brit-pop’s Blur v Oasis. What The World Is Waiting For explores how indie ultimately lost its once cherished intimacy and integrity in front of 250,000 fans at Oasis’s Knebworth spectacle in 1996 and how, by returning to its roots in clubs and bars (and even front rooms) with bands such as Franz Ferdinand, The Libertines and The Arctic Monkeys, indie became respectable again.
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