I thought it would be bad…and it was.
High on hype and promises, low on delivery.
You could tell straight off how this self styled “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” was going to go.
The usual bunch of smug pretentious types, look up that phrase in a dictionary and there’ll be just a picture of Charles Shaar Murray, wittering banalities over the music. Clip starts, most of which have been seen plenty times previously, voice over bloke come up with some “profound observation” and then said talking heads blather on about the importance of the music you can’t hear. Yeah and again that guy from Rolling Stone mag is there I was expecting such cultural luminaries as Paul Morley and Kate Thornton to stump up sooner or later.
The first episode, bizarrely called the “Birth Of Rock” and focused on Jimi Hendrix, now if the producers had watched the documentary about the great guitarist shown on BBC4 right after that night they would’ve seen how to do it. Show the whole clip of the track (a lot of which were included in the “new” programme) then have someone who was actually there talk about what was going on. The exceptions being Noel Redding and Mitch Mitchell two thirds of Jimi’s Experience, neither of which I can remember hearing from in either prog.
Maybe this is the new green BBC, with recycled clips and recycled stories, yeah it’s fun hearing about Jimi destroying Clapton on stage but then you hear that old chestnut of him wanting to give Hendrix a left handed Strat just before he died in 1970. Clapton says he’d never seen a left handed version of the guitar before, I’m sure I’ve heard him say it was one of the first about. Strange that Eric mustn’t have been paying attention during the Rolling Stones “Rock And Roll Circus” there’s a young relatively unknown Brummie call Tony Iommi in Jethro Tull playing a cack handed Strat way back in 1968.
But then what should you expect when they put Jimi forward as the “birth of rock”, missing out the whole post-war period up to the mid 60s. No Chuck Berry, Fats Domino, Little Richard, Elvis, Buddy Holly, Eddie Cochran etc through to the British Invasion, oh The Beatles were there for a little bit.
Much as I love Hendrix’s music and he was a major point in the history of rock, he certainly wasn’t the start. So it’s down hill from here in the next episodes with Poxy Music and the most overrated artist Bowie, boy band punk pretenders The Sex Pistols and the seventh rate pub cover band Manc monkeys Oasis who shouldn’t rate even a mention in passing on the history of rock.