We’ve all got that relative-- maybe a dad, an uncle or an older brother-- who is obsessed with spouting off facts about rock and roll and picking fights about who is better, Led Zeppelin or the Beatles. This person is almost inevitably impossible to shop for, because just when you think you’ve found that rare collection of Stooges B-sides they’ve been looking for, they inform you that the Stooges really had no influence on New York post-punk.
Well, here’s a holiday 2008 shopping trick for you (yes, we here at Blend Television are always thinking about your future). Have this difficult relative watch the upcoming series on Vh1 Classic Seven Ages of Rock, which conveniently starts the week before Christmas on December 17. It’s a seven-part miniseries narrated by Dennis Hopper, with each episode featuring a genre or period in rock and roll-- birth of rock, art rock, punk, heavy metal, stadium rock, American alternative, and British indie. It’s packed with interviews with representatives of all those genres, from Bruce Springsteen and Keith Richards to Ozzy Osbourne and Deborah Harry.
So here’s the trick: this will inevitably make a beautiful special edition DVD, though for the moment you will be able to find all the episodes online at Vh1classic.com, along with music playlists featuring all the artists in a given episode. So say to this relative “Hey, Uncle Jim Bob, you should really watch this series Seven Ages of Rock on Vh1 Classic. It features all the classic rock music you love to talk about, and some huge stars!” Then, after this relative inevitably falls in love with the series, you have your holiday shopping for 2008 all wrapped. No need to thank us; we’ve always got your back.
Seven Ages of Rock debuts on Monday, December 17 at 9 p.m., and will run through December 23 at the same time slot. Below is the full list of episodes, and a list of musicians who will appear on the show.
Throughout each episode viewers will hear from some of rock music’s biggest icons including Keith Richards, David Bowie, Roger Waters, Lou Reed, Ozzy Osbourne, James Hetfield, Deborah Harry, Gene Simmons, Damon Albarn, Stewart Copeland, Bruce Springsteen, Steven Van Zandt, Michael Stipe, Henry Rollins, Dave Grohl, Kim Deal, Noel Gallagher and many more.
Episode 1: “My Generation: The Birth of Rock” – Rock music emerges in the late 60’s as a fresh branch of rock ‘n’ roll. Becoming popular through artists like The Who, Cream, and The Rolling Stones, rock groups exemplified this era of protest through a tone of seriousness in their music. Premiering on Monday, December 17 at 9:00 PM.
Episode 2: “White Light, White Heat: Art Rock” – As rock music made a name for itself, upcoming rock artists began to experiment with their sounds. Groups including The Velvet Underground, David Bowie, Pink Floyd and Genesis were all a part of this innovative and varied sound. Premiering on Tuesday, December 18 at 9:00 PM.
Episode 3: “Blank Generation: Punk Rock” – Continuing with the evolution of the sound of rock, a genre of music emerged in the 1970s that can best be described as anti-establishment. Demonstrated by bands including The Sex Pistols, The Clash and Television, these artists created music that went hand-in-hand with the rebellion of youth, often containing lyrics that incorporated political outrage and a “do-it-yourself” attitude. Premiering on Wednesday, December 19 at 9:00 PM.
Episode 4: “Never Say Die: Heavy Metal” – A new sound that emerged from the UK, heavy metal conveyed an intense and powerful resonance. Artists like Black Sabbath and Judas Priest paved the way by establishing the heavy sound while artists like Metallica and Motley Crue added their own rock ’n’ roll twist. Premiering on Thursday, December 20 at 9:00 PM.
Episode 5: “We Are The Champions: Stadium Rock” – Rock music became more dominant in mainstream pop culture in the 80s allowing artists such as Queen, The Police, Bruce Springsteen, and U2 to sell out stadium-sized venues. Premiering on Friday, December 21 at 9:00 PM.
Episode 6: “Left of the Dial: American Alternative” – Influenced by punk, bands including Nirvana, REM, Sonic Youth, and Pearl Jam shunned the traditions of the music industry and signed with independent record labels. Despite their deviance from traditional mainstream success, many alternative bands became commercially successful. Premiering on Saturday, December 22 at 9:00 PM.
Episode 7: “What the World is Waiting For: British Indie” – Growing out of the UK punk scene, bands such as The Smiths, Oasis, and the Stone Roses possessed an independent spirit that embraced their artistic power and financial control. These groups created music that provided a strong and sometimes arrogant counterpoint to the pop sounds dominating the charts. Premiering on Sunday, December 23 at 9:00 PM.