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Published on December 14th, 2007 | by Erich Becker


7 Ages of Rock

It’s 1965.  The scene opens on children starved for music to describe their anguish and turmoil…and then Dennis Hopper starts talking? 

Aging baby boomers who haven’t had a paying gig in awhile aside, VH1 Classic’s 7 Ages of Rock, which premiers Monday, December 17th, takes us from the turbulent beginning of rock, all the way through the stadium performance era, and present day.  For anyone that is a die hard lover of rock, you will love this seven part documentary special extravaganza.  There is a lot of original footage from concerts and television appearances like “Live Aid” and U2’s multimedia blowout Zoo TV, and a lot of interviews with the greats like Eric Clapton, Bruce Springsteen, Gene Simons (this special is worth it simply for his quote, talking about critics panning KISS, “…more than 1 billion dollars later, they can kiss my ass.”) and many more.


For the less musically inclined, there are still lots of things to appreciate about this special, including tons of factoids and wonderful chunks of music’s impact on history from Cream’s Disraeli Gears being the first album to contain a psychedelia sound, to the Rolling Stones performing at The Altamont Speedway Free Festival that resulted in 3 deaths (thus ending the carefree 60’s era), and even the stadium rock megaperformance “Live Aid” which raised money for Ethiopian famine relief. People who have an appreciation for the sounds’ impact on world events, that know rock has truly changed the world in some respects, can definitely get a lot out of 7 Ages.


All in all it was a very interesting special, but there were a few notable problems that were not able to be overlooked.  For one, a lot of the earlier content of the special centers around rock in the UK.  They talk about how the British youth took the tones of black lament, the blues, and used it to help them express their angst.  Unfortunately, they talk about it like the British invented the wheel with this concept, completely overlooking the fact that a decade before, people like Jerry Lee Lewis and Elvis Presley in the United States pioneered a new version of music, stemming from the blues.  Also, the narrative of the special was a bit choppy in parts, going a few years in history with one band, then cutting back through history with another, and then fast forwarding past that to go back to a previous band. 


In sum, 7 Ages of Rock isn’t going to change the world, but it is a very well put together documentary sure to entertain.  For the avid rock fan that pulls a Wayne’s World in their car when “Bohemian Rhapsody” blasts from the radio, for the want to be guitarist out there that strums the simple start to Cream’s “Sunshine of Your Love”, or for anyone who just wants to flick on something on television at night for a week without being tempted to purchase anything Billy Mays sells on late night infomercials, turn on VH1 Classic and prepare for the history of rock.

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About the Author

Thirty-something with a love of everything we cover here, and a few things we don't. Erich has run Entertainmentopia since the site's inception in 1999, countless redesigns, a few crashes, and a lot of media later, here you have it!

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