Seven Ages of Rock 6 x 60 mins & 1 x 90 mins Starting Saturday May 19th, BBC 2 BBC 2 takes you on a journey through the Seven Ages of Rock and explores the music that has been the soundtrack to our popular culture and defined each generation since the 1960's. From the producers of award winning series Dancing in the Street, Walk on By, Lost Highway and, most recently, Soul Deep, comes another landmark television history that will chart the story of rock music from the suburb to the stadium, from the crackly '45 to the MP3 download. Along the way, rock's greatest performers, singers, writers and producers tell us how rock emerged, grew, strengthened and gave voice to each new generation. 2007 sees rock music at its healthiest state since the 1970's. Despite numerous predictions that 'rock is dead', it has survived. Fans are attending more gigs and more festivals than ever before and the guitar is definitely back as the weapon of choice. The UK alone has nurtured a rich new crop of rock bands over the last 5 years, each one building on the solid foundation and heritage of the past, creating a vibrant and promising legacy for the future. Seven Ages of Rock will, though the prism of a central wrap-around artist or group, explore a key era in rock. From the UK electric blues boom, via the psychedelic rock of the late 60’s; from the 70’s punk explosion and on to the rise of grunge and indie rock in the 1980’s and beyond, this series tells story of each age through the music itself: breaking down key tracks, getting behind the songs and ideas and providing a social context for the progression of the music. With contributions from some of the biggest names in rock, the series will set a new standard in heritage music television. 1. The Road to Woodstock – The rock revolution of the 1960’s as seen through the life and music of Jimi Hendrix. We see how he became the first, ultimately doomed, icon of rock; from delta blues man, Dylan-esque poet and the technological prophet, Hendrix was the synthesis of everything that had gone before him and all that was to come. This episode 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. 2. Between Rock And an Art Place – How rock became a vehicle for artistic ideas and theatrical performance. From the pop-art multi-media experiments of Andy Warhol and the Velvet Underground to the sinister gentility of Peter Gabriel’s Genesis, this episode will trace the story of how artistic and conceptual expression permeated rock. We follow Pink Floyd from the fated art school genius of Syd Barrett via the global success of Dark Side of the Moon to the ultimate rock theatre show – The Wall. Along the way, the film will explore the retro-futurism of Roxy Music and the protean world of David Bowie. 3. Blank Generation – A tale of two cities, London and New York and the bands that emerged from the dispossessed, the lost, the angry: the blank generation. Each city gave birth to a bastard child that would be the biggest and fundamental shift in popular music since Elvis walked into Sun Studios 20 years previously - punk. Through the scorched earth music of The Sex Pistols, 'Blank Generation' will unpick the relationship between the bankrupt New York and the class and raceriven London of the mid-1970’s and explores the music of The Clash, Ramones, Television, Patti Smith, The Damned and Buzzcocks. 4. Never Say Die – The longest surviving genre in rock, certainly the loudest, Heavy Metal is a worldwide phenomenon. With no intention of going away, 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 conquer the world, securing in the process 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. 5. Global Jukebox – The film follows the development of some the biggest names in Rock in the 70s and 80s (among them Queen, Bruce Springsteen & The E Street Band, The Police and Dire Straits) and examines how - with events such as Live Aid and the rise of MTV - Rock achieved a global influence on culture and politics. The film will show how, in the early 90s, U2 effectively brought this era to a close, re-imagining what it meant to be a successful rock band, and reinventing the big rock show so completely that fifteen years later most major rock tours are still pale facsimiles of Zoo TV and Popmart. 6. The Last Rock Star – the rise of alternative rock in the USA. We trace the history of the American underground music scene that launched the careers of bands like REM, Nirvana and The Pixies and explore the influence of unsung pioneers like Black Flag and Husker Du. We explore why the bands that emerged from the underground offered an alternative both to the established music industry and the prevailing politics of the Reagan era and why their music resonated with the Generation X audience in search of songs that reflected their lives and articulated their hopes and fears. We’ll see how alternative bands began to enjoy greater popularity in the early 90s, with REM breaking into the mainstream charts with ‘Losing My Religion’, and we’ll take a fresh look at the explosion of the Seattle ‘grunge’ scene, culminating in the success of Nirvana’s ‘Nevermind’ and the short life and tragic death of Kurt Cobain – an artist whose triumph and tragedy continues to cast an inescapable shadow. 7. What the World is Waiting For – British Indie music was once seen as the bastion of the over earnest ‘High Fidelity’ snob who would sneer at chart success. Often political in its stance, indie was a way of defining oneself in a sea of ersatz pop and vapid chart fodder. Not tied to the corporate dollar of the majors, the indie label was the redoubt against the forces of mediocrity and was a precious source of integrity and honesty. A generation would find meaning in the music of The Smiths, the archetypal indie group of the 1980’s. Lyrically adroit and melodically commanding, they would foment a dedicated following around the world. However, they split on the brink of huge success and the identity of indie rock would undergo a profound transformation. From the Stone Roses, the heir manqué of the indie music crown, via Suede’s dark sexuality and the media saturation of Brit-pop’s Blur v Oasis, indie was now a marketing device, ultimately losing any of it’s once cherished intimacy and integrity in front of 250,000 fans at Oasis’s Knebworth spectacle in 1996. Indie was mainstream. Indie was dead. But was it? As the millennium dawned, a new cohort of bands emerged to redefine British indie. By returning to its roots in clubs and bars, even front rooms, indie became respectable again. Once again, it meant something beyond a marketing cliché. From The Libertines to Franz Ferdinand and The Arctic Monkeys, indie labels reconnected to their fans, using both new technology and good old rock n roll to inspire and motivate a new generation to ditch the decks pick up a guitar. Rock is back. But for some, it never went away.