Seven Ages Of Rock

(VH1 Classic 2007)Seven Ages Of Rock -

Documentaries are coming out faster than you can say "Michael Moore" these days and, luckily, their quality is increasing. VH1's most recent, a seven episode miniseries on the life of rock, entitled Seven Ages Of Rock, is by no means a documentary to end all documentaries. Told by way of current day and archived interviews of the rockers themselves and the journalists who love them along with audio and video clips of a rather decent length, Seven Ages plays favorites and specializes instead of trying to cover everything all at once.

By this point in the game, we have all heard the story of how African American musicians, especially and specifically those playing the blues, laid the foundations for what would become known as rock 'n' roll. But VH1 wants to tell the story again and they are going to tell it their way. "My Generation," the first episode of the Seven Ages Of Rock, focuses on how Muddy Waters, John Lee Hooker and Howlin' Wolf moved British youth, in particular The Rolling Stones, The Yardbirds, The Kinks, The Who, The Animals, Cream, along with the scandal when folkie Bob Dylan went electric. Starting the story perhaps a bit late in 1965, the episode concentrates on how these British bands made popular an edgy, sexual and raw sound from its blues roots to its psychedelic phase.

In the series' fifth episode, "We Are The Champions," VH1 tackles stadium rock. From the working class every man who initially resisted success (Bruce Springsteen, Dire Straits) to the scripted over-the-top entertainment of Kiss, the audience bond of Queen to the politics of U2, 1970s stadium rock certainly is not easily decipherable. While the episode seems to not go quite as in depth as "My Generation," "We Are The Champions" explores the vast differences between the bands commanding arenas during the '70s. Perhaps most telling of the decades night and day mainstream tone is the comparison of an advertisement featuring pre-teens playing with Kiss dolls to the creation of Live Aid and Bob Geldof admitting he purposely did not mention the event's politics when enlisting Freddie Mercury and Queen.

With all the crap on television these days -- especially since the writer's strike -- any miniseries on rock would certainly garner attention. But what Seven Ages Of Rock does is surpass those expectations and offer a little bit more with high quality interviews and focused segments that go more than skin deep with a select group of artists.