Picks and Pans Review: Spotlight
ROCK AND ROLL, ONCE DERIDED AS THE vulgar opiate of the American teenager, has been getting a lot of respect lately. First, the music acquires its own shrine in Cleveland. Now, it is the focus of an intensive and intelligent documentary on PBS. Rock & Roll, which airs over five consecutive nights beginning Sunday (Sept. 24, 9 p.m. ET), traces the development of the genre from its southern roots through the British invasion, Motown, Woodstock, funk, punk, rap and MTV This is not merely a pageant of mainstream artists. There are interviews with everyone from surf guitarist Dick Dale to sitarist Ravi Shankar to shock rocker Alice Cooper to funkmeister Bootsy Collins. What distinguishes this film from The History of Rock 'n' Roll, a 10-hour study that aired in syndication earlier this year, is its scholarly tone and its devotion to the crucial contributions of black musicians. Sedate and exhaustive, Rock & Roll takes a Library of Congress approach to a raucous subject.