To paraphrase the hit 1979 single by Bob Seger, you can call me a relic (or what you will), but today's music (and I use the term loosely) ain't got the same soul; I like that old-time rock 'n' roll.
Those who feel the same -- or those just curious about the music -- should tune in to the ambitious PBS presentation Soundbreaking. The eight-hour series debuts at 9 p.m. Monday on AETN and runs at the same time through Friday.
The final three episodes air at 9 p.m. Nov. 21 to 23.
The series is subtitled "Stories from the cutting edge of recorded music" and was produced in association with the legendary George Martin, who died March 8 at the age of 90. It was his last project.
Martin, for the uninformed, was the producer of The Beatles' original albums and was often labeled the "fifth Beatle." It was Martin's lush orchestral arrangements that gave us what came to be known as the Beatles' sound.
"Music is the only common thread and universal language that binds us together regardless of race, nationality, age or income," Martin says in the series. "And recorded music is how we experience it and what makes it accessible.
Most would agree that music plays an instrumental (pun intended) part in our lives. Memories -- good and bad -- are frequently associated with certain songs.
Couples often refer to a classic tune as "our song." For my parents, it was "Don't Sit Under the Apple Tree (With Anyone Else but Me)" -- The Andrews Sisters version.
And I know a couple who agonized for months about the music for the first dance at their wedding. They finally picked "Wonderful Tonight" by Eric Clapton. That'll be "their song" for the rest of their lives.
Those are just two examples of the impact of recorded music on today's world. Soundbreaking will cover an impressive range of styles with extraordinary access to more than 150 artists, producers and others from across the music spectrum. It will feature rare archival studio footage and an extensive soundtrack.
PBS publicity notes, "From the invention of the microphone to the Moog synthesizer, from the phonograph to digital streaming, Soundbreaking moves between past and present to tell the stories behind the sounds and reveals how innovation redefined not only what we listen to and how we listen to it, but our very sense of what music is and can be. Viewers of all ages will hear the songs they love in a whole new way."
Here is a breakdown of the thematically organized episodes.
Monday: "The Recording Artist." The first episode explores the world of the music producer, whose job is to turn the artist's vision into reality. Producers featured include Martin, Sam Phillips, Tom Petty and Dr. Dre.
Tuesday: "Painting With Sound." How the recording studio became an instrument itself. Highlights include magnetic tape and multitrack recording. Bands featured include The Beatles, the Beach Boys, Pink Floyd and Fleetwood Mac.
Wednesday: "The Human Instrument." The third episode examines recording's most challenging aspect, the vocal track. Artists include Adele, Amy Winehouse and Christina Aguilera.
Thursday: "Going Electric." Electricity and technology allowed a wide range of new sounds. The episode covers everything from the electric guitar to synthesized music. Featured are The Rolling Stones, Jimi Hendrix, Stevie Wonder and Devo.
Friday: "Four on the Floor." This episode covers music's driving beat and features the evolution of drums and bass to beat box. Included are Little Richard, James Brown, disco, the Bee Gees, EDM and Beyonce.
Nov. 21: "The World Is Yours." The episode explores hip-hop and sampling with Public Enemy, Run DMC, The Beastie Boys and Beck.
Nov. 22: "Sound and Vision." The penultimate episode traces the rise and influence of MTV and shows how the music video has evolved into an art form and affected the way we experience music. Featured are David Bowie, Michael Jackson, Devo, Madonna, Eurythmics and Nirvana.
Nov. 23: "I Am My Music." From the LP to audiocassette tape, the CD to MP3, the episode explores how the listening format changed and evolved. Artists include Frank Sinatra, Marvin Gaye, Bob Dylan and The Grateful Dead.
Other artists appearing in Soundbreaking include Joni Mitchell, Roger Waters, Roger Daltrey, Linda Perry, Elton John, Debbie Harry, Quincy Jones, B.B. King, Annie Lennox, Dave Stewart, Mark Knopfler, Willie Nelson, Bonnie Raitt, Rosanne Cash, Don Was, Steven Van Zandt, Sheila E, Questlove, Ben Harper, Billy Idol, Imogen Heap, Darryl McDaniels, RZA, Bon Iver, Nile Rodgers, Nigel Godrich, Q-tip, Brian Eno, Mark Ronson, Rick Rubin, Tony Visconti and more.
Yes, you can "call me a relic." That list lost me somewhere around Imogen Heap and Q-tip.
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Style on 11/13/2016
Print Headline: Soundbreaking miniseries a crash course in music