The new BBC series, Seven Ages of Rock, is enthralling. The first episode focussed on the end on the 1960s and, in particular, the impact a certain Jimi Hendrix had on the British music scene. Personally, I’ve always considered Hendrix to be a tad, shhhh, overrated so it was enlightening to listen to the likes of Clapton, Richards and Bruce (Jack not Forsyth) eulogising about the Seattle-born virtuoso. It was an interesting start to the series but the second episode was tremendous. Bearing the title, ‘White Light, White Heat’, the show examined the art rock of the late 1960s and early 1970s and drew marvellous comparisons between Velvet Underground and Pink Floyd and the manner in which both acts ‘pushed the envelope’ (dreadful expression, apologies…) with their innovative multimedia live appearances and musical experimentalism. David Bowie, Roxy Music and early Genesis were also featured and it really made me want to listen to early albums by all three of these artists. I must talk to S about early Genesis. It is only recently I’ve got into Pink Floyd after years – well, decades – of dismissing them insouciantly. The Wall is a superb and ambitious album and I really appreciate the melodic intelligence and wry cynicism of Wish You Were Here and Animals. Dark Side of the Moon is alright too. Why did I wait so long? The finest moments of ‘White Light, White Heat’ featured the stagecraft of Peter Gabriel and, in particular, the concert where, to the substantial shock of his bandmates, he emerged from the back of the stage to sing something off Foxtrot, wearing a fox’s head and a red party dress. I admired him for that. Look above to experience the moment too.
Next week’s episode is about punk rock.