WGBH News and Media Relations


February 11, 2013

CRANK IT UP! WGBH Makes Interviews with Rock & Roll Greats Available Online

Uncut interviews from Rock & Roll miniseries digitally preserved with help from GRAMMY Foundation Grant
BOSTON, Mass. (February 11, 2013) – In 1995, WGBH and the BBC partnered to produce the acclaimed miniseries Rock & Roll. Now, for the first time in nearly two decades, a WGBH collection of interviews from the series is available to the general public. With support from the GRAMMY Foundation, the WGBH Media Library and Archives has digitized hours of original, uncut, unedited interviews with producers, writers, engineers, session musicians – the innovators who changed the music – and made them available as streaming media.
“Rock began as the music of outsiders, youth, rebellion, and freedom, but endures as a sound that has brought generations and cultures together,” said Elizabeth Deane, Executive Producer of Rock & Roll. “I am excited that we have preserved and can share the unedited conversations that we had with some of the defining figures in the evolution of rock.”
The collection includes Martha Reeves (Martha and the Vandellas) reflecting on the early days of Motown Records; Dick Dale, the “King of the Surf Guitar,” describing the genesis of surf music’s massive guitar-driven sound that influenced heavy metal; and Phil and Marshall Chess (Chess Records) telling the story of American blues and how Bo Diddley, Chuck Berry and other African American artists who passed through Chess’s studios influenced the Rolling Stones and the British Invasion.
The savvy, substantive history of the music that rocked the world aired on PBS over five consecutive nights in September 1995. Rock & Roll focused on the ongoing evolution of rock music and the innovators who shaped it from the 1950s through the 1990s. Exceptionally rich in interviews, significant music and rare archival footage, Rock & Roll gave both an offbeat and profound context to the music that continues to transform our culture by linking us, and sometimes dividing us, across generations, politics, race and gender.
More than 26 million viewers watched Rock & Roll when it originally aired. Rock & Roll was a co-production of WGBH Boston and the BBC. Elizabeth Deane was the executive producer for WGBH, Hugh Thomson was the series producer for the BBC.
In April 2012, the GRAMMY Foundation Grant Program awarded a grant to WGBH and 17 other organizations to support “a range of research, archiving, and preservation projects on a variety of subjects.” The GRAMMY Foundation Grant Program provides funding annually to organizations and individuals to support efforts that advance the archiving and preservation of the recorded sound heritage of the Americas for future generations.
About WGBH Educational Foundation
WGBH Boston is America’s preeminent public broadcaster and the largest producer of PBS content for TV and the Web, including Masterpiece, Antiques Roadshow, Frontline, Nova, American Experience, Arthur, Curious George, and more than a dozen other prime-time, lifestyle, and children’s series. WGBH’s television channels include WGBH 2, WGBH 44, and the digital channels World and Create. WGBH TV productions focusing on the region’s diverse community include Greater BostonBasic Black, High School Quiz Show, and Neighborhood Kitchens. WGBH Radio serves listeners across New England with 89.7 WGBH, Boston Public Radio; Classical New England; and WCAI, the Cape and Islands NPR® Station. WGBH also is a major source of programs for public radio (among them, PRI’s The World®), a leader in educational multimedia (including PBS LearningMedia™, providing the nation’s educators with free, curriculum-based digital content to meet the needs of 21st-century learners), and a pioneer in technologies and services that make media accessible to the 36 million Americans who are deaf, hard of hearing, blind, or visually impaired. WGBH has been recognized with hundreds of honors: Emmys, Peabodys, duPont-Columbia Awards…even two Oscars. Find more information at wgbh.org.


WGBH Media Relations

Emily Balk

Catherine Burke