Rock N Roll Archaeology

An episodic overview of the history of rock music

All Episodes
from Rock N Roll Archaeology

  • Episode 17: Bookends

    Chapter 17 of Rock N Roll Archaeology is bookended by a couple of Simon & Garfunkel albums: “Bookends” from the spring of 1968; and “Bridge Over Troubled Water” from January of 1970. Our story takes place mostly in New York City: a city big enough to spawn two very different, very talented–and very influential–artists: Paul Simon…

  • Episode 16: East of Eden

    From the funky streets of the Haight we head east a couple miles to the Fillmore West, and meet a complicated man, concert promoter Bill Graham. It was during these early years in San Francisco that Bill created the rock concert experience.

  • Episode 15: Slouching Towards Bethlehem – Five Summers in Los Angeles

    An impressionistic look at the interplay of Rock N Roll and Culture in Los Angeles during the latter half of the 1960s. There are familiar elements: storytelling, critical discussion and commentary, and lots of Rock N Roll attitude. But this one is different from most of our previous RNRAP offerings.

  • Episode 14: I’d Love to Turn You On

    We open in Manila, in the Republic of the Philippines, July 3rd, 1966. The second stop of the Far East leg of the Beatles’ 1966 tour starts out weird and ominous, and gets worse from there. By the time the tour sputters to a halt—late August in San Francisco—the boys are almighty sick of it.

  • Episode 13: Hard to Handle

    We open at Waldo Point Marina in Sausalito, California, just north of San Francisco. Otis Redding takes a break from the road on Bill Graham’s houseboat, and comes up with a signature song.

  • Episode 12: Machine Gun

    Jimi’s astonishing, supernatural talent was forged in poverty and neglect as he grew up in Seattle. We talk about that, and about the night Elvis came to town. After a short stint in the Army comes to a humiliating end, Jimi takes it on the road and spends the next four years paying his dues…

  • Episode 11: I Can’t Explain

    We start by taking a clear-eyed look at the infamous seaside “Riots” in the resort town of Clacton, United Kingdom and several other towns in the summer of 1964. The British press were WAY over the top in their depiction of these events, but they did document the first schism, the first big division in…

  • Episode 10: Roll Away The Stones

    Episode Ten opens up with Christian narrating at the site of the Bricklayer’s Arms Public House, in Soho, West London, where Brian Jones met with two younger men, school chums, Mick Jagger and Keith Richards, in the fall of 1963.

  • Episode 9: The Medium, The Message, The Music

    This show will contain familiar elements — storytelling, commentary, and musicology — but it is also a bit of a departure. It takes place mostly in the mid-sixties, but we’re not following a timeline or building a story: it’s more of a mosaic, a think-piece.

  • Episode 8: Meet The Beatles Part 2

    The show opens December 27th, 1961, at the Cavern Club where Pete Best calls in sick, and the boys bring in Richard Starkey – Ringo Starr to the world – to sit in on drums, his first paid gig with the Beatles. It clicks musically; the band really swings with Ringo on drums.

  • Episode 7: Meet The Beatles Part 1

    Digging into the Journey of the Fab Four in this 2 Part Special

  • Episode 6: Soul Sisters

    Fall of 1963 in Manhattan, in the main room, the big studio at Columbia Records. A big-time, high-stakes recording session for Aretha Franklin is about to get underway.

  • Episode 5: The Ballad of Bob and J.R.

    Two legends meet as we experience the events of the early Sixties in America.

  • Episode 4: The Change of the Guard

    We briefly recap the first Golden Age of Rock N Roll: 1956 to 1959. A lot happened, and fast.

  • Episode 3: The Day the Music Died

    We describe Rock N Roll as an “enfant terrible,” then an unruly toddler, then a hyperactive kid. When Buddy Holly breaks out in late 1957, we see Rock N Roll has stepped out into the world as a confident young adult. Our story begins on a snowy two-lane highway in rural Iowa, on February 2nd,…

  • Episode 2: Elvis and the Rise of Television

    Archaeology is the study of human activity in the past, looking at lots of different things from lots of different angles. We take that approach with Rock N Roll. We recap episode one, and open in Memphis, 1954. Sun Records owner Sam Phillips has found his elusive crossover sound—and the artist who can deliver it.…

  • Episode 1: The Precursors

    We start by asking: how does Rock n Roll affect the larger society, and how does the larger society affect Rock n Roll?