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Ed Sullivan’s Rock And Roll Classics DVD Review

“Ed Sullivan’s Rock And Roll Classics” is another Time Life gem.

It’s time to take a trip down memory lane with the 10 disc “Ed Sullivan’s Rock And Roll Classics.” This is not just a collection of curated songs from the TV series. Instead, it’s divided into programs. There’s the “Top Hits Of” the years 1965 1966, 1967, 1968, 1969, and 1970 and genre centric episodes revolving around Folk Rock, R&B Greats, First Women Of Rock, Great Groups, The British Invasion 1 and 2, Smash Hits Of The 60’s, Groovy Sounds, Move To The Music, Rock Legends 1 and 2, Legends Of Soul, Motortown Review, Teen Idols, and Sweet Sounds Of Soul. Closing out the set is “The Ed Sullivan All Star Comedy Special” (which has nothing to do with music) and 2 hour long “The History Of Rock And Roll” specials titled “Britain Invades, America Fights Back” and “The Sounds Of Soul.”

For classic rock music lovers or those interested in music history, this DVD set is basically Rock Music 101. Not only do you get to see and hear some of the greatest music artists of all-time from the 50’s to the 70’s like Elvis Presley, The Beatles, The Beach Boys, The Rolling Stones, The Band, Janis Joplin, Jerry Lee Lewis, Buddy Holly, Fats Domino, The Supremes, The Jackson 5, The Ike And Tina Turner Revue, Marvin Gaye, and The Carpenters, but you also get factoids about the performances and performers along with time period tidbits. It’s like you’re watching music evolve through the decades before your very eyes. 

Now, obviously the big inclusion here are the performances by The Beatles which is one of the most important (and biggest moments) in music history. With their appearance on this show, The Beatles took the country (and the world) by storm. A legend was truly born in that moment. The Beatles aren’t the only highlights though as there numerous electric performances that include all of the Elvis Presley tracks (with a particularly fantastic “Love Me Tender”), Buddy Holly’s “Peggy Sue,” the Jerry Lee Lewis hit “Whole Lot Of Shakin’ Going On,” The Supremes classic “Come See About Me,” The Rolling Stones single “Ruby Tuesday,” and Tom Jones belting out “It’s Not Unusual.” And that’s just scratching the surface.

The Mary Tyler Moore hosted “The Ed Sullivan All Star Comedy Special” is a bit of a head scratching inclusion here. Surely more music could have been included instead. Regardless, this 91 minute special that contains a collection of comedy performances is still worth checking out if for no other reason than to see peak Bob Hope, Richard Pryor, Rodney Dangerfield and more.

Lastly, there’s “The History Of Rock And Roll” specials “Britain Invades, America Fights Back” and “The Sounds Of Soul” which are both top notch. The first one covers The British Invasion and the American music and rock scene while the Soul special covers stars like James Brown, Aretha Franklin, The Supremes along with related genres like Motown and Gospel.

The 10 disc and even bigger 23 disc set can be purchased at the Time Life site here: https://timelife.com/products/EdSullivan


Presentation: Fullscreen. How does it look? Time Life releases are always content over quality as the picture quality of these series were not filmed in HD. The prints tend to have lines, scratches and dirt as to be expected.

Audio Track. How do they sound? The music sounds decent but it should be noted “The History Of Rock And Roll” specials contain Dolby Stereo and Dolby Digital 5.1 tracks giving them the best sound quality on this set. 

* Bonus performances by SSgt Barry Sadler and Neil Diamond
* interviews with Rich Little, Flip Wilson, John Sebastian, Michelle Phillips, David Crosby, Roger McGuinn, Gladys Knight, Joan Rivers, Chris Hillman, Felix Cavaliere, Steve Allen, Jerry Lee Lewis, James Brown, Milton Berle, and Peter Noone.
* Bonus episodes- “West Coast Rock,” “Psychedelic 60’s,” “Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame,” and “Classic Love Songs.”
* A booklet featuring a guide to the content of the 10 discs and written material about some of the artists featured on the show.
* Interviews on “The History Of Rock ‘N’ Roll” disc with Smokey Robinson, Pete Townshend and Gladys Knight. 


October 23, 2022 - Posted by | DVD review | , , , , , , , ,

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