Classic Albums

Sunday 10:00 PM on VH1
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  • Episode Guide
  • S 8 : Ep 3

    Duran Duran: Rio

    Aired 11/22/08

  • S 8 : Ep 2

    John Lennon: Plastic Ono Band

    Aired 6/24/08

  • S 8 : Ep 1

    The Doors

    Aired 4/14/08

  • S 7 : Ep 2

    Jay-Z: Reasonable Doubt

    Aired 10/3/07

  • S 7 : Ep 1

    Frank Zappa: Over-Nite Sensation

    Aired 5/1/07

  • Cast & Crew
  • Ringo Starr


  • Bernie Taupin


  • Nigel Olsson


  • Davey Johnstone


  • Paul Simon


  • show Description
  • This series looks at the writing and recording of some of the greatest albums of our era. Musicians, producers, and engineers are interviewed in the studio, and the master tapes are played, sometimes isolating particular channels, to highlight certain instrumental sounds or voices. Many of the musicians play live along with the tracks, demonstrating how they played the parts. In some cases, group members are reuniting after considerable time as they reminisce together. This is usually interspersed with some vintage clips and photos of concert performances. The BBC produced series began in 1997, with Ringo Starr as narrator. Later episodes have no narrator. The first seven episodes were licensed to VH1 for showing in the US, then periodically more were released, one at a time. Some have been shown on A&E, PBS, and Biography Channel. One or two were repackaged by VH1 as 'Ultimate Albums'. In April 2006, 26 DVD's were released as 'VH1's Classic Albums', with additional footage and bonus features. In October 2006, the show began a weekly airing on VH1 Classic on Tuesday evenings. The original airdates in some cases are sketchy, as VH1 are rather tight-lipped about past programming, preferring to focus on upcoming 'premieres'. Contrary to most TV series' DVD releases, episodes of this show are now being debuted on DVD, with expanded footage, months before the 'premiere'.moreless

  • Trivia & Quotes
  • Quotes (2)

    • Davey: Elton wrote so fast. He would look at a sheet of Bernie's lyrics, I would go to the kitchen, make a sandwich, come back, and he'd have a song finished.

    • Elton (On leaving Jamaica hurriedly): They confiscated our gear, and as Bernie and I were being driven to the airport, I thought we wouldn't get out alive.

    Notes (7)

    • Ringo Starr's introduction was cut from the repackaged version of the series, that aired on Vh1 Classic in late 2006.

    • A Classic Albums DVD of this episode, with additional footage, was released October 29, 2001.

    • The video release of this episode was expanded and renamed From Anthem To Beauty. It covers three albums; 'Anthem Of The Sun', 'Workingman's Dead', and 'American Beauty'.

    • Bernie Taupin's segment was cut from the US broadcast. In it he describes how he paid homage to The Band by writing 'Levon', about Levon Helm, and 'Tiny Dancer', "..seamstress for The Band". Edit: This segment was added back to the repackaged series, that was run on Vh1 Classic.

    • The entire set of songs, seventeen in all, were written, arranged, and recorded, in two weeks.

    • John Deacon, who was bass player for Queen, retired from music in 1992, and does not choose to participate in interviews and taping sessions.

    • This episode was produced by the BBC in 1999, but as far as we know, it was not licensed for broadcast in the US until the premiere on Vh1 Classic.

    Show More Notes

    Allusions (1)

    • Jim Steinman tells how he envisioned Bat Out Of Hell, the song, as the ultimate car crash song, a la Tell Laura I Love Her, and Leader Of The Pack. Tell Laura I Love Her, written by Jeff Barry and Ben Raleigh, was recorded by Ray Peterson in 1960, and is the tale of a teenager who tragically enters a racing car championship in order to use the prize money to buy 'Laura' a wedding ring. The song was covered in the U.K. by Ricky Valance, and became a #1 hit. Leader Of The Pack, about a girl's crush on a motorcycle gang leader, was penned by producer George Morton, with Jeff Barry and Ellie Greenwich, recorded by The Shangri-Las in 1964, and became a world-wide smash hit. Banned by the BBC for its death imagery, it still charted four times in Britain up to 1976, hitting #3 in 1972.

  • Fan Reviews (1)
  • The key word here is 'Classic'. The 27 records, (so far), chosen for the treatment are all great, and some of the insights from the creators are priceless.

    By geoellis2, Oct 21, 2006

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