Classic Albums

Sunday 10:00 PM on VH1 Premiered Apr 14, 1997 In Season


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Classic Albums

Show Summary

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

Previously Aired Episode

AIRED ON 11/22/2008

Season 8 : Episode 3

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  • 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.

    This is no 'Behind The Music' soap opera stuff. If you are looking for what drugs were abused, or how the subjects got into trouble with partying and other excesses, you've got the wrong show. This is an indepth examination of the creative process, from concept to recording, broken down by the artists, producers, engineers, and other technical people. Often the master tapes are scrutinized, while the musicians play along live, demonstrating how it was done. I have seen most of them, and the most fascinating moments were in Pink Floyd's 'Dark Side Of The Moon', when Roger Waters tells us how he 'borrowed' spoken word responses from anyone who was hanging around the studio, and The Who's 'Who's Next', when Pete Townshend shows how he came up with the sped up synthesizor for the opening of 'Baba O'Reilly'. Simply put, any musician or fan will be excited to learn this stuff. The only gripe is that some of the great ones, like The Beatles' 'Sgt. Pepper', probably won't get made.moreless