Over the past forty-plus years British film director Tony Palmer has established himself as one of the country's foremost directors of documentary and factual films. One of Tony Palmer's first successes was the film All My Loving, which was released in 1968. Some seven years later Tony had the idea, encouraged by John Lennon, to document the history of popular music. The result was the groundbreaking and award-winning series of films made for television under the title All You Need Is Love. The full series of films was released in 2008 to great critical and commercial acclaim.
Volume 4 addresses one of the most popular and enduring musical genres: The Blues. This episode features BB King, Leadbelly and Billy Holliday.
Blues is a word you have to think about before it can be understood. Contrary to popular belief, blues - as a form of music - does not appear until 1910 or so, that is after ragtime and jazz. Blues is not, therefore, the cornerstone of popular music. Rather, it has become an emotional response, through music, to a variety of oppressive social conditions.
The episode begins in the Delta of Mississippi and follows the progress of itinerant blues musicians to the steel mills and automobile factories of Chicago; from harmonica and fiddle, to electric guitar and fashionable nightclub. Finally, the episode shows how blues phrases and harmonies were stolen by white rock 'n' rollers in need of a new gimmick.
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