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.
This episode concentrates on the singer/songwriter, which also encompasses the folk tradition and takes in the protest song. The episode features perfromances and interviews with the likes of Arlo Guthrie, Pete Seeger and Leonard Cohen.
After Nashville had ripped through American country music, it might seem that the folk traditions this music embodied had been lost. Not so, because these traditions had a purpose other than to entertain. We shall see how folk music used popular melodies to spell out unpopular themes, how during the American War of Independence filthy words were penned against the British Crown, but all to the tune of God Save The King. The same happened during the American Civil War - different words, depending on whether you were from the North or the South but to the same tune.
Song has been used by such as Joan Baez and Bob Dylan, Peter Seeger and Leonard Cohen as a passionate weapon for peace. The effect these singers managed to achieve in the sixties was one of the stronger causes of the American defeat in Vietnam.
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