Filmed in 1985, “America’s Music Legacy: Rock ‘n’ Roll” is a concert DVD made for two audiences: my grandparents’ generation and any true fan of the genre and its history.
At the time of the concert, glam rock was shifting into first gear and ready to saturate the radio waves. Chubby Checker, The Diamonds, Fabian and others took the stage on one night to remind the masses where and how it all began. The artists do more than reminisce in the hits that made them legends, they breathe life into a neglected past. It was a reminder of how smoky, segregated clubs, thin black ties, backdoor deals and innocent falsettos paved the way for mascara, big hair, fishnet stockings and the newer, raw falsettos.
There is a display of unity in the performances, as if the artists of yesteryear knew their time had passed. But, at this point, it was all about enjoying the seeds they had planted and cultivated so many years before. These were the artists that broke one mold and formed another. It is hard to imagine Lou Christy and The Coasters or Little Anthony as the precursors to Warrant and Nirvana, but their melodic voices undeniably set the bar on which the later bands stood and raised a notch. The “Golden Oldies” of this concert had no idea what their voices would inspire in the industry and where that path would lead, but they laid a foundation strong enough to support everything that would follow.
Despite their place in a faded limelight and their middle ages, there is sense of fun and buoyancy mixed with the history on the stage that night; it’s a class reunion on a timeless musical scale. “America’s Music Legacy Rock ‘n’ Roll” gives the viewer a chance to peel back the layers of time and look at the building blocks of the songs we hear on the radio today. Plain and simple: it’s fun. No one is there to make a statement, to blow our minds or to forge a new sound; they are just there to sing. At this point in their lives, these artists have nothing to prove. They are singing for the music, taking the stage because we want them to and simply because they can.