5 discovered moments that make rock musical docu-series
The Vietnam War, the Attica prison inmates revolt, Jim Morrison of the death of The Doors in Paris, the guilty verdict of Charles Manson for murder, the Stanford prison experience.
There are a lifetime of memorable events to incorporate into the Apple TV + docu-series on one of the most tumultuous and musically powerful years in American history “1971: The Year Music Changed Everything.”
Eight-part series (now streaming) shows how much musicians love The rolling stones, Aretha franklin, Marvin Gaye and John Lennon have influenced culture and politics in a country undergoing political and cultural upheaval.
Series director and executive producers Asif Kapadia and James Gay-Rees (the Oscar-winning and Grammy-winning team behind Amy Winehouse’s documentary, “Amy”) immerse viewers in the footage and sounds of the time with magical, sometimes surprising moments, discovered in “1971.”
Here are five revealed moments that rocked us:
David Bowie’s hair, performance transition
Chameleon rocker David Bowie goes through changes in “1971,” which features audio (not film footage) of the evolving performer showing new material in an uninspiring time slot at dawn at the Glastonbury Music Festival.
“He was supposed to play the day before, but it’s Glastonbury chaos. So no one was standing except the sound engineers,” says “1971” producer and director Danielle Peck. “But that’s a real sound of reading (Bowie).”
Peck also personally marked a wealth of rare photographs of Bowie in which the artist’s long, flowing locks were in transition to his iconic phase of Ziggy Stardust. “It was kind of that mule. Anyone else would have looked really bad,” Peck said. “But on David Bowie, it was amazing. Ziggy Stardust’s chrysalis.”
Found Sly and the Family Stone Music Sequence
Sly Stone, the genius behind soul-funk-rock band Sly and the Family Stone, wrestles with drugs for most of the year, as the band’s flagship album, “There A Riot Goin ‘On “released with hit single” Family Affair. “
A disastrously rambling TV interview with Dick Cavett shows the clear impact of Stone’s struggles. But Peck found forgotten promotional footage of the artist’s record label riffing with fellow bandmates, which she saw existed in a Billboard article at the time.
“We told the label folks in Los Angeles what to look for,” Peck says. “And we found these fantastic images of Sly Stone.”
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The Troubadour gives the floor to Elton John, Carole King
Carole king, Joni Mitchell, James Taylor, Elton John and Cat Stevens formed a surprising array of singer-poets who were growing in importance at the time. During the introductory performance of King’s Stage in Los Angeles’ Troubadour club, “1971” plays audio of the moment the nervous singer makes a joke – about evacuating the club due to a bomb threat. Laughter helps break the ice for his performance.
The club serves as the venue for John’s star debut, pictured in 2019’s “Rocketman”. The documentary shows footage of John performing on the set that would propel him into the music stratosphere.
“It was pretty lucky that someone was filming,” Peck says. “Keep in mind that Elton John was no one at this point in his career.”
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Rolling Stone Keith Richards, troubled at rest
The Rolling Stones were in voluntary tax exile in the south of France in 1971, living in a wild castle fueled by drugs. Rolling Stone reporter Robert Greenfield allowed “1971” to use audio footage of his lengthy interviews with Stones guitarist Keith Richards, heroin abused with wife Anita Pallenberg.
“The interview also picked up these background noises of Keith, Anita and her son Marlon hanging out and just being family,” Peck says. “With all of the natural sound effects you hear in the South of France, it’s incredibly effective against amazing personal photographs of The Rolling Stones.”
The sessions culminated in the most critically acclaimed album, “Exile on Main Street”.
A journalist gives the horrors of Attica
The Attica prison uprising in upstate New York demonstrated the turmoil of the time, which turned into horrors with a disastrous law enforcement raid on prisoners holding guards held hostage for four days in the courtyard. Ten hostages and 29 detainees were killed in the hail of gunfire.
“1971” features a television reporter reeling from the parody he saw behind the prison walls, but continuing to report the parody for the show.
“When we found these images, we had to put them in the film, even though we were pretty much done with the project,” Peck explains. “It’s just too powerful. The reporter can barely speak after what he’s seen.”