An eight-hour television documentary on the history of recorded music and its impact on popular culture is being planned by PBS and Wildheart Entertainment for the fall of 2010. The prime-time series - called "On Record: The Soundtrack of Our Lives" - will be recorded in HD and 5.1 surround sound and hosted by George Martin (known of course for producing most of the Beatles' recordings) and narrated by actor Kevin Spacey.
The series will begin with Edison's invention of the tin foil phonograph in 1877. (See and hear a modern recreation of the first recording with a short (0:46) video (Smithsonian Institution).) It will then go on to feature hundreds of artists - from all genres including pop, jazz, classical, R&B, folk, rock and country - interviews, and archival performances "to tell the story of how the most universal mass medium of the 20th century marked the emergence of pop culture worldwide":
Told as a narrative tapestry weaving the words of today's living legends with memorable musical moments, landmark cultural events and inspiring inventions/innovations, ON RECORD will consist of new interviews with top music icons and legends, historic archival performances and never-before-seen footage. Hundreds of artists will be featured ... Their comments - punctuated with their music - illuminate and reinforce the impact of the world's most pervasive mass entertainment medium.
In addition to the television series itself, there will apparently be an associated Web site, CD box set, DVDs, books and even a radio show. I know this series is something I'll be looking forward to!
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