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I'm in a Rock'n'Roll Band!

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John Piper | 17:31 UK time, Friday, 30 April 2010

Some questions:
What makes great Rock'n'Roll bands work?
Why and how do they do what they do?
Why are the best bands more than the sum of their parts?
Why do we love them so much?

The answers are to be found in BBC Two's Saturday Night series I'm in a Rock'n'Roll Band.


A phalanx of BBC Music Entertainment's most inquisitive minds have been sent out into the field on a global mission to observe the rock'n'roller at large. Back they have duly returned - to their rain-buffeted multi-story shack HQ at the rear of TV Centre - anxious to reveal their findings.

These discoveries are to be disclosed in five documentaries narrated by Mark Radcliffe airing from Saturday 1 May and a live studio finale hosted by Jonathan Ross.

A cross generational collection of some of the most extraordinary war stories rock 'n' roll folklore has to offer have been assembled. Relating them are a preposterously starry cast including Iggy Pop; Dave Grohl; Sting; Roger Daltrey; Jon Bon Jovi; Bob Geldof;Siouxsie Sioux ; Matt Bellamy; Shirley Manson; Jeff Beck; Johnny Marr; Slash; Tony Iommi; Mick Jones; Andy Summers; Wilko Johnson; Tommy Lee; Ginger Baker; Stewart Copeland; Bill Bruford; Peter Hook; Rick Wakeman; Ray Manzarek; Keith Emerson and Jack Bruce.

Befitting the larger than life characters populating the series and the stranger-than-fiction tales they have to tell, we have allowed the shows to venture into novel territory - graphic novel territory to be precise. As some of Britain's top illustrators, feted for their work in comics like Marvel, have added their considerable talents to the mix.

This animation element makes it possible to journey into the private thoughts, childhood memories and backstage lives of some of the great performers of our times. No cameras were there to record what happened on these occasions but, through the power of animation, moments of rock'n'roll history, large and small, can be brought to life.

From Jim Morrison of The Doors coming over all Oedipal in sixties L.A. to how Black Sabbath's Tony Iommi managed to resurrect his fledgling guitar career after chopping off two fingers in a factory accident in the West Midlands.

From the unsettling moment when Sex Pistol Glenn Matlock opened a packet of crisps to find a piece of paper with his name in it, to the honing of The Police's breakthrough hit, Roxanne, from bossa nova original to the taut post punk reggae groove that conquered the world.

The graphic novel feel has created a distinct and contemporary look for the shows. Steve Beaumont has been getting most busy with the charcoals, with back up from Mike Collins and Leigh Gallagher. While the ingenious graphic designers at SumCreative under the Creative Direction of Paul Peppiate have turned the sketch material into animations created on After Effects.

Guiding 50 plus animated sequences through the circuitous process of conception, story-boarding, sketching, inking, colouring and finally animation is a brain-mashing exercise in logistics.

But fortunately any thoughts along the lines of 'I must have been mad to pursue this idea, is it too late to drop it?' are completely blown away by those 'You have mail' moments when new sketches and animations arrive. The ability to capture the likeness (and just as importantly the essence) of some of the great names in rock'n'roll to order is startling. How lovely it would be to have a proper talent like that.

Vote for your favourites at

John Piper is the Series Producer of I'm In A Rock'n'Roll Band


  • Comment number 1.

    i have lots of favourites depends which era we talking about! from 60's i would say Mick Jagger, and from current times Chad Kreoger from Nickelback, but inbetween it has to be Ozzy Osbourne without doubt! both Nickelback and Ozzy were not mentioned in your programme which i was surprised about!!

  • Comment number 2.

    I just watched the first episode of "I'm in a rock n roll band." You talk about singers with power and stage-ego and you totally forget The !! biggest performer ever and a guy who through all the stuff that was written about him, STUCK WITH IT. Why was there nothing about Axl Rose ??

    Did you all miss the boat? I hope the rest of the shows get a little better. Really a big let down...sorry. The BBC normaly does a great job.

  • Comment number 3.

    Unbelievable!!! Jim Morrison (the god of frontmen)has not made the top ten after he featured so much in the programme!!

  • Comment number 4.

    Once again the BBC produces yet another "let's for the most part, only highlight the acts, we can get to appear on the programme" music programme and completely neglect tons of acts/musicians, that SHOULD be included, irregardless if they refuse to appear. As for the talking heads, we get the same old tried and tested muso's, who continually appear on these kind of shows...Alice Cooper, Dave Grohl, Roger Daltrey, Gene Simmons, Sting, Iggy Pop etc etc, peoples opinions who were not that interesting in the first place or are so often heard, that we no longer care to hear, yet again what they have to say.
    Tonights programme was about singers or was it frontmen (they did mention women, at the beginning, but I sure didn't see one in the programme. The programme seemed to highlight frontmen, the website seems to go with singers!
    As for tonights programme, why were there no sections on Robert Plant, Freddie Mercury, John Lydon, Bono, Axl Rose, Ozzy Osbourne (although, he is another one that suffers from over saturation, on these kind of shows), Deborah Harry, Bob Marley. Who are easily the equals of people like Jagger, Pop, Morrison and certainly more influential that people like Ian Curtis, Noddy Holder, Alice Cooper or Shaun Ryder.
    I can only imagine next weeks guitarists programme, will have pretty much the same talking heads and will probably have a 2 second snippet, with no words (if at all) on such legendary figures as Jimmy Page, Duane Allman, Eddie Van Halen, Jeff Beck etc, while we get the usual helpings of Brian May, Johnny Marr, Jimi Hendrix (rightfully), Eric Clapton, Noel Gallagher!, Pete Townshend, just because they have archive footage of them.

  • Comment number 5.

    Hi first of all let me say great show on vocalists before I put the boot in. How can you not fail to mention one of the most iconic frontmen in history Robert Plant ? its a personal thing if you like his style etc but thats like Having a show on aircraft and not mentioning The Spitfire or a Program on religion and not mentioning Jesus ..Yet you have him on the poll as one of the top ten greatest to vote for which I totally agree with. Pound for pound he has influenced more singers in rock and roll history than any other singer (good and bad I know), again its subjective if you like the music etc.

    Lets hope in the next program there are not more obvious omissions !!!

  • Comment number 6.

    The singer vote is a bit of a joke. No Bruce Springsteen? but Morrisey and Iggy Pop!

  • Comment number 7.

    somebody is having a laugh here right ! have just watched the first doco and no mention of bruce springsteen as a lead singer.. don't suppose he'll get a look in as a guitarist either . go and watch anything from the 1978 darkness tour, or quarter to three from the no nukes concert or the river from glastonbury last year. i get it ...he's too talented for the list because he can sing, play instruments AND engage with audiences.

  • Comment number 8.

    After waiting through the snooker to catch this programme (nice scheduling by the way) I was instantly disappointed. The BBC seems to have forgotten what Rock n' Roll actually is! The Police, The Smiths, The Specials and all kinds of other middle of the road bland pop bands??? Just because a musical group has a guitarist and a drummer does not make them a rock (n' roll) band!
    The BBC have a history of missing out the essentials when it comes to programmes about rock history (the Seven Ages of Rock was woefully researched and lacking numerous essential bands).
    When some geezer from Dexys Midnight Runners poked his nose in (and i managed to stop laughing) it became blatantly obvious that this show was devised purely on who they could get to comment.
    The list devised by the panel of 'experts', 'critics' or whatever they are is unbelievable. I can't wait to see the list of guitarists! If Johnny Marr features, I may very well die of projected embarrassment.
    I agree with the comment about Jim Morrison above (he was the most featured in the show, but isn't in the list???), but so many other greats have been omitted also. I know its open to opinion but there are some frontmen that just instantly warrant being ahead of most of the ten featured in the list.
    Stop trying to please the mainstream BBC and actually pay some attention to the subject matter at hand - ROCK N ROLL!

  • Comment number 9.

    How can you create a series with the words Rock'n'Roll Band in it's title and not mention AC/DC? I think Mark Radcliffe would agree on this one!

  • Comment number 10.

    well... after all the hype i sat through the zzzzznooker to watch this and was presented with a talking heads show. what a disappointment, everyone in my flat sat around after ten minutes saying how crap the show was. how disappointing!! Is this is peak of BBC creative powers? Talking headzzzz clips? and a bit of anime? It felt like a show that just happens to be on late at night as a bit of filler, NOT a HUGE new series with lots of hype and cross platform adventuring etc...the best bits were the stories about Jim Morrison, because some actually told a story, the rest was drab opinions...welll...sorry guys if you're reading this (you producers) but its crap telly!! and whoever is employing you should be looking for more imaginative talent to make their tv shows.

    Sure its impressive how many celebs were in it, and the anime was different, but at the end of the day, its a flipping talkin heads and clips show that really does not deserve the hype its been getting...story wise it didnt take me anywhere new, i didt learn anything about "the DNA of a rockstar" or anything else this series puports to do. and theres another five of them! Blimey! BBC2 !!!!!!!!!!!!! Youve gone wrong with this one !! Its rubbish!!!

  • Comment number 11.

    Considering the title of this show had Rock 'n' Roll in it, I thought it would be right up my street.

    Unfortunately, I was disappointed after having to endure the likes of Morrisey, Shaun Ryder, Liam Gallagher etc.

    As this was singers week, icons such as Steven Tyler, David Lee Roth, Robert Plant and Axl Rose should have been included without a second thought.

    Then there were the omissions of AC/DC's Brian Johnson AND Bon Scott, Paul Rodgers, Marc Bolan (maybe he'll be included in the guitarists episode?), Thunder's Danny Bowes and a personal favourite of mine, Boston's Brad Delp.

    I thought my patience had paid off when the great Freddie Mercury appeared on the screen, live at Wembley, but barely a word was said about him.

    I'll be watching the next episode out of curiosity, but I may turn over at the point that Johnny Marr et al are mentioned. This is meant to be a rock 'n' roll show after all.

  • Comment number 12.


  • Comment number 13.

    While completely agreeing with some of the posts which concern ommisions i found the first episode very enjoyable.
    I promise not to knock the series until after Saturday's contibution in which i expect to find at least Rory Gallagher and Albert Lee, otherwise I'll go spare.
    'til the next time

  • Comment number 14.

    Please BBC people, We hope you've got the message. More of rock 'n'n Roll heroes like AXL ROSE !! Robert Plant and AC/DC's Brian Johnson AND Bon Scott and of course AXL ROSE !! If want to talk about rock n roll singers with stage presence and ego and a mind of his own....well need we say more. Most of the comments above seem to think so. And yes sorry but we are Axl Rose fans...we saw him and his current band 7 times the last year and wow !! And forgetting Plant and Brian Johnson?? Why did you do this?

  • Comment number 15.

    Hello im a 45 year old bassist from poole. I enjoy most music, But for me its Blues Classic rock 60s/70s. The best singer of all time ( My choice) Is Paul Rogers from Free - Bad co. With a very close second place for Steve Marriot of The Small faces

  • Comment number 16.

    Steve Marriott ... hands down, number one voice in Rock'n'Roll. Everyone else is just messin' around!

  • Comment number 17.

    Ok so if the panel are reading these comments they'll expect there to be some complaints about omissions based on personal taste or bias towards a certain band, but if a Rock N Roll band can include "The Smiths", then I am at a loss to what exactly this whole exercise is attempting to achieve.
    However, that pales into insignificance when one reads a list of the "top ten guitarists" (they are ludicrous, these polls anyway) without even a mention of Edward Van Halen. That just displays complete lack of knowledge. Slash, Richie Sambora, hell even Jimmy Page have all mentioned their awe at his technique and tone. Not even a mention. And nor a mention of Frank Zappa. Mind you, he would probably prefer not to be included.
    Sorry folks, but the Beeb have made a bit of a mess of this programme really. And why do they persist in employing that ex-singer from the totally forgettable weedy indie band "Kitty". What exactly are her journalistic/review credentials???

  • Comment number 18.

    First week I have watched and similar feelings to some of last week reviews.Most of contributors are bland.Not enough about the guitarists who were really talented.Where oh where was footage of Rory Gallagher ? I hope this is not the way history sees it.

  • Comment number 19.

    I've just watched the latest episode and am angry that there was no mention of Keith Richards, probably the greatest guitarist, with the exception of Hendrix and you have completely snubbed him. Not only was he not mentioned in the programme he is not in the Top Ten List I am appalled!!!!. He has written some of the greatest riffs since the inception of Rock and Roll - HOnky Tonk Women, Satisfaction, Brown Sugar need I go on??. He is the main influence on guitarists such as Richie Sambora and Slash how could you ignore him?????. Exile on Main Street is often regarded as one of the greatest rock and roll albums ever made what is the reason he has been ignored?.
    Can I expect that Charlie Watts will also be snubbed next week too??

  • Comment number 20.

    Just read last weeks comments.I remember seeing Humble Pie at the Green's playhouse,Glasgow probably about 1973.Stevie Marriot what a voice.Amazing.

  • Comment number 21.

    The list of great singers last week was woeful in its omissions, as was the list of guitarists this week. The bias of the program is so obvious its painful. I think that the program and the lists to vote for were compiled by someone who does not like rock guitar soloists or good rock singers (where was steve tyler, paul rodgers, axl rose, ect for the singers, and i will not even start on the guitar players)
    Sadly this series sounded great on paper but is just another wasted opportunity.
    Another thought, why on these type of programs do we need to hear half a dozen people telling us why so and so is so good, yet we only get a five second clip of so and so, if they are so good, just play one of their songs all they way through and let people make their own minds up?
    Oh well..

  • Comment number 22.

    Where was Axl Rose -yes he is an ego maniac but he is one of the greatest LV's ever. The other people that were missing were Liam Gallagher, Paul Weller, The Boss, Micheal Stipe and James Hetfield. these are showmen - entertainers- Another question why are U2 (the biggest band in the world for the last 20 years not in the best band category. Astonishing that they are considered great for glasto but not good enough for the BBC

  • Comment number 23.

    I totally agree...where is Axl Rose!!! One of the best frontmen/singers ever and not even a mention...atleast Robert Plant is in the vote but some of the other singers u can vote for and got a mention really don't deserve it!!!!

  • Comment number 24.

    Spookily I am now watching Guitar heroes on the BBC and there he is Rory Gallagher although they then show police! I am sure even with their fairly large egos they would say Rory could play slightly better than them.

  • Comment number 25.

    I reckon the panel should just cut to the chase and call this band "THE SMITHS"!!! Somebody on the "expert panel" really loves that band and i really can't for the life of me understand why, just looking at that band depresses me. I didn't see Angus Young on that top ten list anywhere, come on BBC get your act together. PLEASE.

  • Comment number 26.

    Here we go again how come no mention of Jimmy Page, last week no Plant, You guys fail again to mention a Led Zeppelin Guy.. Does the BBC know they were the most sucessful rock band of all time in sales and yet never n any shows on Rock do you mention them etc...credance for having Steve Vai on there..a true guitarist and thank God he played a Zeppelin riff... get to the polls this time there is no Ritchie Blackmore..your team of musos compiling the list are way out of depth when it comes to Rock Music, I mean a Blur guitarist in the poll is almost laughable, maybe in a pop vote but rock and roll...please I have no faith in the prog.

  • Comment number 27.

    First they did it with "The Seven Ages of Rock". Now they're doing it again - ignoring the single biggest-selling rock act of all time. AC/DC. All we got last night was a few bars from Hell's Bells. What show about being a guitarist in a rock 'n' roll can totally ignore Angus Young??? One of the "showman-est" showmen in the history of music.

    It's not as if the band need the publicity, they never have, but surely they warrant the recognition that 200 million plus record sales deserves?

  • Comment number 28.

    This series is dissapointedly dumbed down. Who chose the shortlists for voting? Radio DJ personalities may have some interesting opinions but experts in popular music they are not. This program was a chance to look seriously at the subject, I'm not suggesting getting into arguments about the writings of Adorno and Frith etc but do we really value the semi coherent mumblings of certain talking heads featured. How can any serious discussion of rock guitar take place without mention of Clapton, Page and Van Halen.
    How can Van Halen not make the shortlist? He is widely regarded as the most influential and innovative guitarist since Hendrix. Come on BBC you've got Eastenders and that search for Dorothy crap to dumb down the masses, at least give some cultural nourishment for the rest of us!

  • Comment number 29.

    I agree with John milton jr. Axl rose has the biggest ego of all singers. So why not even a mention of him. Also what about James Hetfield of Metallica he has had a lot of contravercy too.

  • Comment number 30.

    Another omission For singer has to be the iconic Ozzy Osbourne.
    The biting of the bat's head off should warrant at least a mention.
    BBC you have really messed this programme up and also future other rock programmes again. Sort it out.

  • Comment number 31.

    Watching the first two series; Rock 'n' Roll singers and guitarists of "I'm in a Rock 'n' Roll Band", I can only deduce the researchers of this programme series have very poor LP, CD or download collections or worse, "Googled" rock singers and guitarists and came up with this mediocre mush.

    I have seen buskers on the Underground that are better than this lot!.

    With the exception of a few such as, Hendrix, Jim Morrison, Page I commend you, but then again they appear in more colourful pictures on Google and Wikipedia.

  • Comment number 32.

    QUITE good.

    It was interesting to hear what the artists thought about it.

    The fair haired women talking, saying the guitars were like male privates.....wot???

    She needs to get a bit of life.

    Too much sex talk generally but otherwise quite interesting (If I want that I'll buy a daily newspaper).

    When was "The Clash" a "Rock n Roll" band, though?

    Same with Queen....Rock n Roll??

  • Comment number 33.

    Generally good.

    Interesting comments, info and pov.

    Too much discussion about sexual meaning and interpretations which might or might not be there.

    Is the Clash a rock and roll band? Queen?

  • Comment number 34.


  • Comment number 35.

    I agree with the comments above, made by various people, to omit such a great number of people is awful. Yes, I appreciate that a hero to one person won't be to another but to deliberately omit such people as Motorhead and Ozzy Osbourne is despicable. No mention of Lemmy in the singers category, I just hope is is mentioned when it comes to bassists because he is, to me, without a shadow of doubt one of the greatest men who ever lived.

  • Comment number 36.


  • Comment number 37.

    Having watched the second show of "I'm in a Rock 'n' Roll Band", the lead guitarists, my only conclusion is that the program is put together by someone from another planet. Included in the list is the guy from blur, the smiths? ????????????????. surely this falls under the trade discriptions act? Rock & Roll, lead guitarist.
    No Brian May, No Dave Gilmore , No Van Halen, No Gary Moore, No Richie Blackmore, No Peter Green ????.
    The drummers turn next week, will the drummer from the muppets be there, we will have to wait and see.

  • Comment number 38.

    I agree with cd.......greatest lead guitarist and NO BRIAN insult. How dare you BBC !!!!
    Queen were in the Bands section
    Freddie was in the vocalist section
    Roger Taylor gets a mention next week with the drummers
    ps also think that Zepplin, Purple and Sabbath should be in there as well...AC/DC, Metallica ............................

  • Comment number 39.

    Some questions!? Christ we've got a few for you dear John and The BBC.

    First of, why are you wasting my money and other TV licence payers money on such unadulterated rubbish.

    John, are you an avid Classical, Opera and Ballet fan, because you sure ain't the slightest bit of a Rock fan. You fail to appreciate (and hence include) some of the most influential and respected, singers and guitarists over the two programmes, while you include, some of the most ludicrous.

    I am not the biggest Led Zeppelin fan in the world, BUT how the hell can you make a programme on ROCK music and being in a ROCK N ROLL band and fail to even remotley acknowledge or mention, Robert Plant or Jimmy Page or Led Zeppelin. They are quite simply, two of the most influential, widely respected and iconic people in ROCK music, period.

    This is not some starry eyed "my favourite artist is not in there" rant, this is a common sense and very logical statement that, if you fail to understand or appreciate, you REALLY should not be making documentaries on rock music (any kind of, to be quite honest) if this is your limit of reason, common sense and research capabilities.

    If, as I imagine next weeks programme (is it drummers) does not include John Bonham, who along with Keith Moon, is regarded as the greatest rock drummers of all time. I suggest you go into hiding, resign from what ever job, you actually think it is that you can do (because you can't) and write a letter of apology to us all, for this waste of time and money.

    I also notice how you open a blog, then refuse to comment on any of the allegations or comments, that have been levelled against you for making such rubbish.

  • Comment number 40.

    I agree with cd
    Vote on Lead Guitarist and NO BRIAN MAY what an insult!!!!!!!!!
    Queen are there in the Band section
    Freddie is there in the Vocalist section
    Roger Taylor is in next weeks show with the Drummers

    The selecting panel ARE the Muppets!!

    No Sabbath, Purple , Zepplin, AC/DC, Metallica (I'm not just a Queen fan)

  • Comment number 41.

    i agree with the queen thing they are rubbish and bon jovi should have been included

  • Comment number 42.

    Are my tax dollars really paying for the BBC to make such badly researched programs? How can you dare produce a documentary on Rock and Roll lead guitarists without mentioning Angus Young or Eddie Van Halen?
    When there are even AC/DC tracks in the soundtrack! But not a mention of one of the most prominent and successful bands with one of the most talented and entertaining lead guitarists in the history of Rock and Roll or one of the greatest pioneers of the modern guitar solo!?!
    Please don't tell me that I can vote for Graham Coxon and Matt Bellamy but not for Angus or Eddie. Nothing against the young guys but where is the respect? It feels like a bit of a farce really.
    I am at least relieved to see by other peoples comments that most of the Great British audience isn't fooled by a cheap and ignorant program relying on flashy comic book style motion graphics to try and pull the wool over our eyes.

  • Comment number 43.

    i was disappointed to see REM excluded from both episodes...michael stipe is the most charismatic lead singer of recent years (with morrissey) and peter buck ranks alongside marr as the best rock guitarist of his of the best ever american bands - shamefully neglected by this series...

  • Comment number 44.

    I agree with Martin, I have left posts earlier on here but you know the thing with Zeppelin is they got as big as they did without the help of the media, no singles, tv appearences after 1969 really and became the biggest rock and roll band in the world, they very rarely ever go on tv now to discuss Zeppelin, leaving their status and myth in place ecause lets face it no other musical act have before or after go a big as they did without the help of sucking up to the media, biut to not talk about them in their programme is really unforgivable, as I aid in the vocalist bit, its like having a programme on religion and not talking about Jesus or moses.

    Having Blur and The Smiths on it is really funny, because they know they are noting but pop bands. No Eddie van halen, the 2nd most influential rock guitarist after Hendrix, in rock music circles you are either a post Halen Guitarist or pre, thats how important he is...BBC I am going to write a complaint, your researchers need to be sacked

  • Comment number 45.

    Jimi Hendrix, The most respected and influential electric guitarist ever, bar none ? !!!!! ?. One of ..... okay, but bare none ? ! NO WAY
    When asked what it was like to be the greatest guitarist in the world (at the Isle of Wight concert) Jimmy said to go ask Rory Gallagher.
    Ask Brian May about Rory, for heavens sake !!!
    No mention of him at all ?
    The guy that got Eric Clapton back into blues, no less !!!!
    I reckon the producers also think that the only power trio was Cream.
    So where was Rory Gallagher, Brian May, Dave Gilmore, Keith Richards (ad infinitum)
    I won't be watching the rest, too many icons missing for no apparent reason other than maybe the pretty ropey collection of music the producers were working with.
    I'm just glad i don't have to pay a license fee (ex-pat) but even that doesn't help the blind frustration of the first two episodes.

    Thanks for very little indeed.

  • Comment number 46.

    no robert plant for the singers, no jimmy page for guitarists, what next, no john bonham in the next episode?

  • Comment number 47.

    Great series but weird that Jim Morrison isn't a choice for best singer and Led Zeppelin hasn't been featured... Would have thought Robert Plant and Jimmy Page would be interesting material for the front man and guitarist episodes.

  • Comment number 48.


  • Comment number 49.

    I like the idea of this series but am a bit baffled by the choice of acts featured. Have the producers not heard of a band called Led Zeppelin. They were quite big, in fact the biggest heavy rock band on the planet. If you are going to talk about frontmen and lead guitarists Zeppelin should have been at the top of the pile but unless I missed it they were not even mentioned. And what about the endless footage of the piss poor Bon Jovi but no mention of Van Halen who, in their frontman and lead guitarist, went on to influence just about every heavy rock band, all a bit weird I think.

  • Comment number 50.


  • Comment number 51.

    can i say i meant 27 years not 2

  • Comment number 52.

    Good to see that both the programmes and top ten shortlists have elicited such a lively reponse!

    To deal with the programmes first, what we have not sought to do with these shows is to undertake a kind of box-ticking exercise where we say a little bit about all 'the greats'.

    The plan was rather to try to get from the horse's mouth a sense of why and how band members do what they do. To try to find out what makes them tick - and whether the cliched perceptions of the different personality types drawn to each role within the band hold water.

    With this testimony-based approach, it is inevitable that the content is dictated by who is interviewed for the series - in our case a cross-generational cast list of well over a hundred musicians from across rock'n'roll in its broadest sense.

    The sixth and final show in the series will then be all about the debate as to who is 'the greatest' in each category within the band.

    Moving on to the shortlists, as the website expains, these have been compiled from the votes of the varied selection of music broadcasters listed on the site.

    There is no question of anyone being deliberately snubbed or left out.
    Or of us as programme makers working to any agenda.
    It's just democracy in action!

  • Comment number 53.

    @bonjovilover I'd never really listened to Bon Jovi before but on your recommendation I went off and had a play of 1986's Slippery When Wet on Spotify.... Not up to much is it? Like Extreme but without the tunes.

  • Comment number 54.

    "It's just democracy in action!""
    Wel we all can see where that got us :-) 30% of the vote and 11% representation.
    Anyway, It's obvious that the REAL greats didn't get a mention because the panel had either never heard of them (due to their lesser years) or the programme was not really aimed at over '50s, those of us who have been around longer than "Rock" and have seen it all being born, grow up and mature.
    This series doesn't give an answer to the question it seemed to be posing in the first place, namely what's the quintisential rock band. Obvious answer is..... It doesn't exist.
    Dave Gilmore would be rubbish in the Smiths, Morrisey would die in Queen etc.
    Every great rock band is great because it is what it is. It's all in the mix, fate, luck, whatever.
    ....... and that could have been said in a 5 minute compilation instead of a six week, half-hearted exercise which will probably end with the usual memorable quote "We just don't know, make your own mind up".

  • Comment number 55.

    to bonjovimeh i think slippery is 1 of their worst albums you should listen to some others

  • Comment number 56.

    I totally agree with queenrocks. A tiny bit of Freddie on the lead singers show, so out of order! No Brian May on the guitarist episode, shame on you BBC! Too many have been missed out i.e. no Ozzy Osbourne. Don't think i'll watch any more episodes.

  • Comment number 57.

    I think it is agreed that the BBC didn't think very carefully about the candidates for the first two programs. However, what irritated me the most -And I'm astonished that no one in this discussion has picked up on it thus far- is the fact that there has been no mention whatsoever (to my recollection) of any female musicians with the exception of Debbie Harry, Courtney Love and Siouxsie Sioux -featuring only briefly in a passing shot. Where was... Patti Smith, Poison Ivy, Ruyter Suys, Marnie Stern, Lita Ford, Nico, Nancy Wilson, The Great Kat, Bjork, Chrissie Hynde, Jennifer Batten, Joan Jett, Donita Sparks, Annie Lennox, Kelley Deal, Carrie Brownstein, Stevie Nicks, Shirley Manson, Grace Slick, Kim Gordon, Christine McVie, Kim Deal, Suzi Quatro, Skin, Justine Frischmann, Orianthi...?
    It is undeniable that rock 'n' roll is stereotypically associated with masculinity in the broadest sense and the BBC only chose to accentuate this -much to my annoyance- by continually using the pronoun 'he' to describe their hypothetical musicians. There have been so many fantastic female contributors to rock music throughout the past 50 years who were unjustly excluded from the past two programs along with quite a few obvious male musicians. Although I like the idea of music lovers dreaming up their own fantasy rockband, I think that this so called 'expert' panel only demonstrate their poor observational skills when it comes to key figures in music history. Not to mention that a heavy focus on the contemporary or the cliched makes it a rather clumsy effort. Although, this is unsurprising when you consider that the panel are (with a few exceptions) made from a stock of typically uninspiring radio presenters who often like to dictate the kind of bland modern electronic substitute for music that they think people should be listening to. No wonder people have to look to the past for a decent rock band. Young people will never know about key rock figures if we don't make programs correctly in the future.

  • Comment number 58.

    Once again we are asked to make a judgement about our subjective beliefs just so that the BBC can justify cheap TV. Each entry here is just as valid as the others, we all have our favourites (mine include Ozzy, Beano Johnson and Bon Scott, Bruce Dickinson, Paul Rogers, EVH, Slash, Joe Satriani, Angus Young, Zakk Wylde and many, many more). No-one will ever agree completely about who's the best, fun discussing though but the fact that everyone likes someone else is at the crux of what music is about - something for everyone. Enjoy.

  • Comment number 59.

    i just watched the guitarist episode of your programme 'Im in a Rock 'n' Roll Band' and am annoyed that there has been no mention of ACDC in either programme. Angus Young is the greatest guitarist of all time. And then theres Bon Scott and Brian Johnson who should both be included in the lead singers. Never mind the Smiths!!! they're not aven a rock n roll band. So where are ACDC, Deep Purple, Airbourne and Free!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • Comment number 60.

    No ! We are not going to moan about Axl Rose of Robert Plant again....
    We are just going to repaet two words, because again the Beeb failed a little. Ready? Oké here they come: Nicko McBrain Nicko McBrain Nicko McBrain Nicko McBrain Nicko McBrain Nicko McBrain Nicko McBrain Nicko McBrain Nicko McBrain Nicko McBrain Nicko McBrain Nicko McBrain Nicko McBrain Nicko McBrain Nicko McBrain Nicko McBrain Nicko McBrain Nicko McBrain Nicko McBrain Nicko McBrain Nicko McBrain Nicko McBrain Nicko McBrain...oké ? Fine !! thank you!

    P.s. but we do believe Axl Rose is one of the biggest next to God Plant and semi-God Scott!!!

  • Comment number 61.

    There are some innovative and influential drummers in this list - but the main man is missing.NEIL PEART.Maybe not mainstream enough- but the 'daddy' of the drum solo and master of the poly-rhythms !

  • Comment number 62.

    I didn't see the singers doc but i hope David bowie got his fair share of airtime or should that be Ziggy stardust or Alladin sane Thin white duke etc,and Johnny Rotten was an awesome frontman whether you liked the pistols or not Strummer too.As for the lead guitar section check out your old Bowie classics and some of the greatest sounds ever to come from the rock guitar are moving your funiture as well as your digits yes Mick Ronson probably the most forgotten man in rock history including Rory Gallagher,and while i'm at it where was Paul Weller .I've just watched the drummers very good but to omit Topper Headon is insane ,i agree with other comments does it come down to who was available ?

  • Comment number 63.

    My God they actually got it right this week, without question Bonham and Moon are the best rock drummers and they were both talked about....They left the best untill last...When the Levee Breaks has to be the sexiest raunchiest drum beat in the history of Rock and Roll...

  • Comment number 64.

    where the hell is tico torres he is an amazin drummer

  • Comment number 65.

    I have to point out that you made one big fauxpah on this show and Alan Yentobs History of the guitar. Hendrix gets his due as a pioneer then its to Steve Vai again an awesome player. In both shows you did not give the biggest influencial living guitarist Eddie Van Halen. Took Hendrix's concepts to the newt level with his 2 hand tapping technique and use of harmonic effects. This guy totally influenced a generation of guitar players and the modern rock metal style is still heavily influeced by him. How the researchers completely overlooked such an important figure is mind boggeling. He is the guy that does the solo on Micheal Jacksons Beat it nuff said. (Jackson never paid him for the session either!)Its like making a programe about cars and forgetting all about Ferrari. This a major oversite. Something needs to be done to address the situation. What about a TV biography on Eddie? I would gladly offer my services as a researcher on such a programme.

  • Comment number 66.

    Come on everyone. There is only one band who can win (joke) this "competition". Who has the best frontman/singer, the best guitar player, the best drummer and the best bass player? And it ain' the Bay City Rollers! Good as they were in all in departments. LED ZEPPELIN!!!!

  • Comment number 67.

    Do I have to say it again? Led Zeppelin! (I'm a big Sabbath fan by the way)

  • Comment number 68.

    I would say that the members of Deep Purple should Each be in their repective top tens no matter what line up you choose with the exception of Coverdale maybe????

  • Comment number 69.

    Damn, at last.... 10 out of 10 for this episode. John Bonham and Kieth Moon !!!. Seriously, this makes up for some of the damage done with the Singers and Guitarists. As far as this one's concerned... Well Done.

  • Comment number 70.

    To ask radio DJ personalities their views on music is like asking newsreaders what their views are on the state of the world; dumb, dumb, dumb, dumb; these people are not experts in anything other than being radio presenters which in Fearne Cotton's case at least, equates talking a load of extremely dumb nonsense, much to the nations irratation. Maybe the BBC as becomed dumbed down by the people within?

  • Comment number 71.

    I have been a professional drummer for over 30 years, playing most styles, including rock n roll. The interviews and footage in your drummer programme were good, but the commentary was just a series of dumb myths. For example:

    Myth: Drummers are 'animals', a primeval force.
    All great performing musicians draw on primal energy.

    Myth: drummers hunger for machismo.
    The increasing number of great women drummers, such as Terri Lyne Carrington, scuppers that one.

    Myth: drummers are jealous of lead singers or guitarists.
    In my experience it's mostly the other way round.

    Myth: drummers are mad, hell-bent on self-destruction.
    They're no madder or more self-destructive than other musicians.

    Myth: only the drummer brings the 'primal force - the beat'. All good musicians strive for great time and phrasing in their playing, including singers.

  • Comment number 72.

    I know that this program probably isn't to be taken too seriously, everyone has a different opinion etc... but I agree with most of the posts on this blog, I just want to point out a few other ommissions and people mentioned who I had to laugh at.

    where are: bobby gillespie - brilliant frontman and a true rock n roll star. reni - I read a comment once by pete townsend, comparing him to the great keith moon.

    phil collins????? hahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahah

    the police (all of them)???????? hahahahahahah

    dexys midnight runners PLEASE?????????????????????????????????????????

    I don't think enough has been said about the sex pistols, one of the most influential bands ever.

    I hope Mani is included on the bassists program

    I totally agree with all the comments about geddy lee and neil peart, both are outstanding musicians

  • Comment number 73.

    For a thoughtful take on the drummer episode from one of those appearing :

  • Comment number 74.

    This has got to be the worst panel,how can the smiths,radiohead,the clash etc be better rock bands than the who your telling me they where better than Townsend,Moon,Daltrey and Entwhisle.The vote contradicts itself as three of these ledgends are in the top ten.Zoe Ball on the panel says it all I know it's about opinions but sadly the have dot it wrong,I'am still in shock..

  • Comment number 75.


    I'm sorry, but being a drummer since I was 7 (I'm almost 17), I've been learning off the best of them.

    Being a huge Rush fan, I'm inclined to say WHERE WAS NEIL PEART!?!?!?! He's the best rock drummer of all time. Better than Bonham, better than Moon, better than Palmer. Surely, he should have been included in the episode.

    And where was Geddy Lee? YYZ is arguably the best rock bassist piece to date. Again, why was he not included??? I usually like the BBC, but their knowledge of rock ('n' roll) is appaling, if not shockingly bad.

  • Comment number 76.

    your almost 17 so you've got alot to learn if you've never read the book a 'dear boy'then you don't know much about being a drummer,you may well have and i might be wrong and i bet you've never watched any of the above's proper footage just a guess,i'am a drummer to and there is and never has been anyone better than moon.

  • Comment number 77.

    i agree with you Alex,for a rock band like Rush not to be mentioned IS a desgrace,they went on about bassists and keybourd players,well Geddy Lee plays both,come on the bbc look a bit harder and see the great bands you've left out.

  • Comment number 78.

    Again....I do not understand the BBC-people who made this episode. I'm sorry! I truely am, but with your connections and archive......what's wrong?? Not bothering to explain more....just sad but true......

    to cheer other people up after this semi-bad episode, go and watch (if not censored by the same Beeb):

    Why not make a good two hour long documentary about Jean Paul Getty? Because here you totally missed it. I do not understand this. Normally the BBC is good and briljant in making these kinds of documentaries....
    Oh well don't cry...welcome to the jungle of silent thinking and wondering why?? ;- )

    Good sunday to all. Jonathan, we'll miss you here in Holland !!

  • Comment number 79.

    Why is there no section for songwriter? Jack Bruce would be in as contendor as I would have thought he would be for bassist etc (Sunshine of Your Love, Politician anybody!)

    I thought I saw a section for keyboard player, but then didn't! while I agree with Manzarek and Winwood (who also wrote some incredible songs) but my vote would go with Wright who added so much atmosphere to Pink Floyd.But what about Graham Bond, Vincent Crane (Auther Brown/Atomic Rooster), David Sinclair (Caravan) and the best Jimmy Smith?

    As for lead guitarist, I could go with Rory but have been a lifelong supporter of Eric (Clapton) until I went to a live concert and saw Richard Thompson, at that point I was converted, Richard Thompson is not only a great songwriter he is THE BEST LEAD GUITARIST EVER, he played "Gethsemane" stunned silence followed by somebody in the audience saying "wow"!!!!!! and how right he was.

    I suppose you have to "cull" this down, but it would have been good if "the population" had been allowed a vote as well.

    And what about John Hiseman as both drummer and the "other" not as demonstrative as Moon but a much better drummer. Dick Heckstell-Smith as saxsophanist, Iain Anderson Flute and vocalist, Chris Farlowe as vocalist????????

    But an enjoyable programme.

  • Comment number 80.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 81.

    Just been watching the episode about 'the Other One' in the band. (Yay for i-Player!) I'm a female bassist, who often plays alongside an excellent female keyboard-player. I wondered if there was any reason why there were no female bassists or keys players featured? To this day, people often express surprise that a lady would want to play bass, even though Suzi Quattro was a front-person & bassist in the 70s! And what of Carole Kaye?
    I surely am not the only female four-(sometimes five)-stringer out there! Let's hear from some others...God bless ♥

  • Comment number 82.


    Keith Richards and The Edge did not make the Guitarist shortlist and

    Don Henley did not make the Drummer shortlist

    Oh well......

  • Comment number 83.

    This whole dismal series has been a hymn to the mundane: Why excellence in musicianship should be either ignored and/or condemned at the expense of the underachievers featured in the shows is beyond me. It's akin to praising Graham Taylor over Jose Mourinho. Style IS substance in the entertainment business, but I didn't find much of it in each category shortlist. For those of us with a broader cultural perspective, this was a pitiful serving of a very thin gruel!

  • Comment number 84.

    Amongst the many negative aspects of the series so far, there are some positive aspects which I feel are worth mentioning.

    Firstly, the choice of Mark Radcliffe as narrator was inspired but at the same time a "no-brainer". This is a man with an almost encyclopedic knowledge of music i.e. someone who knows what he is talking about when it comes to critiquing music across just about every genre imaginable. He also gives an opinion that one can listen to and respect and in my case, usually agree with. For the record, I do not know Mark Radcliffe, I have never met him nor has money changed hands for the glowing testimonial I have just made. I just think the guy deserves the recognition he deserves for making a somewhat scrappy collection of views and anecdotes enjoyable and viewable.

    Contrasting this with some of the other presenters selected to chuck in there two pen'orth, I really wished that he had been given a "talking head" spot as well as entertaining me with his usual wit and repartee. Come to that, couldn't you have roped in Maconie, Andrew Collins, Dave Quantick, Gideon Coe and Phil Jupitus to name but a few, all respected music journalists and/or presenters, some of whom still have BBC contracts (if they haven't already bailed out of BBC6 or are about to due to their recent joke programming)? I have nothing personal against the likes of Fearne Cotton (a member of your panel of experts) but, come on!?

    The title of the series "I'm in a Rock and Roll Band" really whetted my appetite as I've been playing bass guitar in the rock "stylee" for many years. But how you could lump bass players into the episode "The Other Ones"? This is beyond me.

    I appreciate the economic "crisis" the BBC is suffering at the moment and the obvious temptation to put things together piecemeal, but to miss out what is an essential part of the back bone of a band and not have a seperate episode is astonishing. At least we got to hear and see some of the greats (Entwistle, Lemmy etc) but no John Paul Jones, Geddy Lee, Phil Lynott and Noel Redding for example.

    The lack of such luminaries, all of whom were in bona fide rock bands, meant I was sick and tired of seeing and hearing Peter Hook and his "New Order" colleagues. Mr. Hook is not what I would describe as a true rock n roll bass player. I agree that he has a unique style, sound and technique, granted, but he might as well play a synth. As far as his low slung style is concerned, all that it seems to have done is knacker his back and neck. New Order/Joy Division are not about rock and roll, period. John Piper says that the programme producers have no agenda but the prevalance of Mr. Hook and co. suggests to me that there is.

    Overall, I have enjoyed the series and I'm looking forward to the final broadcast next week , not least because of the further debate that it will provoke. However, I think it's fair to say that the producers of the series have failed to recognise the contribution of what I would deem to be true rock and roll stars e.g. Eddie Van Halen, Dave Lee Roth, all of the members of Rush, Aerosmith, Foo Fighters, Pearl Jam, et al.

    And please, don't get me started on Jonathan Ross's credentials to be an presenter, let alone an "expert" in this field.

  • Comment number 85.

    I'm not gonna slag off other posters choices about who should be included, what I AM gonna say is...
    Who the hell do the panel think they are?
    A bunch of self inflated nobodies and has beens!
    It seems to me that the folk commenting on here have a better idea of who and what makes a better contribution to musicianship than the deluded panel. Another typically dumb show from the bbc. To combine the keyboards and bassists in one program as "others"? I mean come on!
    Where was Stu Hamm (bass) Ken Hensley (k/boards) Mark King (ok maybe more pop than rock) Joy Division.. ROCK? I mean seriously???

  • Comment number 86.

    Ah, good to see that this programme has sparked much debate and that there are still people out there who are passionate about their Rock N' Roll.

    I think the producer was up against it when having to limit this series to only 6 episodes, for a start. The plus points were the graphics (highly amusing), Mark Radcliffe narrating (genius choice) and some of the insights into being in a band. I'm not a musician myself, so have always marvelled at the mystique surrounding this dynamic.

    One thing I think the series did highlight is that music is SO subjective (one man's Bon Jovi is another man's Led Zeppelin, believe it or not!).

    Another is something I've always dismayed about since moving to this country from the US 20-odd years ago: Most British radio (and the BBC is the biggest offender) has NO respect and no interest in the history and legacy of rock music, which is criminal!! I grew up listening to Album Oriented Rock, which was priceless in exposing me to new and old music. FACT: LED ZEPPELIN NEVER RELEASED A SINGLE IN THE US AND WAS THE BIGGEST ROCK BAND. BOTH IN TERMS OF ALBUM SALES AND LIVE SHOWS, REGULARLY PLAYING 80,000 CAPACITY STADIUMS.

    The programme covered some of the most influential and biggest rock bands in history, but when was the last time any of the BBC stations played a Led Zeppelin, Cream, Hendrix (and NOT the new release) or Who track? 6 Music started off playing a mix of these classic acts and new music (they broke The Kings of Leon in this country, for god's sake), which was genius, then stupidly decided to mimic the commercial stations, playing only new (and in most cases, inferior - La Roux, Paloma Faith, Mika) artists. Believe me, I'm not an old dinosaur that listens to only old stuff, but there is SO much good new music out there and the Beeb seems to plump for style over substance every time...some quality control would be greatly appreciated. Muse are fine, but do you seriously think that anyone's going to remember any of their tracks in 20 years time?

    I would have thought that the viewing figures and debate sparked by this programme (as well as the demand for tickets to the Zeppelin reunion live gigs) prove that there's a healthy following of and appetite for rock and roll music, but 6Music has just axed Bruce Dickenson's Friday Rock Show - it speaks volumes as to how in touch the Beeb is with what their listeners want to hear.

    Getting back to the programme - was disappointed that there wasn't a whole show devoted to bass players! Thank god you showed the genius of John Entwistle & Paul Simenon, even if you did ignore John Paul Jones, Bruce Foxton, Pete Farndon and Geddy Lee. The rhythm section is what rock n roll is all about, but you made it sound like playing bass is something people do by default because they can't play anything else....really?!?!?

    And Peter Hook got WAY too much coverage, as did New Order. I know there seem to be a lot of sentimental Mancunians about that think Ian Curtis died too young (which he did), but New Order is the most over-rated band in the world and I've always been completely baffled by the slave-like devotion that the mediocre musicianship and, quite frankly, abysmal vocals seem to inspire. (controversial!) Their air time should really have been handed over to the Stone Roses (no mention of John Squires, either) and/or The Smiths, if you want to stick to the Mancunian theme.

    Like I said, it was a tall order to satisfy everyone, but couldn't you have had Chrissy Hynde instead of Shirley Manson? If you're gonna to feature woman in a rock n roll programme, at least feature women with balls...on that note, even Suzy Quatro would have been better qualified to give her insights than Manson.

    Re The Shortlist From the Panel of (*cough*) Experts: Want not call a spade a spade and say it's a panel of BBC Radio presenters who get paid to play what's on the playlist decided by the powers that be and talk rubbish, trying to be "down with the kids"? Come on, the majority of these are the biggest offenders of having no clue about music that's come out prior to six months ago. No offence to Radcliffe, Maconie, Lamacq and to some degree, Zane Lowe, who seem to be genuinely passionate about music.

    That's me done. I hope that the BBC looks into developing this series further and doing in-depth programmes on all of the sub-genres of rock. I'm not even a metal fan, but the BBC 4 programme on it last month was brilliant. Maybe they should commission similar programmes devoted to blues-based, acid rock, indie, art rock, psychedelia (think progs already been done) and country rock (don't forget The Byrds, Burrito Brothers, Creedence Clearwater Revival, Grateful Dead), grunge and emo (as much as I hate emo, still deserves coverage).

    Right - off to listen to American, freeform radio online now....

  • Comment number 87.

    Loved watching the show, anything to do with Rock&Roll fascinates me (especially comments from Lemmy) BUT why was it so male-slanted???? Yeah yeah I realise MOST Rock&Roll bands have been & remain male, but not ENTIRELY (& I DON'T mean Lauren Laverne's 'band'-! which wormed its way on) - What really wazzed me off was Mark Radcliffe's 1970's style narative, never having 'SHE' in it; as if no women have ever dreamed of or succeeded in being in a rock&roll band, just 'HE'
    The Rock pool of women may be much smaller to choose from but it DOES exist, far more so than the BBC acknowledged.
    keyboard player 'other one'; I thought they'd at least mention Candida from Pulp? Or more about Courtney Love, or a bit of Girlschool alongside Motorhead?! Or even Vixen - Not exactly my favourite group but they couldve had at least a MENTION alongside the over-hyped oily Bon Jovi
    The BBC seem to prefer keeping women in their own (usualy tragic)documentaries, rather than letting them roam free

  • Comment number 88.

    Why was Lauren Laverne on every 5 minutes commenting about EVERYTHING - will someone please tell her how supercilious she is? And as for Al Murray, Vic Reeves ("Ringo was the ship's parrot"), and Ade Edmondson dumbing down for a laugh... More than a touch of the BBC telethon crowd for my liking.
    It would have been better as a show about British r'n'r featuring more people with good stories to tell and, as usual, extreme metal is avoided altogether as per '7 ages of rock'.


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