The Day the Rock Star Died returns to our screens soon. The show is a series of half-hour programs and handy little primers to some beloved musicians who are no longer with us. Their story is told through the use of some archive material and interviews with esteemed authors, producers and broadcasters. The AU Review have put together our favourite moments from the five remaining episodes.
1. Jimi Hendrix: the guitarist has Paul McCartney to thank for being put on the bill at the Monterey Pop Festival. This is where Hendrix famously lit his guitar on fire and became a legend. While Hendrix only produced three studio albums in his lifetime, his incendiary playing has ensured that he continues to inspire new generations of guitarists everywhere.
2. Whitney Houston: she was a singer who was technically a mezzo soprano but she had a huge range and the ability to seduce us all with a few notes. She made dolly Parton’s “I Will Always Love You” her own. It’s easy to see why her fans continue to love and miss this trailblazing lady.
3. Johnny Cash: was always the inimitable man in black. He was the mythological country singer-songwriter who walked the line between good and evil. A man of many contradictions, he played to hardened criminals at Folsom and San Quentin prisons. But you could argue the man was a big softie because he died of a broken heart not long after losing his wife, June Carter Cash.
4. Michael Jackson: it’s incredible to think that this popstar started out in the industry at the age of six! The album, Thriller was the peak of his career and he wrote, danced and sang up a storm. He had an amazing discography, even if his oddball behaviour overshadowed this at times.
5. Janis Joplin: now this was a lady who knew how to sing the blues. An amazing, gravel-voiced singer, she inspired the Bette Midler film, The Rose. Janis often felt like an outsider but her hometown would dedicate a memorial to her honour after her death. Her magnum opus, Pearl is still considered one of the best albums of all time. Look out for the acoustic song, “Mercedes Benz” for a real treat.
Review score: three stars (out of five).
The Day The Rock Star Died returns on January 3 on Foxtel Arts.