BBC Two and BBC Four today announce a series of celebratory and investigative music programming for May and June. Over the two months, the channels will highlight Queen, Bob Dylan and Carlos Santana, delve into the world of Easy Listening and explore songwriting with a three-part mini-series.
Jan Younghusband, TV Commissioning Editor, BBC Music and Events, says: “BBC Two and BBC Four continue to take the viewer inside the world of great musicians and their music, with unique access documentaries and performance. With previously unseen footage of Freddie Mercury and Queen, a dedicated Dylan programme and a unique new interview with Carlos Santana, as well as Guy Chambers letting us into his studio to see how great songs are made, all these films go behind the scenes into the real world of music-making.”
BBC Two explores the process of songwriting in new three-part series, Secrets Of The Pop Song, which follows the pen to paper to first public performance. Each episode sees songwriter, producer and musician Guy Chambers, collaborating with an artist to write a new song each week – a ballad, an anthem and a breakthrough single, with a variety of celebrated musical contributors divulging the secrets of the trade along the way.
Acclaimed singer-songwriter Rufus Wainwright joins Guy to write a ballad, The Noisettes link up with him in the studio for the anthem programme and music producer Mark Ronson works alongside him to create a breakthrough single. The series hears from songwriting big-hitters throughout, including Sting, Brian May, Boy George, Neil Tennant, Jessie J and Diane Warren.
In 1971 four university students got together to form the band Queen and 40 years later, they have released 26 albums and sold over 300 million records worldwide. BBC Two presents an in-depth two-part documentary, A Certain Band Called Queen.
The popularity of Freddie Mercury, Brian May, Roger Taylor and John Deacon is at an all time high and this BBC Two documentary explores the remarkable story of these individuals, looking into the early struggles, huge obstacles, success, arguments, breakups, triumph, tragedy and an enduring legacy – all against a backdrop of brilliant music and stunning live performances. With an extensive archive of unseen footage, the documentary is the band’s story in their own words – a compelling journey told with intelligence, wit, plenty of humour and painful honesty.
BBC Four highlights the legendary talents of Carlos Santana with The Santana Story: Angels And Demons. The great Mexican-American guitarist and songwriter reveals his turbulent life story with astonishing intimacy and insight, accompanied by rare and unseen archive performances of many of his best-known tunes.
Spanning from his formative years in Mexico through to his successful Supernatural album of the late Nineties, the documentary explores the days of The Santana Band, the Woodstock Festival and his second rise to fame. Featuring contributions from Clive Davis and John McLaughlin, among others, the honest and sincere programme also reveals the pain of sexual abuse that the artist experienced before leaving his family and the experience and emotions during extensive touring.
BBC Four also celebrates The Joy Of Easy Listening with a feature-length programme and a series of concerts and documentaries dedicated to the genre.
The feature-length film looks at easy listening’s architects and practitioners; its dangers and delights; and the mark it has left on modern life, from its emergence in the Fifties to its heyday in the Sixties, through its survival in the Seventies and Eighties and its revival in the Nineties and beyond.
With contributions from Richard Carpenter, Herb Alpert, Engelbert Humperdinck this documentary traces the hidden history of a music that has reflected society every bit as much as pop and rock – just in a more relaxed way.
BBC Four also shines the spotlight on legendary singer-songwriter Bob Dylan from a different perspective, with Tangled Up With Dylan: The Ballad Of AJ Weberman.
The feature-length documentary follows the life, times and crimes of the notorious Bob Dylan obsessive and Garbology inventor, AJ Weberman. It’s an irreverent and witty exploration into one man’s obsessions, a bohemian life lived on the New York fringes and a uniquely twisted take on the American dream.
At times hilarious, at other times disturbing, this film is not only a great companion piece to Scorsese’s No Direction Home, but also an interesting observation on our unbalanced desires to know more about celebrities and how far we are willing to go to get that information or even become a part of their lives.