The Stray Cats brought propulsive '50s rock and roll back to the radio during the era of Synth Pop and REO Speedwagon. After striking out stateside, they took their American sound to England and hit pay dirt. Their "veddy British" video for "Stray Cat Strut" was put on heavy rotation during the birth of MTV, and they rode the wave of success all the way home. The Blasters, the Paladins or Robert Gordon may have had a purer revival sound, but Brian Setzer put a lot of modern guitar bite into the Cats's well-crafted tunes, but after they had a quick succession of hits, but their star dimmed long before the 1980s ended. The same guitar that served the Stray Cats so well helped jump-start the Retro/Swing Revival movement in the Brian Setzer Orchestra. Hopefully the nouveau big band scene will last, or Setzer may be forced to spearhead a Dixieland band. Regardless of what the future holds, Stray Cats songs like "Rumble in Brighton" will remain youthful snippets of greasy-haired fun.
Stray Cats Concert Films
Live at Montreux, 1981
Runtime: 1 hr 20 minWhen the Stray Cats rolled into Montreux in July of 1981 they were one of the hottest properties around. They had 3 hit singles and a UK top 10 album already under their belts along with a string of headlining concerts, all of which had come since their relocation from New York to London in 1980. The band's combination of original songs and rockabilly classics with a punk attitude and style had caught the moment to perfection. Added to this were their considerable musical accomplishments and knack for songwriting. All in all it was a heady concoction and the crowd in Montreux reacted with near hysterical excitement, something rarely seen in what is usually a polite and reserved audience. This is the Stray Cats at their peak.
Live At Rockpalast: Cologne 1981
Runtime: 1 hr 11 minWhen the Stray Cats entered the scene in the 80s, rockabilly was hot. Grease quiffs and tattoos were the outside badges; upright drums and bass the characteristic instruments. Includes two performances in Germany: one in 1981 in Cologne and one in 1983 at the Loreley that were recorded by WDR. These are genuine recordings that make the trio's sound still accessible today.
Stray Cats Top Tracks
Classic Album: Elvis Presley
Runtime: 50 min"It was like the world went from black & white to Technicolor," says Keith Richards of the emergence of Elvis Presley in the mid-'50s, and this look at the King's first official album (the legendary Sun Sessions weren't issued in album form until well after the fact) backs up that claim. The one-hour program (plus 40 minutes of bonus interview material on the program) combines performance footage (the early TV shows are not to be missed), photos, and more to limn Presley's early days, when he combined country, blues, and R&B to forge a unique, galvanizing style. Sun producer Sam Phillips, author Peter Guralnick, Presley's musicians, and others are on hand to provide insight and background. But in the end, of course, it comes down to the music--and when you're talking about the likes of "Blue Suede Shoes," "Tutti Frutti," "Money Honey," and "Heartbreak Hotel" (a single that actually wasn't on the album), "classic" hardly begins to cover it.
Keep on Rockin'
Runtime: 28 minLittle Richard was one of the first great wildmen of rock, with his sky-high pompadour, manic scream and frantically rockin' tunes like "Tutti Frutti" and "Keep A' Knockin'." Keep On Rockin' captures the self-proclaimed "quasar of rock" in fine and unfettered form in this 1969 date at a Toronto festiva
Runtime: 1 hr 30 minFrom his hardcore '50s Memphis rockabilly start to his symphonic 1960s pop masterpieces and his stunning 1980s comeback, Roy Orbison's uniformly extraordinary recordings still rank today as some of American music's finest. Gifted with a soaring voice that conjured vulnerability and loss with acute precision, the Texas-born singer-songwriter-guitarist wasted no time-- he had his own radio show at age ten and formed his first rock 'n' roll band, The Teen Kings, in 1955. Recording at Sam Phillips' legendary Sun Studios alongside Jerry Lee Lewis and Johnny Cash, Orbison was still seeking his ideal sound and, after parting ways with Sun, finally found it, with 1960's ""Only The Lonely."" Orbison's creativity gave birth to a unique, highly individualized, orchestral pop-rock style that resulted in a series of masterpieces and made him an international star. By 1988, Orbison was enjoying a dream comeback: topping the charts with songs that once again cemented his reputation as a pop genius; but ultimately, death claimed him too soon. In Dreams (which marks this legend's 70th Anniversary) is a definitive 90-minute documentary that charts the entire grand trajectory of his unrivaled career and includes in-depth interviews with Roy as well as many of his admirers.
Brian Setzer's Rockabillity Riot! Osaka Rocka Live in Japan 2016
Runtime: 1 hr 33 minThree-time Grammy-award-winner BRIAN SETZER's new concert experience ROCKABILLY RIOT: OSAKA ROCKA! - LIVE IN JAPAN was filmed on February 18 at Namba Hatch in Osaka, Japan. Live and loud, the concert encompasses songs from SETZER's acclaimed 2014 studio album Rockabilly Riot! All Original a sizzling rockabilly album from start to finish featuring SETZER's trademark twang and fretboard fire. Also included are classic hits from his Stray Cats days, Brian Setzer Orchestra tunes and tracks from his solo albums. In front of the wildly enthusiastic audience, Brian Setzer and his band Noah Levy (Drums), Kevin McKendree (Piano and Guitar) and Mark Winchester (Bass) are firing on all cylinders.
Story of Rock and Roll
Jerry Lee Lewis
Runtime: 52 minJerry Lee Lewis - Story of Rock and Roll is a biography of pioneering rock-and-roller Jerry Lee Lewis, with clips from his past concerts, television and movie appearances.