This series looks at the writing and recording of some of the greatest albums of our era. Musicians, producers, and engineers are interviewed in the studio, and the master tapes are played, sometimes isolating particular channels, to highlight certain instrumental sounds or voices. Many of the musicians play live along with the tracks, demonstrating how they played the parts. In some cases, group members are reuniting after considerable time as they reminisce together. This is usually interspersed with some vintage clips and photos of concert performances.
The BBC produced series began in 1997, with Ringo Starr as narrator. Later episodes have no narrator. The first seven episodes were licensed to VH1 for showing in the US, then periodically more were released, one at a time. Some have been shown on A&E, PBS, and Biography Channel. One or two were repackaged by VH1 as 'Ultimate Albums'. In April 2006, 26 DVD's were released as 'VH1's Classic Albums', with additional footage and bonus features. In October 2006, the show began a weekly airing on VH1 Classic on Tuesday evenings. The original airdates in some cases are sketchy, as VH1 are rather tight-lipped about past programming, preferring to focus on upcoming 'premieres'.
More accurately, "Frank Zappa & The Mothers Of Invention: Over-Nite Sensation/Apostrophe", as this rockumentary covers both releases. The rationale is that both were recorded about the same time, with the same musicians in the same style, and feature Zappa at his most accessible. Dweezil Zappa is at the studio console to peel off the many layers of tracks, and along with some live vintage concert footage we hear from Alice Cooper, Billy Bob Thornton, and members of the band, some of whom perform currently as Zappa Plays Zappa.