Documentary series which revisits the years from when rock 'n' roll began, connecting the events with the music via newsreels, headlines, movies, broadcasts, and rock performance footage. The Rock 'n' Roll Years was a BBC television programme aired between 1985 and 1994. In a half-hour time slot the programme focused on a different year each week, starting with the year 1956 and ending with 1989.
The format of the programme, which was based on the BBC Radio 1 series 25 Years of Rock, was primarily of news clips with narrative subtitles set to music of the time with no presenters or voice-overs. Archive footage of performers, mostly from BBC programmes such as Top of the Pops, was also featured. For instance, the programme on 1960 featured the Sharpeville massacre, the Russians shooting down two US spy planes, the advent of stiletto heels and the election of Kennedy to the White House set to music by Adam Faith, Duane Eddy and the Rebels, Cliff Richard and the Shadows, the Everly Brothers and Roy Orbison
Like 25 Years of Rock the programme was noted for its occasionally witty juxtaposition of news footage with appropriate songs, as when an excerpt from the wedding of Prince Charles and Princess Diana - in an episode made after the couple had split up - was accompanied by Lionel Richie and Diana Ross singing "Endless Love".