To look at the life of Rodney is to look at a near-complete history of several decades of music. A shy kid from a broken home, Rodney left Mountain View, California, for Hollywood in the early 1960s and never really left. Quickly making himself at home on the Sunset Strip scene, Rodney surrounded himself with every kind of celebrity, especially from the music industry. One interviewee after another comments on his Andy Warhol-like blank demeanor that allows the famous and talented to see reflections of themselves. But there is also an eternally childlike innocence to him that was quickly picked up on: Cher, who practically adopted Rodney for a time with Sonny, talks about how you could just tell that Rodney never wanted anything from you, just to be there and absorb the glittery experience was enough. There's a sense of a kid trying to make up for his own fractured past with a famous family, and also just looking for someone to take care of him.
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Shot in Toronto in 1967, in Northern Europe in 1968, and back in New York in 1969 (for PBS!), we get to see the band at every stage of its career. From crazy hippies swooning in the audience to a bearded and sunglasses-shrouded Morrison crooning "Alabama Song," this is a tight and interesting retrospective packed into only 75 minutes.
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'Smalls Change (Meditations Upon Ageing)' arrives in April.
The two awards have made for a great 72nd birthday present for the country music icon.
It will feature on the forthcoming album 'Both Sides of the Sky'.