Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Remembering Behind The Music

It was one of the greatest shows about music to ever air. In 1997 VH1 debuted Behind The Music with an episode about Milli Vanilli. The format of the show was simple. It was a one-hour mini documentary covering the history of a band or an individual artist. Most of the episodes (including the debut) focused on the hardships of the band being profiled and also talked about their current whereabouts.

Behind The Music was a show that I faithfully watched every Sunday night at 9:00 PM. Whether the band being discussed was Motley Crue, Leif Garret, Sonny Bono, or Nick Lachey, I watched it. All the episodes were intriguing regardless of whom the subject was. The show was just that good. Behind The Music ran consistently for 9 years (1997 – 2006) before being halted. Since then, VH1 has sporadically produced a handful of episodes that are aired infrequently. In 2010, VH1 brought the show back as a regularly scheduled program, but stopped once again after a few months.

Some of the greatest episodes were centered on the rock bands of the 80s. Motley Crue featured an in depth look at the band’s drug addictions, raunchy road shows, and overall debauchery. The episode on Poison covered the rise and fall of CC Deville and a lot of notorious incidents from the band’s history. And the Guns N Roses episode was a true testament to the breakup of the band. Some of the greatest artists in the history of music were profiled including Willie Nelson, Frank Sinatra, The Doobie Brothers, Peter Frampton, and Kiss, who got a 2-hour extended episode. In the history of music documentaries, Behind The Music is one of the best programs ever produced.

What I can’t figure out is why this show has not been released on DVD. In an age where all our favorite television programs are released on DVD alongside the classics from yesteryear, why hasn’t VH1 cashed in on this opportunity? I know that I would buy every season as it became available and I’m sure that a lot of you would as well. Perhaps I need to start a petition that demand VH1 release the show on DVD.

While some of the newer episodes can be viewed on VH1’s website, others can be seen in their entirety on I’ve personally watched both the Poison episode and the Def Leppard episode there. A few episodes can also be found at, but they are the same episodes available on VH1’s website.

Behind The Music will always be remembered fondly by me. Before the internet boom and instant access to anything about any band that I ever wanted to know, there was Behind The Music. It was the best source to get my information and it was a compelling, engrossing program that I enjoyed every Sunday evening. I still miss the show and I am still hopeful for a DVD release one day.

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