Smithsonian to Feature Electric Guitar

This month, the Smithsonian Channel will broadcast "Electrified: The Guitar Revolution." Airing August 15, this 60 minute high-wattage history lesson salutes the inventors, pioneers and gods of the electric guitar. The electric guitar was invented to be heard among the brass instruments of the big band era, but it soon took on a sound and life of its own. How did this assemblage of wood, wire and metal go on to ignite a new era of music, transform background musicians into guitar heroes and become a symbol of freedom and rebellion? From the early days of the Model U and the Frying Pan to the guitar wars of Fender and Gibson, experience its evolution through vintage footage, interviews with rock historians and rousing live performances. Virtuosos like G.E. Smith of the "Saturday Night Live Band" go through the decades of sound innovations of the electric guitar.

Smithsonian Channel will also debut a series called "Inside the Music," a series of specials that tell stories about the music and musicians that have had an enormous impact on some of the most listened to sounds spanning generations. From the creative genius who designed the album cover of The Beatles’ "Revolver," to a history lesson on the instrument that changed the look, sound and volume of music forever, "Inside the Music" has something that everyone can listen to.

The featured "Inside the Music, premiere, "All You Need is Klaus," airing August 22 at 8pm ET/PT, is a journey into the incredible life of Klaus Voormann. Voormann is best known for his association with the most popular and most influential band in rock ‘n roll history, The Beatles. "All You Need is Klaus" also features Paul McCartney, Ringo Starr and Carly Simon, and Randy Newman, Joe Walsh and Simon are also interviewed in the 90 minute film with Simon recounting Voormann’s influence on her biggest hit, "You’re So Vain."

In 1960, Klaus Voormann met The Beatles, who at the time were completely unknown, in Hamburg, Germany, where he was an art student. Three years later, when Klaus moved to London and lived with George Harrison and Ringo Starr in their apartment, The Beatles had already become the embodiment of a new youth culture. In 1965, Voormann, who was working as a graphic designer at the time, was asked by John Lennon to create the album cover for their latest album. The highly influential piece of cover art for "Revolver," earned Klaus a Grammy Award. That same year, he became the bassist for the Manfred Mann Band and, in 1969 for John Lennon’s Plastic Ono Band. Klaus Voormann was on the frontlines of the pop era’s meteoric rise and played on all the Beatles’ solo albums. Learn more at smithsonianchannel.com.