The History of Rock Told in a Whirlwind 15-Minute Video

Based in England, Ithaca Audio specializes in creating music for film, TV, animations and games. And they also have a knack for remixing audio visuals and producing mashups. Care to sample their work? Watch the video above.

The History of Rock takes you from Elvis to The White Stripes, traveling from 1957 to 2003, in the space of 15 minutes. 348 rockstars, 84 guitarists, 64 songs, 44 drummers — they’re all knitted into a narrative using a device–the Facebook timeline–that came into existence in 2004. It’s anachronistic but clever, and I’m willing to suspend disbelief and take the ride. A bigger complaint might be the one made by Forrest Wickman over at Slate. “No Little Richard. No Ike Turner and Jackie Brenston. No Sister Rosetta Tharpe. No Bo Diddley or Big Joe Turner,” he observes. The History of Rock would have you believe that “rock was [originally] pioneered exclusively by white artists.” Give Keith Richards and Mick Jagger the chance–two icons who originally saw themselves as just playing the American blues–and they might tell the origin story of rock n roll a little differently.

Below you can see a list of tracks used in the mashup. And if you head over to the Ithaca Audio website, you can download the soundtrack in full.

Elvis Presley – Jailhouse Rock
The Yardbirds – For your Love
The Rolling Stones – Honky Tonk Women
The Rolling Stones – (I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction
Cream – Sunshine of your Love
Led Zeppelin – Whole Lotta Love
Led Zeppelin – Good Times, Bad Times
Led Zeppelin – Immigrant Song
Jimi Hendrix – Hey Joe
Jimi Hendrix – Purple Haze
Fleetwood Mac – Oh Well (Part 1)
The Kinks – You Really Got Me
The Doors – Riders on the Storm
Queen – Don’t Stop Me
Queen – Radio Ga Ga
Queen – Another One Bites the Dust
Queen – A Kind of Magic
The Beatles – Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band
The Who – Baba O’Riley
The Who – Eminence Front
Black Sabbath – Iron Man
Black Sabbath – War Pigs
Deep Purple – Woman From Tokyo
Deep Purple – Smoke on the Water
Deep Purple – Living Wreck
The Eagles – Life in the Fast Lane
Aerosmith – Walk this Way
Aerosmith – Dude Looks Like a Lady
Alice Cooper – I’m Eighteen
The Clash – Train in Vain (Stand by Me)
The Police – Roxanne
Journey – Don’t Stop Believin’
Dire Straits – Sultans of Swing
Duran Duran – Girls on Film
Duran Duran – Wild Boys
Pink Floyd – Another Brick in the Wall
David Bowie – Let’s Dance
David Bowie & Queen – Under Pressure
Iron Maiden – Run to the Hills
Def Leppard – Pour Some Sugar on Me
Guns N’ Roses – Mr Brownstone
Guns N’ Roses – Sweet Child O’ Mine
AC/DC – Back in Black
Rage Against the Machine – Bombtrack
Rage Against the Machine – Guerrilla Radio
Rage Against the Machine – Killing in the Name
Metallica – Enter Sandman
Nirvana – Smells Like Teen Spirit
Nirvana – Heart Shaped Box
Oasis – Supersonic
Oasis – Live Forever
Blur – Song 2
The Verve – Bittersweet Symphony
Radiohead – High and Dry
Radiohead – Idioteque
Red Hot Chili Peppers – Can’t Stop
The Killers – All These Things That I’ve Done
Foo Fighters – All My Life
U2 – Hold Me, Thrill Me, Kiss Me, Kill Me
Linkin Park – One Step Closer
The White Stripes – Seven Nation Army
The Strokes – 12 51
Gorillaz – Clint Eastwood
Kings of Leon – Sex on Fire

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Related Content:

A History of Rock ‘n’ Roll in 100 Riffs

Rock Critic Greil Marcus Picks 10 Unexpected Songs That Tell the Story of Rock ‘n’ Roll

The Evolution of the Rock Guitar Solo: 28 Solos, Spanning 50 Years, Played in 6 Fun Minutes

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Comments (10)
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  • Ariel says:

    This is ridiculous, only two black artists from the whole bunch? Are Journey and Duran Duran really more important to rock and roll history than Chuck Berry or Little Richard? Ridiculous.

  • Sadanand says:

    Thank you! Enjoyed every minute.
    @Ariel, agree with you that Chuck Berry and Little Richard are some of the greatest, the composer of this medley may have inadvertently missed them. Hopefully the next version will take care of this. Till then, enjoy this herculean effort of bringing so many great artists together seamlessly.

  • JV says:

    I’m not one to harp over quotas of one kind or another, but when you omit foundational figures like Chuck Berry, Little Richard, Ike Turner, etc., it becomes difficult to enjoy the piece. Major fail.

  • Ithaca Audio says:

    Hi, we have been staggered by the amount of interest in the video over the last couple of days.

    Some people have made some really good points about the diversity of the acts involved and raised questions about what’s been included vs what hasn’t etc. There are tons of hugely influential artists and sub-genres that we haven’t included in this and our main aim was to create a mashup that was foremost entertaining to watch, contain it to around 15mins, for it to primarily work well musically (and in the form of a Facebook feed) and have examples of the evolution of mainstream rock over the decades rather than create a kind of definitive documentary of rock. We really hope that comes across and people enjoy the video for what it is. It would have been great for us to start earlier on and explore more of the influence of the early pioneers before Elvis, which we picked mainly because musically it makes a great sounding intro with The Yardbirds. As you guys can probably tell, more hours than we’d like to think about now went into working out this giant musical jigsaw and getting it to work harmonically at the same time, but in hindsight there are definitely some changes we’d make. Thanks for watching though and for the interesting points that people are making too – it’s all good to hear.

  • Zam says:


  • Viki says:

    Thanks for all your work, and with that time frame, there is no way to cover everyone. Anyone can be a critic. No merit in that. I hope you make more. Happy trails.

  • Mike says:

    I see everyone has beaten me to the punch in pointing out that rock and roll did not begin with Elvis Presley. Carry on then.

  • Paul Tatara says:

    Agreed. It’s pretty ludicrous.

  • Bill says:

    The nit-pickers can bite me. I thought it was brilliant.

  • Enoni Mosu says:

    While i did enjoy this, I cannot call this The History of Rock music. There is no mention of RUSH.

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