Ten years in the making, FREE TO ROCK explores how American rock and roll contributed to the end of the Cold War. In the eyes of the Soviet Ministry of Culture, western rock music combined the twin evils of spreading the English language and encouraging illicit free enterprise. It was prohibited by the Soviet and Eastern Block authorities and deemed as propaganda. However, the “soft power” of American rock music was pumped into Eastern Europe and the USSR by Voice of America and Radio Free Europe. This forbidden music inspired thousands of underground rock bands and tens of millions of their passionate supporters. Their enthusiasm for rock and roll became a youth movement that openly defied the Communist government. Narrated by Kiefer Sutherland, the film features interviews with former President Jimmy Carter; Mikhail Gorbachev, former president of the USSR; musicians Billy Joel and Mike Love; Robert Santelli, Executive Director of the Grammy Museum; Oleg Kalugin, a former major general in the Soviet KGB; Soviet rock artists Stas Namin, Pete Anderson and Andrey Makarevich; and other scholars and experts.
Airs 3/22 at 3 a.m.