American Masters Jimi Hendrix – Hear My Train A Comin’
Premieres nationally Tuesday, November 5, 2013 at 9p.m. on PBS (check local listings)
Bob Smeaton was series director and writer on the Grammy Award-winning Beatles Anthology TV series, which aired in the UK and the USA in 1996. In 1998 he received his second Grammy for his Jimi Hendrix: Band of Gypsies documentary.
During 2004 he gained his first feature film credit as director on the feature documentary Festival Express. He subsequently went on to direct documentaries on many of the biggest music acts in the world, including Elton John, The Who, Pink Floyd, The Doors, Queen, Nirvana, and the Spice Girls.
Bob Smeaton was born in Newcastle upon Tyne in the north of England and upon leaving school began ‘serving his time’ in the shipyards on the Tyne. He cut short his apprenticeship to go full-time with the rock band White Heat, in which he was lead vocalist and principle songwriter.
White Heat was signed to Virgin records, toured extensively and released one album and two singles. After the demise of White Heat, he moved into television production, working mainly in the field of music.
His time spent with his own band gave him an invaluable insight into the songwriting and recording process, which he has been able to put to good use when working with established musicians and songwriters.
During 2009 he directed the highly acclaimed Emmy-nominated Beatles on Record.
In 2010, to coincide with the 40th anniversary of the death of Jimi Hendrix, he directed Jimi Hendrix: Voodoo Child, a feature-length documentary on the life of Jimi Hendrix. The following year, he directed Mark Knopfler: A Life in Songs, an intimate portrait of the former leader of Dire Straits.
For the past 18 months he has been in production on American Masters: Jimi Hendrix-Hear My Train A Comin’.
Series Creator and Executive Producer
Susan Lacy has been an award-winning originator of primetime public television programs since 1979. As the creator and executive producer of American Masters, she has been responsible for the production and national broadcast of more than 190 documentary films about our country’s artistic and cultural giants, those who have made an indelible impact on the American landscape. Now celebrating its 27th season on PBS, American Masters has garnered unprecedented awards and is recognized by television critics as “the best biographical series ever to appear on American television.”
Under Lacy’s leadership, American Masters has received 67 Emmy Award nominations and 26 wins, including nine for Outstanding Primetime Nonfiction Series, five for Outstanding Non-Fiction Special and the other 12 in various craft categories. The series received the 2012 and 2013 Producers Guild of America (PGA) Award for Outstanding Producer of Non-Fiction Television, the 2012 IDA Award for Best Continuing Series, 12 Peabody Awards, three Grammy Awards and an Academy Award.
In addition to her executive producing role, Lacy is an award-winning filmmaker. She recently produced, directed and wrote Inventing David Geffen, which premiered on public television in November 2012 to great critical acclaim. She produced LENNONYC, a film exploring John Lennon’s life in New York City; her Judy Garland: By Myself earned Lacy an Emmy Award for writing and an Emmy nomination for directing. She wrote, directed and produced Joni Mitchell: Woman of Heart and Mind (IDA nomination for Outstanding Documentary) and Leonard Bernstein: Reaching for the Note (Emmy Award and DGA nomination). She produced the Peabody Award-winning Paul Simon: Born at the Right Time, directed and produced Rod Serling: Submitted for Your Approval, and directed and produced Lena Horne: In Her Own Voice. All films were for American Masters.
Lacy was one of the select 2005 honorees at the Museum of Television & Radio’s “She Made It” event, which recognized 50 exceptional women who have created and informed the genre, and a 2008 Washington, DC, Women of Vision Awards recipient, honoring those in film and video who inspire and mentor. She was honored again in Washington, DC, in 2010 as the recipient of the Cine Golden Eagle Lifetime Achievement Award. Lacy holds a BA in American Studies from the University of Virginia, where she was elected to Phi Beta Kappa, and an MA in American Studies from George Washington University. Lacy grew up in Baltimore, Maryland, and splits her time between Manhattan and Sag Harbor, New York.