The repertoire consisted of material from all four of The Band's studio albums up to that point, which were framed on the album by covers of the 1964 Motownhit single "Baby Don't You Do It" by Marvin Gaye, and the b-side "(I Don't Want to Hang Up) My Rock and Roll Shoes" to the final single by Chuck Willis in 1958, "What Am I Living For." The bulk of the recordings on the released album were derived from either the December 30 or the December 31 show, while the tracks on the bonus disc come from December 28 and 29 as well. Since Garth Hudson interpolates "Auld Lang Syne" into his solo piece "The Genetic Method," it can be assumed that track and "Chest Fever" were played at midnight, December 31. Their previous employer Bob Dylan made a surprise visit on the New Year's Eve show, playing four songs with the group in the early morning hours of January 1, 1972.
Originally released in 1972 as a double album, it was reissued in 1980 as two separate LPs, titled Rock of Ages, Vol. 1 and Rock of Ages, Vol. 2. The first edition for compact disc in 1987 ostensibly edited several tracks to fit the program onto a single disc; an unedited two-disc version followed in 1990. On May 8, 2001, an expanded and remastered two-disc edition appeared, with the original album on one disc, and an additional ten tracks on a bonus disc. Included on the bonus disc were the four songs featuring Dylan and another Motown cover, the 1966 hit single "Loving You Is Sweeter Than Ever" by The Four Tops.
The 2005 retrospective Band box set A Musical History contains several Rock of Ages tracks newly remixed from the multitrack tapes, as well as a previously unissued performance of the song "Smoke Signal" from the December 28 show. A hybrid SACD reissue of the original album was released on the Mobile Fidelity Sound Lab label in 2010. The song "Chest Fever" from this album is available as downloadable content for the video game Rock Band.
In 2013, Capitol released Live at the Academy of Music 1971: The Rock of Ages Concerts, a box set consisting of four CDs and one DVD (mostly only audio), and containing all previously released material from the concerts as well as numerous unissued performances (including the December 31 show in its entirety) presented in new stereo and 5.1 surround mixes.