MUSIC 140 - Popular music

Simon Wood

Estimated reading time: 115 minutes

Table of contents

Lecture 1

Part A

some introduction. Welcome to the first lecture for music 140, spring 2020, pandemic version. You probably notice that these audio files are monophonic. That’s deliberate because monophonic files are half of the size of the equivalent stereophonic files. We’ll get to them eventually.

Part B: The World of 1945

Why there is a music industry? In quite oversimplified terms: We are going to talk about why the industry looks the way it does. Starting point: end of world war 2. We are going to pick 1945.

Famous people are not always important people. Our example: a young lady, Diane Warren. She is one of the successful songwriters: 12 Grammy Nominations, 11 Academy Award Nominations, Songs used in over 60 films, Over 100 songs on “Billboard Top 100” songs including 32, Top-Ten and 9 No. 1s. And yet chances are very good, many have never heard of her.

We are going to pick 1945. Popular music has different styles. What would be dominant in 1945? Music of “Big band”. Music designed for dancing. Vocalists somewhat dominate the popular music since 1950s. Vocalists do not always rule the popular music. It’s isolated back and forth. Let’s turn to an example of “Big Band”. We are going to listen to “Sentimental Journey”.

Saxophones, main melody rhythm section. Then it comes with trumpets, and trombones. Smooth rhythm. We have three names: Brown/Homer/Green. They are songwriters. This music is performed by Les Brown and His Band of Renown, featuring Doris Day. It was primarily instrumental, but vocalist was a featuring part of the group. The main focus was instrumental, and vocalist would come in as a change of timbre.

In 1945, Big Band is the top of the pile. Band leaders such as Benny Goodman, Count Basie, Duke Ellington, Tommy Dorsey where the “stars” of this period. Even though many have vocalists, they were seen as part of the band, not the focus. That’s gonna change when moving to 1950s.

In 1945, in broad terms, music industry divided into three distinct categories:

  1. Popular (or pop): intended audience - white / middle class / urban / northern US
  2. Race: intended audience - black, regardless of class or location
  3. Hillbilly: intended audience
    • lower/working class, primarily white / southern US
    • origins in poor, white, rural
    • is now migrating to urban areas (particularly in the southern US)

They are much more about business, demographics, audiences. It was categorized not by who played the music, but the target audience.

We have heard a little pop. What did the other two sound like? Let’s start with race. For a race example, “Good Rockin’ Tonight”. Performed by Wynonie Harris rr(Roy Brown, 1947)

  • This version by Wynonie Harris (Recorded in 1948)
  • General category - Race Music (intended audience is black, African American)
  • Specific category – Jump Blues

Unlike big band music, this focuses on vocal, though have overlapped with instruments in big band, it has much smaller group than big bands. Like the big band example, we have the change of texture. But here, with the focus on vocal, the change of texture is now the saxophone solo.

Now let’s listen to a little bit of Hillbilly music: “Blue Moon of Kentucky” (Bill Monroe, 1946 – Recording released in 1947). We’ve no longer got instrumental band. We gotta focus on acoustic guitar and so on. Quite a different approach to a production of voice. General category – Hillbilly; Specific category – Bluegrass.

First example, Doris Day: voice smooth, carefully pronounced lyrics. Harris: rich sound, distortion in voice. Bill: quite common, emotional distance; he is singing like he is observing sth even the song is first person; recite lyrics. Choices are made to carry the meaning and value to intended audience.

What does music industry selling?

  • Products of the music industry are sheet music and recordings.
  • Sheet music dominates recordings until the late 1920s.
  • While sheet music is still important, by the end of WWII the Recording Industry has come to dominate.

So what does the world look like in 1945? If that’s the world look like in 1945 in very simple terms, why? For that, I’ll see you in part C.

Part C: How do you make a music industry?

What is a music industry? An industry where people make money by selling music. Fundamental question: what is music? What are you actually paying for? Very simply put: music is an idea, music is a thought. What creates the conditions for Popular Music to become a consumer product? - copyright law - intellectual property. In 1770s, the US becomes a country, then set up all laws and constitutions. Between 1790s to 1830s, copyright law reforms: Amendments to the copyright law to cover sheet music. By the early 1800, more composers tried to make a living not by selling music to kings/queens, but selling to general public. Then music industry started to take shape. To talk about how these all worked, let’s listen to a style of music called the Victorian Ballad. In general, it is a style of song that becomes very popular during 1800s.

Where does the audience comes from? We need to mention Industrial Revolution. At the beginning, most people lived in rural. And they looked after everything by themselves. Make everything they need. But as we moved into IR, we see the rise of factories. More people coming out of the country, move to the city. Most of the time, can just earn the money to survive, but you can start to save the money, then gain wealth. At the beginning of IR, the top people (Kings) have most of the money; at the bottom, peasants have nothing. But as IR took hold, we see sth new. We have rise of middle class: not have much money compared to top, but have more than they need. Then can spend on luxury items. Best example: Piano.

Parlour Songs is a subcategory of the Victorian Ballad: Daughters pursue “leisure” activities. Let’s consider an example: Believe Me, If All Those Endearing Young Charms Thomas Moore (early 1800s).

(A) Believe me, if all those endearing young charms, Which I gaze on so fondly to-day
(A) Were to change by to-morrow, and fleet in my arms, Like fairy-gifts fading away,
(B) Thou wouldst still be adored, as this moment thou art, Let thy loveliness fade as it will,
(A) And around the dear ruin each wish of my heart Would entwine itself verdantly still.

Lovely piece. This creates an appropriate appearance of middle class. (Daughters sing/play). Characteristics:

  • Piano Accompaniment. Primary instrument of the style.
  • Vocal control, Timbre
  • Themes: loyalty, honesty, control, restraint

These songs carried the social values of that time. Not only the lyrics, but the way they actually performed. In more general terms, the popularity of this music, the fact that government is paying attention to crafting copyright laws tell us the market, middle class are growing. The popular music industry is starting to take shape because it now has an audience. But do we have what we would recognize as music industry today? We are getting there, but we are lacking one fundamental thing which comes along 1892. For that, I’ll see you in part D.

Part D: Tin Pan Alley

Late 1800, music industry taking shape, songwriters make living by selling sheet music to this growing audience of middle class. At that time, recordings DNE. People like Stephen Collins Foster, they did very well, but they didn’t become extremely wealthy. That’s because sth is still missing. It came along in 1892. Charles K Harris, “After the Ball” 1892.

music playing

After listening to that song, you might wonder, is that still Parlour song? since there are other instruments. Yes that was. If you heard it perform in someone’s home, then voice + piano. Sheet music sells over 5,000,000 copies. The first “Hit Song”. Why “After the Ball”? It’s hard to answer. It’s a tale like Parlour music. This is possibly the wrong question. Right question: why 1892? Let’s look at a chart: Rural to Urban Population Shift in the United States (1790-1900). People moved from rural to urban from 1790 to 1900. Important takeaway: you can’t have a hit if your audience are all living in a country. Because in a country, people are spread too far apart. Then why 1982? because there were enough people concentrated in urban areas for this kind of phenomenon to take place. Demand for newly composed songs leads to the increased organization of the music industry - Success of “After the Ball” gives birth to Tin Pan Alley (TPA), center of the music industry based in New York City. Both a musical style and a place:

  • Manhattan in New York City
  • becomes the center of professional music making
  • During ‘20s and ‘30s 21,000 publishers, 36,000 composers
  • division of labour: composer, lyricists, publisher, publicity, performers. Unlike rural area, you do everything yourself.
  • Sheet music dominates – (transition to recordings begins during the 1920s)

TPA is not just a place. It’s a musical style, develops a specific way of writing songs. In terms of lyrics: idealized romance – beginning and ending. Music:

  • easy to play
  • easy to sing – phrasing and range
  • AABA musical form

Let’s take a look at “Somewhere Over The Rainbow” (Arlen/Harburg, 1939), which is a great example of AABA.

Lecture 2

Now it is with race that we are going to be concerned primarily this week, because we are going to look at is how the music of African Americans make it to North America, how it survive nightmare of slavery. To start with, the history of slavery.

Part A: Slavery

If you are looking for a date of the birth of popular music In North America, a good candidate would be 1619: beginning of one of the darkest chapters in this history of western culture. 1619: first time ever, slaves kidnapped from their homes (West Africa) were sold into bandage on continental North America. This event has profound effect on history. Slavery lasted about 250 yrs. They are no longer considered human. They were themselves personal possessions. And yet, they managed to bring with them some sense of their culture/storytelling/music. And it is that west African origin that would become the core of structuring the sound of African American music culture. Let’s listen to an example: “Old Alabama” 1947.

music playing

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First question: is the recording actually by slaves? No, cause recording tech didn’t appear until late 1800. Slavery ended in 1865, so it’s impossible to these two to line up. The recording is about a prison gang such as a picture above. 7 am in the morning, a group of African American chopping a large tree that has fallen after a storm. The knocking sound is the swinging of the axes. Even though we don’t have a audio recording of that period, we have lots of written accounts of what people heard. From these written accounts, these recordings are a great depiction of what might actually be going on.

This is called work song. One of many different types that existed among African Americans during slavery. In fact, work song is quite important. It can pass time/set pace. And singing to coordinate work was seen as a good strategy. It’s more complicated in the recording: they are not simply singing a song, the song is improvised in the moment. Singing the same song over and over again is boring…

The first voice you heard is song leaders. They are valuable as far as slaves are concerned. Take Lego bricks as an example. A brick typically has two lyrical lines. The value of song leaders is that they are able to think on their feet and put these Lego bricks together to create interesting songs everyday.

We are not yet dealing with professional song writing/singing. They don’t do these for a living. These songs are improvised, and put together by some preexisting beats and pieces, which don’t belong to anyone. Any song leader can use them, can sing them. Musicologist describes this kind of phenomenon as Floating pool of verse: something doesn’t legally belong to anyone but really the property of the community, anyone who wants to can make use of it.

What we are listening to at this point we would describe as folk music. There are some fundamental differences between folk and professional.

  • performed by amateurs: not for a living.
  • more concern with tradition than innovation (lacking “self-consciousness”)

In the context of the course, “Self-Consciousness” will refer to a musician who is actively looking for ways to innovate in terms of performance and/or composition. It is often a sign of professionalization as professional musicians are always looking for ways to ‘stand out’ from others.

We have to be careful, not all folk musicians are amateurs. As we see later in the course, folk music will actually become an important element within music industry itself with the work such as Bob Dylan. The other important term: African Retentions. Relatively speaking, keep in mind that we are talking about a fairly specific region of the West Africa Coast. So what are African Retentions? In this case, fundamental aspects of the way people make music.

Literally, we are not saying the music sounds like music of culture of West Africa. At surface level, music fundamentally changes, since slave owners often suppress West African Culturing in order to make slaves’ lives as miserable as possible. However, we can still trace some elements back to West Africa in terms of their origins.

For example, interest in percussive and distorted timbres. Percussive: sound created by striking the instruments, short and quick articulations. Distortion: from West African culture perspective, it can imply an excess or overload of energy and emotions.

Next thing, the use of riffs: A small self-contained piece of music that repeats over and over again becoming the basis for longer composition. For those who have classical music background might be wondering what’s the difference between riff-based composition and a motif based composition. One great example of motif based in western classical music is Beethoven’s fifth Symphony. So is that riff? No, because Beethoven is constantly varying the motif.

The last thing: the use of call and response.

Part B: The Blues

A simplified history of slavery and civil war, from posted notes:

In the US, slavery ends in 1865 at the conclusion of the US Civil War (1861-1865). By the mid 1800s slavery had been outlawed in most ‘northern’ states but had become central to the economy of the south. There were numerous issues between north and south and the end of slavery became a central point. The north wished to abolish it, the south did not.

The war was brutal and is considered by many military historians to be the most devastating conflict ever fought by humans until the World Wars of the 20th century.

Post Slavery: (1865 - )

  • Institutionalized Racism. Laws made it difficult to be black. For example, if you are an African American, when you are approaching a white woman, you need to take off your hat and bow. Otherwise, you could go to jail. Things are quite fraud.
  • Acceleration of Rural-to-Urban shift.
  • New forms of music appear during late 1800s.
  • Ragtime and Jazz – urban styles, incorporated into popular music

But what we are going to look at is what’s going on the rural areas: Country (Rural) Blues. Typically it is performed by single individual, no bands at this point.

  • Wandering musician.
  • Male vocalist, with Acoustic Guitar.
  • Plaintive vocal sound – lament.
  • Themes include: Travel, Economics, and Love.

Recall AABA in pop songs, it simply refers to melody. There’s nothing about what the words have to do and how long the sections need to be. Also, there’s no specification about the accompaniments: chords/base notes and so on. All that are left open. Blues, unlike AABAs, specifies things to a very high degree. For example, blues is a specific length. Each blue structure within a blue song is generally what we called 12 measure phrases. The terms “bar” and “measure” are interchangeable. If you are hanging around with classically trained musicians, you are more likely to hear the term measures. Otherwise, commercial/popular musicians, then bars. Even then, that’s not a hard rule.

The next thing that blues specifies is how many lines of lyrics each subsection have: the number is three. a-a-b lyric pattern. Here we are using lower case letters for words.

Other features:

  • call and response between guitar and voice
  • early Blues performers made use of “Floating pool of verse”
Bars 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12
Chords I       IV   I   V IV I  
Lyrics a       a       b      

The blues tells you specifically which chords to use. Now some examples of blues…

This music appears some time in the 1890s. Taking shape in the beginning of 1900s. Nevertheless, first rural blues recordings made during the 1920s. Why? Essentially, it was not recorded because the recording industry is controlled by urban middle class whites. They are interested in recording pop music, and music aimed at middle class white audiences. Frankly, many of them did not think the culture of African Americans was worth recording. First example of country blues: “Travelin’ Blues” Blind Willie McTell (1929).

Mr. Engineer, let a man ride this line. a
Mr. Engineer, let a poor man ride this line. a
I wouldn’t mind it fella’, but you know this train ain’t mine. b

This is a professional performance, since Blind Willie McTell is make a living by doing this. But in a way of he is a transitional figure, he is lacking self-consciousness: he is not looking for a way to make his performance stand out.

NOTE: each “4” measure section is only 3 and 1/2 measures long.

  • Travel and Economics.
  • Uneven bar counts – Why? Solo musician.
  • Lack of self-consciousness. (in previous paragraph)
  • “Folk” music

By far the most important was a young man: Robert Johnson: (1911 – 1938).

  • Defined standards for blues guitar.
  • did only two recording sessions: November 1936 / June 1937.
  • Mythic character.

He really didn’t record that much material. In 1938, he died. He was murdered, poisoned. And we don’t know who poisoned him.

Let’s listen to an example: “Sweet Home Chicago:” Robert Johnson (November, 1936).

music playing

Listen to his introduction. He starts off material that clearly derived from what he uses as transitions from each section to new section. Wonderful subtleties.

These recordings were aimed primarily at African American audiences. This is the beginning of what we referred to last week as race music: music performed and recorded for black audiences.

Lecture 3

Part A: Of Radio And Records

We start in 1877 with the invention of mechanical reproduction. In 1877, Thomas Edison invents the phonograph (gramophone), a device that encodes the sound. The cylinder is the core. Patterns are recorded in the cylinder, and sound would come back from the cylinder by pulling the playback arm.

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People didn’t use this right way to record music. Edison didn’t see this machine as for arts, but for business, speeches. The cylinder made up of wax is fragile. In fact, playing them back worn them out. In 1887, transition from cylinder to disks begins. Sheet music industry was still by far away the main part of the recorded music industry. In fact, the first record made of songs were largely made to promote sheet music. In 1910, disks become dominant medium. In early 1910s, disk speed is standardized 78 rpm.

What was recorded?

  • sheet music / TPA. Early record industry controlled by the same people who controlled TPA.
  • black music / rural southern white music not recorded because:
    • generally, not part of the TPA/sheet music industry
    • cultural chauvinism
    • rural areas – sales? perception: no market, no audience.

Commercial Radio: 1920. Broadcasting. The money is generated through advertising. In 1922, the radio became a major force in western culture. In Jan. 1922, 28 Stations was estimated in the air in US. By December 1922, 570 Stations. Clearly there’s money to be made. By the end of 1920s, we begin to see large corporation setup that purchase radio stations all across the country. Then they connect them together. This established the radio networks: CBS, NBC, Mutual. First radio network; NBC in 1928. Very few independent radio stations exist since they are now part of the network. Network radio begins to change patterns of consumption from regional to national.

Success of Radio:

  • expensive one-time purchase, unlimited content
  • why buy records?

Record is still fragile. It seems radio is going to kill record industry. What happened? Join me in Part B for the rise for the record industry.

Part B.1: The Rise of the Record Industry

The record industry now is in trouble, needs to find new markets. Then they have a revolution. Ralph Peer – Okeh Records. Ralph has a job: A&R (Artists and repertoire). He needs to find artists who can sing (A part), and songs for them to sing (R part).

Ralph set up a recording session to record new song: Crazy Blues (1920). He got a msg right before the session starts: the singer is sick in the night. He has already put a lot of money: hire recording studio, hire a group of musicians and let them rehearse. However, one of the musicians said he knows a girl who sings well. Then the fellow brings this girl. The young lady named Mamie Smith and she was black. Unspoken rule: African Americans didn’t record on record. Ralph is very open-minded man. Then Mamie Smith learnt the song and they recorded “Crazy Blues”, and it sounded like this.

music playing

What makes this recording so extraordinary is the fact the vocalist is African American woman. She is considered to be the first significant music recording ever done by a black artist. What happened when it was released? The world didn’t end. Ralph and record industry learnt some lessons:

  1. Much to their surprise, there was a considerable number of northern urban middle class white who would buy record from a black artist.
  2. There was actually small but sizable market for records in African American community.

Then we get to 1922, 1923, the popularity of the radio is off the scale. All of a sudden, the record industry is struggling to survive. How to keep recording industry going in the age of radio? Ralph is one of the people who came up with solution. He realizes the record industry, even not directly associated with sheet music companies, but in large they record the music of Tin Pan Alley. He remembered the success of Mamie Smith, then he has a crazy idea: why don’t we record music not Tin Pan Alley, but music popular with African Americans and with rural southern whites? because their music are not in radio by large. Perhaps these audiences are big enough to sustain the record industry. So the record industry invented two new categories of recorded music. Rural southern whites: Hillbilly. African Americans: Race.

Part B.2: “Race” and “Hillbilly”

Hillbilly, example: Uncle Dave Macon and the Fruit Jar Drinkers: “Carve that Possum” (1927). Quite different from Tin Pan Alley, we are listening to rural south, acoustic instruments like acoustic guitar, banjo, mandolin, fiddle. This is the beginning of Hillbilly as recorded genre.

Now also introduced at the same time as a competition for radio was a genre aimed specifically for African American audience, which we know, ultimately becomes race music. A good example: Carr and Blackwell “How Long Blues” (1928). First of all, is this a blues? Technically, it didn’t follow the 12 bars pattern, but it is very much blues in terms of its performance. In fact, we can really see it as next step in development of blues. Recall rural to urban shift, more African Americans move to urban centers. This is what happens when rural blues players get to a urban center. What difference can we see?

  • two musicians instead of one
  • rather than focusing on guitar, we have second instrument, piano, which is clearly the instrument of urban center. Then you can let piano to be the accompaniment part, which frees the guitar player.

We can hear guitar solo. This is actually where the traditional guitar solo begins. We call this style of blues city blues.

If country blues comes first and city blues comes second, why we are listening to city blues recorded at the end of 1920s whereas the country blues we are listening to were made in 1930s? The reason: cultural chauvinism. The same folks, who control Tin Pan Alley, control the recording tech. Then as recording tech started to separate it self from Tin Pan Alley, starts to look for new market, then looks for its neighborhoods. Some first things they found were Carr and Blackwell. Then later for newer artists, they recorded Robert Johnson.

By the end of 1920s and to 1930s, radio and records are existing side by side. Records now starts to overtake sheet music as dominant medium of music industry. Radio is now seen as an opportunity to promote recordings and artists in Tin Pan Alley. Keep in mind: no one is playing records on radio, all radio is performed live. So now we are at the end of world war 2.

As we get to the end of 1940s, a tech comes along that fundamentally changes the world, which creates opportunity for the culture, particularly of African Americans to become highly influential. That tech is television.

  • First demonstration in 1927
  • Experimental and low-resolution broadcasts through the 1930s
  • Network broadcasts begin in 1939
  • By 1945 – 6 Stations, By 1955 – 411 Stations
  • Major Networks move to Television

Like all early radios, early television was performed live, including commercials.

A radio station, WDIA Memphis, 1948. This radio station is owned by some individuals. They were playing TPA records like before, but no one choose them to advertise (which makes the money). So they drove the car around the city of Memphis to find out where their radio station broadcast signal was clearest. They found, much to their amazement, the best reception for WDIA was found in the African American part of the town. So they had a thought. The new owners of WDIA were white. But they went back to the station and made a decision: change the format to all African American culture. So it becomes first “Black Appeal” radio station. Then the advertising dollars starts to come in. As WDIA success quickly spread, by 1954, 200 BA radio stations are on the air.

Part C: Rhythm And Blues Is On the Air

To start with, let’s consider the years following WWII in US, which we refer it as post-war era. (some history). Now pop music also changes in this new environment. Remember at the end of WWII, Big bands is the most popular. But the end of the war is really the peak of their popularity. They are falling off their popularity during late 1940s. Smaller groups are replacing them, where the focus now is not on band leader, but the vocalists. By the end of the 1940s, smaller groups with focus on singers have become forefront in the popular music industry. Let’s look at an example: Most popular song of 1951 - Nat King Cole: “Too Young” (1951, Lippman, Dee).

music playing

He is a legend, and soft voice, good piano player. Though he is African American, this is not race music, this is pop music. Target market is middle class white urban. The elements in this recording: smooth, round, clear lyrics. Lyrics: idealized romance. Another example: Most popular song of 1953 - Patti Page: “(How Much Is) That Doggie in the Window” (1952, Merril).

music playing

Lovely song. These songs are beautiful. Not designed to get people excited, but to be calm, entertainment. Probably lots of people wanted in the year following WWII. There was something new following the end of the war: huge upswing in the number of children born, baby boomers, massive number in the number of young people.

At the end of 1940s, music industry changed the name: race music \(\Rightarrow \) rhythm and blues. Still cold for African American audiences, but at least it is not so overly racist. Then Hillbilly, which is a bit derogatory, \(\Rightarrow \) country and western.

When we look at the popularity chart through the late 1940s, or early 1950s. We see crossover hits: song generally appears in rhythm and blues chart or country and western chart, then it becomes very popular. And at some point, it will cross over, and appear in the pop chart.

Teenagers then can use transistor radio which is more portable. They were searching for something more exciting, then they found black appeal radio like WDIA. You can listen to all different substyles grouped under R&B. We have already met one of the styles: Jump Blues. Good Rockin’ Tonight (1948, Wynonie Harris).

music playing

Jump blues:

  • Develops from a fusion of Big Band music (TPA/Jazz) with more prominent blues/race music influence.
  • more focus on vocal performer.
  • Smaller group (cheaper) with focus on saxophone, trumpet, and rhythm section (bass, drums, piano).

Why is it called Jump blues? because recall earlier versions we listened to have slow pace, Robert Johnson, Carl Blackwell, but we have same feel as before, but more faster, more energetic, for dancing.

Another style which is popular during that period is known as Gospel. First let’s listen to a song called I’ve Got A Woman (1954) by Ray Charles.

music playing

Ray Charles (Robinson) 1930-2004

  • born, Albany Georgia, south of the US.
  • born with great poverty, blind at age 7
  • learns music in a school for the blind. Though the school is not that fancy, teacher is good enough to recognize his talent: could teach himself to play an instrument extraordinarily quickly. Every music he heard, he could walk over an instrument and play.
  • 1952, he signed with Atlantic Records, which was technically independent record (does not have its own distribution network, in comparison to major record company, which can get its record to every store in the country quite easily), but it was still influential, large record label. Which makes it notable is while R&B charts were working on small record labels, and major records mainly deal with pop music.
  • Fusion of the energy of African American spiritual practice with secular lyrics.
  • Success with white audiences – heightened level of intensity

Gospel was not invented by Ray Charles, and it has been a style of music that for a long time. If we go back to a broad view of general African American culture, and we divide the music of African American culture into two equally broad categories: one being secular, one sacred. Divide sacred music in African American culture into two very broad distinctions. Early style: spirituals, later: Gospel. The dividing line is considered to be the American civil war and the end of slavery.

Now what makes this particular mention of Gospel unique is Ray Charles is credited with incorporating elements of Gospel music into pop music, specifically R&B. Gospel is often energetic. He took all of the energy and intensity of church performance and then apply them to the music that is aimed not at spiritual but at secular.

I’ve Got A Woman is based on a church song entitled “It Must Be Jesus”. Focus is on the voice, then sax solo for texture change, and then third contrasting texture: usage of stop time. The band is stopping, articulating, emphasizing notes and taking a break. And in that break, Ray Charles is singing a line. Another self-consciousness way of varying texture of the song.

Third style: Chicago Electric Blues. An example, Hoochie Coochie Man (1954, Willie Dixon) performed by Muddy Waters. First Muddy Waters, 1913-1983

  • born in Mississippi (south). Grew up in rural area, learnt rural blues.
  • played guitar and harmonica
  • emulated Robert Johnson
  • moves to Chicago, early 1940s
  • After he moved to the city, he found the same thing as everyone since Carl Blackwell has found: cities are louder, you need to make more noise in order to be heard. He then switches to electric guitar, 1945. Wonderful fit with blues. Amplifier. Guitarists found amplifier could be used to create distortion. As we mentioned earlier, distortion is a desirable characteristics.
  • 1946, records for Aristocrat Records (would later become Chess Records)

Hoochie Coochie Man (1954, Willie Dixon (composer, bass player))

  • (modified 12-bar blues)
  • Stop Time
  • Prominence of the electric guitar and harmonica

Moral panic: thousands of white parents react negatively to the news that their children increasingly are being influenced by the culture of African Americans. And that is where we will pick up our story next week.

Lecture 4

Part A: Cover Versions

Cover Versions: 1954 – 1956, “white” versions of “black” records. Cover versions were quite common at that time. But what makes this unique is the ways of cover versions were changed. Because when you compare then with the original R&B version, the cover version changes the things in a way that was clearly targeted at race. It reduces elements that associated with black culture, and “more appropriate” for middle class white culture. An example: “Tutti Frutti” Little Richard (Richard Wayne Penniman)

  • released late 1955 on Specialty Records (lyrics revised by Dorothy LaBostrie)
  • “Crossover” hit: #2 R&B, #17 Pop

Second version appears in 1956. White artist, Pat Boone. His version of “Tutti Frutti” sounds very different. Most obvious change is the energy and the exuberance of the voice. Little Richard: could not be more excited. Pat Boone: controlled, restrained. Not surprisingly they never came back on R&B chart, but they almost always outsold the original versions on pop chart. Cover version by Pat Boone, #10 Pop.

One of the first cover versions that fall into the category of race based changes. The song we are going to listen to: “Sh-Boom”. The original version: June 1954 by African American group, The Chords, independent record label: Cat Records.

Intro A Intrld A B A Intrld Solo (A) A A out
4 8 4 8 8 8 8 16 8 8

It soon became a R&B hit, and then crossover hit. Only few weeks after first release in July 1954, a second version was released on major record label: Mercury Records, and group is white vocal group: The Crew Cuts.

Intro A A B A Sh-bm (A) Sh-bm (A) B A Intrld A Tag
4 8 8 8 8 8 8 8 8 7 8 6

So many changes. Three things:

  The Chords The Crew Cuts
Form 1x through AABA, with interludes 2xs through AABA – clearly stated
Voice Distorted – use of lower octave in B Clean, no use of lower octave
Solo Sax – distorted timbre, sexual metaphor No solo – repeats of “Sh-boom” group
vocal – timpani joke.
  • The Chords: #3 R&B / #5 Pop
  • The Crew Cuts: no R&B / #1 Pop
    #1 for 9 weeks - #1 song of the year

Racist? Or a continuation of TPA traditions? Probably both. It is racist that these changes are made deliberately to appeal the racist sentiments within a large number of middle class white. But what the major record industry is concerned with was not black and white. It was green, simply a way to make money. Also same things were happening with country and western songs.

By the end of 1946, this practice has been largely abandoned. Why? First, covers are not making much money anymore. Then were they selling them well? In a remarkably short period of time, 1954 to 1946, the listening patterns of millions of primarily middle class white teenagers are going to shift profoundly. Then the record industry realized that they got a new demographic on its hand: Rock ‘n’ Roll.

Part B: Rock ‘n’ Roll

Both White and Black artists performing in this new style: A mix of pop, C&W, and R&B, targeted at teenagers - Rock ‘n’ Roll. The term attributed to Alan Freed. Most of the time, the changes take place in several years. We can look at recordings in 1950s then see that they are starting to show elements that become Rock ‘n’ Roll.

For example, an early Rock ‘n’ Roll star, Bill Haley. Born in 1925, and actually been in music industry for some time. He has been in country and western music industry, and leader of the band “Bill Haley and the Saddlemen”. They were in a substyle of country and western: Western Swing, which has slight faster beat. He is one of the many in early 1950s who noticed the change: growing popularity of R&B among middle class white teenagers. He is one of the first who starts to experiment this new style. He changes the name of band to “Bill Haley and the Comets in 1952”. Some early hits with “Crazy Man, Crazy” and “Shake, Rattle and Roll.” These are not written by him, but cover versions. These cover versions are not race-based cover version, but came out several years after the original hit. He was taking songs that have R&B hits and reworking them in this new splendid style gaining popularity. These songs actually did quite well, particularly on R&B chart, but where he really hit a stride is in 1954, he recorded the song that he will, I think, be best remembered: Rock Around The Clock.

music playing

Follows 12 bar blues pattern. For a white vocalist, we have more distorted sound, and guitar upfront, energetic tempo. Then becomes popular in 1955 because it was used in a film “Blackboard Jungle”. Recall we talked about moral panic earlier, and the film is targeted at that fear.

However, Bill Haley’s career is over almost as soon as it begins. He continues on for many years but “Rock Around The Clock” is really the peak of the career. Why? Recall he was born in 1925, so he is 30 years old when it becomes a hit. For the first time, music industry noticed that teenagers cared about the age of artists. Teenagers are much more interested in listening to music performed by people who appeared to be at least similar in age to themselves. A whole generation of younger musicians start to make a market. Arguably most successful, most famous, he is Elvis Presley.

He was born in 1935, born in Tupelo, Mississippi, which is not too far from Memphis. And indeed, when black appeal radio goes on the air in 1948, he is about 12 years old. Just as he finished high school, he goes by a small local independent record company, Sun Records. Myths: Sam Phillips, producer of Sun Records said to his assistant, Marion Keisker:

If I could find a white man with the singing voice of black man, I could make millions of dollars.

Then he discovered Elvis Presley. Two problems with myths. First of all, there’s nothing to do with biology in terms of how you sound. The way people develop their sound is entirely social. And there’s one other problem, Sam claimed that he didn’t said it.

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Then in Spring 1954, starts recording with Scotty Moore (Guitar) and Bill Black (Bass). They first thought he will probably record country and western since he is white and recording in Memphis. And he does not write songs and he is a wonderful song stylists. However, these are not working all that well. Then they take a break. Then during that break, he picks up the guitar and starts playing a R&B song: “That’s Alright Mamma”. Sam hears and thinks he could do it.

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This song is quite like R&B to the audience. So he was interviewed by Dewey Phillips and got Presley to reveal his race in an interview by asking which high school the 19-year-old singer attended (knowing that, because of segregation, his audience would readily know what race attended which schools) (from wiki).

Lecture 5

Part A: Elvis Presley

But record has two sides: A side, B side. They go straight back to studio, then start to work with the second song: “Blue Moon of Kentucky”. Originally country western, Bill Monroe, 1946 – Recording released in 1947. Scotty, Bill, Sam Phillips are going to work “Blue Moon of Kentucky” the way they worked that with 1954 “That’s Alright Mamma”. And try to shape it to something new: Rock ‘n’ Roll. First, they have a early version, not final version, only go once AABA, and you can hear Sam Phillips come into the room and talk to the band.

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There was Sam coming in the end: That’s a pop song, now, little guy. In country and western, most songs follow a subgrouping of 4. Quite unusual in country and western of subgrouping of 3. Bill Monroe’s version follows a subgrouping of 3. Early version of Elvis is a subgrouping of 4. Then they finally record the version that is released as part of Elvis’ first record. This is what sounded like.

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The difference is quite remarkable. Bass is quieter, and in two-beat. When Scotty starts to play guitar solo, he starts to play walking bass line. Now they shift to sth more energetic, and we hear Bill Black playing slap bass: pull the string and let them slap back into the instrument, so they bounce off the fingerboard of the bass. If we listen to Elvis, he is adding extra syllables to create rhythm, percussive timbre.

1954 – 1955: Elvis on Sun. 6 records, 6 singles which have 12 songs – all covers.

Rockabilly – “The Hillbilly Cat.” These two terms (referring to him) are playing this idea that Elvis is doing something new, blending all other elements: R&B, pop, country and western.

Still regional Star, some national success on Country Charts. Then becomes a major star, where independent record label like Sun can’t support a major star.

Another person, Colonel Tom Parker, promoter, manager. Early 1956, he takes over the management of Elvis’ career. He helps Sam Phillips negotiate the contract transfer to a major record label, RCA. His job is to make him as financially successful as possible and he did a good job. He still needs to get attention for Elvis. How in 1956? 11 appearances on national television.

  • Heartbreak Hotel April-May ‘56 #1 on Pop and Country #5 on R&B
  • August to December ’56 – Hound Dog, Don’t Be Cruel, Love Me Tender all #1 Pop.
  • Hound Dog and Don’t Be Cruel both chart #1 on pop/country/R&B
  • June, 1956: Elvis performs ‘Hound Dog’ on ‘Texaco Star Theatre.’
  • Two weeks later, Elvis performs ‘Hound Dog’ on ‘The Steve Allen Show.’
  • Parker directs Elvis’ career more towards Pop
  • Elvis not charting R&B after 1957.
  • Elvis enters the army – March 1958 to March 1960
  • March 1961 - Last public performance for seven years
  • within a year, Elvis stops playing live, stops performing as a vocalist, turns his career to movies. Quite bad actor, bad films. All of which would have opportunities for Elvis to sing songs, then go to album to support the film. Songs are safe, not exciting. But he missed live, singing.
  • The ’68 Comeback Special. Most of it was terrible, but there was a period in the show for several minutes where Elvis appears in a black leather suit. He sits down with a bunch of musicians including Scotty (guitar player), old drummer. Sadly, Bill Black (bass player) had died during early 1960s. They played many of his songs from 1950s. Elvis performs ‘That’s Alright Mama’ as part of the ’68-Comeback Special’. This is the only time in the whole show that he looks like he is having fun.
  • 1970 – 77 Las Vegas
  • Elvis dies August 16th, 1977, age 42

Part B: Chuck Berry

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picture from wiki.

Elvis was a guitar owner, however, Chuck Berry is a guitar player.

He is in some ways the exact opposite of Elvis. Go back to myth: Elvis was a white man singing like a black man. Chuck Berry is the black man who sings like a white man. And in Chuck Berry’s case, it was absolutely deliberate. He was born in St. Louis, middle of the continent. He is also born in middle class. He has one dream: to be rich, not a rock star, not guitarist. He figures out the best way for young African American to make a lot of money is to become a music star in the world of pop music (to appeal middle class white). After some analysis of some music, he comes up with several key ideas. One of them being words and stories.

Chuck enters many of music competitions. R&B is popular in African American competitions. Chuck deliberately takes a different approach: his guitar is brighter, he would sing with more nasal sound, which is more like country and western. As a result, he stood out. He starts to get attention from independent record labels, but unfortunately nothing comes with him initially.

When things get to interesting for Chuck is 1955. He goes to Chicago and starts recording at Chess Records. Chess brothers expect him to do R&B in the style of Muddy Waters. The story is similar to Elvis. First R&B, then take a break. During the break, Chuck starts playing a country and western song: “Ida Red,” Bob Wills and the Texas Playboys, a hit in 1951. Apparently, Chess brothers has the same response as Sam Phillips a year earlier: That’s that sound, this guy can do this new Rock ‘n’ Roll sound. But here is where the story takes a slight detour. They said to Chuck:

We can record the way it is and we think this will be a hit, this sounds really good. But you didn’t write this song. Bob Wills and his band wrote this song so if it’s a big hit, you will sure get some money, but a lot of money will go to Bob Wills because they wrote the song. So what you need to do is change it. Rewrite the lyrics, change the melody a little bit. Keep the same basic feeling but turn it to something that is original.

So Chuck wrote lyrics about car chase. Finally they got a song, “Maybellene” (1955). It sounded like this.

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Very quickly Maybellene becomes a hit. Chuck finds himself as star in this newly emerging style of Rock ‘n’ Roll. Chuck did his research: know what his audience wanted, shape his music to his audience’s taste. He starts to write songs that address the concerns of extended adolescence. He actually invents some of prime themes that will be part of Rock ‘n’ Roll music for decades. He brings them all together in a way that will become linked with the Rock ‘n’ Roll music.

For example, cars, cars represent freedom. Second, romantic relationships. Most of the songs are written from male perspective, which means in most Rock ‘n’ Roll, women are not as subjects, but as objects to be pursued, obtained, displayed. And no school, freedom on weekend. Finally, celebration of Rock ‘n’ Roll, the music itself being celebrated within Rock ‘n’ Roll songs. Quite remarkable. Thus Berry deliberately writing for middle class young white audience. Not only the lyrics, but he tailored his sound and guitar voice for his audience. A wonderful example, “Johnny B. Goode” (1958).

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#2 R&B / #8 Pop - 12 Bar Blues with a “text heavy” narrative

White elements (to appeal white audience):

  • text heavy - narrative
  • clear enunciation
  • country guitar sound

Black Elements:

  • Blues chord structure
  • Accompaniment pattern: Added 6th (boogie woogie)
  • guitar solo is based on timbre, articulation and rhythm by using different techniques.

“Listening to Nat Cole prompted me to sing sentimental songs with distinct diction. The songs of Muddy Waters impelled me to deliver the down-home blues in the language they came from. When I played hillbilly songs, I stressed my diction so that it was harder and whiter. All in all, it was my intention to hold both the black and the white clientele by voicing the different kinds of songs in their customary tongues.” (Chuck Berry)

Certainly Elvis was successful, more famous, but Chuck is more influential. Why?

  • Elvis didn’t write his own songs. Do covers and have professional song writers for him. Whereas Chuck wrote all of his own songs.
  • Elvis wasn’t a bad guitar player, but guitar was not central to what he did. Whereas you can’t take guitar out of Chuck’s songs.

Very shortly, we will see next generation of Rock ‘n’ Roll artists. They respect Elvis, but they are going to base themselves as model on Chuck Berry. A young man once said, if you want to give Rock ‘n’ Roll another name, you can call it Chuck Berry. That young man was John Lennon, who we will meet a couple of weeks when we talk about The Beatles.

Part C: The End Of The Golden Age of Rock and Roll

“The Golden Age of Rock and Roll.” (1954-1959). What happened in late 1950s? First, moral panic is still there. Elvis didn’t write his own songs, didn’t have to play an instrument, which fits him perfectly in the division of labor, he is just a song stylist, quite unlike Chuck Berry. From a strict business point of view, Rock ‘n’ Roll didn’t make sense in the division of labor system. So major is fearful about Rock ‘n’ Roll. Some numbers:

1954 $200 million; 1959 $600 million:
Pop top 10: 1955 – 15% are R ’n’ R / 1959 – 42% are R ’n’ R
Independent share: 1955 21% / 1959 66%.

Music industry is going up very rapidly and is being driven largely by Rock ‘n’ Roll. From business prospective, the people who are enjoying this growth is largely independent record companies. Therefore, major labels try to gain control. Cover versions stop working. So the next thing major labels try is Payola inquiry, essentially, looking for corruption in the Rock ‘n’ Roll industry.

  • Majors implicitly link race with the “quality” of the music.
  • Rock ’n’ Roll is attacked on the grounds that it is inferior music (inferior=black influenced).
  • Payola Hearings (bribery). Federal government organizes some serious investigations, looking into whether DJ who plays Rock ‘n’ Roll is being bribed. And answer is yes, that’s how music industry works.
  • The person who came under most fire: Alan Freed.

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This destroys his career. He ended up dying in few years, largely from the stress of being constantly sued by the government.


  • Reaction against the perceived integration of youth.
  • Birth of Rock and Roll coincides with emergence of Civil Rights Movement
  • May 1954. Brown vs. The Board Of Education
  • December 1955. Rosa Parks – Montgomery Bus Boycott.
  • Freedom Riders / Lunch Counter Sit-ins
  • Martin Luther King Jr.: Non-violent protest
  • dislike of rock ‘n’ roll is linked to middle-class white fears regarding the growing strength of the Civil Rights’ movement

So then we get to late 1950s. The Great Extinction ends the careers of Rock ‘n’ Roll artists.

  • Elvis – March ’58 – Army.
  • Chuck Berry – December ’59 – Arrested under the “Mann Act”
  • Jerry Lee Lewis (another discovery of Sam Phillips) – May ’58 – Marriage to 13-year-old cousin becomes public. Polygamist.
  • Little Richard – October ’57, he takes himself out of the game of Rock ‘n’ Roll. His sexuality and faith.
  • Buddy Holly – Dies in a plane crash, February ’59 – along with Ritchie Valens and “The Big Bopper” (JP Richardson)

Lecture 6

Part A: Return To Division Of Labour

The “In-between” Years (1959-1963): The end of the “Golden Age” of Rock and Roll, to the arrival of The Beatles (February, 1964)

  • Major Labels recognize that Rock and Roll is not a fad
  • They begin to produce popular music similar to Rock and Roll – aimed at teenagers of the late 1950s early 1960s.
  • But produced within the “Division of Labour” system.

So they start to create songs that are tying to fads that fall in a particular pattern. One of the patterns, Dance Craze. In 1960, A song called, “The Twist”, by Chubby Checker, becomes a huge hit. The lyrics describes how to do the dance, and the title of the song is also the name of the dance. This becomes a series: like mashed potato. Let’s listen to an example, “The Locomotion” Little Eva (Goffin, King) 1962.

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Lots of sounds from Rock ‘n’ Roll, drum, bass, saxophone. Little Eva receives little money for this, even though it became a hit. Why? Because she was a salary employee for a music label. She was paid 50 dollars a week. Eva’s career was virtually over after then. She was seen as dance craze vocalist. When the dance craze peaked and public was moving to something else, the record label was not interested in having her sing more songs.

Another example of how major labels were figuring out the teenagers demographic and how they learnt from the golden age of Rock ‘n’ Roll is seen in the second cycle of song artists, which we refer it as Teen idols.

  • Artists that are teenagers themselves.
  • Adult relationships. Clean-cut, idealized boyfriend.
  • Make most teen idols male. Because mothers have more influence of what their children are listening to.

Let’s listen to one of them: “Blue Velvet” Performed by Bobby Vinton (1963).

music playing

Guitar here not only plays the melody line, but the rhythm. The golden age of Rock ‘n’ Roll has made guitar more prominent. The song is composed in 1950, hit for Tony Bennett in 1951, before emergence of Rock ‘n’ Roll. Major labels figure out they can change the arrangement of older material. The style would resemble Rock ‘n’ Roll enough then this will become a popular song.

This song fits in to the new model because its lyrics were appropriate for teenagers, unlike early Rock ‘n’ Roll, R&B, too involved in adult relationships. So Romantic (non-sexualized) love, and dancing.

Most of the newer artists did not write songs because of the division of labour – where were they coming from? TPA needs a new generation of songwriters in the division of labour system, but sounds like Rock ‘n’ Roll. Many came from The Brill Building.

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  • Don Kirshaner / Al Nevins. Aldon Music is a company within the Brill Building.
  • Pop music – Tin Pan Alley approach.

Part B: Technology and the Rise of the Producer

We have to go back to dying days of WWII. Nazi Germany has some smart scientists. Some American engineers have one job: to find abandoned Nazi technology and bring it back to the US. In 1945, a young man, Sergeant Jack Mullin, walks in to an abandoned radio station of Western Germany and discover something that alliance suspected Nazi developed but not for sure. They found the Magnetophon.

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It’s a reel to reel tape. Jack immediately found out the application of it is entertainment industry. Obviously, records has been quite a while. But for radio, all performance is live, because records is not a completely dependable medium. 1948, Bing Crosby give one of the first commercially produced reel-to-reel tape recorders to Les Paul. It lowers the cost of opening recording studio, not wasting so many records any more.

Les Paul (1915-2009). Obsessed in sounds. Popular guitarist – known for developing the “Solid Body” electric guitar. Solid guitar with amplifier has more sustainable sound.

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Les Paul with “The Log.”

Wishes to create recordings by layering performances. Impossible to do with records.

Assists in the development of the “multitrack” tape recorder.

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Example of a more recent multitrack recorder. This is a 16-Track Multitrack recorder from the 1970s.

Let’s listen to a example: “Sitting On Top Of The World” Les Paul with Mary Ford, 1953.

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He understood the tape can be used not only to record sound, but to alter sound by slowing the tape speed down or the opposite. It is called vary speed recording.

When did this performance occur?

Multitrack recording redefines the process of recording. Reproduction to Production. Produce something new, not to reproduce something that happened in real time.

Multitrack recording will open the door to someone new: a producer. We have used the term producer before: Sam Phillips, Chess brothers. Now the role of producer is going to take on a completely new and added dimension: supervise the recordings. Once all the musicians are done, producers keep playing with the recordings and create things may not exist in real time.

During the in-between years, more musicians become interested in multitrack. The recording industry begins the transition from recording complete songs in a single “take” to the use of multitrack recording. Phil Spector is the first to emerge a new generation during the in-between years. He pioneers a technique: use multitrack technology, develop an approach to record the “Wall of Sound”. An example, “Be My Baby” The Ronettes, 1963 (Barry, Greenwich, Spector)

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From wiki,

The Wall of Sound (also called the Spector Sound) is a music production formula developed by American record producer Phil Spector at Gold Star Studios, in the 1960s, with assistance from engineer Larry Levine and the conglomerate of session musicians later known as “the Wrecking Crew”. The intention was to exploit the possibilities of studio recording to create an unusually dense orchestral aesthetic that came across well through radios and jukeboxes of the era. Spector explained in 1964: “I was looking for a sound, a sound so strong that if the material was not the greatest, the sound would carry the record. It was a case of augmenting, augmenting. It all fitted together like a jigsaw.”

Part C: Surf Music

As we knew if from late 1950s, Rock ‘n’ Roll is gone. It has been replaced by sth quite like it, but done with major labels. It does not completely fade away. Survives and thrives on the western coast of the US, in style of music, we called surf music. Middle class, west coast prosperity. Let’s listen to a bit of surf music.

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This is The Beach Boys - “Surfin’ USA”. This sounds quite a bit different. We heard electric guitar. We see sth in surf music that is relatively unusual: a high number of instrumental songs: focus not on vocalist, but on instrument. Quite common before 1950s, like big band music. Example, Dick Dale - “Misirlou” (1962). But here is another instrumental hit from the period: The Surfaris - “Wipe Out”.

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Self-contained bands: write own songs. The man kneeling down is holding electric bass, two men back electric guitar.

Importance of Electric Guitar. Instrumental Tracks.

The Beach Boys. Self-contained bass/guitar group. Originally called The Pendletones: a name reference to clothing. Here is “Surfin’ USA” again.

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Did you hear the reference to the hair style and brand name? showing connection between music and fashion. Opening is similar to “Johnny B. Goode” of Chuck Berry. And listen to “Sweet Little Sixteen” by Chuck Berry.

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They (The Beach Boys) have no idea their song will become a big hit. They copied Chuck Berry as much out of love and anything. To much Chuck’s credit, he took it well. He then registered as one of the songwriters. He cares about making money.

Now listen to the woo’s in the background. Brian Wilson is the heart: write own songs, creative force. He has full responsibility for production. And he works out all the arrangement. Listen to “Good Vibrations” by The Beach Boys. The track was recorded one instrument at a time and it took 6 months for Brian to supervise and arrange the recording.

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Each part is precise. Electric cellos, early type of synthesizer: theremin. And listen to the complexity in the background. Next week we are going to visit The Beatles who changes how albums are recorded. There are two artists that the Beatles respect and fear: Bob Dylan and Brian Wilson. The song writing and production approach that Brian was taking on Beach Boys’ albums was a huge influence on Beatles. Unfortunately, the band depends entirely on Brian, and Brian suffers mental illness. Then decline in popularity through late 1960s.

Lecture 7

Part A: The New Frontier / Skiffle

The US was in desperate need of something to distract itself. Particularly the young people. And The Beatles came along at exactly that moment. Now why did they need this distraction?

In fact Kennedy remains the youngest man elected to the office of president of the US. He was also Catholic. There was a subtle systematic bias against Catholic. Optimism with Kennedy (Camelot). Round table, everyone is equal. Kennedy is open to all ideas. This vision that he put forward of nation building was given a name: “The New Frontier”. Optimistic future.

Civil Rights is making progress. In August 1963, there is a civil rights rally in Washington that attracts millions of people. Peaceful, constructive. A speech, Martin Luther King Jr. - “I have a dream”.

Kennedy assassinated Nov 22, 1963 – Dallas, Texas. In the month follow, the US plunges into a deep and terrible sense of depression. It needs sth to distract, make it laugh, give it hope again. February, 1964 – The Beatles arrive in New York. The beginning of British invasion. We need to talk about Post War Britain first.

England was a wreck after WWII, many things need to be rebuilt. Lack of job opportunities, lack of cultural opportunities. Music industry is not functioning well. Many British youths are hearing about the remarkable changes in the US during 1950s. Many Americans come to Europe and help with rebuilding. Many bring things with them like different type of records. British are fascinating about this, then we see the appearance of Skiffle, England’s first attempt of Rock ‘n’ Roll. English teenagers, primarily young men, were putting bands together, that were made up of whatever instrument they had lying around. Return to DIY culture, make their own version of pop music, based on what they hear from the US. Here is an example of skiffle: Lonnie Donegan - “Rock Island Line”. He becomes known as the king of skiffle.

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We can hear some R&B, early Rock ‘n’ Roll, country and western elements here. Skiffle groups become very popular. Let’s pay attention to one group: The Quarrymen in Liverpool in late 1950s.

Part B: Meet The Beatles

According to mythology, John Lennon was a leader of a Skiffle group called the Quarrymen. They were playing church picnic one afternoon then they were spotted by another teenager: Paul McCartney. John and Paul start to talk during a break and they were fascinated by each other. They both did no one else did: they wrote songs, which bring them together. They then began to write songs together. But they couldn’t play guitar solo. So Paul brings George Harrison who can play guitar. In order to be a complete Rock ‘n’ Roll band, they need to have a drummer. They hire a young man: Pete Best. They also decide to change the name of the band to “The Beatles” after some discussions.

The Beatles played for American troops in Hamburg, Germany. Playing Rock ‘n’ Roll, R&B covers. When they are not in Germany, they had a spot in Liverpool, The Cavern Club.

In this period, they don’t have any original songs recorded. It was all through live performances. Because of this, they come to the attention of a music journalist: Brian Epstein. He went to the club and quite surprised on what he saw. They were rough around the edges, swearing, drinking, smoking, but in Epstein own words: they had personal charm, an undeniable charisma. Then he becomes the manager of The Beatles. He starts off by significantly changing on Beatles’ image. They are engaging but the look frightens people, intimidates older generations.

Epstein spends the first half of 1962 on trying to get The Beatles a recording contract. He was turned down by every record label in England. In fact, he receives a letter from Dick Rowe, a representative of Decca Records in England. He was historically remembered as The Man Who Turned Down The Beatles. Everyone turns down because there was a feeling that the interest in guitar bass popular music was passing. Furthermore, in 1963, once The Beatles becomes famous, Dick finds them and said to them: I am sorry for you… Who would you recommend for me to sign? The Beatles tells him: probably the band Rolling stones. Then he signs the band, which is the second most important band of the British invasion.

Epstein didn’t give up. He is relentless. In June 1962, he convinced EMI to sign the Beatles, but they don’t want to put them on the main label. So they assign the Beatles to a sublabel: Parlophone. At Parlophone, they were assigned to a producer, George Martin, who is a classically trained musician. One of the thing he didn’t like the band was the drumming of Pete Best. They dropped him instantly. Why? The mythology: John in particular didn’t get along with Pete Best. So they replaced him with Ringo Starr. In September 1962, first single: “Love Me Do”.

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The song was a minor hit, but did well enough that the record company is willing to give them a chance to a second single. The Beatles “Please Please Me” (January 1963).

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  • AABA form
  • Change in rhythmic density in vocal
  • Longest held note, highest note at the end of the B section
  • Numerous rehearsed details
  • TPA-style attention to arrangement

They becomes true star. In November 1963, The Beatles on The Royal Variety Performance. 35 million in England. …just rattle your jewelry. The next mountain to climb is America.

By the time The Beatles rising to fame, Britain music industry has largely got back on its feet. By the late 1950s, England was starting to produce its first series of music stars in the post war era. Many of them have tried to tour the US but failed. The Beatles expected to try and make it America. Here is another mythology: Epstein refuses to allow the band to go to the US until they had a hit record. None of the records are done well at all through 1963 in America due to a variety of reasons. In early 1964, “I want to hold your hand” became the first Beatles’ hit in the US. Then they were arranged to head to the US.

There were lots of promotion. The caption of this promotion was “The Beatles are coming” (February, 1964). This is a clever play on history. In late 1700s, the US which was still a British colony, declared its independence. The British is disappointed to hear this and send an army to retake the colony. When the army arrives, the myths goes that Paul Revere rides on his horse and yells “The British are coming”. Now this time is “The Beatles are coming”.

First stop is major television appearance. On Feb 9th Ed Sullivan Show, 70 Million viewers. Example, Video – The Beatles On The Ed Sullivan Show.

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Extraordinary. Many young men and women watched this show and began to step into the music industry later in 1960s and 1970s. The Beatles relaunched the idea of self-contained groups. Then they took a train down to Washington DC, and they went to The Washington Coliseum which is a sport stadium on Feb 10th. Here is a video.

The success of the Beatles is so great that they are going to invent the modern stadium convert. Tour lasts for two weeks – 2 million albums, $2.5 million merchandising. Everywhere they go, screaming girls. Hysteria known as “Beatlemania” In April 1964, 12 songs in the Billboard top 100 pop, simultaneously: including positions 1 to 5. End of 4th U.S. Tour in ’65 - $65 million dollars.

Importance – Template for what is to follow. Mersey Beat: Gerry and the Pacemakers, The Searchers, The Swinging Blue Jeans. They follow the Beatles: light and precise sound, guitars.

Now back to the final US tour, they played a concert at a major outdoor sports stadium, Shea Stadium in New York City, August 15th, 1965. 55k fans.

Part C: The Road To Sgt. Pepper

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The song you were listened to is called “Help”. It is a title track from a film sound track. Their second film: Help, in July 1965. The Beatles has done one film already, A Hard Day’s Night.

In the album coming along with the film Help, many songs like “Help” is catchy, well-written Beatles songs. But there was one song that is a bit mystery, stood out a little bit. It sounded like this.

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The song is called “Yesterday”. Primarily written by Paul McCartney, lead singer, play acoustic guitar. AABA form. Several extraordinary things:

  • Only one Beatle is singing. Usually Beatles song features all four Beatles. Only Paul.
  • String Quartet. 4 orchestral string instruments. There’s a perception in the world of the classical music that great composers do their most profound work for string quartets.
  • More complex harmonic and lyric structures

Beatles are evolving – moving away from pop song writing. Lots of things bring to this change. One of the big events is that John and Paul had a chance to meet Bob Dylan. He said to them: your music is great but your lyrics don’t say anything. And we have the use of string quartet. That was Paul’s idea where he got this idea from the producer, George Martin. Remember he is an educated classical musician as well. Also Paul has learnt all sorts of things like non-European cultures from him. All sorts of doors are starting to open to the Beatles.

By this point in their career, John and Paul have written hundreds of songs together. Every song carried the credit of these two. They wrote everything together. John and Paul are starting to write on their own, pursue their own interest in their composition. The band is going to two separate directions. Unfortunately, this will eventually result in demise of the band. We see this change take place over a remarkably short period of time.

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August ‘65. Yesterday in the Help album.

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Dec ’65 – “Rubber Soul”. Even the album cover suggests the things are changing. Album cover until then has two purposes: protect and promote the record. The image slightly distorted, skewed. The songs like “Nowhere Man”.

music playing

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August ’66 – “Revolver”. They abandoned the idea of group photograph. Very last track on the album: “Tomorrow Never Knows”.

music playing

  • most part of the song composed by John Lennon
  • lyrics are based on the Tibetan Book of the Dead
  • really doesn’t have chord changes in the usual way. Song is based on a drone (use of the Tamboura - influence of non-western culture, classical India)
  • vocal is “double-tracked” and is run through a “Leslie” speaker cabinet
  • makes use of tape “loops” (avant-garde) and backwards recording

Demonstrates the growing influence of non-western culture, and the technology of the recording studio on the work of The Beatles. This song would have been unplayable in concert in the 1960s…

The band was losing interest in public performance. Why? cause screaming girls have not gone away.

March of 1966. The Beatles have done interviews in major British newspaper. They have developed a level respect among most people, particularly John. John has a healthy respect for spiritual traditions. He said we are bigger than Jesus now. He didn’t mean it literally. As on their way to the US, a quote is published taken out of the context: John Lennon “Beatles Bigger than Jesus”. By the time plane landed, a protest has started. And then the Beatles decided that they had enough. The final show on tour, August 29th – Candlestick park in San Francisco. Then they made astonishing announcement: they were retiring from public performance. Instead, focus on the work in recording studio.

Lecture 8

Part A: The Beatles (Part 2)

In February, 1967, they release a most remarkable song, “Strawberry Fields Forever”. Music video. The next album, June 1967 – “Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band”. It is the most influential album ever released. It marked the pinnacle of what The Beatles has been working towards through this middle period of Help, Rubber soul and Revolver. They were clearly pushing away from the idea of the individual songs being the focus of their work to a larger collection of songs.

Front cover: wild art, all sorts of important historic figures that surrounds the Beatles. Back cover: first time, album cover include the lyrics for every song. Listen to the final track: The Beatles “A Day In The Life” (From Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band). As the song starts, you can hear the end of the previous song. If you listen to the song carefully, you realize there are two songs here, two incomplete songs: first one by John, middle section by Paul, then transition to John’s song. We can see two styles diverge.

music playing

  • actually, assembled out of sections separately composed.
  • “post modern” approach to creating forms.
  • aleatory techniques (偶然音乐) with orchestra.

One of the key ideas of modernism is that you set up and follow rules.

Before, for the most part, the music industry was focused on singles. The first “concept album” (?): a collection of songs on a single album in which all of the songs are linked together in some way. Why question mark? The Beatles did plan on an idea of creating concept album, theme: their childhood growing up in the Liverpool. The problem is that they ran out of songs before they get album finished, so they ended up putting up some other songs on the album that didn’t have anything to do with childhood. Nevertheless, history remembers this album.

Shift to the “Hippie Aesthetic”.

  • marks the shift from “Rock ‘n’ Roll” to “Rock”. In musicology circles, these two terms mean differently. Rock ‘n’ Roll is the style dominated the pop music industry since someone like Elvis and Chuck Berry, marked by the emphasis on singles. Rock emphasis on album.
  • moving from:
    • singles to albums
    • dancing (important in Rock ‘n’ Roll) to listening
    • entertainers to “serious” musicians

The band was destined to fall apart the moment Brian Epstein died.

One last thing: how long they were together? fall 1962 —> early 1970. Only less than 10 years, they rewrite the pop music history.

Part B: The British Blues Revival

There’s an entirely second stream on music outside of the Beatles in the British invasion. It is based primarily in London. In this wave of music, the influence was American R&B. It is now referred to The British Blues Revival. Why revival here? We will spend most of the next week talking about soul music, which is the main threat of pop music within African American culture in 1960s, to 1970s. R&B was seen as a music of yesterday. Early 60s, is the height early civil rights movement. Many in Black community want to look forward. R&B artists such as Muddy Waters find by late 50s, their careers are really falling out of the favor. What they don’t know is something happened in England.

Remember we are still in post-war era. Then we see young English musicians learn to play music by listening to R&B. Why would young white English (primarily male) be drown to R&B? It was a song of complaint. They are experiencing post-war rebuilding. Then we see a whole generation modelling themselves on R&B. Then in the US, places like Chess Records are in hard time. Then they learn there is a huge fan-based in England. In 1950s, England has rebuilt enough from the war, then it’s possible for someone who comes from the US to hold concert tours. One of the first groups is a collection of R&B musicians organized by Chess Records. Headline artist: Muddy Waters.

Waters becomes a primary influence on a generation of British musicians:
Fleetwood Mac, Cream, Eric Clapton, Led Zepplin, The Rolling Stones. Brian Jones puts the Rolling Stones together. He is deeply passionate fan of R&B. Thus he wants to put a band together in a tribute way. Debut at the Marquee Club: July, 1962. The name of the band came from a song by Muddy Waters, “Like a Rolling Stone”. In April 1963, they are approached by a young man, Andrew Loog Oldham, who wants to be their manager. Then there comes a myth: Andrew suggests them not to follow the Beatles, instead be dangerous and rough, no smiles.

1963-1964: All singles are covers (Chuck Berry, Buddy Holly, Willie Dixon)

Nobody in the British Blues Revival wrote songs. So Andrew, who knows the Beatles, arranges a recording session in November 1963. He phones Lennon/McCartney and asks them to show how to write a song. Then they wrote a song “I Wanna’ Be Your Man” in less than a hour.

In Spring 1964, they record first album: “England’s Newest Hitmakers”, mostly blues covers. One original song, which is terrible. Let’s listen to a song, “King Bee” – April 1964, blues form, cover of song by Slim Harpo (1957).

music playing

Mick Jagger and Keith Richards continue to follow from the advice from Paul and John, and write songs. Lovely story: they follow Paul and John’s advice: keep a tape recorder next to their bed. If you have a good idea and wake up, you then can get it quickly on the tape. Then one morning, Keith woke up and realized that his tape recorder has completely gone its tape. He also noticed that his guitar is facing down to the ground. Then he played the tape. The legend tells he heard something like this:

tape playing

15 seconds little catchy line, followed by about 58 minutes snoring. In Feb 1965, then it becomes “(I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction” (Jagger/Richards), first US number one pop. There’s a video with the band playing the song live. Clear R&B influence.

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The Beatles / The Rolling Stones

  • image. Brian Epstein turns the Beatles the darling of middle class. Andrew Loog Oldham turns the Rolling Stones into the working men of Rock ‘n’ Roll.
  • “process” versus “product”. Process: not the destination, it’s the journey. Not worried about where to go, interested what happened along the way. Product: destination, clear on where to go. The Beatles in later period focus on the product. Then the Rolling Stones focus on process: the arrangement is always flexible. Every performance is different.

When we look at African American culture, we are in the world of process. When we look at Europe American culture, white culture, quite often in the world of product. Think of the division of labor in TPA, standardized, predicable, repeatable.

Brian Jones’ story didn’t end well. He is primarily interested in R&B, not in original songs. And following the success of not getting any satisfaction, the power center of the band shifted away from him to Mick Jagger and Keith Richards. Jones distanced himself from the band: didn’t show up in the recording sessions, late for rehearsals and so on. He then was forced to leave the band. Within only a few weeks, Brian was found dead in his swimming pool.

The Yardbirds (Blues Influence): Tribute band to Blues. Original leader: Eric Clapton. Like the Rolling Stones, they began to develop original material, then Clapton decided to leave the band because he doesn’t want to pursue the more popular approach. He is replaced by Jeff Beck. Then Clapton becomes one of the greatest English blues guitar players of all the time. Jeff Beck is a wonderful musician, gifted guitar player. More successful popular career, a song such as “For Your Love” (March, 1965). An illness of bass player forced the band to make unexpected change: add a new local studio musician, Jimmy Page. But at the time Page joins, the band slowly becomes apart. Following the band’s split in 1968, Relf and McCarty formed Renaissance and guitarist Jimmy Page formed Led Zeppelin (from wiki).

One last stop, The Who (Blues Influenced). Originally part of British Blues Revival, but they take a different path as we get into 1960s. Also incorporated elements of art and fashion. Became closely associated with “Mod” culture. A song, “My Generation” (October, 1965).

  • disillusioned, rejection of parent’s culture
  • loud, aggressive.

Concert performance of “My Generation” from 1967.

Generation gap. Do a concert and smash an instrument.

In 1969, they released an album “Tommy”. In 1973, “Quadrophenia”. They were concept albums, and they pushed the idea of concept album as far as you could towards the end of narrative. These were Rock Opera, they told stories, each song like a chapter in story.

The “Overture” from “Tommy”

Lecture 9

Part A: Intro To Soul / Motown

All cultures are political. Not left/right wing, but in a more fundamental way, where power resides.

Development connected to the Civil Rights movement and the development of African-American identity.

As we mentioned before, during late 1950s, early 60s, American R&B is falling out of the favor of its Black audience. In part, it is due to the success of civil rights movement. African Americans as a community starts to gain a sense of optimism. There was a feeling R&B is a representation of past, rural south, slavery. Thus it needed music to reflect new found sense of optimism: soul music.

In broad, soul has three primary influences, elements.

  • Vocal style from African American church, music of Gospel.
  • Rhythm beat of R&B. Music intended for dancing, celebration.
  • Arrangements and lyric styles from TPA

Important locations for Soul Music

Have a look on what it says over the front window: doesn’t say Motown, it says Hitsville, USA.

Located in an old movie theatre. Below “STAX”, it says SOULSVILLE, USA.

These terms are not arbitrary. They actually tell us about how the two centers differed quite significantly in the way they approach what they did.

First, let’s visit Motown. Much for 20th century, Detroit was the center of the automotive industry. It was founded by Berry Gordy.

Starts in 1959 – Based on Gordy’s experience in automotive plants. Inspired by this experience, here is the assembly line, each person has one job. This is not new as we talked about the division of labor in TPA. What Berry wants to do is apply the division of labor to the music not intended for middle class white, but African American. Not only does he want to apply the division of labor approach, he wants to put everything in one company, one building. Everything under one roof.

  • song writers: Holland/Dozier/Holland, Smokey Robinson
  • Maxine Powell: Finishing School, an institute for particularly young women from wealthy families. Then they would learn how to behave in “acceptable” manner. To train the artist.
  • Cholly Atkins: Choreographer
  • The Funk Brothers: House band

Result is absolute consistency of product, in terms of sound and visual appearance. Have look at Lip-synced performance of “You’d Better Shop Around” Smokey and the Miracles, 1960. Two things: Lyrics, idealized romance; Restrained movements, sophistication. Lip-sync is not unusual at this point. It works well in Motown, because unlike music like British invasion, the focus is taken off the band and put on the singer, on the song. The back-up band is invisible.

Let’s have a little bit of detailed look at the sound of Motown. Example: “Stop in the Name of Love” by The Supremes (1965).

music playing

Beat intended for dancing. Lyrics, idealized romance. We can hear the sound of vibraphone. Putting the sound of vibraphone is a clever move. First, not every Motown record has vibraphone. This is trying to appeal the white audience. It is primarily associated with Jazz. Great master: Lionel Hampton, a star in big band era. The opinions towards Rock ‘n’ Roll are changing, so does Jazz.

For many years, Jazz had been viewed as suspicion from the perspective of middle class whites. It was connected something like drug use. These are just excuses… the big problem is black culture. But by the time we get into 1960s, Jazz has been recognized as an art form. Indeed, many people refer to Jazz as North America’s first original art form.

What we don’t hear a lot of is that first influence: the Gospel influence. This comes down to the choice of the lead singer.

Sound and Production Practice

  • Focus on arrangement
  • Clarity of sound
  • Accuracy of performance
  • “Quality Control” – comparison to other hit records.

This brings us back to the sign on the door: Hitsville USA. That’s because Berry Gordy focuses on hits. As we are going to see, that’s very different from the philosophy that was taken in another major center for soul music: Stax - Memphis.

Part B: Stax

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Started by a brother and sister team, Jim Stewart and Estelle Axton. Formed in 1959 – Satellite Records (Stax, 1961). Things done differently in Stax. Like Motown, Stax uses house band in many recordings. The band: Booker T and the M.G.s.

Integrated band: some were white, some were black. This runs into some issues…

Remember the house band in Motown is invisible, in the background. However, Booker T and the M.G.s actually had hits of their own in addition to playing on the recordings for other vocalists. One of their hits: “Green Onions” By Booker T and the M.G.s. Great groove, used in many movies and so on.

Approach to recording

  • Collective decision making, demographically. In Motown, ultimate decision is Barry Gordy’s.
  • Less emphasis on arrangements than Motown, which used multitrack tape (allow high level control). While in Stax, music is done with all musicians performing together after several rehearsals.
  • Focus on energy of performance over accuracy.

EXAMPLE: “Try A Little Tenderness”: (1966) by Otis Redding.

  • AABA – TPA song written in the 1920s
  • Hit for Bing Crosby in 1933
  • Unrestrained energy in performance

Otis Redding – Live version of “Try A Little Tenderness” with Booker T And The MGs. Quite unrestrained.

We have now talked about the Gospel vocal within Stax. What about the other two influences? Like Motown, Stax has strong rhythmic feel. But we see less the influence is in that third point: more elaborative arrangements. Stax generally has simpler approach to arrangements.

Another example, Sam and Dave. Their song: “Soul Man” 1967. We can hear distorted vocal. Instrumental arrangement is quite simple. Here is “Soul Man”.

music playing

There was a mistake in it: a couple of people didn’t play the note when they were supposed to. It is in the horn section.

“Soul” as a term for black culture: Sam is singing about the joys being a soul man. Still the optimistic sound. As we will see by 1967, things were getting quite bleak within the civil rights movements. We see the change in attitude and approach in a song: “Respect” by Aretha Franklin, 1967.

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Beginning of a more militant sound.

This song becomes the anthem of civil rights movement, a demand for respect.

1966 – Atlantic begins working at FAME (Florence Alabama Music Enterprises).

James Brown, a major star of soul music, is going to see the changes around him and fundamentally alter his approach to music in response to what’s happening with civil rights. In 1967, he’s going to introduce the world to funk.

Part C: James Brown and Funk

‘65-’67: Inner city riots. Martin Luther King, assassinated April 4th, 1968. The Black Panthers. The Re-Africanization of black culture: changes in fashion. Afro.

James Brown – Funk. Soul Brother #1. In 1956, first hit, “Please, Please, Please”. 1963, album, “Live at the Apollo”. 1965 – “Papa’s Got a Brand New Bag” Crossover hit. Let’s listen to another song “I Feel Good” (1965). We can certainly hear soul music styles.

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Pure Gospel influence. 12 bar blues. Becomes Brown’s biggest Pop hit (#3) after “Papa’s Got a Brand New Bag.”

12-bar blues 12-bar blues 4 bar break
8 bar bridge
12 bar blues

In fact, almost every musical style we have looked at in this course have emerged gradually. Now this example, one individual said I am going to invent a new approach. In 1967, James Brown comes up with a completely new sound. It sounds like this.

music playing

A song called Cold Sweat. Introduces a new style - Funk. For James, it’s the musical equivalence of what we talked about little earlier with the idea of re-Africanization of African American culture. He is based the idea for funk in his perception in west African drum ensembles. It’s almost accurate with west Africa in several aspects.

  • Deprivilage of melody and harmony
    • Taking the emphasis away from chord changes.
    • Melody is not an important part of style.
  • Privilage of Rhythm, articulation, timbre.
  • Interlock groove – based on African Drum Groups. Master drummer gives the beat first.
  • Cyclical – pleasure in repetition
  • Open-ended forms – cyclical vs. linear

Another example, “Get Up (I feel like being a) Sex Machine” (1970).

The emphasis in funk is what is referred to as “THE ONE”: the beginning of cycle that repeats.

Idea of the community is still brought out. In his funk recordings, you hear him talking to the members in his band. Call out by names/instruments.

One final point, circular, repeats. And James brings the riffs back. Soul music, as we will see when we get into Hip Hop, with James Brown and transitions to funk, is the beginnings of return to the importance of riff-based music.

Lecture 10

Part A: The Folk Revival

Counter culture.

By the late 1950s and early 1960s:

  • Many of the teen fans of the golden age of Rock ’n’ Roll are now in their early 20s.
  • Now in university, many are looking for music that is more “serious.” Two are popular, western classical music, one is folk music.
  • Folk Music.

The ‘Paradox’ of ‘Professional’ Folk Music: Folk music was a style that, by definition, valued tradition over innovation – in contrast to the music industry. Yet, ‘professional’ folk musicians were part of the music industry.

Pre WWII, Folk music, political left, - union movement。

Woody Guthrie, presents us with the model of early folk musicians. On the guitar, it says “This machine kills fascists”. Not guitar, it’s machine. Farmers/factory workers/working class use machines. In this expression, he is one of the working class. He is at the same level as his audience.

Another important group in earlier history within folk music industry. The Weavers: Pete Seeger, who is leader. We are going to listen to a best known song by Woody Guthrie, performed by The Weavers: “This Land is Your Land”.

music playing

What did you hear? Banjo, acoustic guitar, harmonica at the end as the solo. No one is showing off. They are accomplished musicians. In terms of lyrics, not tourist commercial songs. The land is made for all of us. The lyric is celebrating the collective which questions the privilage of the individual. An anthem of left-wing politically.

Then we reach “the folk revival”. We have encountered the blues revival before. To understand the revival, we have to go back to WWII. Cold war between Soviet Union and The US. In the US, moral panic, aimed at politics, communism. One of them is HUAC (House Un-American Activities Committee). People looking something that really wasn’t there, an example, inquiry led by a senator McCarthy. McCarthyism (1947-1956). Why does this relate to folk music?

In pre-WWII years or early years after WWII, folk musicians were often associated politically with left-wing. The fact is when moving forward, -> socialism, then -> communism. Many particularly within folk music community found their career ruined by accusation of communism. In 1953, the Weavers were caught up, then their career ended. “Blacklisted” in 1953 because of left-wing connection.

Here is where we reach the revival part. For several years through 1950s, folk music very much falled out of favor.
Late 1950s / Early 60s, Baby Boom reaches college, interest in “serious” music. In late 1950s, a new generation of folk musicians begins to emerge who are much closer in age to this new market. The Kingston Trio / Peter Paul and Mary, similar to earlier music but more “produced” – smoother sounding, more “arranged.” An example: The Kingston Trio: Tom Dooley (1959).

music playing

They did not write this song. Compared to the recording of the Weavers, subtle differences, more attention to the bass reproduction. Voice much closer to the mic, proximity effect. Lots of arrangement in the vocal. Pop music approach to self-consciousness.

Some have more traditional approach. One young man, Robert Zimmerman had more influence to Woody Guthrie. Moved to the New York city to pursue his career in 1961. Changed his name: Bob Dylan. Several years, we can see his image.

His songs were addressing contemporary issues, but the song sounds like older, traditional piece of music. For example, A Hard Rain’s a Gonna Fall (1963). It is musically simple, but listen to the lyrics which is complex, where everything is metaphor.

music playing

This song is about nuclear war. In October 1962, Cuban Missile Crisis. In lyrics, everything is symbolic. A series of questions:

And what did you hear, my blue-eyed son?
And what did you hear, my darling young one? …

Figuratively phrased question. A seris of answers, highly poetic, numbers:

I heard the sound of a thunder, it roared out a warnin’
Heard the roar of a wave that could drown the whole world
Heard one hundred drummers whose hands were a-blazin’
Heard ten thousand whisperin’ and nobody listenin’…

Part B: Folk Rock and the Counter Culture

Bob Dylan, 1964/1965, becomes a major star in this world of folk revival. But it’s 1964, in Feb, the Beatles arrived in the US. We previously mentioned that Dylan is a hero to John Lennon and Paul McCartney. When they met Bob Dylan, Bob profoundly influenced them by saying “your lyrics didn’t say anything”. This is actually a key moment of the Beatles’ history.

It is not mentioned quite often that the Beatles also had influence on Bob Dylan. Bob Dylan noticed that the success of the Beatles has changed the landscape in terms of how Rock ‘n’ Roll was received. The Beatles is not only popular with young children, but with their parents. More general acceptance.

Bob Dylan started to think that if his music pushed more towards the direction of the Beatles, perhaps he could widen his own audience. Literally, he is not going to become a Mersey Beat musician. He shifted more to the world of electric instruments. This is tricky because folk musicians/folk fans. They saw themselves separate from the music industry, unsullied by the music industry/business.

In summer of 1965, Bob Dylan did something quite remarkable. Newport Folk Festival. Let’s watch a video: Bob Dylan At Newport.

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The world remembers this event as Dylan Goes Electric. He indeed played electric guitar. The mythology is thick: organizers are outraged, and were restrained from pulling the plug. Lots of people booed and Dylan & his band walked off the stage after only 3 songs. But there are quite a number of people enjoyed it. Also another possible reason is that the band and Dylan only rehearsed 3 songs.

However, it is not in dispute that lots of people within the music industry were furious at Bob Dylan for this. The best (insightful) comment from Arlo Guthrie (Woody Guthrie’s son): it wasn’t a controversy that acoustic vs. electric, but it was what’s those guitars represented in the minds of folk fans.

After this backlash died down, it turned out that many people really did like this new direction. Creation of “Folk Rock”: music that used the instruments Rock ‘n’ Roll but could explore deeper ideas/songs with messaged like folk. This new sound from Bob Dylan, folk rock, along with the experimentation of the Beatles will have profound impact on The Counter Culture.

In the US, we see it coming to its peak through mid to late 1960s. The Counter Culture was essentially many things. If we simply boil down to one idea, it would be a large number of young people, baby boomers, looking for a different way to structure their lives from their parents. They were looking to live their lives more experimentally, rather than simply gathering stuff. And collective ideal, much like extension of what Kennedy said.

Influence of The Beats (Jack Kerouac, Allan Ginsberg).

  • Jazz Beat / Beaten down / Beatitude
  • Revived in the early 1960s
  • Move away from ideology of parents
  • Hippies
  • Two main “centers”: Greenwich Village (New York) and Haight-Ashbury (San Francisco)
  • Focus on Sensory Stimulation (Psychedelic 迷幻)

First level of stimulation: the rhythm and beats of the music.

Music played a central role of this philosophy of psychedelic of this pursue of higher state of consciousness. This is where the popular music concert becomes to get loud. Turning the volume up gives you a second level of stimulation, via the body, physically.

Another thing: banks of lights, lighting shows. A third level: flash lights on and off, visual stimulation. Longer or unusual song forms. The audience doesn’t know what’s gonna happen next. Jamming (collective improvisation): musicians start making up what they are doing on the spot. Surprising, unexpected moment.

A band, The Grateful Dead, pushed this idea of collective improvisation. They had been influenced by Folk Rock. Let’s listen to a song by them: Truckin’. There are some lovely looseness to the way they play, parts constantly changing suddenly.

music playing

When we get to the end of the “song”, it is different when played live. They start to improvise. Then each concert is different. Nickname of fans following them everywhere: the Dead Heads.

Another style emerging in the counter culture: Acid Rock/Psychedelic Rock. These bands tend to have harder, louder, more aggressive sound. The Beatles’ Tomorrow never knows (1966) has profound impact on many musicians within the counter culture who are looking for sounds experiments, incorporating the themes of the counter culture, surreal elements, drug uses. An example, White Rabbit by Jefferson Airplane (1967). This song is short for a counter culture song. Then they did something else. It was a major hit in 1967. But by the counter culture song’s nature, they are not targeting hit radio, not short catchy songs.

First, it’s an unusual song form. Plus, it uses for much of the song a rather unusual rhythmic feel for a pop song. It’s influenced Bolero, which is rhythmic pattern used quite often in the Classical. The lyrics are from the book 1865: alice’s adventures in wonderland. Let’s listen to this song.

music playing

When she comes in with lyrics, we first hear drug reference: one pill makes you larger, one pill makes you smaller. Then the lyric said parent culture is invalid.

The structure of this song: keep introducing new ideas. The song starts quietly then becomes louder gradually, more intense. The end of the song is the most intense moment. It is described as crescendo. It’s not a representation of naughty, it’s representation of drug experience/drug rush.

Lecture 11

Part A: Counter Culture

Particularly in the counter culture, many different styles of music fit generally under this umbrella of counter culture, this is because to a great extent, the counter culture was aesthetic philosophy. The west coast counter culture reaches its peak very much in the summer of 1967. It is remembered as the summer of love.

By 1968, things become to change. Civil Rights movement. Long, hot summer. Request for self-consciousness, Beatitude. Whether it was literal or symbolic idea, it is an internal goal, looking inside rather than outside. After 1967, the problems of the outside were becoming more an issue. Counter culture starts to turn more politically active approach like civil right movements. Also focus on the Draft/Vietnam War.

Youth International Party (Yippies) organized by Jerry Rubin / Abbie Hoffman.

We see that music is louder – more aggressive. Return to Blues influences, British Blues revival. Psychedelic Blues.

Jimi Hendrix

  • Technical virtuoso. Guitar player.
  • Control of high levels of distortion.
  • doesn’t have a single style, range of things.

Let’s listen to Voodoo Child (Slight Return) (1967). Blues influence.

music playing

For the first time, we can hear some really serious playing with stereo. Also the use of the Wah-Wah pedal. It has been around for a while, but most guitar players used it in a gentle way, whereas Hendrix used in an aggressive and prominent way, changing the role of the Wah pedal for future guitar players. Also the use of Tremelo bar. Michael Casswell demonstrating the Tremelo bar on an electric guitar.

Woodstock: (August 1969). Video Example: Country Joe performing a Vietnam protest song, ‘I Feel Like I’m Fixin’ To Die Rag.” Absolute triumph of counter culture.

The Rolling Stones decided to hold their own version of Woodstock in Altamont, California: (December, 1969). There were two specific differences between organizations of Woodstock and Altamont.

Woodstock was held out in the middle of country side, a big working farm. They were able to get more field over, expand as more people come. Everybody got room, was safe. Altamont was essentially held in an enclosed stadium. Crowding was becoming an issue. But even that Altamont might have survived and gone on to become a great moment in the history of the counter culture.

Recall the Rolling Stones have established themselves as the bad boys of Rock ‘n’ Roll. So they decided for the security of the concert, they hired the Hell’s Angels, Motorcycle gang. Video Example: The Jefferson Airplane at Altamont (Things fall apart about 3:00). It was an utter disaster.

April, 1970: Paul McCartney leaves The Beatles. Anti-war protest, Kent State, Ohio: May 1970. And a song, Crosby, Stills, Nash, and Young: ‘Ohio’. These had profound chilling effect on the counter culture. Really the beginning of an end. Three stars died: September, 1970: Jimi Hendrix dies. October, 1970: Janice Joplin dies of a drug overdose. July 1971, Jim Morrison (Lead singer of The Doors) dies.

Part B

Intro: Deep Purple - smoke on the water.

I’ve Got A Fever And The Only Prescription Is More Cowbell

The 1970s: Failure of the Counter-Culture begins a shift to a more cynical view of the world.

Reinforced by:

  • The Energy Crisis (1973-1974)
    • Yom Kippur War (October, 1973)
    • The Energy Crisis marks the beginning of the first economic recession since the end of WWII
  • Watergate: Facing criminal charges and impeachment, President Richard Nixon resigns (August, 1974).
  • Vietnam: the fall of Saigon.

In 1970s, we see increasingly that the idea of counter culture is turning away, which was based on the collective and turned towards the individual, focusing on yourself.

In 1970s, many things are still going on. Soul develops the “Philadelphia” sound with bands like The O’Jays. Also, Funk becomes popular with Sly and the Family Stone and Parliament Funkadelic. Pop develops a cycle of singer/songwriters such as: Carol King, James Taylor.
Album sales reach new levels with sales with success of The Eagles’ “Hotel California” and Fleetwood Mac’s.

Hard Rock/Heavy Metal

or stadium rock. Recall Hippie Aesthetic when we talked about the Beatles and how the Beatles led this change with the album such as Sg. Peppers, taking us from Rock ‘n’ Roll to Rock. Also we see sonic development from Psychedelic Blues / British Blues Revival. To a great extent it is a response to the failure of Counter Culture. The philosophy of the counter culture was more focused on the advantages of the collective. With the shootings at Kent State, the philosophy of the collective began to give way to more of a focus on the individual.

Distinctions between Hard Rock and Heavy Metal:

  1. Distortion.
    • The sound of electric guitar. In general, in hard rock, the distortion tends to be less intense. In heavy metal, it becomes more intense. The sounds/individual notes in hard rock are still clear and rich. For heavy metal, distortion, thicker, much more intense, hard to hear individual notes, powerful force.
    • In other instruments. For example, in hard rock, not unusual to find vocalist with raspy voices. In heavy metal, not unusual to come across vocalists who deliberately distort the sound in a way that often jokingly referred to as cookie monster vocals. Vocal Distortion example
    • Instruments like the bass. As you move from hard rock to heavy metal, bass players use more distortions on their instruments as well.
  2. Tempo. In general, hard rock songs tend to be mid-tempo, not too fast/slow. For heavy metal, extremes in tempo become much more common, extremely fast or slow. As we get to the heavy metal end of spectrum, it takes on most of the sense of a classical musician approach to play your instrument well: fast, slow or changing from fast to slow. All these things put a highlight on the skills of musicians with fluctuation in tempo with extreme ranges in tempo.
  3. Blues-European Classical Influences. Hard rock: blues influence. Heavy metal: as from songs structure, riff-based compositions, musical gestures, we can see the blue influence starts to recede, and again we see influence of western classical music.
  4. Lyrics. Hard rock: fall into Chuck Berry tradition of girls, cars, no school. Heavy metal: elements of fantasy, spirituality, religion, super natural, darker psychological state: helplessness, paranoia, insanity…

Example: AC/DC (Hard Rock) - Australian, formed in 1973.

  • the album “Back In Black” (1980) has sold over 50 million copies, 2nd highest album sales in history.
  • strong blues influence, steady tempos, rock ‘n’ roll lyrics.
  • around 2:47 of the video, we see duck walk, a tribute to Chuck Berry

Example: Metallica (Heavy Metal)

  • Los Angeles, formed in 1981.
  • musically highly technical, frequent tempo changes, instrumental sections, classical influences, virtuosic
  • from 3:15 of the video, the song changes completely and goes into a slower middle section, then virtuosic soloing…

Founding Bands:
1/ Black Sabbath.
2/ Deep Purple.
3/ Led Zeppelin.
In no particular order, and all from the UK.

Black Sabbath: Their lead singer Ozzy Osbourne has given some insightful interviews in terms of what’s going on. He has often talked about the fact that the American counter culture didn’t really happen in England. England has finally recovered from WWII in late 50s early 60s. As we move through 60s, England economy stalls again. Ozzy often described it as a sense of doom. His band and him started to write and perform “doomy music”: focus on the idea of the loss of control, madness, paranoia and elements tied to war. An example: “War Pigs” (1970 – from the album Paranoid)

music playing

Is this hard rock or hard metal, or somewhere in the middle? Lyrics that focus on alienation, futility of the war \(\implies \) heavy metal. Also numerous little instrumental sections, starts off slow then fast, changes in tempo \(\implies \) heavy metal. This band in particular leans back towards the hard rock end is in the sound of Ozzy’s voice: quite distinct, typical from other singers, much clearer, far less distortion, more nasal tone.

Deep Purple, also from England. Jon Lord uses electric organ. It is one of the few other instruments in this style, primarily we are looking for electric bass/guitar/drums vocalist, not any acoustic instruments. Why electric organ? First electric, can be plugged into an amplifier, then distortion. Let’s listen to an example: “Highway Star” (1972 – from the album Machine Head).

music playing

Tempo consistent. Chuck Berry tradition lyrics. High level distortion of instruments, virtuosic vocal performance during the introduction. When we get to the solos, we hear Jon Lord’s keyboard solo showed high level of classical influences.

Led Zeppelin.

  • once again, also British…
  • grew out of The Yardbirds (British Blues Revival)
  • significant blues influence
  • also strong acoustic / Celtic influence
  • virtuosic musicianship / mastery of recording studio
  • no interest in “editing” for singles. First and foremost focused on albums.

EXAMPLE: “Whole Lotta Love” (1969 – from the album Led Zeppelin II)

music playing

  • blues-riff-based
  • middle section similar to ‘psychedelic’ approach of counter culture.
  • sued by Willie Dixon of Chess Records (“You Need Love”
    1962 – performed by Muddy Waters)

What was the big philosophical difference between counter culture and hard rock/heavy metal? We talked about collective vs. individual. The band names clearly illustrate that. 1960s: The Beatles, The Beach Boys… In general, start with “the”, most of them are plural. 1970s: Deep Purple… the “the” is gone and all names are singular. Also we found this in corporations: the Apples, the Honda, the Disney… All express the single identity. Also look at the logos. Early in The Beatles’ albums, the logo can appear in all sorts of different fonts. Whereas, hard rock/heavy metal has very specific logo designs like corporations. The bands of hard rock and heavy metal are rejecting the collective ideals of the counter culture and embracing the ideal of the individual. It would become a major part of 1970s.

Outro: (Don’t Fear) The Reaper.

Lecture 12

Part A: Punk

The Beatles and other bands put the idea of popular musicians to become actual “artist”. The music industry is also growing at an extraordinary rate during mid to late 60s. The concerts are bigger, the albums are more elaborate. Many people like this stuff. But increasingly, there were few who felt that somehow our popular music is losing its way, and this leads us to a style, punk.

Punk has its roots in New York city. It was there we find musicians who feel that popular music of the time is losing its way. Hippie aesthetics was taking popular music away from what it should be. Popular music should be something that involves the audience. First notable figures that we see emerging are Lou Reed and John Cale. In 1967, they put up a band, Velvet Underground.

Punk music is not a single musical style. It embraces all sorts of different styles. A commitment to aesthetics: music should be your music, meaning you should not be involved in big corp enterprises. Also an idea that you should be as closely connected to your audience as possible. Another important thing: punk was not necessarily a rejection to the idea of art, was a rejection of pretentiousness.

We found the founders Lou Reed and John Cale were quite knowledgable musicians. When they hook up an artist, Andy Warhol in New York. He was suggesting that art is all around us. And he became interested in helping Velvet Underground. The Velvet Underground becomes the house band at Andy’s studio, known as The Factory, real center for pop culture art of late 1960s. EXAMPLE: “Heroin” (1967 – From “The Velvet Underground and Nico”)

music playing

  • Rejection of traditional approach to instruments and songwriting.
  • Attempt to realistically express the impact of drug addiction
  • Simple musical structure - two chords

By Adicarlo at the English language Wikipedia, CC BY-SA 3.0, Link

By early 1970s, the New York Punk scene had developed a center. The most important club was called CBGBs (Country, Blue Grass and Blues) in NYC. One hand, some bands are of strong art influence, The Talking Heads. Other might have Rock ‘n’ Roll approach, Blondie. The idea is the song should not be pretentious.

One group: The Ramones. DIY. Really strict the songs to bare minimum: 2-3 chords, lyrics played as fast as possible, no flashy guitar solos… Reinterpretation of early Rock ‘n’ Roll. Let’s listen to an example: “I Wanna Be Sedated” (The Ramones – 1978).

music playing

It was a success in Britain. concert video

Punk was becoming particularly in terms of its relation to its audience. There was no real distinction between bands and audience. Anyone can get up and perform a punk band without much effort: years of training or a symphony orchestra.

This is where the punk comes to the attention of the English. In particular, Malcolm McLaren. He was businessman, manager, promoter. Had some experience with American punk. He wanted to bring American punk culture to England. He seized an opportunity to become a manager for a local band: The Sex Pistols.

  • God Save The Queen” 06/77. (AABA form)
  • Class-based political commentary
  • Because of the economic recession, British punk was far more focused on social

Reaction to Stadium Rock:

  • simplified approach to musicianship and songwriting
  • no solos
  • no real division between audience and artist

The Sex Pistols performing “No Fun”. The final song they played before the band broke up in 1978.

This was the downfall of the first wave of the punk. How so? This is a style rejecting the music stars, the idea of music industry. This was a paradox that leads to not only downfall of the Sex Pistols, but major shift in the music itself. In late 1970s, we see punk transformed into new wave.

Part B: Disco

Like punk, disco is in response to Hippie Aesthetic. The origins of disco were actually found very early 1970s. Night clubs/bars were caught up by Hippie Aesthetics: should have a live band, not playing records. Remember dancing is not the intended focus. But there are increasingly in few places for people who want to dance. This was particularly the case among the emerging gay subculture of late 1960s/early 1970s.

So we start to see “Invitation Only” parties in New York City: clubs targeted/catering towards gay culture. In these clubs, we found disc jockey, people playing records. DJs such as David Mancuso, they primarily played soul and funk records, cause great for dancing. They would take the songs, record them into reel-to-reel tape and edit the tape to make the songs longer. They would mix the records together crossing seeminglessly, also add special effects such as echo.

This is really the origin of what we call disco. It’s still a way of playing the records rather than themselves, a music genre. As we get to 1971/2, the soul music industry noticed this popularity for dance clubs playing records. By 1972, Disco becomes a musical genre.
EXAMPLE: “Love Train” (1973) The O’Jays. It reveals many of the characteristics of Disco

  • Tempo: 120 bpm. All disco records were produced approximately at the same tempo. Then DJs can seeminglessly thread one record to the next.
  • Production is clean – no distortion
  • Complex arrangements over basic beat

music playing

How does disco relate to this idea of response of Hippie Aesthetic? It comes from subcultures, largely invisible in stadium rock. Disco did sth opposite to the punk: it fully embraces the ideal of the star. Unlike distant accomplished musicians, you are the star. Strict dress code. Dance floor is the stage. Example: “Le Freak” (1978) Chic.

music playing

Interestingly, discos tend to have no solo, but often include the parts where solo would be. Or the solo is you, focus on dance, dance break. Popularity grows through mid 70s. Success peaks in 1977: “Saturday Night Fever”. Through 1978, 1979, disco was a monstrous force in popular culture. And strong backlash against. In July 12th, 1979, Comisky Park, Chicago – “Disco Demolition Night”. It’s new of this level of hatred many rock fans have for disco. Racism? Homophobia? In fact, the real reason may simply be that disco opposed Hippie Aesthetics, threatening the privilege of the musician. Popularity of disco drops sharply by the end of 1979.

Frankie Knuckles.

  • DJ in New York’s early Disco scene
  • Moves to Chicago in 1977
  • Starts DJing in “The Warehouse”
  • Remixes funk and disco with a drum machine
  • Style known as “House” music

Then Derrick May, who gave Frankie drum machine, was a DJ from Detroit. Derrick, together with Juan Atkins, Kevin Saunderson, developed the style: techno. So does the disco die? Not entirely, just moves to Chicago, gets a drum machine and becomes the foundation for last 40 yrs of dance music.

Part C: The Origins of Hip Hop

To understand its origin, a good spot to start would be black inner city neighborhood US in the late 1960s. Remember when we talked about soul and transition to funk, in mid 60s, there were a series of urban unrest, riots in many black community. The peak: the long hot summer. folk culture… such was the case in South Bronx, New York City – 1970s. In 1972, Cross Bronx Expressway was completed, then people don’t need to stop and consume there. Local standard of living in Bronx completely collapsed. Like skiffle in Britain, a similar thing happens in Bronx. Then we see the emergence of break dancing. Also we see Graffiti Art (涂鸦).

In Bronx, hard to get access to musical instruments/lessons. Young people found a new way to create music. They would use parent’s turn tables, record collections. By playing these records in an innovative way, they could create a backdrop over which they could then improvise vocally. This techniques are known as rap. Precursors: Signifying / The Dozens

  • Oral word game
  • Ritualized insulting
  • African origin

An example: “Signifyin’ Monkey” (Language Warning)

music playing

There are elements that will become important to Hip Hop in the future. For a more contemporary example, have a look at this clip from the film “8-Mile”(2002). (More Language Warning)

Key to rap and hip hop, word play, improvisation with words, rhyming, which has long standing tradition within African American culture. The second precursor, the use of record player as musical instrument. We need to head to the island of Jamaica. First, It has only been an independent nation state since 1962. Second, it has long been, remains one of the poorest country in western hemisphere. Thus it has little access to records and radio is controlled by the British who rarely played contemporary popular. However, when the weather is right, you could pick up radio station broadcasting from the very south of the US or northeast part of the Mexico. Limited access.

This is where we get Sound System Men. Essentially a DJ. Yard dances: a dance held in an open field where they would spin records largely from the US. One SSM wants to outdo others. Then the SSM developed a new strategy to maintain the market: start to record their own songs. When records first being produced, same song on both sides. Then they do “remix”, take the track, strip them down, remove the lead vocals. Then they put the records on and start talking over them. As they are talking about how great they were, this is given a name, toasting.

How do they find their way into the particular region of NYC in early 1970s? Once it declared its independence, we see the wave of immigration. Many move to England, many to NYC. Rent is cheap in Bronx. So we see many moving to Bronx.

Clive Campbell, better known by his stage name DJ Kool Herc. First to hold Jamaican style parties on the street of Bronx. In 1973, he took two turntables, bunch of records, sound system, then played records in Jamaican yard party style. He extended exciting moments of a song - “breaks”. He described this as “cutting and mixing”. He also did toasting.

These parties become successful. Some developed techniques and pushed them further. Joseph Saddler, popularly known by his stage name Grandmaster Flash. He develops Herc’s techniques of repeating sections on a record, best known for “back spinning”. He described this technique himself as “quick mix”. It leads to unexpected innovation. He didn’t have time to do toasting cause he focused on records, so he needed someone to do for him, do “full length” raps. Melvin Glover, better known by his stage name Melle Mel and Grandmaster Melle Mel. Moreover, Melle Mel begins to standardize, write down what he wants to say, first song writer.

Theodore Livingston, better known as Grand Wizzard Theodore. He invented (mythology) scratching sound on the records. It redefines technology of the turntable. He is treating the turntable, not a tech of consumption, but production, like musical instrument.

Sylvia Robinson, was minor soul star, now an owner of a small record label. In Nov 1979, Sylvia heard the rap from the pizza guy over the song “Good Times” by Chic, in the restaurant. Then she invited them to the studio. Sugar Hill Gang: “Rapper’s Delight”. The first line: what you hear is not a test, I am rapping to the beat. This is an announcement of a completely new style of music. Released 10/79, #4 RnB, #36 Pop.

Listen to a bit of the original version of ‘Good Times.’

It really didn’t catch on in a significant way. Popular among black youth, but not within middle class white, even older black, who prefer funk and soul. In 1981, MTV fundamentally alters music landscape. First 24 hour music video station. In a short time, MTV would become the most influential medium for the production of hit records. Rap Excluded from MTV until 1985-1986. Example: “Walk This Way” Run DMC/Aerosmith. The original song by Aerosmith has solid drum groove, which is favored by hip pop DJs. Team up with hip pop group: Run DMC. Then it sounds like this.

music playing

Video for 1986 version

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