MUSIC 140 - Popular Music and Culture
Instructor: Simon Wood
Section: 001
Location: STP 105
Time: Thursdays 7:00pm - 9:50pm
Term: Spring 2016

May 5, 2016 - Lecture 1

  • Dependent on the development of
    1. Different from “folk” and “art” music genres
    2. The Industrial Revolution changes the system of barter economy to a system of monetary currency (also contributed to 3, the Middle Class, and 4, the growth of urban populations)
    3. The Emergence of the Middle Class, who possesses disposable income
    4. Large Urban Populations (as a result of the rural-to-urban shift)
    5. Copyright Law -> music itself is an idea (Law originated from Queen Mary, who also started stationary companies; musicians have to register and sell royalty)
    6. Technologies of mass production and broadcasting -> records


  • By 1945:
    1. End of the “Big Band” era
    2. Big Band had dominated the music industry since the mid 30s

    Example: “Sentimental Journey” (Doris Day, 1944), focuses on instrumental, performed by Les Brown and His Band of Renown

    • Significant figures: Boney Goodman, Count Basie, Duke Ellington, Tommy Dorsey
    • Returning to focus on vocalist

    • The music industry divided into 3 distinct categories:
      1. Popular(Pop): White/Middle Class/Urban
      2. Race: Black, regardless of class or location
      3. Hillbilly: Origins in poor, white, rural -> now migrating to urban areas (particular in Southern US) -> Country
    • Products of the music industry were sheet music and recordings
    • Sheet music dominated recordings until the the late 1920s
    • While sheet music was still important, by the end of WWII, the recording industry had come to dominated


  • Development of the American Music Industry
    • What creates the conditions for popular music to become a consumer product?
      • 1790s to 1830s - Amendments to the copyright law to cover sheet music
      • The Victorian Ballad: Minstrel Shows and Parlour Music
    • Minstrel Shows
      • Variety show that depicted African-Americans in a racist and stereotypical light
      • Instruments: Guitar, Banjo, Fiddle, also Piano
      • Most important composer: Steven Foster
      • Example: “Massa’s in de cold cold ground” (1852)
      • Characteristics: guitar accomaniment and vocal control
    • Parlour Music
      • Industrial Revolution
        • Rise of the Middle Class
        • Luxury item = Piano = symbol of wealth
        • Daughters pursue “leisure” activities
      • Example: “Believe Me, If All Those Endearing Young Charms” (Early 1800s) by Thomas Moore
      • Parlous Song - AABA form in terms of melody
      • Characteristics: Piano accomaniment, vocal control, and with themes such as loyalty, honesty, control, and restraint
    • Demand for newly composed songs leads to the increased organization of the music industry


  • Tin Pan Alley
    • Charles K. Harris - “After the Ball” (1892): Sheet music sold over 5M copies = “The First Hit Song” -> Why? Urbanization and population growth
    • The success of “After the Ball” gave birth to Tin Pan Alley (TPA)
    • Both a musical style and a place
    • Manhattan in NYC, became the centre of professional music making
    • During the 20s and 30s, 21k publisher and 36k composers in a few blocks in TPA
    • Division of labour: composers, lyricists, publishers, publicity(marketing), and performers
    • Sheet music dominated (though transitioning to recording in the 20s)


May 12, 2016 - Lecture 2

Lyrics

  • Basic rhyme scheme
  • Syllabic
  • Idealized romance - Beginning and Ending

African American Music

Where black culture emerges from and how characteristics map onto emerging culture after slavery ends

Background

  • Do not get rock’n roll without the slave trade

North American Slave Trade (1619-1863)

  • 1619, First African slaves sold in North America
  • Sahara essentially divides Africa into two:
    1. Northern Africa - more associated with Middle East
    2. South Sub-Saharan Africa
  • Majority of North American slaves came from South Sub-Saharan West Africa
  • Despite salvers’ attempts to extinguish slav culture, some aspects such as music, survived, in fact music was omnipresent
  • Where Rock ‘n Roll began
  • Work songs:
    • Used to pass time, set pace, or coordinate group work for efficiency (i.e. synchronize axe swings)
    • Help saving lives: by slowing pace, work songs made the group seem at the same pace, making it hard for owners to distinguish sick/slackers
    • “Floating pool of verse”: floating verse created by song leader - majority were men, highly valued; had many fragmented verses, made songs up on the spot
    • E.g. “Old Alabama” (1947): Slavery ended 12 years before recording technology, therefore we are not listening to slaves but rather a prison gang; this recording is by prisoners in 1947; song leader initiates and everyone joins in; not just a song, more like a game to keep spirits up - had to discern verse from syllables of song leader

Folk Music

  • Performed by amateurs (derived from the French word for lovers, amore; means “doing it for free”, not paid)
  • For self or community entertainment
  • Oral tradition - passed down generationally via experience
  • More concern with tradition than innovation (lacking “self-consciousness”)
    • Not professionalization - quest for innovation, to stand out to get noticed; folk culture contrasts this, it focuses on continuity of tradition
  • African Retentions:
    • Interest in percussion and distorted timbres
      • Timbre(tamber) (physical/audible): quality of an instrument that allows identification
      • West African culture has a focus on percussion (drums, but anything that is struck)
      • Distortion: unintended alteration of your signal - West African Perspective: seen as an overflow of intensity/investment of energy
    • Value in the Ecstatic and the Cathartic: Sweat means energy
    • Rhythmic complexity - syncopation
      • Indian music has complex notes and rhythms - no chords or harmonies
    • Use of “riffs”, a small, self-contained, music gesture that is repeated over and over, becomes the basis of a longer composition (opposite: motif)
    • Use of “call and response” -> West African perspective: no difference between performer and audience. Audience sing and dance with performer (in contrast to Western concert); E.g. YouTube video “Pop Song”, Jon Lajoie
  • American Civil War (1861-1865) and Post-Slavery (1865-)
    • Institutionalized racism
    • Acceleration of rural-to-urban shift
    • New forms of music appear during late 1800s:
      1. Ragtime(“The Entertainer”) - urban
      2. Jazz - urban
      3. Blues, Country (rural) Blues:
        • Wandering musicians
        • Male vocalist, with acoustic guitar
        • Plaintive vocal sound - lament
        • Themes: travel, economy, and love
        • 12 Measure phrases (known as bars)
        • a-a-b lyric pattern
        • Call and response between guitar and voice
        • Floating pool of verse
  • Robert Johnson (1911-1938)
    • Defined standards for blues guitar
    • Peak: November 1936 and June 1937 - The Complete Recordings
    • Mythic character
    • E.g. “Sweet Home Chicago”, November 1936: added six/Boogie-woogie pattern (note: take a body of the song and put it into intro and outro (end of each verse is similar to intro))

Word of the Class: Self-Conscious (indicator of professional performer; unlike folk performer; Actively thinking about how to innovate and improve in order to gain more audience)

Changes in Technology

  • Mechanical Reproduction
    • 1877: Edison invented phonograph (gave rise to gramophone)
    • 1892-1912: Transition from cylinders to disks
    • 1925: Industry standard speed set to 78 RPM
  • What was recorded?
    • Sheet music/TPA(Tin Pan Alley)
    • Black music/rural Southern white music not recorded because:
      • cultural chauvinism (people who control the technology did not think other cultures were worth recording)
      • Rural areas - less sales
  • Commercial Radio, 1920
    • January 1922 - 28 stations -> December 1922 - 570 stations
    • Controlled by only a few networks (CBS, NBC, Mutual)
    • First radio network: NBC, 1928
    • Very few independent radio stations existed
    • Network radio began to change patterns of consumption form regional to national

The Rise of the Record Industry

  • The record industry concerned - needs to find new markets
  • Ralph Peer - worked for Okeh Records
  • Finding songs (repertoire) and artists (A&R guy - artists and repertoire)
  • 1920 - “Crazy Blues” - Mamie Smith
    • due to institutionalizedracism - black people did not record music
    • first significant recording by AA artists despite origin in 1877
    • song was a minor hit - purchased by white people despite racism
    • black community did not have a lot of purchasing power, thus they were not a targeted market
    • not a Blues song, much more associated to Jazz. Jazz is closely linked to popular music up to post-war
  • Market research in popular music
    • most radio music is TPA
    • Ignored black cultural and southern rural white culture, thought culture was artistically and economically insignificant
    • Peer decided to used records to play what radio did not
  • Introduction of “Hillbilly”: Carve that Possum - Uncle Dave Macon, 1927
    • Uncle Dave Macon and the Fruit Jar Drinkers
    • Early origin of country (music of Southeastern states, now called blue bratz) and western
    • More energy/intensity, very hard, on beat


May 19, 2016 - Lecture 3

Introduction of “Race”

  • How Long Blues, 1928, Leroy Carr and Scrapper Blackwell; beginning of guitar solo
    • First recording of AA artists and Blues (1890s, maybe 1880s)
  • Included different styles. The most important one was that it included the next style of Blues: City Blues = music made by country blues artists after they moved to the cities; Relaxed style
  • Instruments had to be louder in city than in country, therefore main instrument went from solo acoustic guitar to piano
  • Black and Southern cultures exposed

Television

  • First demonstration in 1927
  • Experimental and low-resolution broadcasts through the 1930s
  • Network broadcasts begin in 1939
  • By 1945 - 6 stations
  • WWII: TV not helpful towards war effort
  • By 1955 - 411 stations
  • Major nextworks move to Television
    • Televion was a better medium for commercials
    • Commercials were primary revenue source for networks
  • Major networks switching mediums led to more independent, local stations
  • First “Black Appeal” radio station - WDIA Memphis, 1948; 2 pharmacists bought a radio station
  • By 1954, 200 BA radio stations are on the air

Who is listening? Extended Adolescence
Transistor Radio

Gospel

The sacred music of black culture, from the culture following the civil war -> spiritual

Ray Charles(Robinson), 1930-2004

  • Born in Albany, GA
  • Blind at age 7, learns music in a school for the blind
  • 1952 Atlantic Records
  • Success with white audiences - heightened level of intensity

Chicago Electric Blues

  • Muddy Waters, 1913-1983
    • Born in Mississippi
    • Played guitar and harmonica
    • Emulated Robert Johnson
    • Moved to Chicago in the early 1940s
    • Switched to electric guitar, 1945
    • 1946, records for Aristocrat Records (would later become Chess Records)
  • Hoochie Coochie Man (1954, Willie Dixon)
    • Verse chorus (modified 12-bar blues)
    • Stop Time


May 26, 2016 - Lecture 4

Recap

  • Crossover hits: works done by black artists but were popular on the charts;
  • White teenagers listened to a lot Black music

Cover Versions: 1954-1956

  • “white” versions of “black” records; did not violate copyright laws; quite legal; crossover->pop chart->within a week or two the same song performed by white artists would be on the chart with it simultaneously->to appease white parents

** Richard Wayne Penniman “Little Richard” **

  • Born 1932, Macon, GA
  • First big hit: “Tutti Frutti”
  • Released late 1955 on Specialty Records (lyrics revised by Dorothy LaBostrie; she replaced some sexual lyrics with less controversial words)
  • “Crossover” hit: #2 R&B, #17 Pop on Billboard

** Pat Boone **

  • Born 1934
  • Was just breaking as a popstar in 1955
  • Early 1956, released a cover of “Tutti Frutti”
  • No R&B, #10 Pop
  • Outsold Little Richard with white audiences

** What was changed? **

** Cover Versions: “Sh-Boom” **

  • The Chords (black, original) and The Crew Cuts (white, cover);
  • The Chords: June 1954/Cat Records(independent) (AABA pattern), crossover hit on the pop charts
  • The Crew Cuts: July 1954/Mercury Records (AABA,Sh-Boom(A), Sh-Boom(A),BA, still retained the AABA structure; deliberately repeated the AABA pattern to appeal to white middle class audiences, will sound more familiar; Changes:)
  • The Chords: Form: 1x through AABA, with interludes; Voice: distorted - use of lower octave in B; Solo: Sax - distorted timbre, sexual metaphor
  • The Crew Cuts: Form: 2x through AABA - clearly stated; Voice: Clean, no use of lower octave; Solo: No solo - repeats of “Sh-boom” group vocal - timpani joke (cartoon reference)
  • Racist? Or a continuation of TPA traditions? Record companies -> simply business
  • The Chords: #3 R&B / #5 Pop
  • The Crew Cuts: no R&B / #1 Pop for 9 weeks - Song of the Year (not The Chords)
  • Both white and black artists performing in this new style: a mix of pop, C&W, and R&B, targeted teenagers - Rock ‘n Roll (term attributed to Alan Freed; term goes at least back to the 1800s out of Black culture)

** Bill Haley and the Comets **

  • Born in 1925
  • Originally “Bill Haley and the Saddlemen”
  • Western Swing (Jazz beats)
  • Changes to “Bill Haley and the Comets” in 1952
  • Early hits with “Crazy Man, Crazy” and “Shake, Rattle, and Roll”
  • ** 1954, Rock Around The Clock **
    • Becomes popular in 1955 in the midst of fear of black culture on white teenagers
    • Film “Blackboard Jungle”
    • 12 bar blues

** Elvis Presley (1935-1977) **

  • Born in Tupelo, Mississippi
  • 1953 - 18 years old, Sam Phillips/Sun Records (independent, 2 employees)
  • Spring 1954 - Records with Scotty Moore (Guitar) and Bill Black (Bass); White artists did not use drums in 1954, “gonna record country and western songs”


June 2, 2016 - Lecture 5

Elvis Continued

  • July 1954, “That’s Alright Mamma”/”Blue Moon of Kentucky”, original by Bill Monroe; Change in beats
  • country and western music to upbeat, pop monstrosity with heavy R&B influence; added drum
  • 1954-55: Elvis on Sun Records; 12 songs, all covers
  • Rockabilly - “The Hillbilly Cat”, one foot in country and western, one foot in rhythm and blue
  • Regional star, some national sucess on Country Charts
  • 1956, Colonel Tom Parker; in Southern states, “Colonel” is an honorary title for an important figure in the community; Tom Parker is a promotor extraordinaire; RCA
  • Sam sold Elvis’s contract for $35,000; Money was used to promote other artists
  • 1956, Elvis: 11 appearances on national television
  • April-May 1956: “Heartbreak Hotel”, April-May No.1 Pop/Country No.5 R&B
  • August to December 1956: “Hound Dog”, “Don’t Be Cruel”, “Love Me Tender” ALL No.1 Pop; “Hound Dog” is the first song to chart No.1 on Pop/Country/R&B
  • Elvis not charting R&B after 1957
  • March 1958 - March 1960: Elvis enters the army
  • March 1961 - Last public performance for 7 years
  • Transition from trailblazing pop star icon to movie star
  • 1968 - “Comeback Special”
  • 1970-1977 = Las Vegas
  • Elvis died August 16, 1977, aged 42

Chuck Berry

Early History:

  • Born in St. Louis, Midwest, different from other contemporary artists (Elvis, Little Richard, etc); Middle-class family
  • Wanted to be rich, thus chose a music career; Entered talent/music contests
  • Deliberately used nasal cavity to sing to sound like a white country artist

Chess Records:

  • “Idared” -> “Maybellene”, July 1955

Themes:

  • Cars
  • Girls
  • No school
  • Rock ‘n’ Roll - celebrating the music itself

Berry deliberately wrote songs for young white audience.

Few “cover versions” of Berry’s songs. Why?

  • centrality of the electric guitar
  • unlike artists such as Little Richard, Berry had little in his performance or music that was viewed as a “threat”

Johnny B. Goode, 1958 No.2 R&B, No.8 Pop

  • 12 Bar Blues with a “text heavy” narrative
  • While elements:
    • text-heavy - narrative/stories;
    • clear enunciation, sung very clearly
    • groove is “straight” 8ths
    • country guitar sound, as opposed to muddy/messy guitar sound
  • Black elements:
    • Blues chord structure
    • Added 6th (Boogie-woogie)
    • Call and response between voice and guitar
    • Guitar solo is structured on timbre and rhythm, than on actual notes


June 9, 2016 - Lecture 6

  • 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%

Racism

Reaction against the perceived intergration of youth

Birth of ROck and ROll coincides the mergence of the Civil Rights Movement

  • May 1954: Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka: Separate is not Equal
    • Court declared state laws establishing separate public schools for black and white students to be unconstitutional
    • Overturned state-sponsored racial segragration supported by Plessy v. Ferguson (1896)
  • December 1955: Rosa Parks - Montgomery Bus Boycott
    • political and social protest against racial segregation
  • Freedom Rides / Lunch Counter Sit-ins
    • African-Americans and sympathetic Americans
    • Sit together while crossing state lines
    • Lunch Counter Sit-ins: 1960: Greensboro, North Carolina
  • Martin Luther King 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; RnR considered inferior culture

The Great Extinction

  • March 1958: Elvis drafted into army
  • December 1959: Chuck Berry arrested under the “Mann Act” (aka White Slave Traffic Act)
  • May 1958: Jerry Lee Lewis - Marriage to 13-year-old cousin becomes public
  • October 1957: Bible College
  • February 1959: Buddy Holly - died in a plane crash along with Ritchie Valens and “The Big Bopper” (JP Richardson) = End of the Golden Age, song “The Day Music Died”, February 3, 1959

The In-Between Years (1959-1963)

  • The end of the Golden Age of Rock and Roll, to the arrival of The Beatles (February 1964)
  • Vacuum created by the loss of so many of the stars of the Golden Age creates a space for the Major Record companies to reassert control over the popular music industry
  • They begin to create music similar to 1950’s Rock and Roll, but produced within the Division-Of-Labour system favoured by the major labels

Dance Craze

  • E.g. “The Locomotion”, Little Eva (Gofiin, King), 1962
  • Songs are written specifically for the new teen demographic. Romantic (non-sexualized) love and dancing
  • Teen idols: clean-cut, idealized boyfriend - no “bad boy” image from the Golden Age
  • Bobby Vinton: “Blue Velvet”, 1963
    • Composed in 1950
    • Hit for Tony Bennett in 1951
  • Most of the newer artists did not write songs - where were they coming from?
  • From a new generation of TPA-style songwriters working in the new style of Rock and Roll
  • Many came from The Brill Building
  • Neil Diamond, Carol King, Burt Bacharach, Marvin Hamlisch (EGOT), Ellie Greenwich, Barry Mann
  • Don Kirshaner / Al Nevins Aldon Music
  • Pop music - TPA approach

The Rise of the Producer

  • Magnetophon: Sgt. Jack Mullin in Signal Corps in the US Army;
    • He discovered a magnetophon in Nazi Germany at the end of WWII
    • Magnetophone = First high-quality reel-to-reel tape recorder
    • 1947: Mullin demonstrated tape recorder to Bing Crosby (who invented the laugh track)
    • Bing Crosby invested in the founding Ampex
    • Inexpensive, mass-produced tape recorders lower the cost of operating a recording studio
    • Leads to a boom in independent record companies, which in turn is part of what makes the golden age of Rock’n’Roll possible
    • 1948: Bing Crosby gve one of the first commercially produced reel-to-reel tape recorder to Les Paul

Les Paul (1915-2009)

  • Jazz, Pop, Country
  • 1941: “The Log”
  • 1952: Gibson Les Paul
  • Les Paul wished to create recordings by layering performance
  • Assisted in the devlopment of the “multitrack” tape recorder
  • Example: 1953, “Sitting on Top of the World”, Les Paul with Mary Ford
    • When did this performance occur?
      • Multitrack recording redefines the process of recording. Reproduction to Production
  • During the In-Between Years, the recording industry begins the transition from recording complete songs in a single “take” to the use of multitrack recording

Phil Spector

  • The “Wall of Sound”
  • 1963, The Ronettes, “Be My Baby” (Barry, Greenwich, Spector)

Two other styles of music become imporant although neither fit the Division-Of-Labour model.

The Folk Festival

  • Many of the teen fans of the Golden Age are now in their early 20s
  • Now in university, many are looking for music that is more “serious”
  • Folk music

Pre WWII

  • Folk music, political left, Union Movement
  • Woody Guthrie: “This machine kills fascists”
  • The Weavers: Pete Seeger
  • “This Land is Your Land” (Woody Guthrie, 1940) performed by The Weavers
    • instruments and vocal timbre
    • lyric content
    • successful from late 1940s to 1953
    • “blacklisted” in 1953 because of left-wing connection

HUAC (House Un-American Activities Committee) and McCarthyism (1947-1956)

+

Late 1950s / Early 1960s - Baby Book reaches college

  • interest in “serious” music
  • The Kingston Trio / Peter Paul and Mary
    • similiar to ealier music but more “produced” - smoother sounding, more “arranged”


June 16, 2016 - Lecture 7

Bob Dylan

  • 1961-1965 Traditional folk singer songwriter
  • A Hard Rain’s a Gonna Fall (1963)
    • Nuclear missile: black rain
    • Cuban Missile Crisis - October 1962
    • Lyric style

Surf Music

  • Middle class, West Coast prosperity
  • An extension of the 1950s
  • Dick Dale and the Del-tones; The Ventures
  • Importance of Electric Guitar:
    • instrumental tracks
  • The Beach Boys
  • 1952 -
  • The Pendletones (original name)
  • May 1963 - Surfin’ USA (Chuck Berry)
  • Brian Wilson - Creative force

Decline in popularity through late 1960s - why?

  1. Brian Wilson’s mental illness
  2. Changes in approach to popular music (1960s) - Too optimistic, too naive
  • Total worth: $200M in 1954
  • Total worth: $600M end of golden age, mid to late 60s
  • Stayed flat during the in-between years (60s) -> holding pattern
  • After The Beatles appeared (1964): $1B

Why do we call call these years “The In-Between Years”?

  • End of 50s: Music industry worth 600M
  • 1963: Music industry worth 600M
  • There was no growth in this period. It was completely stagnant. But a year later, once The Beatles have come around in 1964, the industry was worth over 1B.

===TEST 2 MATERIAL===

The British Invasion

  • US in early 60s
  • Opinion with Kennedy (Camelot, musical by Lerner and Loewe, refers to his charisma)
  • Optimism with Kennedy (who believed in equality), well-liked by young people, democratic, sympathetic to goals of civil right movements
  • “The New Frontier” - world as it would be if there was selflessness and equality
  • JFK “the outsider” -> very young, Catholic (American presidents were never Catholic) -> champion of civil rights who listens to young people -> “Anything is possible”
  • August 1963, Washington DC - MLK “I Have A Dream”
  • November 22, 1963, Dallas TX - Kennedy assissinated
    • This put the country into a great depression and shocked everyone
  • February 1964 - The Beatles arrived in New York

Post-War Britain

  • Lack jobs, infrastructure destroyed, increased unemployment, rationing - Consequences of WWII
  • Also lack of entertainment culture due to crumbled infrastructure
  • Thus the return to DIY culture: There is no music industry, what do you do? You make it yourself.
  • New style of music: Skiffle (3-6 (cheap) guitar players, could not afford bass, a bass player with a broomstick bass and string on box “washtub”, and maybe a kick drum + tambourine), heavily influenced by American culture
  • Everyone knew how good it was in the US (years following WWII stories of how well Americans were doing)
  • As such, the British wanted to be like tem where things were better. The craze for American culture spread into the music industry
    • British teens were getting American records from American soldiers who brought supplies, including things they could sell on black market (chocolate, records (Blues and Rock n Roll))
  • Skiffle was based on American Blues and Rock ‘n’ Roll

The Quarrymen (later known as The Beatles)

Early History

  • July 1957, “The Quarrymen” - John Lennon / Paul McCartney (vocals and guitar) began to write songs together (important: they both wrote songs). John invites Paul to join and write songs
  • However, neither of them could play guitar solos; needed a lead guitarist
  • February 1958 - George Harrison (“Lead” guitarist)
  • January 1960 - Stu Sutcliffe (Bass) was added, but he really just stood there because he couldn’t play bass
  • The Quarrymen spent a lot of time in Germany playing for American soldiers
  • They had their Rocker image (black leather jackets, jeans, boots, greased hair) during this time; in Hamburg, Germany
    • The British interpretation of American motorcycle gangs
  • August 1960 - Changed name to “The Beatles”, added drummer Pete Best
    • Became a very busy band, where in England they were busy backing up other singers, and in Germany playing for American soldiers

Liverpool - The Cavern Club

  • The Beatles were developing their home club while playing at this night club
  • July 1961 - Stu Sutcliffe leaft band to become an artist; Died of brain hemorrhage in April 1962; Paul McCartney switched to bass
  • The Beatles were very rough - they got into a lot of fights, took drugs, spat on audience etc.
  • More importantly, they met Brian Epstein, their manager

Brian Epstein

  • December 1961 - Epstein became The Beatles’ manager
  • Up to this time, The Beatles were making a lot of recording as back-up artists
  • In 1961 they were background music for Tony Sheriton, which became a small hit
    • It was Tony’s hit everywhere else, but in Liverpool, residents knew that The Beatles were the ones in the background
  • First, Epstein changed The Beatles’ image: more clean-cut
    • He made them into men that fathers would be okay if their daughters dated them
  • Next, he got them a record label
    • June 1962 - Parlophone (a division of EMI), after being rejected by the major ones (such as DECA)
    • EMI didn’t know what to do with them, so they shoved them aside and gave them a producer, George Martin
    • Martin didn’t think they were the best, fired Pete Best and hired Ringo Starr
    • He would later have a lot of interactions with Paul McCartney as the Beatles began to divide into the John side and the Paul side


June 23, 2016 - Lecture 8

The Beatles: History (Continued)

  • Love Me Do, September 1962 (Ringo didn’t play on this record)
  • By the end of 1963, The Beatles were one of the most popular acts in Britain
    • They performed at the Royal Variety Show in November 1963 at London Palladium
    • 26 million people viewed this performance
    • Sponsored by the Royal Family; Established them as major stars
  • Please Please Me, January 1963 (Ringo as drummer)
    • AABA form
    • McCartney and Lennon, by this point, were experienced and mature songwriters
    • Numerous rehearsed details, change in rhythmic density in vocal
    • Highest note at the end of the B section - moment of greatest tension
    • TPA-style attention to arrangement
  • Initially, British musical acts did not do well in the US
  • February 1964 - “The Beatles are coming” media campaign in the US
    • Referred to as “The New British Invasion” (in reference to the War of Independence)
    • Television performance: Ed Sullivan Show, February 9, 1964
      • 70 million viewers; Bruce Springsteen was impressed and inspired, amongst other future rockstars
      • The most influential TV appearance ever
    • The Beatles invented Arena Gigs - They did a concert at a sports arena (Washington Coliseum), and no band had ever played in such a big venue before
  • The American tour lasted for two weeks. They sold over 2 million albums, and $2.5 million worth of merchandise
  • When The Beatles returned to England, 50,000 fans were awaiting their arrival at the airport. This hysteria is known as “Beatlemania”
  • In April 1964, 12 Beatles songs in the Billboard Top 100 Pop including spots 1-5, for three weeks
  • A Hard Day’s Night (film), July 1964
    • First film; Usually pop star films were bad, but this one was good and funny
  • In 1965, by the end of their 4th US tour, they had made $65 million, also played in Shea Stadium in New York
    • This craze can be explained by the fact that you have probably seen them at most twice - no videos, only the Ed Sullivan Show and only photographs; Very limited access to seeing artists
  • The Beatles have brought back the Golden Age of Rock n Roll
    • Not much musically, but the sensibility and more importantly, self-contained bands
    • They brought back the approach of the Golden Age, writing and playing own songs and instruments, and playing music primarily based on the electric guitar (all of which disappeared during the in-between years)
    • The Beatles formed the template for what is to follow - guitar-based, self-contained, writing/performing own songs
    • They were essentially role models for Mersey Beat: Gerry and the Pacemakers, The Searchers, The Swinging Blue Jeans with regards to their music and appearance
      • Mersey Beat is the sound that is similar to The Beatles
      • Liverpool was built on a port - important, because this was where you could get music from sailors
      • Mersey Beat was a music publication in Liverpool; it carried news about all the local Liverpool bands
  • Help (film), July 1965
    • The Beatles’ second film
    • Very influential - American TV created a band (“The Monkees”) modelled on the look from the movie
    • The TV show was about an imaginary band that wanted to be The Beatles, but was never successful
  • Yesterday, 1965 (from Help)
    • AABA form
    • More complex harmonic and lyric structure
    • Was written almost entirely by Paul McCartney, but none of the other members liked the song; It was not a Beatles tune
      • First time a Beatle song where only one Beatle playing
    • String quartet also playing
      • Shows the growing bond between George Martin and Paul McCartney
      • String quartet = composers do their greatest and most serious work
    • This song was the first song that something was changing within The Beatles
      • Prior to this song, they had met Bob Dylan, who introduced them to drugs, influenced their approach to music - told them that they had good music but their lyrics lacked meaning
    • This is the moment when The Beatles stopped being one band and started moving away from each other, between Lennon and McCartney
    • The Beatles were evolving - they started to move away from pop song writing
  • Rubber Soul (album), December 1965
    • The Beatles’ first release not to feature their name on the cover, uncommon in 1965
    • The Beatles were moving away from singles, and into the realm of albums, and all of the aspects that come with it
    • They slowly drifted away from conventional album covers to covers with less words = “Rubber Soul” with a distorted image
  • Revolver (album), August 1966
    • By this time, The Beatles were heavily influenced by non-Western culture
    • They were interested in studio recording and writing music that could not be played in real life; Very abstract
    • Writing and recording is now more important than playing live
  • Tomorrow Never Knows, from the album Revolver, August 1966
    • Composed by John Lennon
    • Song was based on a drone, a note or chord continuously sounded throughout most or all of a piece (influence of non-Western culture)
    • Lyrics were based on the Tibetan Book of the Dead
    • Vocal was “double-tracked” (John sang the song once and recorded it, then sang it a second time and tried to match it exactly to the first time) - you can’t perfectly match them, there will be always be some kind of discrepency and is run through a Leslie speaker cabinet
    • Made use of tape loops (avant garde) and backwards recording
    • First known use of flanging (audio effect produced by mixing two identical signals together, one delayed by a small and gradually changing period; produces a “Darth Vader effect”)
    • Had an Indian musical influence
    • The importance of this song: demonstrated the growing influence of non-Western culture and recording studio techonology on the work of The Beatles
      • First song that they could not play live
      • Creating the studio has become more important to them than being able to play in concerts
  • Summer 1966, The Beatles were not a good band
    • June 1966, Japan - They played awfully, not together as a band
    • July 1966, The Phillippines - They were even more exhausted and sounded even worse
  • March 1966, Lennon did an interview with an English newspaper, London Evening Standard
    • He emerged as the intellectual in the group
    • When asked about the conflict between modern pop culture and religious traidtions, Lennon (who was fairly spiritual) said modern religion is more about power, rather than faith, and said people would rather see The Beatles than go to church
    • “Bigger than Jesus”
    • No reaction from he public until August 1966, when a US teen magazine quoted Lennon’s comments -> extensive protests
  • August 29, 1966 - The Beatles’ final live performance in Candlestick Park in San Francisco
    • Final unannounced live performance was on the roof the Apple building in London in January 1969
  • The Beatles were only in the public light for about 2 years
  • Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band (album), June 1967
    • Considered one of the most important albums in the history of Western pop music
    • 27 weeks at the top of the albums chart in UK, 15 in US
    • The first concept album -> most or all songs were linked to theme: The Beatles wanted to present themselves as someone else (Sgt. Pepper’s Club) and talk about childhood, but both ideas were dumped
    • This was an album, not a collection of songs
    • The first significant album to include all of the lyrics; The lyrics were printed in full on the back cover
    • It was an experience; Listening to the songs in order is very important
  • The Beatles were changing what popular music was, where you focus on album and musicians not thinking of themselves as entertainers, but instead as artists
  • The Beatles’ second great contribution: transforming Rock n Roll into Rock -> music that was more serious and focused


June 30, 2016 - Lecture 9

The British Blues Revival

  • There was a significant interest in Blues in London, UK
    • Had a large following there even though Blues weren’t as popular as in the US
  • Late 1950s - Chess Tour was organized (Chess Records musicians travelled to England to perform)
  • Chris Barber, Cyril Davies, Spencer Davis, Alexis Korner - Blues Incorporated, John Mayall’s Blues Breakers
    • Their backup singers included members of: Fleetwood Mac, Cream, Eric Clapton, Led Zeppelin, and The Rolling Stones

The Rolling Stones

  • During this Blues revival, The Rolling Stones were put together by Brian Jones to play the music he loved (American Rhythms and Blues)
  • July 1962 - First gig at Marquee Club
  • April 1963 - Andrew Loog Oldham became The Rolling Stone’s manager
    • He created the band’s “Bad Boy” image (anti-Beatles): rude, short-tempered attitude
  • 1963-1964 - Band started to record singles (American R&B)
    • all singles were initially covers of Chuck Berry, Buddy Holly, and Willie Dixon
  • I Wanna Be Your Man, November 1963 (written by Lennon/McCartney)
    • The Rolling Stones were signed to DECA Records through the help of The Beatles
    • Oldham called Lennon and McCartney to come show them how to write songs
  • England’s Newest Hit Makers, May 1964
    • Mostly Blues covers
    • Brian Jones was the leader
  • King Bee, April 1964
    • 12-bar Blues form (AAB)
    • Cover of song by Slim Harpo (1957)
    • What’s remarkable:
      • Played by white teenagers from England, but the quality of the performance was very similar to the original track
      • Jagger’s vocal performace - Where is his accent?
        • He nailed the American accent
        • One of the keys to the British Blues Revival; They weren’t just fans of Blues, they studied it; level of authenticity they captured is a testament
      • Adult relationships in the lyrics
  • (I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction, February 1965 (written by Jagger/Richards)
    • See textbook for listening guide
    • Keith Richards took McCartney’s advice and kept recording system right next to his bed so if anything ever came up he would be ready to record -> How he came up with Satisfaction
    • First US Number One pop
    • Different visual experience from The Beatles
    • Mick Jagger has a dangerous/darker edge to him. Jagger doesn’t hold any instrument on the stage, unlike The Beatles, so he has a mobile personality on stage and he can move around freely; a mobile, energetic, and intense presentation
    • Brian Jones was unhappy with the direction of the band was going in; Was pushed back after the Satisfaction song
    • This was when Jagger and Richards became the leaders

Their Music Style

  • The Rolling Stones had a very loose/relaxed sound - there was improvisation, unlike The Beatles, where each note was thought about and structured for a reason
  • The Beatles were rooted in the TPA era, whereas The Rolling Stones were rooted in the Blues. The Beatles = Orchestra, very precise, very well-thought through; The Rolling Stones = groove, intensity, power, real emotion
  • This is a band that is used to working out songs overtime and allowing them to change over time
  • They would roughly work out a song, and go out and start playing it
    • The soung would be recognizable every time they played it, but it would be different
  • Room for spontaneous changeability in small things
  • They were more interested in capturing the energy of a moment/performance
  • Process-oriented (more interested in the journey, rather than the destination)
    • Before the Golden Age, African-Americans: Process-oriented; White culture: Object-oriented or product-oriented
    • Post-Golden Age: skin colour doesn’t matter as much, bands can choose whatever they want
  • Let’s Spend the Night Together, 1967
    • Verse/Chorus
    • Brian Jones had been drifting away from the band after Richards and Jagger started to take control; Also becoming addicted to drugs and alcohol
  • 1969 - The Stone went to a tour for several months in the US
    • Brian Jones had visa problems due to his drug charges in the US
    • Instead of cancelling the tour, the group went to with the tour without Jones
    • Jones announced that he would be leaving the band; he died 5 weeks after in a swimming pool

Other Important Bands of the British Blues Revival

  • The Yardbirds (Blues Influence)
    • A series of remarkable guitar players went through their ranks
      • Eric Clapton
        • Guitar player
        • Blues purist; Similar to Jones of The Rolling Stones; The Yardbirds wanted to write originals and songs written by professional songwriters
        • Clapton was unhappy with the direction, like Brian Jones, especially after their first hit, For Your Love (1965) (original song was recorded with studio recordings)
        • Left The Yardbirds shortly after the first hit
      • Jeff Beck
        • Guitar player; Replaced Clapton
        • God of guitar players (“A musicians’ musician”), very innovative, but has stage fright
          • Used to deal with it by getting drunk, which made him unreliable
      • Jimmy Page
        • Studio guitarist
        • Came in 1969, in case Beck became unreliable so he could fill in
        • Became lead guitarist within a year
        • Disappointed when the band wanted to call it quits in 1968, because he had given up his lucrative studio career for this band
        • The band gave Page the tour they had booked in Scandinavia, and Page formed a new band The New Yardbirds. The tour was a tremendous success, and when they came back they changed their name to Led Zeppelin
  • The Who (The Mods/Art Influence) The Modernists = The Mods
    • Also considered parts of the British Blues Revival
    • Described as world’s first punk band
    • Focus on albums
    • Avant-garde cutting-edge art
    • One of the first bands consciously adapting various fields of art to their music and their appearances
    • They never had a strong Blues sound
    • The first group to create a full song of Rock Opera (a work of rock music that presents a storyline told over multiple parts, songs, or sections)
      • “Tommy”, 1969
      • “Quadrophenia”, 1973
    • At the time (and much of the career) phenomenally loud band
      • Played with more volume and aggression than any other band of their era
      • Part of it due to the drummer, Keith Moon
    • Pete Townshend (songwriter) influenced the direction of the band; He was bringing in things that was ahead of their time
      • Drug influences (as early as 1965)
      • Political issues
      • Addressing the gap between parents and their children, the fact that the new generation was looking athe world in a very different way
    • Townshend brought all of them into songs
    • My Generation, 1965
      • Had one the first rock bass solos
      • About the generational gap
      • Provocative lines: “Hope I die before I get old”, this would be prominent in 10 years, when Punk came about
      • Introduced stuttering
        • The Who, while still playing at clubs in London, became very popular with a subculture called The Mods (The Modernists)
        • The Mods were the enemies of the Rockers (The Beatles’ first image)
        • The Mods were sophisticated, well-dressed, wore sharp suits, Vespa Scooters (defining feature) with lots of mirrors and lights
        • The Mods loved dancing and taking amphetamines; the drug usage causes you to start thinking faster than you can speak, and that causes stuttering (a sign of amphetamine use), which was what Pete Townshend was referring to
        • Everyone in that generation understood the reference
    • The Who was also famous for smashing guitars on stage at the end of major gigs
      • Why? Pete was experimenting with “what is a performance?” -> The art world in the 1960s was very experimental. Some ideas:
        • Real art happens in the moment and real art is something that your experience, and it won’t happen again
        • A “happenin’” was an artistic event; art isn’t a picture that hangs on the wall, art is something we live in, and it surrounds us
      • Pete Townshend: Instruments are just tools, and what’s important is the experience
        • Similar to breaking glasses after a toast: that vow or promise you just toasted to cannot be alterted or taken back
        • The concert you just saw will never be seen again, because the instruments that made it possible are now destroyed

Soul Music

  • Development connected to the Civil Rights movement and the development of African-American identity.
  • Late 1950s into the early 1960s - growing anticipation of civil rights.
  • Rejection of Blues as the sound of the past, rural south, and slavery
    • R&B music was too rough, and it didn’t have class anymore that seemed like it was “worked out”. African-Americans were starting to find equality
  • Pop music within black culture is profoundly linked to the idea of African American identity and the Civil Rights movement
    • Soul music is often a reflection of the success and then growing failure of the movement

New sound of the urban - Soul Music

Soul Music is a fusion of 3 elements:

  1. Vocal style comes from Gospel
    • Gospel music, and this vocal style were thought be definitively African-American
    • Soul music needed to be optimistic and yet also rooted strongly Black Culture; They wanted to look at a brighter/urban future
    • So Soul artists turned to Gospel music (Ray Charles in particular) to provide optimistic black music
  2. Rhythm and back beat of R&B
    • Strong back beat, because Soul music is supposed to be meant for dancing and celebrations (hency why the groove is so important)
    • They took the beats of R&B and sped them up
  3. Arrangements and lyric styles from TPA
    • More playful, less sexual
    • Light pop lyric structure
    • Soul music was reflective of the change that was becoming of African-Americans
    • Blacks were now urban, lower/middle-class people
    • Because of this, they thought they “outgrew” R&B + So they took from TPA - the instrumental arrangements are what we would associate with TPA

Important Locations for Soul Music

  1. Motown - Detroit = Hitsville U.S.A.
  2. Stax - Memphis = Soulsville U.S.A.
  3. Fame - Muscle Shoals, Alabama
    • FAME = Florence Alabama Music Enterprises

Motown

  • Founded by Berry Gordy
  • Detroit was a city made by the automotive empire, hence the name “MOtown”
  • First important label owned by an African-American
    • Held up as a success story of the Civil Rights movement
    • At the time, the most successful company in the US held by an African-American; An example of extrepreneurship of African-Americans
  • Starts in 1959 - Based on Gordy’s experience in automotive plants
    • Gordy applied assembly line to the music industry and to Black artists
    • This had never been done where primarily Black culture was involved (only done for TPA/Major white labels)
  • Assembly Line - Everything under one roof
    • Song writers: Holland/Dozier/Holland, Smokey Robinson
    • Maxine Powell: Finishing school (that teaches the musicians how to carry themselves in public), studied how Motown performers performed, how to act, walk, and talk
    • Cholly Atkins: Choreographer; Same choreographer -> consistency
    • The Funk Brothers: House band
  • Result is absolute consistency of product
  • You’d Better Shop Around, 1960 - Smokey and the Miracles
    • Soul music maintained the image of individual artist, not bands
    • Polished, restrained presentation - sophistication
    • A great example of the visual presentation of a Motown artist: full suits, neatly groomed
      • Positioning themselves apart from R&B artists; Motown looked formal and smooth
    • Barry Gordy was trying to target white audiences
      • Reason why his artists appeared safe, restrained, and controlled
    • You don’t see the band
      • This has gone through the TPA style of prodiction (Division-Of-Labour)
      • The singers probably didn’t write their own songs
    • The singers were in front and centre
    • Smokey was always projecting outwards
      • They were singing to the audience
      • The audience was always in the constant in the mind of a Motown performer

Major Motown Bands

  • The Supremes
    • Members:
      • Diana Ross, not the best singer, but more constraint, controlled voice
      • Mary Wilson, very talented singer, more powerful, like R&B
      • Diana Ross was chosen to the lead singer
    • Visually presented in a way associated with the white upper-class
    • A vocal group (girl group)
    • Stop in the Name of Love, 1965
      • Generally in Motown, mostly number 2 and 3 elements in Soul, however number 1 (Gospel) was lacking
      • Piano and electric organ, organsliding at the beginning of song
      • Tambourine very common in Soul, why?
        • Expensive microphone is able to capture high frequencies, earlier R&B was “dull”. not a lot of high-end sound due to inexpensive production. Gordy wanted to put instruments with high frequencies -> Tambourine
      • Sound of Motown:
        • Lyrics:
          • About idealized romance
          • Adult relationship
          • Much more in-keeping with the lyrics of TPA/Brill Building/Rock n Roll
        • Dance:
          • A song meant for dancing
          • Definitive groove
          • Very easy to feel the beat, thus dance
        • Vibraphone (has longer duration than xylophone, same family)
          • Found in Jazz of the time
          • Jazz was the shady side of urban culture Pre-WWII
          • But by the 60s, it was becoming one of America’s greatest art forms; Respectable
          • Including vibraphone means soul is urban sophistication
          • Gave us two things:
            • An overtone of Jazz
              • A sense of urban sophistication (important to soul music, a modern Black identity)
            • Artistic merit
              • Because of linking itself to Jazz, it gets merit and respect

Motown’s Sound and Production Practice

  • Top-down approach, and Berry Gordy had the final say of anything that came out of Motown
  • Pretty much the only difference between songs from Motown was the singer
  • Because of this method, Berry came under a lot of flak from the Black community itself; The community felt he was “whitening” Motown’s artists

Atlantic Records - Jerry Wexler(1917-2008)

  • Only major record label willing to sign Black artists
  • Jerry Wexler(1917-2008), before Atlantic, he was a writer for the Billboard magazine
  • He was the person who came up with the name “Rhythm and Blues”

STAX Records, Memphis, “Soulsville USA”

  • Formed in 1959 - Satellite Records(Stax, 1961)
    • Named after Jim Stewart and Estelle Axton
  • House Band: Booker T and the M.G.s
  • Biggest Difference between Motown and STAX
    • Integrated house band
      • unusual (sometimes the members had to stay in separate hotels)
      • In the 1960s, there were still almost 20 states where it was illegal to marry a person of another race

Approach to Recording

  • Not all that concerned with appearances
    • Straight off the bat, having an integrated band meant that appearances didn’t matter to them
  • All the musicians went into the studio at the same time, and everyone played together - single tracked, maybe recorded 3 or 4 takes and voted on the best one
    • Unlike Motown, who multiracked and kept recording and working until it was perfect
  • Focus on energy
    • Even if there was a mistake on the record, it would still be released if everyone thought they had the best energy

STAX Soul

  • Try a Little Tenderness, Otis Redding, 1966
    • Not a newly composed song; Written in the 1920s
    • A TPA hit for many artists (notable version by Bing Crosby in 1933)
    • AABA form
    • What we see (compared to Motown)
      • The Band
        • Seen as an important part of the process even if the artist was a solo artist like Otis
        • As opposed to Motown
      • No/Less Choreography
        • Far less worked out choreography, if any
        • More space for interpretation of a performance
        • More freedom, as opposed to consistency of Motown
      • Projection outwards is not as important
        • We saw Otis sometimes closing his eyes; This might let him become more energetic, more powerful, for his performance

Stax artists do something Motown artists never do: sweat

  • Motown artists are cool as cucumbers
  • Stax artists sweat, because of the intensity of the performance
  • At Stax, the Gospel influence is the norm for vocal performance (unlike Motown - we didn’t see the Gospel aspect in the Supreme’s song)
  • Otis was known for his cathartic performance - unrestrained energy
  • In comparison to Motown:
    • Stax has a lot more room for improvisation, for energy (catharsis)
    • Far less restraints on the artists
  • Motown artists make consistent eye contact with you
  • White audiences target Motown artists
  • Motown: product-oriented, STAX: process-oriented

Sam and Dave

  • These Soul brothers are a good example of the word “Soul” becoming synonymous with Black identity (“Soul” is now a slang - meaning Black)
  • Soul Man, Sam and Dave, 1967
    • Has a mistake in it
      • Horn players missed the first shot in the second verse
    • Energy-focused, process-oriented
    • Much less concerned with right notes as opposed to energy
    • Still the optimistic sound


July 7, 2016 - Lecture 10

FAME Studio

  • 1966 - Atlantic (Jerry Wexler) began working at FAME
  • Aretha Franklin is the model for modern R&B female vocalists
    • One of the most important things of the time if you were a woman trying to make it in the music industry:
      • The experience you have growing up in a Black church
      • If you did learn to sing in the gospel church, then you have a higher level of credibility wihin the pop music community
      • Aretha had this connection
        • Her first recordings were religious Gospel songs
        • Her father was a pastor
    • By the time she was in her 20s, she moved to a different sound
      • Originally was presented like The Supremes, but didn’t really work
      • It wasn’t until Jerry Wexler (from Atlantic Records) went back to the Gospel style and just let her be
    • Respect, 1967
      • Originally written by Otis Redding
      • Aretha Franklin’s first recording after returning to Gospel
      • Unlike the original song, Aretha was singing about the civil rights movement
        • It was almost a song of protest
        • She was asking for equality; A feminist anthem
      • Beginning of a more militant sound

The Civil Rights Movement (Mid to Late 1960s)

1965-1967: Inner city riots

  • The frustration over the CRM not making any progress began to boil over
  • During these years, every US city with a significant Black population experienced race riots
    • Summer of 1967 = “The Long Hot Summer”
    • Most well-known riot: “Riot of Detroit”
      • Dozens dead, hundreds injured, thousands arrested
      • 19 square miles of Downtown Detroit had been reduced to rubble
      • The fires were so bad that Detroit authorities started to call Windsor, ON for help
      • By the end, 7,000 Army troops were patrolling the streets of Detroit
  • A sense of Black identity began to reassert itself, particularly in the following spring

April 4, 1968: Martin Luther King assassinated

  • MLK: The leader of the (peaceful) Civil Rights Movement
  • A small core of African-Americans who had always wanted to take a more militant stand gained much more power -> The Black Panther Party. Ideologies:
    • No action was off the table if it was required to achieve equality
    • Violence would not be avoided if it was the only way to achieve equality
  • Most of the African-American community were not as swayed as the Black Panthers, but they did retrench and wanted to draw a wall between Whites and set their identity

The Reafricanization of Black Culture

  • “Back to Africa” speech by Marcus Garvey - Black Star Line, 1919
  • Their names began to chnage: dropping their slave names, and taking on their African names (e.g. Muhammad Ali)
  • Fashion changes: overall style changed
  • Food
  • African-Americans stopped straightening their hair -> The Afro
  • Most importantly, music changed
    • Soul music no longer went far enough, need to change
    • James Brown developed Funk

Funk and James Brown

James Brown

  • Godfather of Soul
  • Soul Brother #1
  • By 1960, massive star in the US
  • First hit: “Please Please Please”, 1956
  • 1963 - Recorded a live album “Live at the Apollo” (1963)
    • An unusual album (singles were still major at the time)
    • Arguably the first album by an African-American to sell 1 million copies
  • 1965 - “Papa’s Got a Brand New Bag” - Crossover hit
    • Not just a Black artist anymore
    • He diversified his audience
    • This started his string of crossover hits, which all followed the same pattern every time
  • “I Feel Good”, 1965
    • 12 bar Blues
    • An example of Soul music
      • It doesn’t have the elaborate arrangements like Motown, but we hear simple lyrical ideas
      • Really strong influence of Gospel music on his vocals
      • Optimistic music: happy to be alive
    • AABA form
    • Crossover hit
    • “Black folks like the Blues, White folks a little something different in the middle”
    • He knew exactly what he was doing, and he was crafting these songs deliberately
      • 12 bar Blues to bring in the Black audiences
      • AABA to bring in the Whites

This was the early 1960s. He moved from Soul into Funk.

  • Single-handedly changed music by coming up with a new style, Funk
  • Say It Loud (I’m Black and I’m Proud), 1968
  • Get Up (I Feel Like Being a Sex Machine), 1970
    • Within the first two minutes, not a single chord change
    • Changes from Soul to Funk:
      • Chords are unimportant; James de-privileged Harmony
        • He believed that chords are not important in the music of West Africa, so they were no longer important in what James Brown did
      • James believed worked out melodies are not important
        • He improvised melodies; James de-privileged melodies
      • Emphasis on Rhythm
        • Articulation of it is key
    • Interlocking Groove - Based on African Drum Groups
      • James was envisioning his group as a West-African drum ensemble
        • They were working on assumptions (simplified stereotypes)
      • Concepts: Drum group composed of a master drummer and a circle of those who are studying him
        • The master drummer start the piece, and directs the change in structure
        • The drummer does not order the circle, he asks them (everyone has a say)
      • Sense of community
        • He asks to count it off
        • He asks to go to the bridge
      • So now everyone in the drum ensemble gets a simple part to play over and over again
      • When they interlock, they create something greater = an interlocking groove
      • The summation of all the drum parts
      • It repeats over and over again, not based on bars, but small sections that repeat over and over again
        • Riff-based
    • Cyclical - pleasure in repetition, not what you get in an AABA form when you get the melody and its contrast
    • Open-ended forms - cyclical vs. linear
  • Black audiences loved him, but he lost almost all of his white audiences overnight, as they did not understand this music genre

Folk Rock (Bob Dylan Goes Electric)

  • Influenced by The Beatles, Bob Dylan went electric at the Newport Folk Festival in 1965
    • Started an uproar, not because of the fact that he was playing electric, but the electric guitar itself
    • The electric guitar represents Rock and Roll and the music industry
      • Everyone wanted to ignore that Folk is a part of the industry
      • Bob Dylan brought the industry back into folk music
  • Within 6 months, Bob Dylan was more popular than ever before and had created a new genre - Folk Rock
    • Taking the musical style of Rock and fusing it with the lyrical content of Folk

The Counter-culture

The Beats

  • One of the defining things about Beat culture:
    • First group that dared to question that the government was doing what it was doing for the betterment of society
  • Constanly hunted by the government in an attempt to discredit them
  • Name, 3 sources:
    • “Beaten Down”
    • Jazz Beat
      • The style and stereotype of the time
    • Beatitude
      • Spiritual beliefs/A higher sense of being
      • Main idea: We are blinded to what the real world looks like by materialism. We no longer see the world the way it really is
  • Who made up “The Beats”?
    • Baby Boomers
    • Collectively known as Hippies

The Counter-culture: Drugs, Music, and Culture

  • Two main centres:
    • Greenwich Village (NYC, East Coast)
    • Haight-Ashbury (SF, West Coast)
  • Homology of Sensory Stimulation (psychedelic)
    • You look at something and see a bunch of different elements
    • But then you notice that one distinct thing ties them/links them together - that’s homology
    • Idea: the more you get your brain going, the more you expand your consciousness
  • Highly valued hings that trigger your psyche, or brain
    • So almost everything in counter-culture is designed to trigger these “higher” thoughts
    • Example: poster art, clothing (e.g. tye dye), drugs (“drop acids, not bombs”)
  • Music of Counter-culture
    • Loud
      • Sensory stimulation: music is so loud you physically feel it
      • You now get two sensory stimulations tied together (more impactful) rather than just one
    • Longer or unusual song forms
      • Catch the brain off guard
      • Not 12 Bar Blues or AABA, because then you wouldn’t be caught off guard
      • Longer forms because experiences take a while to unfold
    • Jamming: Collective improvisation
      • At the heart of the music of the counter-culture
      • There is no way you know what’s going to happen if they are making it up on the spot
    • Lighting Shows
      • Virtually invented this idea
      • Psychedelic: auditory and tactile sense + visual stimulation


July 14, 2016 - Lecture 11

Summary: Finishing up with the 60s, then looking at fan support and money becoming the centre of the 70s, the rise of hard rock and heavy metal, and the rise of “stadium” rock

The leading edge of baby boomers was changing the world once more. Majority of them have followed in their parents’ footsteps, and have gone to college. There is a percentage of Baby Boomers looking for an alternative way to go -> Counter-culture (the idea that we are blinded into the reality of the world by materialism and politics).

A lot of people trusted authority until then - conspiracy theorism started in the 1960s a lot with the assassination of JFK, psychedelic experience (achieving higher level of consciousness and idea). In terms of music, psychedelic = lighting shows, long waveforms, etc. Thinking there’s some other “reality”. Largely a symbolic idea, but spawned the counter-culture movement.

The Grateful Dead

  • Exemplifies West Coast counter-culture more than anyone
  • Thinkers, not doers; They think about how the world could be better
  • Very open, gentle fellows
  • Also inspired by Folk Rock, not showy, never locked anyone into playing a particular part
  • Truckin’, The Grateful Dead, 1970
    • Influenced by Folk Rock
    • Great example of both Jamming and how loose the band was
  • The beginning of each song was planned, and then they just took off
    • In a live context, when the song would normally fade out they just kept on jamming
      • Jerry Garcia (Lead Vocals) starts yelling
      • Guitar solo (forever)
  • Every night the concert and content was different
  • The followers were known as “Dead Heads”, cult

More aggressive sound develops, very drug-focused, less obvious folk image, more rehearsed, planned. Combining this more aggressive sound with the drug culture comes to Acid Rock.

Acid Rock

  • Louder, more aggressive, but still focused on the ideas of the West Coast

White Rabbit, Jefferson Airplane, 1967

  • In one way, White Rabbit is not a good example of acid rock because it was a hit
    • Most acid rock, or most music to come out of the counter-culture, were not popular in the mainstream
    • Thus very few hits, lots of record sales, but not charted
    • Lots of long songs, alternative patterns, not very predictable, so not Top 40 friendly
    • Most of the bands weren’t even looking for Pop hits
  • White Rabbit is short (very rare in counter-culture music and acid rock)
  • Underlying premise of counter-culture: The world is artificial and we are being blinded by commercialism
  • This makes it very hard to promote commercial success in the capitalist way Top 40 tends to work
  • Lyrics:
    • Lots of drug use
    • Based off of Alice in Wonderland
      • And the amount of drug taking in it
      • “The world is not as we see it”
      • Key message from the book
      • Fun fact: The Matrix has many elements of the Alice in Wonderland plot (i.e. follow the white rabbit, taking pills, mirrors are doorways to other worlds)
      • Actually deeper than that; Part of the narrative of AiW, is the suggestion that the world we see is not all there is
      • The world we see is not necessarily the real world
  • Form:
    • Unusual, not AABA, not verse-chorus, not 12 Bar Blues
    • One long volume swell
    • Crescendo: AABCDEF form; counterculture; Crescendo: quiet -> loud
      • Starts quietly, spends the entire time getting louder and louder and more intense
      • This is representative of a drug experience, a drug rush
      • Ends with a huge crashing loud sound
    • This literally mimics one of the key aspects of the culture; Shows how important drug use and the experience of drugs was to this culture

After 1967 (Summer 1967 = Summer of Love in San Francisco)

  • Summer of Love: free concerts in the park/brownies for everyone
  • Began to dissolve, partly because of drugs
    • Where drugs go, crime follows
    • Drug trade and gangs spring up
  • Youth culture becomes more politically active and engaged
  • Summer 1967: Different if you were in the inner cities: In Detroit, the “Long Hot Summer” because of the riots, burning, and demonstrations etc.
  • Counter-culture quickly figures out: as fascinating as its goals may be, they were changing themselves, but not the entire world. The quest for higher consciousness didn’t change anything outside the self. So to make change, Counter-culture must get more involved in mainstream culture to affect it

Youth Movements Focus: Civil Rights and The Vietnam War

  • The Civil Rights Movement
    • Not quite to the extent they could have
    • The counter-culture is largely a movement of the white middle-class
  • The Vietnam War
    • By 1967, Vietnam has become a major shooting war (a “proxy” war)
    • Everyone was scared of WW3
    • Suddenly for the first time, USA is losing a war

The Youth International Party (Yippies)

  • Jerry Rubin/Abbie Hoffman (The guy who takes Forrest Gump on stage at the anti-war rally was supposed to be Abbie Hoffman)
  • Still primarily white middle-class, but the awareness of civil rights means black influence

The East Coast Counterculture music

  • Music is louder, more aggressive, edgier
    • Partly due to the change in the involvement of civil protests
  • Return to Blues influence -> Psychedelic Blues
    • Black culture finally influencing counter-culture

Psychedelic Blues - Jimi Hendrix

  • Technical virtuoso, “Guitar Hero”
    • Virtuoso: a term reserved for classical musicians
  • Control of feedback
    • Taking the idea of loud volume and using it by feeding the systems wih feedback to increase volume
    • Hendrix realized that he could get specific tones to come out as feedback if he angled and played the guitar correctly
      • And they would last forever
    • Representation of limitless power (like the organ in church)
  • Wah Wah Pedal
    • a type of guitar effects pedal that alters the tone of the signal to create a distinctive effect, mimicking the human voice
    • Have been around for a long time, but he used them like no one had ever before
  • Whammy Bar (Vibrato system)
  • Like Robert Johnson, he didn’t invent anything, but he took existing things and used them in a way no one had ever thought could be done
    • Expanded techniques, developed the complexity far beyond anything anyone had done before
    • First pop musician where people started using the word “virtuoso”
  • Voodoo Child (Slight Return), Jimi Hendrix, 1967
    • “Dead notes” when his hand is over the strings to mute them slightly when played
    • Extraordinary level of distortion, coupled with smoothness of the performance
    • Use of Wah pedal at the very beginning
    • His music became very important to soldiers in Vietnam
    • Tapes of Hendrix’s music became currency among soldiers

Woodstock, NY - August 1969

  • Summer: counter-culture reached its peak
  • A group of concert promoters decided they are going to put on a show
  • Became clear that the popularity of the concert was going to be so great that they would not be able to control the in-and-out, and made it free
  • Tremendous number of top acts agreed to appear
  • Held it in a farmer’s field outside of Woodstock, NY
  • Should have been a catastrophe. They expected about 50k people to show up, somewhere between 350k and 500k people showed up
  • But it was the counter-culture, so they did what they do - embraced the ideals of the counter-culture
    • When people ran out of food, people who still had some, shared
    • Nowhere near enough bathrooms, but people patiently waited
    • People looked after each other
    • Pouring rain on the second day -> People made a mud slide
  • One young man accidentally killed (feel asleep under a tractor)
  • Concert had been rightly criticized for performers being largely white males
    • Very few women, very few people of color
    • Criticism was just, but it was a remarkable success:
      • Counter-culture was providing a solid alternative to the “war-driven” society at the time
      • Counter-culture had put its ideas into action, and it worked

Altamont Free Concert - December 1969

  • This was the tour the Stones were going to be on when Brian Jones was refused a visa so they fired him
  • Stones wanted to go to Woodstock but had other commitments; After the success, they decided they wanted to have their own one-day Woodstock fame
    • But it was December, so they had to do it somewhere south
    • They ended up at the Altamont Speedway in Altamont, California
  • It would have been a success, except for 2 distinct planning errors:
    • Location
      • Woodstock was on open farmland (1 field, but when people kept coming, the guy who owned the farm gave them more fields)
      • Altamont was in a big Nascar-like speedway, an enclosed space
        • More and more people just kept coming in with nowhere to go
        • By the time The Rolling Stones came on stage, there was a serious danger of audience members suffocating and rioting; Packed like sardines
    • For security, they hired Hell’s Angels Motorcycle Club and paid them with beer
      • Someone suggested that being counter-culture, being dangerous (The Rolling Stones) meant they had to do something to live up to that and make it a performance with the venue
      • The Hell’s Angels showed up with chains, knives, and pool cues (filled with lead)
      • An opening band lead singer got his face smahed by a Hell’s Angel because he tried to stop him from attacking an audience member and he got knocked out
      • It got worse when The Stones came out: A man approached the stage, and was stabbed to death by a Hell’s Angel
  • It was argued that all the good that counter-culture had done in the world, all thet people remembered about it was swept away by the disaster of Altamont
    • Drug overdoses, fights, and a murder
    • It didn’t get better

McCartney Leaves The Beatles - April 1970

Kent State, OH - May 1970

  • At the time, regular anti-war protests were held there against Vietnam
  • These protests had a well-worn script:
    • Started peaceful, and then as night fell, fights and vandalism
    • The police and National Guard came with tear gas
  • One protest:
    • A small group of students were broken off from the main protest into a parking lot, trying to get away from the tear gas
    • About 30 National Guard troops broke away from the main troops, and at the top of the hill over the parking lot, they formed 2 lines
    • The first dropped to their knees, raised their rifles, and opened fire
    • 4 students dead (2 weren’t even protesting, killed by stray bullets), 10 wounded, and 1 in wheelchair for life
  • The shockwave from Kent State
    • The government: “They had it coming, they were probably communists”
  • As a result, protests became far more intense and violent, but died away clearly because:
    • The establishment didn’t care what youth, what counter-culture had to say
    • They had an agenda, and if you got in the way, they would shoot you down in the streets
  • End of counter-culture

End of Counter-culture

  • Three important figures in Folk Rock passed away (all at the age of 27):
    • Jimi Hendrix dies of drug overdose, September 1970
    • Janis Joplin dies of drug overdose, October 1970
    • Jim Morrison (The Doors) dies, July 1971
  • At this point, counter-culture was just on the biggest downward spiral ever
  • End of the 1960s as we moved on to the 1970s

Differences between 60s and 70s

  • The shift from the sense of community/collective to the sense/celebration of the individual
  • Sgt Peppers lead to the shift from Rock ‘n’ Roll to Rock, and the Hippie Aesthetic
  • Moving from:
    • Singles to Albums:
      • Albums became the important medium in Pop music
      • Growing out of TPA
      • An album is a single work, not a collection of singles
    • Dancing to Listening:
      • Yousit down and enjoy the album
    • Entertainers to Serious musicians
      • A lot of musicians no longer thought of themselves as entertainers
        • Like Chuck Berry did
      • They saw themselves now as artists
    • FM Radio to AOR (Album-Oriented Rock)
      • Pop music was primarily focused on the AM band
      • FM, left alone
        • But all of a sudden there were a lot of people who didn’t want to listen to singles or pop music
        • They wanted to listen to albums
      • So we see new radio stations on FM, far less interested in rapid fire hit songs
        • Willing to play an entire side of an album
      • We see the rise of Album-Oriented Rock (AOR) on the FM dial
        • Tremendous boost to the genre
      • A significantly better sound quality on FM
        • Huge importance for the bands who were trying to make better sounds
        • FM radio could broadcast in stereo

Shift to the “Hippie Aesthetic”

  • Started by The Beatles’ “Sergeant Peppers”
  • Marks the shift from Rock n Roll to Rock
  • Moving from:
    • Singles to albums
    • Dancing to listening
    • Entertainers to “serious” musicians
    • FM Radio (more dominant, top 40) - AOR (Album Oriented Rock)

1970s

  • 70s were a decade of disillusionment
  • Lost the war in Vietnam
    • Brutal, humiliating defeat
  • Impeached president - Nixon
    • A president literally driven from office because he was facing jail time
  • People stopped worrying about the war outside and turned inward
  • A very self-absorbed decade

Hard Rock / Heavy Metal

  • Sonic development from Psychedelic Blues
  • To a great extent it is a response to the failure of Counter Culture
  • Strong influence from Rhythm and Blues and The Beatles in terms of studio experimentation, bringing in external sounds you wouldn’t expect
  • Focus on distorted electric guitar, so strong Hendrix influence
    • Hendrix as a “transitional musician” - both the last psychedelic blues artist and the first hard rock artist

Distinction between Hard Rock and Heavy Metal

  • Better to think about them as being ends of a continuum, two ends of a spectrum
  • If you have a certain set of stylistic elements, you are more at the hard rock end
  • A different set, heavy metal
  • Most bands fall somewhere in he middle
  • When Geddy Lee of the band Rush was asked where they fall, he said “it really depends on what you like”
    • So you tend to place things as closer to the end of the spectrum you like more
  • 4 Differences:
    • Quality (Tonal Character) and Levels of distortion
      • Heavy metal will have a much higher level of distortion than hard rock in the sound of the guitar
      • Heavy metal will also extend this distortion to both the bass and the voice
      • Distortion at hard rock end tends to be less extreme than at heavy metal end
      • More likely to find intense levels distortion on other instruments too (in hard rock, bass guitar is generally clean. In heavy metal, more and more distored)
        • Same with vocalists
        • Hard rock is a rough sound but heavy metal is distorted more pronounced, more exaggerated
    • Tempo
      • Heavy metal tends to have extremes in tempo range (wide range)
        • Gives you much greater range of emotional intensity
        • It’s really hard to play quickly, and really hard to play slowly
        • High self-consciousness of musicianship in heavy metal
      • Whereas heavy metal tends to be in the middle (good head-banging tempo)
      • Heavy metal: extremes in tempo, really slow, or really slowly
      • Hard rock: mid range tempo, not too interested in dancing
    • Lyrics
      • Hard Rock: Chuck Berry model -> parties, girls, no school, cars, rock itself or rock n roll
      • Heavy Metal: religious, mythological images, fantasy, futility of war (not celebrating it), real response to the failure of the Counter Culture, states of instability of psychology (paranoia, madness, feeling isolated/left out/left behind)
      • Example of early heavy metal: early Metallica in its Master of Puppets era

Founding Bands

  1. Black Sabbath
  2. Deep Purple
  3. Led Zeppelin

All British for some reason. The Brits never recovered from the war until the late 50s. The West Coast counter-culture never really happened in Britain. They went through a series of debilitating economic issues throughout the decade so no Golden Age.

Black Sabbath

  • British
  • “Doomy Music”
    • Name came from: down the road from their location when they were coming up with a name; Horror movie called Black Sabbath was playing at this rundown movie theatre
    • Used that name to try to capture the essence of that
  • Madness/Futility of war
  • War Pigs, from the album Paranoid, 1970 (Heavy metal)
    • Includes an air raid siren
    • Very heavily instrumental
      • Big stretches when the vocals are not doing anything
      • The focus isn’t just on the vocals, it’s on everyone
    • Tempo: tempo shifts in the beginning: moves fro slow to mid-range; more like heavy metal
    • Distortion: distortion gets heavier as we move toward heavy metal, but also as we get closer to modern standards; So although it seems light to today’s standards, it was kind of middle of the scale, slightly closer to heavy metal at the time
    • Lyrics: very anti-establishment, depressive, anti-war, so heavy metal

Deep Purple

  • Also British
  • Highway Star, from the album Machine Head, 1972
    • Virtuosic vocal performance during the introduction
    • Tempo: stable, kind of fast, but just high mid range; more like hard rock
    • Lyrics: girls, cars “nobody’s gonna take my car”, “Berry-style”
    • Distortion: this is where it’s more heavy metal, even more than Ozzy, in vocals
      • Very distorted
      • Use of electric organ (where distortion has historical precedence in music)
        • The notes are sustainable infinitely, like with a feedback loop as used by Jimi Hendrix
      • Classical influences in musicianship and approach to solos
    • Important “musicianship” to this band
      • Listen to the keyboard solo: Arpeggios (a set of notes, usually comprising a chord, playing them very quickly)
      • This approach to playing is found often in Bach (Baroque era, 1700s)
      • Keyboardists tend to study classical starting from a young age
        • John Ward, highly trained classical musician

Led Zeppelin

  • Once again, also British
  • Grew out the The Yardbirds (British Blues Revival)
  • Significant blues influence
  • Also strong acoustic/Celtic influence
  • Virtuosic musicianship/mastery of recording studio (as well as their astounding playing ability)
  • No interest in “editing” for singles depiste popularity
    • E.g. Stairway to Heaven
      • Steadfastly refused to edit the song
      • Top 40 radio eventually caved and would just play the whole 7 minute long song
      • Longest song in history to be in rotation on Top 40 radio
  • Very hard to pin down in terms of overall leaning of hard rock or heavy metal
  • Whole Lotta Love, from the album Led Zeppelin II, 1969
    • Blues-riff based; Whole song based on the same riff
    • Sued by Willie Dixon of Chess Records (“You Need Love”, Muddy Waters, 1962)
    • Importance of control in studio
    • Very clear Blues influence, but also another style here
    • The Avant-garde soundscape in the middle (control in the studio)
      • A surreal dream-like world created


July 21, 2016 - Lecture 12

Importance of Concerts

  • The centre of experience for these genres was the Stadium concert
    • No radio airplay
    • No video/music television (next to impossible to find any coverage of rock bands on TV)
    • Critical rejection in music press
      • The Rolling Stones hates this music; They hated Led Zeppelin
    • Rock and heavy metal are the main genres here
    • Stadium concerts give us a shared/collective experience
    • Concert is the only place to connect with the band
  • They became a focal point:
    • Form of worship
    • Performers have superpowers
      • “Adulation of technical mastery” (Jimmy Page video)
    • Each member of the band gets to play their own instrumets and show their own individual talents and the other members leave the stage -> virtuosic musicianship
    • Most band names in the 1960s had a “The” and plural, 70s don’t
    • 60s: Collective idea; 70s: Business-oriented; Resemble corporation names; Use of logo
    • Fans as musicians - Want to “Be” the Band
      • More so than any other style, most of the audience are also musicians
      • Going to concerts was almost like doing research/homework

Punk

  • New York City, NY
  • People felt rejected from the corporation so they made their own songs with limited music skills
  • They reject the startup: anyone can be in a band and you don’t need to be good
  • They reject the idea of stadium rock
  • CBGBs (Country, Blue Grass and Blues) in New York
  • Example: The Talking Heads, Blondie

The Ramones

  • DIY
  • Three Chords/No solos
  • Success in Britain

The Sex Pistols

  • God Save The Queen, June 1977
    • Class-based political commentary

Disco

  • Dance club based on records, not live bands
  • Early 1970s
  • David Mancuso: “Invitation only” parties
  • Gay, Black, and Hispanic subcultures
  • Dressed as rockstars and the dance floor had mirrors to show off their look
  • Disco had the “dance break” where the singing would stop but the music was still going
    • A line is formed where each person show off their dance move
  • Soul and Funk Records, often “remixed” using reel-to-reel tape recorders, and audio effects such as echo
  • Popularity grows through mid-70s
  • By 1972, Disco became a musical genre: Musicians focused on the tempo, the beat, the speed of the music, and seamless transition between songs, so the tempos of the songs should be similar

Love Train, The O’Jays, 1973

  • Reveals many of the characteristics of Disco
  • 120 bpm
  • Production is clean - no distortion
  • Complex arrangements over basic beat

Disco as a response to Stadium Rock

  • Disco: wild fashion sense, ornate
    • dance floor is centred in clubs, everyone can see it; stage in disco is the dance floor;
    • mirrors in disco; rejection of stadium rock
    • disco embraces the star
    • No solos - focus on dance
  • Example: Le Freak, Chic, 1978
  • Popularity grows through mid-70s
  • Success peaks in 1977: “Saturday Night Fever”

Rock Backlash

  • “Disco Sucks”: hate from stadium band fans
  • July 12, 1979: Comisky Park, Chicago - “Disco Demolition Night”
  • Popularity of disco drops sharply by the end of 1979
  • Racism?
  • Homophobia?
  • Musically, Disco was so counter to mainstream music. It shifts the focus from the musicians to the beat
  • Drum Machine: In Chicago Frankie Knuckles added bass drum -> Warehouse Music -> House music -> Electronic dance music

Hip Hop

  • Folk culture
  • South Bronx, New York City - 1970s
  • Rap/Breakdancing/Graffiti Art

Precursors:

  1. Signifying/The Dozens - was a game, you had to be funnier and faster than the other person, or you lose the game
    • Oral word game
    • Ritualized insulting
    • Rapid, quick, rhythmic rhyming all going to be elements of rap + African origin
  2. Personality DJs (1950s/60s)
    • Speed/rhyming/virtuosic
    • These developed during the transition from radio to TV
    • Nature of broadcasting also changed at this point
    • It’s not a group listening experience anymore
    • With private radio, DJs are now talking directly to you
    • The reason you choose one Top 40 station over another is the DJ
  3. Jamaican Toasting
    • Arguably the most important precursor
    • Yard dances/Sound system men
    • Most people in Jamaica didn’t have records or even a way to play them
    • The only opportunity to hear RnB and other genres you had was to go to a Yard Dance
    • Only source of American Pop music + SSM became 1st Jamaican recording producers
    • Producing for Yard Dances + Same song on both sides, one without vocals + SSM would vocally improvise over the “B” side + Toasting - “toasting to themselves”
  4. Jazz/Militant Black Poetry
    • Part of “Reafricanization” of culture during the 1960s
    • A blending of spoken word art (poetry) and rhythms
    • Is it rap? No, but it has most of the elements
    • Spoken word is a profound part of Black culture + Example: The Last Poets

Prehistory

  • 1973 - Kool Herc
    • Jamaican immigrant
    • Started holding yard parties in the streets and did exactly what Sound System Men did
    • He had two turntables
    • He extended exciting moments of a song - “breaks”
      • Found moments of records people liked and repeat the peak moments again
      • First guy to take two turntables and re-compose music
    • “cutting and mixing”
    • Toasting: talked about how awesome his parties were
  • 1976 - Grand Master Flash
    • Developed Kool Herc’s techniques
    • “Quick mix”: very very quick at changing records
    • Variety of sources
      • Expanded the range of music he was using (rather than soul/funk records that Herc was using)
    • “Sampling”: Using little bits and pieces
  • 1976 - Grand Master Meli Mel
    • Toaster/Rapper for Grand Master Flash
      • Grand Master Flash was too busy toasting to himself
      • Grand Master Meli Mel was the man to do the job
      • Split between the guy with the turntables and the guys who are up at the front doing all the rapping (split between DJ and rapper)
    • Does “full length” raps
      • He started working out narratives, telling stories and did them the same way each performance
      • When rappers started creating songs
    • Writes them down
  • 1978 - Grand Wizard Theodore
    • He invented scratching
      • He left the volume up and didn’t let go, and then manipulated it with his hand
    • He redefined technology of the turntable
      • He turned the turntable into an instrument
      • Technology of Production

First recorded hit: “Rapper’s Delight”, Sugarhill Gang, October 1979

  • Based on “Good Times” by Chic (1979 #1 Pop and RnB)
  • #4 RnB, #36 Pop
  • First time a rap song had ever been recorded
  • He’s telling you what he’s doing, because you have probably never heard it before (intro lyrics, “This is not a test”)


July 31, 2016 - Readings for the Final Exam

James Brown:On The Way To Funk (p.240-246)

Drugs and the Quest for Higher Consciousness (p.250-252)

  • Hallucinogenic drugs were essential to unlocking “the doors of perception”
  • LSD and Marijuana = the most important drugs
  • LSD was viewed as a kind of magic drug that led to a “higher consciousness”
    • Higher consciousness = essence of counterculture
  • The counterculture began expanding to Eastern religions around 1965
  • There are two ways music might reflect a growing interest in higher consciousness:
    • Use music to enhance a drug trip; The music itself does not offer the experience
    • Use music as the trip itself

It Takes a Village to Raise a Ruckus (p.263-264)

  • The psychedelic scene had completely taken off by 1966, except it was still noticeably absent on the Radio
  • Tom Donahue, pissed off about AM pop music radio, became the first person to make “free-form radio” (playing tracks back to back, less chatter between songs, longer songs allowed to be played) successful

The Hippie Aesthetic (p.295)

  • A focus on musical and technological craft, combined with a distinctly artistic approach to music making, let to an aesthetic approach we call “Hippie Aesthetic”
  • A rock musician is an artist who has a responsibility to produce sophisticated music using whatever means are at his or her disposal, and rock music should stand up to repeated listening and the lyrics should deal with important issues or themes
  • Shifting focus from Singles to Albums

Good Trip, Bad Trip (p.283-284)

The Fracturing of the American Radio Audience (p.286-288)

The Rise of Disco (p.355-364)

  • Disco had been a style for a long time, keep in mind, rock was shifting to listening and away from dancing, so what were people going to turn to if they wanted to get their boogie on? Disco.
  • Disco became mainstream in 1977 with the release of Saturday Night Fever
  • Disco represents a return to the authority of producers (They had been less influential throughout the late 60s and early 70s in popular music)
  • Disco used a Brill Building/Motown Model
  • But with Disco now mainstream, the serious rock fans and musicians themselves were pissed off. They popularized the incredible long slogan of, “Disco Sucks.”
  • No one is exactly sure why they were rioting about disco, but there are a few solid speculations
    • One of the best theories: It went against the Hippie Aesthetic. Disco was meant for dancing and fun. It also gave the creative elements back to the producer. They felt as though disco threatened everything they had managed to establish in music. This was the first form of “rockism” (The belief that some forms of pop music are less important because of a perceived lack of authenticity)
  • Key Point: Disco was a rejection of the Hippie Aesthetic, and it actually shared with another emerging style, Punk.

The Roots of Punk in the United States / The Rise of Punk in the UK, 1974-1977 (p.381-388)

  • Punk originally comes from the Underground scene in the US. Bands like the Velvet Underground, the Stooges, Iggy Pop, and MC5 all began confronting the hippie Aesthetic and mainstream music of the time.
  • New York was the national center of the scene for punk during the 70s.
  • Across the ocean: Punk music was the best music that represented the despair UK teenagers were facing - the crushing economic crisis had been hitting them very hard. One of the biggest bands: The Sex Pistols (A band that lasted only a few years but was absolutely surrounded by controversy)
    • They were the ones who got Punk to be associated with forbidden things/acts
    • They essentially spoiled the name of punk to what we think of it as today
  • Again, Punk was rebelling against the Hippie Aesthetic in music (amongst other non-musical things like politics)
  • Punks had a “return-to-simplicity Aesthetic” just trying to play as fast and as bare-boned as possible.

The Emergence of Rap (p.448-453)

  • DJ Kool Herc: the “Merry-Go-Round” technique was essentially his style. He would have two copies of the same record on his turntable, and would constantly be focusing on the break of that song. He would take a five second break-down and turn it into a five minute loops. This is how dance-breaks were invented.
  • Russell Simmons and Rick Rubin form Def Jam records. It would become another important early hip-hop label with artists like LL Cool J, Public Enemy, and the Beastie Boys signed to them

End of Course. Final Exam: 12:30pm, August 3, 2016