MUAR 392 Lecture Notes May 8 th
Phil Spector Associated with left-wing, “power to the
Key figure in development of pop music
and R&R in early 1960s Review: “Folk” – where does it come from?
Producer, songwriter, arranger,
sometime performer, but not singer Translation of German “Volk” meaning,
the (common) people, nation, lower
Seen by many as visionary musical
As plural, “Volk(e)s” has generally
But might this reflect worries over power
shift towards female singers and negative connotations: mob, rabble, the
songwriters in the early 1960s
Elements of Spector’s “Wall of Sound” When did the “Folk” become important?
Johan Gottfried Herder (1744-1803).
Dense, reverberant texture using echo
chamber Prussian philosopher, theologian,
literary and linguistic theorist.
Doubling, tripling, quadrupling of
instruments Rejected faith in science championed by
Enlightenment Philosophies (Voltaire,
R&B rhythm section mixed with pop
singing style Diderot, D’Alembert, etc)
Argued that the Folk not rabble, rather
Often called “Wangerian” – after locus of authentic, true cultural and
aesthetics of Richard Wagner (1813-
1883), major opera composer whose Value pluralist. Cultures are
incommensurable, cannot be judged
grandiosity of vision is perhaps according to external principles; each is
unparalleled in history of music, e.g. 4
opera cycle The Ring of the Nibelung different not better or worse
Linguistic relativist. Language is not
Listen to “River Deep-Mountain High” by
Tina Turner (1966) pop rock transparent; instead it determines
thought (now known as Sapir-Whorf
Girl Groups and Feminism? hypothesis)
Urban Folk Revival
What kind of working relationship did
Spector have with his artists?
How is “Urban folk” paradoxical?
How do 1960s girl groups compare with
1990s-2000s girl groups, e.g. the Spice What is ostensibly being “revived”?
Girls In its use of primarily acoustic
instruments and traditional songs how is
What is “Folk Music”? it different from Country & Western?
Roots trace back to 1930s New York
Often uses acoustic traditional City intelligentsia: Charles and Ruth
instruments Seeger, John and Alan Lomax, etc.
Music understood as “authentic” or “real” Leftist folklorists and musicologists saw
compared to commercial/popular music in traditional, rural music an alternative
Folk songs either traditional/anonymous to and implicit critique of capitalism
or original but expressive of communal expressing solidarity of working people
values – authentic to the “people” against the business and political elites “Hillbilly” is changed to “American Folk” Performs at 1963 giant civil rights
in 1945 but then becomes “Country & Washington D.V. rally where Martin
Western” in 1949 because of leftist Luther King Jr. gives famous “I have a
associations of “folk.” Dream” speech
In 1950s this fuses with counter-cultural
“Don’t Think Twice, It’s all Right” (1963)
values and cultural critique of Beats
defined most famously by Jack Kerouac,
Allan Ginsberg and Neil Cassady Composed by Bob Dyla