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Music 2II3 – Popular Music 5.docx

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McMaster University
Simon Wood

Music 2II3 – Popular Music: Post World War 2 Lecture 5 7/10/2013 2:00:00 PM  cover versions were nothing new, not at the point where people follow artists like they do now  people focus not on artists but the songs  like sheet music, you bought songs  by 1954 to 1956 –racist  there was a “moral panic” o something that happens in particular when a group (large cultural group) usually one in a dominant cultural position begins to realize the world is changing, their way of life maybe coming under threat o huge cultural issues that have emergence  cover versions were a response to moral panic  black culture influence white culture  example: Toronto – astonishing city because it is now well accepted a place where you will find more languages spoken than any other place on earth –in history for that matter o you can walk in any time of day being aware and be safe o with the exception of two or three neighbourhoods o usually black people are shot – inequality to opportunities or resources o white girl –shot in north of eaton centre –jane –the broad response was holy crap she looks like me (meaning middle class white people) – then millions of money is spent on social services, cops and firearms – that is moral panic o liberal MP wanted to ban 50 cent from coming into Toronto  stopped by 1956 -- because new style, sound has emerged -- rock n roll Elvis Presley (1935 to 1977) – first, most famous to explode in rock n roll  born in tupelo, Mississippi  WDIA (first BA station) was the hometown there – he grew up listening to that  one of twins – died in childhood  grew up poor – clean stable household – solid upbringing  grew up in a neighbourhood of white family amongst black family  in the south – it was quite common for whites to live amongst black o poverty was the dividing, less so race unlike middle white class  he went to a black church here and there  had a better sense of gospel -- sing and perform in that style  listened to a lot of country and western  favourite artist -- dean martin –part of the rat pack (spent a lot of time In vegas) –more so like an entertainment group  moved to Memphis when Elvis was a teen  involved in the music industry – bought his clothes on Beale street o where the cool black clothing stores were –slik, leather, cool vibe o crossing race  1953 – Elvis was 18 years old – sam Philips (the white man comment)/ he comes into sun records o for a dollar – for 5 minutes you can do a recording o wanted to record a song for his mother – it was for her birthday o recorded the song "my happiness” – which was a hit for dean martin  early 1954, he went again to record for his “mothers” birthday o but he was actually auditioning but didn’t want to tell others – he was shy  sam Phillips phones o guitar player scotty moore o bass -- bill black o no drummer cause he’s white o he is going to record country and western songs o start recording, things not going too well –during the break elvis starts playing around with a song (blue moon of Kentucky)  listening – blue moon of Kentucky –original recording 1947 bill munroe  “blue moon of Kentucky, keep on shining..” –aaba style  sung with emotional distance (usual for country and western songs) o means when you are singing in country and western you are a story teller  sam Philips says that’s a pop song now just about – what he is saying, that used to be a country and western song but has become a pop song  elvis plays it with more energy, different  original blue moon of Kentucky doesn’t have 4 beats in a bar, but 3 – what we call a COUNTRY WALTZ  version – listening with elvis  elvis changes it to 4 beats in a bar rather than 3 – big change o it was the minimum in order to get into a pop chart  country and western was based on the range –  elvis’s voice –playing with the notes, hes articulating some of them cleaning and swooping into other ones –pop performance  release version listening from elvis –extraordinary change from the very original to the other one and to this one  scotty – heard improvised solo (with guitar) – a moment of transcendence, where the music takes over  bill black – changes the way he plays, plays the two-beat (common way of playing in country and western) – in the one before the release o you hear the clicking sound  walking bass in the release version – style bass found in RnB, influenced by black – like he is in a blues band o because they don’t have a drummer –bass and drum technically –desire to bring in percussion, add drive to the song  big change in the voice  vocalables – adding extra syllables, carry a lot of information, adds drive  misses half the words  through the A sections – he fires through them  then the B sections – he is floating up and down  the meaning is in the vocal performance itself, the sound of Elvis voice  the words don’t matter, the meaning of the sound is in the quality of the voice, the way he articulates the sounds –the message is joyous and energy  its sound sense – generally black culture  before it was released, sam Philips sent it to radio show WDIA – red hot n’ blues was the show o the DJ was Dewey Philips o everyone wants to know who it is and wants to hear it again o played it at least 12 to 15 times in a row – switchboard kept lighting up o Elvis went in for an interview the next day o First question he asked was where did you go to high school?  Why would he ask that??  High schools were segregated, easy way to tell the people what colour he is (black or white)  People thought he was black  Blends cultures in a unique way  there is no biological imperative –for white man to sing like a black man o no difference based on race for voices o its all culture o hear this when people learn a second language o all depends what culture you grow in  begins fame in early summer 1954  through 1954 to 1955 –becomes a regional star  releases 12 songs – all covers – on sun records over this period of about 14 months
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