-rock music born out of controversy, rebellious image always
appealed to fans.
- mid-1950s, adults accustomed to fatherly crooning of Bing Crosby and the suave,
shocked by Elvis Presley’s blues-influenced singing and suggestive dance moves.
-Teenagers, of course, loved him.
-Beatles’ moptop haircuts upset parents in mid-1960s; setting fashion trend among
youngsters. -Rock pushed boundaries of what was accepted
-artists: JimMorrison,AliceCooper, DavidBowiechallenged cultural
values in late ’60s early ’70s,
-Madonnaand Prince in 1980s.
- Issues such as payola , obscene lyrics have been focus of federal government
-only small portion of rock source of controversy or cultural struggle, nonconformity+
misbehavior central to the rock movement.
- rock’s frequent (and sometimes militant) opposition to status quo, some people surprised
to learn colleges and universities offering courses in rock
- music historians look back on last century, obvious popular music played enormous
recent development of Western musical tradition,
-rock music has been dominant among popular styles.
-Even music historians whose focuses on other genres and decades must take
into account many and often farflung effects rock has had on world of
-Despite acknowledged importance of rock music, determining definition of “rock”
constitutes/ means is difficult .
-Some scholars use term “rock and roll” to describe first wave from 1954 to 1959
-Others describe music after 1964 as “rock.”
-Using these distinct terms preserves many scholars and fans see as an important
difference. -book will employ the term “rock” in broad sense, however, using
term to designate popular music that is produced specifically for a youth audience.
-more encompassing usage still problematic includes seeming contradictions.
-Is rock defined by race, or musical style, or specific musical elements, such
as instrumentation or lyrical content?
-Can 1960s soul be considered rock? How about folk or rap?
-Is all pop also rock, is all rock also pop?
-how do we think about rock music after its musicians and audience have
-Few argue artists : ElvisPresley,Beatles, RollingStones,Jimi Hendrix,Led
Zeppelin,Police,andU2 central to rock movement.
- artists like the Supremes, Madonna, and Kingston Trio harder to
-book will tell history of popular music focuses on rock but includes other styles.
-chapters that follow consider rock in inclusive manner, discussing artists
-main purpose : enormous body of music that covers over fifty years of popular-music
history—to make it easier to understand and appreciate.
-Today more popular music available to listeners than any other time in history of
- Subsequent chapters organize music into styles and eras to make rock repertoire
easier to understand and appreciate, = provide broad stylistic and historical
Rock History in the Media.
-most fans have had some exposure to background information on artists and music.
-those who havent studied rock as academic subject, historical information probably
have come from general interest publications, radio, television, or Internet.
- Magazines : Rolling Stoneand Mojo provide readers information about rock musicians,
their music, aspects of entertainment industry.
- Books targeted at general reader—often written by journalists and music critics—
plentiful and varied.
-Cable networks like VH-1 and MTV offer profiles of artists styles,
-frequently taking larger historical patterns into account.
- development of classic-rock radio format in early 1990s encouraged growing sense
of rock’s history, along with time-tested oldies format which has existed for decades.
-Be aware, however, scholarly approach will differ significantly from
-many cases, information found in popular media designed primarily for
entertainment rather than educational or research purposes.
-Some of this information may be accurate, well researched, and balanced, but some
also skewed, gossipy, and unreliable.
-magazines and broadcast stations generate revenue through sale of advertising;
-worst thing in such businesses : people to put the magazine down, change
radio station, turn off the TV.
-best interests of media outlets : deliver what they believe people want most,
-lead to focus on more sensational and titillating aspects of biography, rather
serious consideration of musicians and their music.
-textbook will attempt to provide a balanced fair account of history of rock music.
-more artists and groups enter story than typically appear in general interest
-Some more important in their day than since.
-Others become more popular over time..
-following chapters : provide reliable information, historical context, and informed
-book in hopes will elicit informed discussion of contested issues in rock, like :
relevance of popularity to historical importance, role of gender and masculinity in rock’s
history, and responsibility of music executives to share profits with musicians.
I Know What I Like: The Fan Mentality.
-fans of rock passionate about the music they like.
-what does it mean to be a fan?
-Fans listen frequently to music of a particular artist, group, or style gather
facts about both artists and music.
- As fans, absolutely nothing wrong ignoring artists, groups, or styles that do not
-But as students of rock music, cannot simply ignore music we do not like.
-must strive to be balanced as study rock’s history and development, often
forces to consider carefully music probably wouldn’t choose to listen to
- If studying American history, wouldn’t be acceptable to study only presidents who
shared your political persuasion. -When studying music, don’t have to suspend sense of judgment, but do have to
work to keep fan mentality at bay.
The Ups and Downs of Chart Positions.
-book make frequent reference to chart positions.
-familiar w/ charts that rank hit songs and albums by popularity for given week,
-best-known American charts appear in Billboard magazine.
-help draw general conclusions about popularity of song or album at time it was
-useful to compare how certain songs did on pop charts w/ how they fared on rhythm
and blues , country charts, even British charts.
-More importantly :thisbookchartshelpusavoidfanmentality—keepushonest.
-Among scholars, charts viewed w/ understandable suspicion
-little is known about how they have been put together in the past, making
them susceptible to manipulation.
- charts not precision instruments to measure song or album’s success or popularity,
-do not accurately reflect popularity or influence of some songs or albums.
-A record can chart well have little influence, or moderately well (or even
poorly) have a lot of influence.
- broad sense, still best instruments available to judge listeners’ changing tastes,
even if measurements are flawed.
-Ideally access to comprehensive radio playlists of various eras, or actual number of records
sold of any song or album.
- playlist data not plentiful , record companies often manipulate sales numbers
(frequent complaint of artists
- Record Industry Association of America (RIAA) awards gold records