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Lecture 10

MUSI 1530 Lecture Notes - Lecture 10: Smiley Lewis, Dewey Phillips, Reverberation


Department
Music
Course Code
MUSI 1530
Professor
Rebecca Jubis
Lecture
10

Page:
of 6
May 25 Lecture Notes
Scantron marks (hoping to send out tmrw evening) will be out of 20 (I think)
Rock and Roll (1954-1958)
First time see music that is target-marketed to youth (by university, you were already an adult)
oContext for the growth of this music was within the high schools
Major record Companies
Prior to 1954, they controlled all the music
Independent Record Labels
There were over 800, but we are only looking at
SUN Atlantic Vee Jay Chess
1. Small Staff
Often run by family – ma and pop type operation
2. Regional Distribution (10-20,000 sales)
Local and regional distribution – those who control distribution control the market
Didn’t have the clout to sell their music nationally/internationally
Usually started operating in the locations where the musicians were, so were usually in
the ghetto areas of the major cities
Sold 20 000 records, had a hit
oMuch smaller type of business
3. Hand-To-Mouth Financing
Money in, money out, skim from top
4. Problems:
(a) Did not own pressing plants
Had tape records and studios
The major records weren’t too happy about all the indepdents, but pressed them
anyway]
Always used the crappy facilities for the independents
oA lot of background noise, very scratchy
(b) cash flow
(c) payola (cost of doing business)
Way of getting music into the right hands
Want to get music onto the radios (there were dozens of independent radios)
The indie DJs were the bottom of the barrel pay-wise ($20 to $100/week)
Would have to bribe DJs to play records (they were handed HUNDREDS of records
every week)
oAverage fee would be $25-$50/week
oDepending on DJ and radio station, it would go up
If couldn’t afford bribery, would have to put DJ under the composer’s royalities
(d) payment from distributors (30-60 days) inferior equipment
Gave records on spec, hoping they would sell
The owner had 30-60 days to pay up after they sold
(e) bootlegging
1
May 25 Lecture Notes
If someone on the east or west coast re-recorded their music and re-labelled it, there
was nothing you could do
(f) (un)successful artist
If you are too successful, the small indie labels couldn’t keep up with demand
Some would have to sell contracts for major artists past a certain point (e.g. Small indie
label sold Elvis’s contract to RCA because they couldn’t keep up with the demand for
his records)
342 TOP-10 HITS issues by the whole record industry (majors and indies)
147 of these hits were Rock & Roll
101 were released by Independent Releases (1/3 of the top 10 hits)
Majors were NOT happy about this
1957, Chicago survey in a high school
Surveyed 8000 kids, 4000 females, 4000 males
Asked: what is your favourite music?
Only 55% said rock and roll
24% of the 55% said Elvis Presley was their favourite artist
44% said Pat Boone (anti-thesis of Elvis)
Mid-1950s Rock and Roll Styles
Cover versions (Crew Cuts: Sh-Boom)
Vocal Group (Chords: Sh-Boom)
Gospel/Blues-Based
Rockabilly
Acoustin and Electric Guitar/Slap Bass
Memphis (Elvis: Blue Moon of Kentucky)
Considered to be considered the first rock and roll hit:
"Sh' Boom" The Chords (Cat label, 1954: 3/1 Pop)
(young black male vocal quartet) – starts off as R&B then crosses over, lasts for a week,
then disappeared – what happened to it? – see below)
Life could be a dream, life could be a dream
Doo doo doo doo sh' boom
Life could be a dream sh' boom
if I could take up In paradise up above
If you would tell me I'm the only would that you love
Life could be a dream sweet heart
Hello, hello, hello again, sh' boom and I hope we meet again
Boom-a-boom, a laudy ding dong, a-leng-a-leng-a-leng
A whoa whoa whoa dip, a bibba-dooba-dip
Oh life could dream If only my precious plans would come true
If would let me spend my whole life lovin' you
Life could be a dream sweet heart
2
May 25 Lecture Notes
Every time I look at you something Is on my mind
If you do what I want you to
Baby we'd be so fine
Life could be a dream sh' boom
If I could take up in paradise above sh' boom
Tell me darling that I'm the only one that you love
Life could be a dream sweet heart
Hello, hello, hello again, sh' boom and I hope we meet again
Vocable verse
Sax solo
Vocable verse
Poor sound quality (clearly from an indie label)
The “sh’boom” was a metaphor for sex – the sax solo is the ‘release’
A major record company: we’ll take the song (since the kids signed it away for a lump sum
up front) and then bring down the Crewcuts (from Ottawa – all white kids) – goes to #1 for 30
weeks; the dreams of those kids from the ghetto gets wiped out
"Sh' Boom" The Crewcuts (Mercury, 1954: 1/30 Pop)
A laudy ding dong, a-leng-aleng-a-leng
Boom bah-oh, ba-doo-ba-doo-ba-day
Oh life could be a dream
If I could take up In paradise up above
If you would tell me I'm the only one that you love
Life could be a dream sweet heart
Hello, hello, hello again sh' boom
And I hope we'll meet again
Oh life could be a dream
If only all my Precious plans would come true
If you would let me spend my whole life lovin' you
Life could be a dream sweet heart
Now every time I look at you
Something is on my mind -- da da da da da dah ...
If you do what I want you to
Baby we'd be so fine
Verse I
Sh' boom Sh' boom, ya-da-da, da-da-da, da-da-da, da
Sh' boom (x6)
Bridge
Verse 1
3