MUS 310 Lecture Notes - Lecture 5: Shool, Fats Domino, Transistor Radio

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7 Feb 2017
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History of Rock and Roll 1/23
Chapter 2 The Birth of Rock and Roll
R&B
o Traits
Instrumentation
electric guitar, bass, drums, horns
Hokum = sexual innuendo
Call-response phrasing
Lyrical themes
Lost love, sex, dire economic standing
Misogynistic undertones
ex: Shake, Rattle, and Roll (telling wife to cook breakfast)
o Musical descriptors:
Upbeat, raw, emotional, etc
o South North Migration
o 4 Themes
1. Social, political, and cultural issues
2. Race, class, and gender
3. Development of the music business
4. Development of technology
o Rock and roll instrumentation is from R&B
Upbeat = bass and drums
Popularity arc
Top point is the mid-1950s
Country and Western
o Traits
Instrumentation
acoustic guitar, fiddle, steel guitar, bass
Lyrical themes
Heartache, hard financial times, love, images of home
Misogynistic undertones!
o Popular in American south, rural areas
o 4 Themes
1. Social, political, and cultural issues
2. Race, class, and gender
3. Development of the music business
4. Development of technology
The 50s
o Leave it to Beaver = exemplifies what was happening at the time
o Cold War
Long-standing cultural misunderstandings
The Louvin Brothers The Great Atomic Power
Uranium Fever
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Superheroes came about (Superman and Kryptonite)
post-war skepticism of The Soviet Union led to paranoia over supposed covert
communist influence in America and abroad
Domestic espionage by Alger Hiss and The Rosenbergs
“e. Joseph MCath, The Red “ae
Modern day witch hunt
Spurred a technical and arms race between the US and the USSR
Lasted over 40 years! What?!
Sentiments/concerns reflected in popular culture through sci-fi films, comics,
novels, etc
The American economy saw a rapid expansion after WWII
16.1 million Americans served in WWII, over 400,000 lost their lives
15.6 million Americans returning to the workforce after the war,
plus the women/minorities who kept the factories going during
the war
$200 billion in war bonds matured
Removed money from circulation, controls inflation, and
financed the war
G.I. Bill created an educated, stable middle-class workforce
Another kind of boom
o The baby boomers
o This generation was sneaking away with radios to listen to country and R&B
o Estimated 78.3 million babies born in America between 1946 and 1964
World population before the war was roughly 2.3 billion
60 million lives lost in the war
o Perspective: Childe o ight afte the a’s ed ae just eahig high shool  the
mid-50s
o This generation was allowed to avoid the responsibilities of adulthood longer than
previous generations
Teens, like adults, benefited from the economic prosperity of the post-war era.
The return to normalcy and emphasis on the family unit led to acute parental
focus on the happiness of their kids
o How is this upbringing different than that of their parents?
Geeatio gap
New slang, generational awareness, attitudes toward work, etc
Move to city/suburbs
A Culture of Their Own
o The post-war American mentality was one of possibility:
cars, movies, television, sci-fi culture, and general technical innovation (home
appliances, fast-food, etc)
o Tees i the 50s aed a ultue that oke ith thei paets’ pea oeptio of
responsibilities and commitments
Reee atue ahos a auu? What kid of auu eists ith these
teens?
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