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MUSC 171
Kip Pegley

Chapter 5 Backlash Against Rock and Roll Era – 1950’s • Independent record companies and eccentric DJ’s prevalent • Tilt towards African American sensibilities and working-class stales • Celebrated as true democratization of culture or decried as the destruction of Western civilization • Target of repression • Eisenhower vs rock and roll  completely opposite connotations • “lonely crowd” • Rigidity of school and strict, upright values to prepare for conformity in future workforce • Increased demand for consumer items  pleasure principle (increase in use of sexuality) • Rock and roll was entrance into a new generation of leisure o Contradicted conserved, unobtrusive popular music of adult generation  Urban, sexual, black  viewed as undermining values of work from adult perspective  “devil’s music” • Vintage rock’n’roll years coincided with music industry revenues tripled o Significant increase in record sales and rock’n’roll songs charted from 1955 to 1959 and decrease in charted pop songs (about a 15% increase) o Rock’n’roll was one of those rare instances in which ideological blinders prevented the music industry from operating in its own economic self-interest • Major labels tried to suppress rock’n’roll by promoting cover records, talent buying and even joined forces with the US government  “War on Rock” • In 1950s, major companies and some independents tried to capitalize on growing popularity of R&B among white listeners by producing covers of the R&B hits using white artists and altering the style • Late 1950’s: initial rush of rock’n’roll excitement was over o New generation of white, middle-class teen idols  “schlock rock”  more about appearance than the music  Put a bland, white middle-class face on rock’n’roll  gradually, strong regional accents gave way to neutral, unlocalized voices, riffs and solos were replaced by orchestral, sexual double entendre was replaced by romanticized vision of teenage love/angst • British Invasion in 1964 • Racism also prevalent outside of US (ex. Canada) 1960’s – Surf Music: • Imagery of easy going lifestyle • precursor to the psychedelic and underground progressive rock of the ‘60s • The Beach Boys became definitive surf group Pat Boone: Tutti Frutti • Music and lyrics by Little Richard • Pat Boone’s cover of the song in terms of musical structure, tempo, length etc is almost an exact copy of Little Richard’s, but the vocal style and clearly enunciated lyrics are very different from Richard’s growling, high-tenor, powerhouse style. Boone’s vocal style was smoother and cleaner • Some changed lyrics (cleaned up) • 4 feel • Genre: rock and roll Chapter 6 Popular Music and Political Culture: The Sixties • Civil rights, anti war, black power and later, women’s liberation  dramatic shift in political views towards left side • Time of movement and tumultuousness • Expectation that each generation of North Americans would be heir to a higher standard of living than the previous generation • Technology advancements • Higher education and intellectual elite • US was in the process of reinventing itself in the 60’s  John F. Kennedy o One of the youngest presidents The impact of the Civil rights movement was illustrated in union songs and spirituals (ex. “This Little Light of Mine,” “This Land is Your Land,” • Increased number of charted black artists (1962) • Phil Spector : o produced two of the most important groups: the Crystals, and the Ronnettes o regarded most closely with the girl group phenomenon o signature “wall of sound” using his audio engineer skills to create dense, large ensemble-like, layered sounds (comparable to Wagner) • British Invasion marked the end for girl groups (mid 1960’s) • Short lived phenomenon: o In many ways, a throwback to a 1950’s style o Women o Black Motown • American record company (very private and secretive) • In early stages of civil rights movement, seemed like primary task facing African Americans was assimilation into mainstream American life. In this context, Motown developed and defined itself • Embodied the promise of the early civil rights movement – opened new chapter of African Americans in music industry (groomed for long careers) • Most successful girl group was The Supremes • Intended to be a crossover style from the start • Philadelphia competed with Motown in early 70’s for the best soul music Black Music Scene in Canada • Very different than in US • until 1967, Canadian Immigration laws discriminated against people of color ∴ small black populace in Canada (Lester B Pearson’s lifting of immigration restrictions had great impact on music industry, especially in Toronto) Folk Music: • Woody Guthrie o Radicalized by the events of the Great Depression o Wrote some of Canada’s most enduring folk songs, including “This Land is Your Land” • Down by the Riverside,” “We Shall Overcome,” • Rosa Parks – women of civil disobedience (refused to give up her seat on the bus) Girl Groups • Bob Dylan o Almost singlehandedly transformed lyric content of popular music o Bridged folk and rock’n’roll  folk offered an alternative to rock’n’roll’s lyrics vacuity, but couldn’t supplement more primal urges that rhythm and blues and rock’n’roll had o Lots of people did covers of Bob Dylan songs(ex. Jimi Hendrix) o “The Times They Are-A-Changin” (1964)  Simple acoustic guitar accompaniment o Started the country-rock sound • First major folk festival in Canada was the Mariposa Folk Festival (founded in 1961) The British Invasion: • Recalled enthusiasm of early rock’n’roll • Began a year earlier in Canada than in the US • The Beatles o Upbeat sound captured cultural life of the nation o Revolutionized American music industry (debuted at a time US music industry was stagnating) o Rebels: meter changes, o Inspired teenagers to learn to play guitar, bass and drums and form bands in Canada o “I Wanna Hold Your Hand” o Broke as artists in Canada before they did in the US o Black rock’n’rollers and black girl groups influenced their music most o From Liverpool o First American distribution company was black-owned Acid Rock • Primal sound to spur on those, including hippies, who wanted something different from life (counterculture) • The Who • Led Zeppelin • Jimi Hendrix o Turned the Star Spangled Banner into an antiwar song (replicated bombs bursting in the air), delivering a political message of sorts, at the Woodstock Music Festival (1969) • Psychedelic culture change – swirling concert poster art, light show etc. Blues Rock • Cream – British group married the authenticity of the blues to the commercial appeal of the new rock aesthetic Rock and Roll in General • 1967 was the most significant year in rock history • John Lennon and Paul McCartney were the greatest songwriting team of the 60’s Altamont • Counterculture-era rock concert (1969) • “a day where everything went perfectly wrong” • ~300,000 attendants  considerable violence, 3 accidental deaths Chapter 7 • The 1960’s left behind a series of unresolved issues; 1970’s often viewed as a decade of retreat • Two greatest movements of the 1960’s (antiwar movement and civil rights movements) were in decline, however they had lasting effects (social and cultural) • By 1973, the music business was as large as the sports and film industry combined • Developments in recording technology had profound impact on the production of music o No longer necessary for musicians to perform together o Special effects such as reverb, overdubbing, etc o Producer was elevated to an artistic status equal to musicians he produced • Term: Progressive rock was born (developed from psychedelic rock) • Rock acquired a status of art, due to technological advances and journalistic seriousness • Progressive rockers headed in a new artistic direction, relating to black music as a touchstone of historical significance rather than a continuing source of artistic inspiration (ex. Eric Clapton) o Advancements towards art included psychedelic clubs (total environment was of equal importance to the music itself) o The Who were the first pop art band (pioneered use of popular signs and symbols as an artistic statement in music) and regarded as one of the three most important British rock acts along with the Beatles and the Rolling Stones • Fusion (jazz rock) category emerged in early 1970’s • Throughout 1960’s, it was hard for Canadian musicians to make a living playing music without moving to the US o Lower population density, therefore hard to tour o “colonial mentality” existed with radio programmers in Canada  Majority hired US programming consultants or watched closely what records American stations were playing’ tended to see Canadian recordings and artists as inferior to US and British counterparts  Ex. Neil Young, Joni Mitchell etc moved to US (when any of their records sold in Canada, profits went to the US)  Forced talent to south of border; financial consequences and lack of identity • “Maple Leaf System” – formed by 13 Canadian stations o MAPL logo and method of categorization (music, artists, production, lyrics) o To be considered Canadian content, a record had to fulfill 2+ of the MAPL conditions:  Music – completely composed by Canadian  Artist – either music or lyrics had to be performed principally by a Canadian  Production – performance had to be recorded wholly in Canada  Lyrics – written entirely by a Canadian • Stan Kleen found that 0-10% programming was wholly Canadian African American Artists • Popularization of softer soul sounds  building block for disco o Jackson 5 o Stevie Wonder o Marvin Gaye • By early 1970s, a good deal of rhythm and blues seemed to have lost its edge and black popular music seemed less feisty Singer/songwriters • Intensely personal o Confessional o Intimate o Introspective • Soft rock represented the female counterpart of rock and roll/hard rock (aggressive masculine tone) • Joni Mitchell – one of the most gifted singer/songwriters in popular music Country Rock • The Eagles o Peaceful Easy Feelin’ o Hotel California Heavy Metal • Represented an absolute rejection of the peace and love ethos • Critic’s worst nightmare: hard rock taken to the extreme • Power = volume (power chords used as sustains) • Intention of the power was to overwhelm listeners; sonic tidal wave • Leaders included: o Led Zeppelin o Black Sabbath o Kiss Glam Rock • Kiss o Trademark makeup o Not just makeup, but also personas o Equally heavy use of makeup suggested a connection to the ascending glam rock movement that challenged traditional gender roles never seen before • David Bowie o Marketed sexual ambiguity successfully o “Space Oddity” o First white performer to perform both punk and disco Chapter 8 • 70’s = great for music industry • Appeared that mainstream music industry had refined the system of artist to market, that with minimal innovation and passion, any second-rate rock group could be assured radio play, full stadiums and platinum record sales st • Popular music was just that: soft, predictable and lacking the edge and vitality of 1 generation rockers. However, punk emerged as a new sound and sought to rekindle the roughness or early rockers • Disco also emerged in the 60’s, but mostly popularity lied with clubbers, moreover than radio o Saturday Night Fever  Crossover media Punk • Dense, discordant and defiant • Garage bands • The Sex Pistols: Anarchy in the USA • Rook rock back to its roots by trying to deconstruct it • Teenage Head – Canada’s most successful punk group Disco • Smooth, sleek and sensual • Dependent on technological sophistication • Black dance music style • Van McCoy: The Hustle nd • Montreal was referred to 2 only to New York as important centre for disco music in North America • In its early days, independent labels who promoted the music and supplied innovations • AOR radio was not affected by disco threat • Rock Against Racism (RAR) • Reggae originated in Jamaica, with Bob Marley as one of the most important artists Chapter 9 • Murder of John Lennon on Dec 8 , 1980  • Fall of disco • Melancholy beginning to the decade • Electron of Reagan US falls into recession • US plunges into worst deficit in history • Between 1978-1979, record sales declined by 11% in US and similarly in Canada • Industry tried to blame home taping and piracy (not valid claims); bland music, and fai
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