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MUSIC103 Midterm: Music 103 - Midterm 2

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University of Alberta
Julia Byl

Rock and Roll Continued: Youth Culture and Gender Music and Visuality • Songs summon visuality • Many songs evoke images, colors, sensations • Visuality is tied to music o Live performances o DJs in a club o Music videos o Digital interfaces • Link between sound and vision was not invented by MTV (though music videos are the most obvious place where sound and image collide) • Before MTV o Magazines o Album covers ▪ “The era of the LP was a critical moment in the visual history of popular music” • Music videos o “Activating visual and sonic literacies, music videos are texts of excess, incorporating thousands of editing cuts within a three minute period” o Advertisements, promotional materials that accompany a song • After MTV o Digitized and sonic visual files ▪ Not permanent ▪ Convenient and mobile o Music in video games • When visuality was tethered to popular music through the twentieth century, the ‘threat’ to youth via music increased Payola and the “death of rock n roll” • End of the 1950s, not a great time for rock n roll • Chuck Berry: conviction for transporting a minor • Elvis: in the army • Little Richard: in the ministry Payola • “Pay” and “Victrola’” • Producing singles was cheap, a lot of pressure on record labels for songs to become hits o Records get a test run in “break out” cities o Promoters paid DJs to feature certain songs • FTC estimated that 250 DJs took payment • Many politicians believed that the popularity of rock n roll was conspiracy • Brackett: they thought that the music was so horrible that there had to be some form of external coercion involved for people to want to listen to it • Grew out of congressional hearings on crooked practices on TV quiz shows (with pressure from ASCAP) • An official intervention into the business and media practices associated with early rock n roll • 1960: first court case • May 9, 1960: Alan Freed was indicted for accepting $2500 (died due to alcohol in 1965) • Alan Freed vs. Dick Clark o Freed: ▪ Playing black popular music to white kids and promoting concerts at which both performers and audiences were integrated ▪ Career ended by payola scandal o Clark: ▪ Featured virtually all white audiences and was cautious of integration on the air ▪ Hosted until 1989 • Life article in Brackett reader on Clark o “The one man that the committee had always been gunning for was Dick Clark – the biggest disk jockey of all and a symbol, in giant screen, of the whole questionable business” Youth Culture and Television A New Form of Rock n Roll Emerges • Teen pop o Designed to please both teens and politicians o Incorporate aspects of rock n roll while reinstating the separate roles of songwriter, instrumentalist and singer (which were collapsed by folks like Chuck Berry and Little Richard) • American Bandstand (1952-1989) o Featured the music of teen idols ▪ Brackett: good looking young people from the Philadelphia area, singing music with a vague resemblance to rock n roll o Teens would often be interviewed about opinions on music • Big Bopper – “Chantilly Lace” (1958) o Obvious lip syncing o All about the visual/ the televised performance • The Everly Brothers – “Cathy’s Clown” (1960) o Introduced on Clark’s Top 10 • Chubby Checker – “The Twist” (1960) o Written by Hank Ballard 1959 o #1 hit in 1960 and 1962 o The twist dance craze o Performance: the Dick Clark Saturday Night Show o A number of songs with the word “twist” in the title would follow (1962) • Clark: o Gave people a pre sold market o Did not rely on cash payola, had a more complicated system ▪ Corporate holdings including: interest in 3 record companies, 6 music publishing houses, a record pressing plant, a distributing firm and a management company o The records and singers involved with his companies were featured on his program o Hardly played Elvis, Bing Crosby, Sinatra (no stake) o The Crests “Sixteen Candles” o Once owned by Clark, he played it 27 times in three months and it became a hit The Brill Building • Broadway and 49 street, Manhattan • Home to music industry offices and studios (labels, publishing companies, studios etc.) • The building’s name refers to a style and sound of American song writing • Brill building sound: o Influenced by rhythm and blues, Latin music o Commercial success in late 50s, early 60s • Brill building approach o Many songwriters working to create hits o Reflecting the control of the music industry after the first wave of rock n roll o Singers were many, replaceable • Brackett: a breed of young songwriters combined the youthful energy of rock n roll with the sophisticated harmonic and melodic techniques of earlier popular music to create new forms of soulful, dance oriented popular music • Vocal arrangements: o Call and response approach o Lyrics often arranged to simulate a dialogue between lead and backing vocals • Brill building song writers include: o Sonny Bono o Neil Diamond o Carole King o Ellie Greenwich o Paul Simon o Phil Spector • Brill building singers/musicians include: o Darlene Love o Liza Minnelli o The Ronettes o The Shangri-Las o The Shirelles o Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons • Youth was a major factor that linked these singers and songwriters • Extension of the legacy of 1950s rock n roll • Girl Groups Outside the Brill Building o Motown: Marvelettes, Martha and the Vandellas, The Supremes • 1961-1963 o The emergence and success of numerous “girl groups” marking the first time that female subjectivity had been so widely represented o Perhaps because many of the people involved with the songwriting and production were women Girl Groups • The Shirelles o “Will you love me tomorrow” (1960) o Written by Carole King and Gerry Goffin o First #1 by all girl group in US o Girl group sound: ▪ dense harmonies, expansive orchestra, pensive and evocative lead vocal o Double snare on the two • Girl groups and Feminism o Women are generally not as visible in history of popular music o Particularly in regards to certain instruments o Girl groups as performers vs. songwriters and producers o Girl group refers to singers, not instrumentalists o Tend to have finite careers o Part of success is fashion • Production Line o Singers at bottom of hierarchy o Producers could pick from talent pool of signers hoping to succeed, find a way out of poverty (often recorded for very little compensation) • Phil Spector o One of the most widely celebrated figures connected to this genre and era (highlighting imbalance of power) o Assumed complete power and economic control over the female artists who were featured on his productions o “Wall of Sound” ▪ A dense, reverberant texture filled with instruments that were often difficult to separate from one another ▪ A number of instruments performing the same parts at the same time ▪ Fit for AM radio, jukeboxes • The Ronettes – “Be My Baby” (1963) o Written by Ellie Greenwich, Jeff Barry, Phil Spector o Use of the “wall of sound” technique o Recorded in Hollywood (Gold Star Studios) o Use of full orchestra o Additional backup vocals: Sonny and Cher, Darlene Love o Distinct drum phase (Hal Blaine) o Listen for texture, layers • The Crystals – “He’s a Rebel” (1962) o Credited to Crystals o Actually sung by Darlene Love, recorded by the Blossoms (Crystals were on tour) o Produced by Phil Spector o The Wrecking Crew (session musicians) The 1960s: Surf, Urban Folk, Motown and Soul Surf: Brian Wilson and Production • Surf Music and Southern California o California becomes the most populous and economically important state o Rapidly growing suburbs o Surf emerges from this context o Surf music: ▪ Initially an instrumental genre ▪ The Ventures – “Walk, Don’t Run” (1960,1964) ▪ Dick Dale – “Misirlou” (1962) The Beach Boys • The band most strongly associated with surf • A distinct, contrapuntal, falsetto led vocal style • Multipart harmonies, Chuck Berry riffs, trebly guitar timbres, lyrics about the beach and middle class teenagers • Wilson brothers (Brian, Carl, Dennis), Mike Love (cousin), Al Jardine (friend) • “Surfin USA” (1963) • You can hear Chuck Berry’s “Sweet Little Sixteen” (Berry eventually awarded songwriting credit) • Produced by Brian Wilson • The “California Sound” • Lyrics make reference to many surfing spots • 1964: Brian experiences nervous breakdown o He stops touring, devotes time to writing and production • Songs became increasingly complex (influence of Beatles’ Rubber Soul in 1965 Pet Sounds (1966) • One of the first concept albums • Features a lot of studio experimentation (overdubbing, mixing, lopping, unusual instruments including dog whistles, Theremin) • Brian influenced by the Spector sound, adding harmonies and vocal techniques • Not as financially successful as earlier albums, though received critical praise (psychedelic rock, art rock) • “Wouldn’t It Be Nice” (1966) o Single from Pet Sounds o “Wall of Sound” use of classical music o Key change indicative of classical music o Overdubbed voices (to Brian’s specification) o The Wrecking Crew on backing/instrumental track o Vocals only Urban Folk: Bob Dylan and the Electric Guitar Folk • Long history before its resurgence in late 1950s/early 1960s • A lot of debate about its politics and use (left vs. right, authenticity vs. change, preservation vs. transformation) • Pete Seeger o 1919-2014 o Support for union organization in 1930s and 1940s o Member of the Communist Party o Influential both politically and musically Bob Dylan • Arrives in Greenwich Village (NYC) in 1961 • 1962 o Robert Shelton review (NYT) o Contract from Colombia Records o Folk revival, relied on pre-existing material o Influenced by Woody Guthrie • Songs fell into the protest genre, though they were more abstract o “Blowin’in the Wind” (1963) ▪ On the Freewheelin’ Bob Dylan o “Don’t Think Twice, it’s Alright” ▪ Performed at march on Washington o 1965: “Subterranean Homesick Blues” off of Bringing It All Back Home ▪ Threat to aesthetic and political beliefs of folk movement ▪ Rock n roll beat, surreal lyrics (Beat poets) o “Like A Rolling Stone” (1965) ▪ Organ and electric guitar • Bob Dylan and Newport Folk Festival (1965) o Takes place during “folk rock” craze o Dylan’s first live, plugged in performance o Dylan plays with Butterfield Blued Band o Controversy following Dylan’s “defection” o Folk purists against use of electric guitar, the use of a rock n roll band, and the performance of an single o “Maggie’s Farm” o Brackett ▪ Most of these erupted into silence at the conclusion of Dylan’s songs, while a few booed their once and former idol, others cheered and demanded encores, finding in the ‘new’ Dylan and expression of themselves ▪ Shocked and somewhat disoriented by the mixed reaction of the crowd, a tearful Dylan returned to the stage unelectrified ▪ He screams through organ and drums and electric guitar, how does it feel to be on your own? ▪ But he shook us, and that is why we have poets and artists • Electric Folk o Dylan’s move to the electric guitar reinforced the value and meaning of the guitar for the rock decade o Shifted the relationship between sound and noise, lyric and rhythm, and what was acceptable to listening audience Soul Music • “Southern music” o Much more than geography o Ideology of disconnection, history of displacement and oppression o Creating, singing, dancing to narratives of black America • Impossible to understand without grasping the impact of civil rights movement • “Soul Music” o A term that enters mainstream usage o Ties cut with 1950s rhythm and blues, a distinct sixties soul genre emerges • Stax Records o Memphis o “Down home”, “Southern” soul style o Otis Redding, Booker T. & the MG’s, Sam and Dave • Motown o Detroit o Northern, “smooth” or “uptown” soul style o Supremes, Four Tops, Temptations, Stevie Wonder Motown Records • Started by Berry Gordy, Detroit 1959 o Inspire by assembly line • Relocation to LA in 1972 • Most successful US business owned by an African American by mid 1960s • “Motown Sound” o Stereotypically “sweet” and “pop” though there was range between the pop of the Supremes and funkiness of Junior Walker o Often tambourines to accent back beat o Orchestral string sections, horns, background vocals o KISS: Keep It Simple, Stupid • Holland Dozier Holland (HDH) o Songwriting trio that helped define Motown sound o 1962-1967: Motown prime o 25 #1 hit singles o 1967: dispute over royalties with Gordy o The Supremes – “You Keep Me Hangin’ On” (1966) o Motown: HDH and Funk Brothers o Distinct guitar part (Morse code, radio broadcast) o Multitrack production (in line with Wall of Sound influence) o Widely covered (Vanilla Fudge with a notable version) • Aretha Franklin o 1942, Memphis o Gospel roots o “The Queen of Soul” o Commercial success with Atlantic Records o Helped move Soul music into political engagement o Appeal to growing African American middle class o “Respect” (1967), Atlantic Records o Produced by Jerry Wexler originally released by Otis Redding (1965) o Meaning changes significantly ▪ Franklin: A woman’s confidence, demanding a man’
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