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Chapter 5

MU121 Chapter Notes - Chapter 5: Folk Rock, Beat Music, American Pop

Course Code
Brent Hagerman

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MU121 Chapter 5 – American Responses Week 4
American Responses
-By the summer of 1965, new musical styles in American pop were emerging as a result of the
cross-fertilization of American styles with the Mersey beat
-Folk rock – Ex. Bob Dylan
-Folk rock took the easy strumming and singing texture of folk and added electric guitars, bass,
drunks and occasionally keyboards to create an American music-stylistic reaction to the British
-New York was the centre of the American pop music scene in the early 1960s, but after 1964,
much of the most popular new music emerged from Los Angeles
-Many folk rockers made their way from New York’s Greenwich Village to Los Angeles
Folk Rock
Dylan Plugs In
-Came from Minnesota where he had been playing gigs in folk clubs and coffeehouses
-In a few months, Bob Dylan was performing in Greenwich Village and becoming increasingly
active in the city’s burgeoning folk scene
-By the beginning of 1964, he was among the most respected young folksingers in the United
-Not well known outside of the folk industry
-Enjoyed success on the album charts and only had the occasional hit single
-Skilled performer and an even more accomplished songwriter
-After an enormously successful tour of the UK in 1965, Dylan made a break with the folk
tradition that would have tremendous consequences for popular music
-He had been interested in using electric instruments in his music, and a few sessions for his
second album had been recorded with what was essentially a rock band
-As a headliner, Dylan was one of the most sought after artists at the festival
-‘Like a Rolling Stone’ was his hit most popular song as a performer
-The folk music establishment continued to react negatively to Dylan’s use of electric
instruments, and he felt betrayed by their response
-In July 1966, Dylan was almost killed in a motorcycle accident in upstate New York and his
injuries kept him out of the spotlight for months afterward
-Even when Dylan was out of commission, his records continued to influence other musicians
-Dylan’s song showed that pop music could address serious social issues rather than just teen
romance or frivolous concerns, and this became a model for many other songwriters
The Byrds and the Jingle-Jangle of the Electric Twelve-String Guitar
-In the Summer of 1965, the Byrds recording of “Mr. Tambourine Man” hit the top of both the
U.S. and UK charts
-The band’s leading members had been active in the folk music scene for several years
-Surviving tapes from that period document the band’s progression from a folk vocal—harmony
act to a rock band. The distinct jingle-jangle guitar sound played a key role in that development
inspired by a viewing of A Hard Day’s Night, during which band members noticed that George
Harrison was playing an electric twelve-string guitar
-The instrument was not widely used in pop at that time and Harrison was playing the second
one ever made
-The group’s first album Mr. Tambourine Man featured three Dylan covers
The Byrds, Dylan, the Beach Boys, and the Music Business
-The seriousness of the Byrds’ brand of folk rock seemed to set this music apart from
manufactured Brill Building music and carefree surf songs
Simon and Garfunkel Go Electric
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