Rock n’ Roll Chapter 9
Dates and Type of Music • 1954-1964 • Rock n’ Roll and Rhythm and Blues
Postwar Years • 1930s: • The Great Depression put millions of people out of work • World War II brought back power to the economy • TV went from a luxury to a necessity and record sales grew 25% per year • Rise of the teenage population with more leisure time • “Generation Gap,” “Juvenile Delinquent,” and “Rebels Without a Cause”
Doo-Wop and “Sh Boom” • After WW II pop, gospel, and rhythm and blues merged together in a new style that featured mainly males singing groups • Doo-Wop was the most successful in making the transition onto the pop market • Doo-Wop- A pop-originated R&B genre that typically featured remakes of popular standards or pop-style originals sung by black vocal groups • “Sh Boom” by the Cords hit on the pop and rhythm-and-blues charts • Nonsense syllables • Scat singing- the practice of using the voice to imitate instruments, especially percussive sounding instruments, is a distinctively black practice mainly used in jazz • http://youtu.be/SBgQezOF8kY
Cover Versions • A rock-era concept, it depends on a recording being understood as the song and not simply a version of the song • Many doo-wop songs were remakes of existing songs • Covers from this time were often points of racial debates, many thought that it was white acts riding on the coattails of black acts and that the success of the song should go to the original black artist. • White artists could break into the pop market easier than black artists could.
Rockabilly • Carl Perkins: “To begin with rockabilly music, or rock and roll was a country man’s song with a black man’s rhythm. I just put a little speed into some of the slow blues licks.” • Rockabilly- a country take on rhythm and blues, preformed mainly by white southerners, that combined elements of country music with rock and roll. • Bill Haley’s “Rock Around the Clock” was the first big Rockabilly hit, it made a big impact when it was put in the film The Blackboard Jungle. • http://youtu.be/-qnOf-OMuAw
Elvis Presley • Elvis recorded his first local hit at Phillips’s Sun Records , it was a cover of Arthur Crudup’s “That’s All Right” and within a year he had reached No. 1 nationally on the country western charts with “Mystery Train” • He could emulate almost any style- pop, country, gospel, R&B- and still sound like himself and was very much at home with black music • Elvis's sound brought him radio attention but it was his looks and his moves that made him famous • He signed with RCA and recorded several more No. 1 hits and appeared on TV, he had become the symbol of rock and roll but took a lot of heat for being so bold. • Other popular singers during the time were Frank Sinatra, Perry Como, Pat Boone, Buddy Holly, Chuck Berry, Little Richard, and Ray Charles. • http://youtu.be/Q_eE0NPArEY • http://youtu.be/tpzV_0l5ILI
Latin Tinge • By the 1950s New Orleans rhythm and blues artists were creating Latin-flavored songs and several R&B artists started to include Latin-influenced songs to their shows. • Bo Diddley only had one top 40 hit but was considered a rock icon. He created the Bo Diddley beat which is a distinctive rhythm that is virtually identical to the clave rhythm . • http://youtu.be/iu3LjImHT6g
Little Richard and Chuck Berry • Both Little Richard and Chuck Berry built their songs on a rhythmic foundation that moved twice the speed of the beat. • Little Richard made major contributions to rock and roll through rhythm but also through being gay and over the top performer, which lead generations of rockers- gay, straight, androgynous, and cross-dressing to follow him. • Chuck Berry was the ultimate architect of rock and roll in “Jonny B. Goode” we can hear this. His voice is neither bluesy nor sweet, but it is well suited to deliver the rapid-fire lyrics that are the trademarks to his songs. He also used Overdubbing and obbligato • Overdubbing-the process of recording an additional part onto an existing part • Obbligato- a second melody playing under the main melody. • http://youtu.be/eWNykOk2ckE
Buddy Holly • Buddy formed a band called the Crickets, and were encouraged to go for a new sound, his music had a different beat and lyrics that could speak to everyone like in his song “Not Fade Away” • On February 3rd, 1959 Holly died in a plane crash. Don McLean noted in “American Pie” it was the day the music died in the crash that killed Holly, Ritchie Valens, and J.P. Richardson • http://youtu.be/AyTtFNGzFsE
The Payola Scandal • The scandal in 1959 contributed to the decline of rock and roll • The Payola Scandal was the investigation of the practice of record companies bribing disc jockeys to secure airplay for their records. • Also at issue was the question of licensing rights. ASCAP reportedly urged the investigation to undermine its major rival BMI with was licensing the music of so many black and country performers. • Investigation results were viewed as proof that rock and roll was courrupt
Later Rhythm and Blues • 1955-1960 • Rhythm and blues came of age around the same time rock and roll became so popular. • It aquired a more distinct musical identity, with greater cross-over appeal. • Gospel and pop became the new rhythm and blues • Gospel- a family of religious music styles. Black gospel music has had the most profound influence on popular music by far. • Gospel became a new outlet for solo stars with focus on individual voices
Slow Doo-Wop • One of the most sucessful trends of the new rhythm and blues style. • The interplay between the lead and backup singers and the slow tempo was evidence that gospel had influenced doo-wop. • The Flanmingos’ popular song “I Only Have Eyes For You” was the first hit from the slow doo-wop era, sung in close harmony at a slow tempo. • http://youtu.be/FvzNeh4Mq1o
Solo Singers • Ray Charles was the most important R&B singer from the late 1950s. • He overcame many obstacles, like being blind and having serious drug problems. • He was responsible for the synthesis of blues and gospel, his music merged the emotional intensity of both styles. He also included Latin numbers that obviously had an effect on his most famous song “ What’d I Say.” • http://youtu.be/65FOQpQpSwc
The Rise of the Producers • With the rapid rise in the popularity of rock and roll the producer assumed and increasingly important roll. They wore several hats- artist and repertoire man, songwriter, arranger, contractor, and recording engineer. • Jerry Leiber and Mike Stoller stand apart because they wrote so many of the songs their acts recorded. • They wrote their songs with a recording session in mind. They crafted every aspect of the song, the words, the melody, the beat, and the tempo. • Their first big hit was “Hound Dog” which Elvis then sang, they also wrote “Jailhouse Rock” for him as well • They were the first to elevate record production to an art. • They also wrote the song “Young Blood” for the Costers. • http://youtu.be/NgX3a6ApQbs
Common Musical Features of Early Sixties Music • The switch form acoustic to electric bass boosted the low register of the rock band. • The use of an amplifier made it easier to play loudly. This made it easier for the bass players and allowed them to play more freely. • Faster rhythm made rock and roll turn into rock and rhythm and blues became a new kind of black pop.
The Rise of Girl Groups • Shirley Owens, Micki Harris, Beverly Lee, and Doris Coley formed The Shirelles. Their first hit “I Met Him on a Sunday” they wrote when they were still in high school. There biggest hit though was “Will You Love Me Tomorrow” • This was music that was written by women for women • The song and the singers reflect the changing attitudes of the early 1960s. It was written by a white woman, produced by a black man, supported with white-sounding string writing, and sung by a young black woman. The message of the song is colorblind, meaning teens of all races could relate to it. • http://youtu.be/cbxxkwBQk_o
Regional Rock • Surf Music was responsible for important firsts in rock history: it was the first post-1959 rock style to add significantly to rocks sound, higher register close harmony vocals like that of the Beach Boys and the array of new guitar sounds. • Surf Music- describes the late 1950s early 1960s rock styles that glorified the southern California lifestyle. • Regional rock made every teen feel like they were in the midst of sun, surf, cars, and babes.
Multitrack Recording • Brian Wilson was the first to experiment with multitrackingwhere he overlaid several sounds over another. • Before this new invention the musicians had to imagine the sound and then go from there and if they didn’t like it they would have to start all over. • With multitrack recording musicians are working with actual sounds throughout the entire process and are able to add and remove whatever they want. • Multitrack Recording- the process of recording each part of a performance sparely, then mixing them into a complete performance.
The Beach Boys • The most important and innovative of the surf music bands. • “I Get Around” reached the top of the charts, the song focuses mainly on their tight harmonies and soring single line melody. • The fun in the sun lyrics belie the considerable sophistication of the music: not only the harmonies and key changes that range well beyond the three-ford rock progressions of so many bands, but also the beautifully interwoven vocal parts and sharp textures. • http://youtu.be/mN7Xs9WVNBU
Looking Back, Looking Ahead • In 1954 rock and roll was on the verge of national recognition, in 1964 rock was on the verge of a revolution. • Rhythm and blues crossed over to the pop charts. • The active aggressive rhythms in so much of the music were matched by more assertive vocal styles and instrumental sounds like the eclectic guitar. • They energy was in the look as well: Elvis’s gyrations, Chuck Berry’s duck walk, Little Richard’s leg on the piano, Jerry Lee Lewis’s piano pounding, and Ray Charles’s rocking side to side. • For the audiences the sounds and looks promised freedom- freedom from their parents, freedom from the previous restrained music, and freedom to assert their identity.
Terms to Know • Doo-wop • Scat singing • Rockabilly • Overdubbing • Obbligato • Payola scandal • Gospel • Surf music • Multitrack recording