Mus 1240 week 4 fall14notes

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Published on September 17, 2014

Author: joeabrown

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Mus 1240 week 4 fall14 notes

The Birth and First Wave of Rock and Roll MUS 1240 Fall 2014

The birth and first wave of ROCK ’N’ ROLL – The advent of rock ’n’ roll during the mid-1950s brought about enormous changes in American popular music. – Styles previously considered on the margins of mainstream popular music were infiltrating the center and eventually came to dominate it. – R&B and country music recordings were no longer geared toward a specialized market. • THE BLENDING OF COUNTRY AND R&B – WHEN THESE STYLES CROSS OVER INTO THE MAINSTREAM, THIS IS WHEN ROCK AND ROLL HAPPENS • First Wave of Rock and Roll – 1954-55 Pre-Elvis • 1956 – Elvis • 1957-1959 – After Elvis’ first major contributions

New technologies in the 1950s • Transistor radios • Affordable tape recorders • The “45” • TV! • The electric guitar View slide

The Electric Guitar • Rock ’n’ roll elevated the electric guitar to a central position in American popular music. • Engineers began to experiment with electronically amplified guitars in the 1920s. • The solid-body electric guitar – Developed after World War II – First used in R&B, blues, and country bands • Came into the mainstream with a somewhat dubious reputation – Carryover from the medieval European association of stringed instruments with the Devil – Associated with the music of marginalized regions and people View slide

“Rock ’n’ Roll” • Term derived from the many references to “rockin’” and “rollin’” in R&B songs and race records • Sexual implications, which eventually faded – Came to refer simply to a type of music

The Rock ’n’ Roll Business • Sales of record players and radios expanded significantly after the war. • Record sales in the United States rose from $191 million in 1951 to $514 million in 1959. • Until 1955, the music business was segregated into pop, R&B, and Country/Western categories. Most of the $$$ was devoted to Pop/Tin Pan Alley • Gradual diversification of mainstream popular taste and the reemergence of independent (“indie”) record companies – Ex: Chess Records in Chicago (Leonard and Phil Chess) • Blues singers like Howlin’ Wolf and Muddy Waters (rougher sound) – Atlantic Records in New York (Ahmet Ertegun) • Ruth Brown, Ray Charles, Clyde McPhatter (More cosmopolitan sound) • Indie labels kept their focus on R&B/Country, and would heavily promote their records locally – Big labels didn’t care – not enough $$$, until they started crossing over to mainstream pop charts

Payola • Indie companies had to aggressively market their records. Major companies had their own production and distribution networks, indies often had to farm this out or improvise. Their success was built on radio play and jukeboxes…often had to pay a little extra to ensure this. • The practice of payola helped the indie labels more than the big labels (Columbia, MGM, Decca, Mercury, RCA-Victor). Indie label owners were often working with their own money, and had more at stake personally. Therefore, they had a vested interest in the success of every record. • The entrepreneurship of indie labels as well as independent radio stations greatly helped to fuel the rise of R&B in the early 1950s. It wasn’t until R&B records started showing up on the pop charts that the whole music business was turned on its ear.

The “Invention of the American Teenager” • In the past, you put “childish” things away when you graduated high school – There weren’t products and other services geared toward young people • Parents focus more on their children in the 1950s, leading to a perhaps more “pampered” generation of children – War was over, wanted to get back to a normal life – More focus on education, emotional health, etc. • This produced a generation of kids with their own styles, own language, disposable income, and THEIR OWN MUSIC. • Rock and Roll becomes the soundtrack to this new “Teenage” experience • Ex. in Film: “American Graffiti”, TV Show: “Happy Days” • Rebellion and the idea of juvenile delinquency/Rock and Roll – Rebellion – Rebel Without a Cause (1955) – Blackboard Jungle – Sidney Poitier (1955) • “Rock Around the Clock” • All these factors begin to pull together to form a culture in which Rock and Roll can flourish

The Rise of Rhythm & Blues and the Teenage Market • The target audience for rock ’n’ roll during the 1950s consisted of baby boomers, Americans born after World War II. • Much younger target audience • Shared some important characteristics of group cultural identity • New levels of racial tension in America – Brown v. Board of Education • Teenagers – disposable income • Contradiction of parents • Foresight by all facets of music industry – Ex: Alan Freed (The Moondog Rock and Roll Party)

How did White America hear R&B? • These young people could not go to clubs where R&B was being played, most likely could not buy the records due to proximity • RADIO. – The national audience that had been built in the years before opened up regional opportunities. – Switchover from live music to DJ’s and recorded music • Rise of the DJ’s – Alan Freed often cited as most important, but he was merely emulating something that was already going on in other parts of the country • Dewey Phillips in Memphis, “Daddy” Sears in Atlanta, Vernon Winslow (Doctor Daddy-O) in New Orleans, etc.

Alan Freed (1922–1965) • Disc jockey and concert promoter • Dubbed the “Pied Piper of rock ’n’ roll” • Supporter and champion of R&B • In 1951, Alan Freed hosted a radio program on the independent station WJW in Cleveland called The Moondog Rock and Roll Party. • Puts together concerts which begin to draw both black and white kids… • Freed moved his very successful radio show to WINS in New York in 1954. Shortens to the “Rock and Roll Party • A national celebrity by 1958, but not for long (even acted in a few really bad films) • Preference for original R&B records instead of the white cover versions put him at odds with the music industry • Rock ’n’ Roll Dance Party TV show cancelled in 1958 when the camera showed a black teenage singer dancing with a white girl • Charged with inciting a riot at a concert in Boston • Accused of accepting bribes from record companies; fired by WABC in 1959 • In 1962, found guilty of commercial bribery • In 1964, unemployed and suffering from alcoholism, charged with income tax evasion • Died before his case came to trial

Hit Records and Charts • Billboard and Cashbox – two tools that record stores and jukebox owners would use to help predict trends in pop music. • R&B, Country/Western, and Pop charts…mostly segregated by what the industry saw as a set of effective categories based on purchasing patterns. – Pop – typically music aimed toward middle-class listeners (usually white) – R&B – music directed toward black urban audiences – C/W – aimed toward low-income rural whites. • Depending on where your record store was located and the clientele you served, you may not pay attention to the R&B charts for example. • Anecdotal evidence from the time suggests that this racial segregation in listening tastes was not completely accurate. – Most middle aged whites did not care for R&B, however. White teens began to take a major interest in this type of music in the early 50s. • CROSSOVER HIT – when a song holds a place on more than one of the three charts mentioned before. This did not happen very frequently from 1950-53 (10%), but a clear upward trend can be seen from that point. By 1958 that number had reached 94%. • Often times, a crossover hit would be covered by another artist…

Cover Versions and Early Rock ’n’ Roll • Cover versions – Copies of previously recorded performances – Original songs often came from the “Hokum Blues” tradition in African-American culture • Hokum Blues songs often poked fun at adult relationships through extensive use of double-entendre • Ex: Papa Charlie Jackson’s “You Put It In, I’ll Take It Out” (1934), Tampa Red’s “Let Me Play with Your Poodle” (1942), • Hound Dog, Leiber and Stoller – Often imitations of R&B songs, with “offensive” material removed – Usually performed by white singers • Ex: Pat Boone – Helped fuel the market for rock ’n’ roll – The “Little Bird Told Me” decision

Big Joe Turner, Bill Haley, and “Shake, Rattle, and Roll” • Big Joe Turner (1911–85) • “Blues shouter” • Partnership with boogie-woogie pianist Pete Johnson in the late thirties made him nationally famous • From 1945 to 1951, made recordings with many different labels before signing with Atlantic in 1951 • “Shake Rattle, and Roll” was Turner’s biggest rock ’n’ roll record for Atlantic. – Great example of a song in the Hokum Blues tradition in 1950s R&B.

The Original “Shake, Rattle, and Roll,” Big Joe Turner (February 1954) A Get out of that bed, wash your face and hands A Get out of that bed, wash your face and hands B Well you get in that kitchen, make some noise with the pots and pans A Well you wear those dresses, sun comes shinin’ through A Well you wear those dresses, sun comes shinin’ through B I can’t believe my eyes—all that mess belongs to you A I believe to my soul you’re the devil, and now I know A I believe to my soul you’re the devil, and now I know B Well the harder I work, the faster my money goes

The Original “Shake, Rattle, and Roll,” Big Joe Turner (February 1954) Chorus: Shake, rattle, and roll (4 times) Well you won't do right to save your dog gone soul A I’m like a one-eyed cat, peepin’ in a seafood store A I’m like a one-eyed cat, peepin’ in a seafood store B Well I can look at you and tell you ain’t no child no more Chorus A I said over the hill, and way down underneath A I said over the hill, and way down underneath B You make me roll my eyes, baby make me grit my teeth Chorus

Listening: “Shake, Rattle, and Roll,” Bill Haley and the Comets (June 1954) • The lyrics were changed to ensure airplay on white radio stations. • This song was only a minor hit when it was released. • Not only changing the lyrics, but also the musical arrangement, making it peppier and pushing the beat. This small change gave the song a much different feel; more fun and happier.

Bill Haley (1925–81) • Former DJ and western swing bandleader from Pennsylvania • Dropped his cowboy image, changed the name of his accompanying group from the Saddlemen to the Comets • In 1954, the Comets were signed by Decca Records. • Moved toward the R&B jump band sound – Encouraged by A&R man Milt Gabler

Bill Haley and the Comets • Recorded financially successful covers in mid- 1950s • Largest success came in 1955 with “Rock around the Clock” • Recorded in 1954 and not a big hit when first released – Popularized in 1955’s Blackboard Jungle, a film about inner-city teenagers and juvenile delinquency • Became the first Rock and Roll record to be a #1 Hit!

Listening: “Shake, Rattle, and Roll,” Bill Haley and the Comets (June 1954) A Get out in that kitchen and rattle those pots and pans A Get out in that kitchen and rattle those pots and pans B Well roll my breakfast cause I’m a hungry man Chorus: Shake, rattle, and roll (4 times) Well you never do nothin’ to save your dog gone soul A Wearin’ those dresses, hair done up so nice A Wearin’ those dresses, hair done up so nice B You look so warm, but your heart is cold as ice

Listening: “Shake, Rattle, and Roll,” Bill Haley and the Comets (June 1954) Chorus A I’m like a one-eyed cat, peepin’ in a seafood store A I’m like a one-eyed cat, peepin’ in a seafood store B I can look at you and tell you don’t love me no more A I believe you’re doin’ me wrong and now I know A I believe you’re doin’ me wrong and now I know B The more I work, the faster my money goes Chorus

The Chords and “Sh-Boom” • Original version composed and performed by the Chords • Good example of the R&B black vocal group style (Doo-Wop) – Number Two R&B, Number Five pop in 1954 – Standard love ballad with unexpected elements in the arrangement and performance • AABA form

Cover Version by The Crew Cuts • One of the most famous cover versions of the era – Number One for nine weeks in 1954 – Begins with scat singing – No sax solo—group nonsense-syllable singing and timpani stroke – Sounds more like a novelty record – Crooner style

Herman (“Little Junior”) Parker, Elvis Presley, and “Mystery Train” • Original version recorded in 1953 by Herman (“Little Junior”) Parker (1927–71) • R&B instrument lineup typical of the era: electric guitar, acoustic bass, piano, drums, and saxophone – The “chugging” rhythm conveys a train’s steady, inexorable momentum. Trains were a favorite subject of blues musicians.

Cover Version—1955 by Elvis Presley for Sun Records • The last record that Elvis made with Sam Phillips (Sun Records) before he signed with RCA Victor • More aggressive and “raw” than the original • Elvis’ version shows the expression of a young singer looking with optimism toward an essentially unbounded future

R&B Crossover Success • Chuck Berry • Little Richard • Fats Domino

Antoine “Fats” Domino (b. 1928) • Born and raised in New Orleans • An established presence on the R&B charts for several years before scoring rock ’n’ roll hits • Pop breakthrough was in 1955 with “Ain’t It a Shame” (Number Ten pop, Number One R&B) – Popularized distinctive New Orleans sound • First African American to beat white cover versions in the mid 1950s • Recorded a number of standards in contrast to artists like Chuck Berry and Little Richard • 1956 remake of “Blueberry Hill” proved to be his most popular record

Charles Edward Anderson (“Chuck”) Berry (b. 1926) • Born in California, grew up in St. Louis – Absorbed blues and R&B styles • Introduced to Leonard Chess (Chess Records) by Muddy Waters • Showy performer – “Duck Walk” became a trademark. • One of the first and most successful African- American musicians to consciously forge his own version of blues and R&B styles for appeal to the mass market – Unthreatening, like Fats Domino

Chuck Berry • Songs became celebrations of American teenage culture and its music. – “Roll over Beethoven” (1956) –the practice of teens listening to R&B would make Beethoven roll over in his grave. – “School Day” (1957) – “Rock and Roll Music” ( 1957) – “Sweet Little Sixteen” (1958) – “Johnny B. Goode” (1958) • Berry’s lyrics were written in such a way as to lightly poke fun at adult culture as opposed to taking a much more harsh stance. John Lennon and Bob Dylan, among others, admired that quality and tried to work it into their own songs.

Listening – Johnny B. Goode • Many of his songs built on simple verse or verse-chorus form, often incorporating a 12- bar blues progression at some point • Berry’s guitar style – One of the most copied styles in rock – Low strings boogie-woogie pattern – Guitar solos built on double stops (two notes at the same time)

Listening and Analysis: “Maybellene” • Distantly modeled on country song (“Ida Red” – had been recorded by Roy Acuff and Bob Wills) • Primary elements have roots in R&B • Thick, buzzing timbre of Berry’s electric guitar – No. 1hit on R&B, crossed over to No. 5 on pop charts in 1955 • Blue notes and slides in both voice and guitar • backbeat of the drum • Derived from twelve-bar blues

Listening and Analysis: “Maybellene” • Original elements: – Explosive tempo – The lyrics describe a lover’s quarrel in the form of a car chase. – Inventing words (“motorvatin’”) – Humorous details (“rain water blowin’” under the automobile hood, which is “doin’ my motor good”) – Breathless ending in which the singer catches Maybellene in her Cadillac at the top of a hill – Implied class distinction in the lyrics • Top-of-the-line Cadillac Coupe de Ville and “V-8 Ford”

Richard Wayne Penniman (“Little Richard”) (b. 1932) • Early career as an R&B performer – Hit the pop charts in 1956 with the song “Tutti- Frutti” – Delivered in an uninhibited shouting style, complete with falsetto whoops • Epitomized the abandon celebrated in rock ’n’ roll lyrics and music – The sound of his recordings and the visual characteristics of his performances made Little Richard a strong influence on later performers.

Listening: “Long Tall Sally” • Built on the twelve-bar blues, adapted to reflect the more traditionally pop-friendly format of verse-chorus – The first four bars of each blues stanza are set to changing words—verses—while the remaining eight bars, with unchanging words, function as a repeated chorus.

Independent Labels • Chuck Berry, Little Richard, and Fats Domino all achieved their successes recording on independent labels. – Chuck Berry—Chess in Chicago – Little Richard—Specialty Records in Hollywood – Fats Domino—Imperial in Los Angeles

Pat Boone • One of the most successful artists in the early years of Rock n Roll. • “Whitening” of R&B • Scored 32 Top 40 hits between 1954-59 • Mostly performing cover versions of records originally done by black artists • Often times his versions would outperform the originals on the charts • Boone basically continued the pop style of someone like Frank Sinatra into the 1950s and expanding it to include R&B, C/W, and even gospel material.

Next Week’s Reading • No reading for next week • Quiz #1 – will be up on Blackboard tomorrow. Due next Tuesday before class. (change from syllabus)

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