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American Music


'A Great Day to be Alive' Traits of Hillbilly (i.e. Country) Music. Dialect ... Considered a Rockabilly artist (in company with Elvis Presley and Buddy Holly) ... – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: American Music

  • American Music
  • October 19, 2006

  • Louis Jordan
  • Tutti Frutti
  • Little Richard
  • Pat Boone

  • What is Pat Boones (and others imitators like
    him) place in history?
  • A positive impact on Rock Roll?
  • A negative impact on Rock Roll?
  • Race Relations? (Socially Economically)
  • Pat Boone/Covers

  • Tin Pan Alley songs were for white, urban,
    literate, middle- and upper-class Americans. They
    remained practically unknown to large segments of
    American society, including most blacksand the
    millions of poor, white, rural Americans of
    English, Irish, and Scottish stock clustered in
    the South and across the midwest.
  • Lets Step back in time (early 20th century)

More Equal than Separate?
  • Community men v. everyday life in the South
  • Country Blues have more stylistic similarities
    than differences
  • White Country musicians and Black blues artists
    were aware of and influenced by each others
  • Recording labels maintained race distinctions
    regardless of the style musicians played
  • "Blues or Country?"

Father of Country Music Jimmie Rogers
  • "Blue Yodel" - Jimmie Rogers (1927)
  • Sold more than a million copies - Rogers was
    hillbilly music's first "star"
  • It's a blues, improvisatory lyrics about
  • Roger's trademark yodeling

Chester Howling Wolf Burnett
  • Electric Delta Blues
  • Urban Blues
  • Discovered by Muddy Waters and Chess Records
  • Harsh, Raspy Voice- howlin
  • Tried to emulate the Yodeling of Jimmy Rogers.
  • Smokestack Lightnin

Earliest Recordings of Country
  • 1923 Fiddlin John Carson (1868-1949)
  • The Little Old Log Cabin in the Lane The Old
    Hen Cackled
  • The Farmer is the Man that Feeds Them All
  • Record Companies Descend on the South
  • Uncle Dave Macon
  • The Carter Family
  • Jimmie Rodgers

  • Jimmy Rodgers The Singing Brakeman
  • Blue Yodel 1927, Muleskinner Blues 1931
  • Represents the Rambling Man, (bad-boy image)
  • Solo Star
  • The Carter Family (A.P. or Doc, Sarah and
  • Single Girl (1927)
  • John Hardy (1928)
  • Represents Family Values

Outlaw v. Family Values Continues as trends in
Country Music
  • Willie Nelson
  • Blue Eyes Crying in the Rain
  • Merle Haggard
  • Okie from Muskogee
  • Travis Tritt
  • A Great Day to be Alive

Traits of Hillbilly (i.e. Country) Music
  • Dialect Regionalisms
  • A-going, a-coming, yonder, rise you up
  • Ramblin cheatin
  • Instruments
  • Fiddle
  • Dulcimer Autoharp (folk roots)
  • Banjo (from African Americans), until replaced
    with guitar
  • Mandolin
  • Hawaiian Steel Guitar (from 20s 30s)
  • Drums, trumpet, saxes (Come from Western Swing
    in 1930s) ----- Country Western or CW
  • Singing Style

Dissemination of Hillbilly Music
  • Recordings
  • Live! Radio Broadcasts
  • Grand Ole Opry
  • Longest running show on US radio
  • Brainchild of George D. Hay in 1925
  • WSM in Nashville (Owned by National Life and
    Accident Insurance)
  • Proved that Country Music could effectively sell
    a product (life insurance) to working class folks.

Records (From Independents to Major Labels)
  • Early Country Music was recorded on Independent
  • In 1947 Major labels begin to feature country
  • MGM formed in 1946 as an outlet for the film
    companys movie soundtracks, but quickly
    expanded. They scored Hank Williams in 1947.
  • MGMs status as a Major label allowed it to
    market Williams in a way that independents could

Hank Williams (1947)
  • Move it on Over (1947)
  • Your Cheatin Heart (1953)
  • 32 bar AABA Song Form

Hank Williams Enduring Popularity
  • Your Cheatin Heart (1962) Patsy Cline
  • Long Gone Lonesome Blues (1950)
  • Long Gone Lonesome Blues (1958) Marty Robbins
  • Long Gone Lonesome Blues (2002) Cheryl Crow
  • Jambalaya (1951)
  • Jambalaya Fats Domino Jerry Lee Lewis (1962)
  • Hey Good Lookin (1951)
  • Hey Good Lookin Jimmy Buffet (2004)

America in the Post-WWII Era
  • Defined by political and social conformity
  • Narrowly defined strictures of living
  • Segregated world of white and black also
    encouraged conformity of behavior
  • Exaggerated by establishment of suburbia
  • Suburban lifestyle
  • White picket fences and Little Box houses in a
  • Development of a new political ideology with
    beginning of Cold War
  • McCarthyism and the red Communist scare

First Rock Roll Song?
  • Rock around the Clock Audio / (1954) Bill Haley
    and the Comets
  • Note Similarity to Move it on Over!
  • White Performer who successfully (?) captured the
    RB sound and style.
  • Considered a Rockabilly artist (in company with
    Elvis Presley and Buddy Holly)
  • Rock around the Clock appeared in the 1955 film
    Blackboard Jungle. Though it only appeared in the
    credits, it is the first RR song to ever be used
    in a movie soundtrack. This infamous film
    embodies the fears of middle-class white America,
    i.e. their children having African-American role
    models and idols.

Rockabilly RR in the late 50s
  • Tuesday Oct 24

Technology Developments
  • Recording Playback
  • 1877 - Edison makes first recording of human
    voice ("Mary had a little lamb") on first tinfoil
    cylinder phonograph
  • 1885 - Invention of Graphophone using wax-coated
    cylinders incised with vertical-cut grooves
  • 1889 - The Columbia Phonograph Co. was organized
  • Successful from cylinders of marches composed by
    Sousa and performed by US Marine Band
  • 1890 - First nickelodeon (later, juke box) was
    coin-operated cylinder phonograph with 4
    listening tubes
  • Earned over 1000 in its first 6 months of
  • 1901 - Victor Talking Machine Company formed
    (Victor Records)

Technology (continued)
  • 1902 - 12-inch shellac disc introduced known as
    78s (78 revolutions per minute)
  • Could play up to 4 mins of music shaping later
    attention spans
  • 1904 - Double-sided disc introduced
  • 1925 - Development of the microphone allows
    electronic recording
  • 1927 - Development of sound film, The Jazz Singer

Technology (continued)
  • Radio
  • 1894 - Guglielmo Marconi invented spark
    transmitter with antenna (first radio) in
    Bologna, Italy
  • 1920-23 600 radio stations licensed across US
  • 1926 RCA forms NBC
  • Red Network becomes WNBC
  • Blue Network becomes WABC
  • 1928 Columbia Records forms CBS
  • Together, these two companies control 50 of 52
    clear channels
  • 1940s Television begins to challenge Radio
  • FM radio suppressed

Technology (continued)
  • Radio
  • 1946-48 Independent radio stations rise from 1000
    to 2000
  • 1948 While large companies turn to television,
    independent radio stations become an outlet for
    Race Hillbilly music and the rise of DJ
  • Payola Since major labels owned most radio
    stations prior to 1947, there was no need to
    pay DJs to program their music. However, the
    rise of Independent stations and independent
    labels caught the major labels off guard.
  • 1950s Independent radio stations purchased by
    investors (chains)
  • Top 40 programming, which eliminates need for DJ
    Personalities. Radio becomes a jukebox

Technology (continued)
  • 1931 - Magnetic tape recording invented in
  • 1931 - Empire State Building opened with music
    piped into elevators, lobbies, observatories
  • 1940s 3M develops and markets magnetic tape
    (i.e. tape recorder)
  • 1948 Bell Laboratories introduces transistor
  • Permits independent labels to travel with gear
  • Allows the development of portable radios
  • 1948 CBS invent high fidelity 12-inch 33 rpm
    microgroove Long Play vinylite record and player
  • 1949 - RCA Victor introduced 7-inch 45 rpm
    micro-groove Extended Play
  • Development of the condenser mic
  • 1952- Records surpass Sheet Music as source of

Other technology
  • 1965 - Phillips introduces compact cassette tape
  • 1981 - Music Television (MTV) is launched
  • 1982 - First digital audio 5-inch CD marketed
  • 1997 - founded in San Diego
  • 2001 - Apple Computer introduced iPod portable
    music player

James DeanThe image of a rebellious
youth(Rebel Without a Cause)
Bill Haley (Video)
Chuck Berry
  • Maybelline (1955) (Video)
  • Leonard Chess for Chess Records in Chicago gave
    Alan Freed, the NYC DJ, a 1/3 of the song's
    royalites.  Why? - Payola Scandal
  • Stage Antics (Duck Walk)
  • Roll Over Beethoven (1955)
  • -Musical Elements
  • Guitar emphasis based on Chicago style and
    technique (Muddy Waters) - blues scale, bending
    the notes -Elements of country music - twangy
    guitar sound, straight - forward rhythm
  • Jonnie B Goode (1958)

"Little Richard"  Richard Wayne Penniman
  • Helped established boogie-woogie piano as a
    featured instrument in R'n'R
  • Has had long career, left R'n'R in 1957 to join
    the ministry returned in 1964 and still going
  • " Tutti Frutti (1957)
  • Musical Elements         -Plays piano with a
    gospel influence         -"Jump" blues band that
    swings hard - extreme emphasis on backbeat
            -Provocative lyrics (sexual metaphors)
  • Little Richard - 1st rock 'n' roller?
  • Breaks from RB label by crowning himself "the
    king of rock roll"

Elvis Rockabilly
  • Independent Labels
  • Sun Records (Sam Phillips)
  • Memphis Label that recorded many RB acts in the
    early 50s. (Howlin Wolf, BB King, etc.. pp. 33)
  • Lost many of these artists as they moved north to
  • Needed to find a new kind of act to stay in

Elvis Rockabilly-continued
  • If I could find a white man who had a Negro
    sound and the Negro feel, I could make a billion
  • Elvis entered studio to record an acetate for his
    mother. (4)
  • I asked him where he went to High School and he
    said Humes. I wanted to get that out, because a
    lot of people listening thought he was colored

Elvis Rockabilly
  • Mississippi to Memphis as young boy
  • Very poor family
  • Lived and associated closer with blacks than more
    affluent people and Northerners
  • Though Northern Whites regarded themselves as
    more liberal, Southern poor Whites had much more
    in common with Blacks.

Rockabilly Elvis Presley
  • Arthur Big Boy Crudup (1905-1974) Thats All
    Right Moma
  • Blues Musician
  • Elvis Thats All Right Moma (1954)
  • First Song recorded by Elvis
  • Notice strong Country sound (1st 5 seconds),
    also steel guitar,
  • Big Moma Thorton Hounddog lyrics
  • RB Musician

The Marketing of Elvis
  • First as a CW act (Not RB or RR)
  • Sold from Sun to RCA for 35,000 in 1956
  • Manager Colonel Tom Parker
  • Elvis to a National TV audience - 1956
  • The Stage Show Jackie Gleason
  • Texaco Star Theater
  • Milton Berle Show
  • Steve Allen Show
  • Ed Sullivan Show (50K for 3 appearances)
  • Marketing Elvis image
  • Top 40 format

Public Reactions to Elvis
  • National Press
  • Government Leaders
  • Religious Groups
  • First time in American History that we see a
    Generation Gap in Popular Culture.

The Big Four of SunSam Phillips
  • Elvis Presley
  • Johnny Cash
  • Carl Lee Perkins
  • Jerry Lee Lewis

The Big Four of Sun
  • Elvis Presley
  • Johnny Cash
  • Folsom Prison Blues (1956)
  • A Boy Named Sue (1969)
  • No.1 on Country Charts, No.2 on Pop Charts
  • The only artist (besides Elvis Presley) to be
    inducted into both the Country Hall of Fame the
    Rock and Roll Hall of Fame!
  • Carl Lee Perkins
  • Jerry Lee Lewis

The Big Four of Sun
  • Elvis Presley
  • Johnny Cash
  • Carl Lee Perkins
  • Poor Childhood
  • Similar Sound and Style to Elvis
  • Blue Suede Shoes (1956)
  • Accident Primarily a songwriter, wrote for
    Elvis and others.
  • Jerry Lee Lewis

The Big Four of Sun
  • Elvis Presley
  • Johnny Cash
  • Carl Lee Perkins
  • Jerry Lee Lewis
  • I Sold 39 dozen eggs to pay for the gas. I said,
    Youve got the time. Im going to play the piano
    and youre going to put it on tape for Sam
    Phillips. He said, Well if you feel that
    strongly about it, you must be good.
  • Whole Lotta Shakin Goin On (1957) Video 9
  • Great Balls of Fire (1957)
  • Note the echo effect

Buddy Holly
  • Elvis Idol
  • Strong CW influence
  • Safer Image
  • lacked sexuality of Presley and flamboyance of
    Little Richard
  • Lyrics usually about uncomplicated teen life
  • Only Rockabilly Artist to never chart as a
    country artist  
  • Peggy Sue
  • Not Fade Away
  • Thatll be the Day
  • Oh Boy (Video)
  • Notice Upright Bass

Decca Records
  • Major Labels
  • Columbia, RCA/Victor, Decca, Capitol, MGM, and
  • Decca
  • Bill Haley His Comets
  • Pehaps the connection with a major label
    permitted his music to be featured in Blackboard
  • Rock n Roll Trio
  • Buddy Holly

The Day the Music Died
  • Buddy Holly, Richie Valens, Big Bopper (2/2/59)
  • Jerry Lee Lewis married his 13 yr. old cousin in
  • Elvis Presley went into the army in 1958.
  • Chuck Berry arrested in 1959 for transporting 14
    yr old across state lines.
  • Little Richard became a preacher!

Teen Idols/ Teen Idols
  • Manufactured by Dick Clark on American Bandstand
    (began in 1957) in Philadelphia
  • Teen Idols Fabian, Frankie Avalon, Bobby Rydell,
    Neil Sedaka...
  • Daily Live TV program
  • Made RR respectable
  • Many of the songs came out of the office in Tin
    Pan Alley (especially the Brill Building)
  • Introduced a number of teen dance crazes (Twist,
  • "Take Good Care of My Baby" - Bobby Vee (1961)

Payola Scandal / Video
  • Alan Freed Dick Clark received quite different
    outcomes from the investigation

Doo Wop - Girl Groups
  • "Crying in the Chapel" - The Orioles (1953)
  • Early RB Crossover Hit (Pop)
  • "Sh-Boom" - The Chords (1954)
  • Sh-Boom" - The Crew Cuts (1954)
  • "Why Do Fools Fall in Love" - Frankie Lymon and
    the Teenagers (1956)

Girl Groups-Brill Building/NY
  • Don Kirshner
  • Masterminded the takeover of RR
  • Young 21 in 1958
  • Aldon Music Publishing company w/Al Nevins
  • Employed teams of young songwriters
  • Neil Sedaka (songwriter/singer)
  • Carole King-Jeff Goffin
  • "Will You Love Me Tomorrow" - The Shirelles
    (1961) written by King-Goffin / Scepter Records
  • 1st smash hit! By an all-girl group
  • Pop Latin sound (popularized in the US during
    the latin craze of 1930s-40s (conga audio)
  • "The Loco-Motion" - Little Eva (1962) written by
  • Creating Dance Crazes

Girl Groups (cont)
  • Don Kirshner / Aldon Records (publisher)
  • Phil Spector / Philles Records (label)
  • Wall of Sound
  • Wagnerian Sound?
  • Redefined role of producer - from an obscure
    position to something more important - more like
    a film producer/director
  • Took control of every aspect of production
  • Young 21 in 1961
  • Be My Baby - The Ronettes (1963)Da Do Ron
    Ron The Crystals (1962/63)
  • Shangri-Las Leader of the Pack (1964)
  • One of the few all-white Groups
  • Video
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