Lesson 3 – The Second Generation-The Early 1960’s, Motown, Soul Music
Reading: Rock and Roll: A Social History – Chapters 5, 6, 12, and 13
Students are encouraged to repeat the listening examples (located in the Listening Links for Lesson 3) as necessary. It would be counterproductive to listen to this great music only once.
Lesson 3 Questions
1. Complete the following sentence from Friedlander, “The years between 1959 and 1963 were . . . .”
2. According to Friedlander, what were some of the reasons that “hastened the demise of fifties (1950’s) rock”?
3. What is payola?
4. Describe the music of the so-called “teen idols”. Name two of these artists. What image did they present to the public? In what ways were they different from the classic rockers of the fifties?
5. Listen to and describe the musical activity you notice in the following clip from Dick Clark’s Saturday Night Beechnut Show TV show in 1959 featuring Paul Anka (1941) singing his own composition, “Put Your Head On My Shoulder” (1959).
6. Listen to and describe the musical activity you notice in the following clip from 1960 featuring two songs by The Everly Brothers (Phil and Don) – “All I Have To Do Is Dream” and “Cathy’s Clown”. The band backing them up is Buddy Holly’s band, The Crickets.
7. Listen to and describe the musical activity you notice in the 1961 recording of “Hello Mary Lou” composed by Gene Pitney (1940-2006), performed by late 1950’s early 1960’s teen idol Ricky Nelson (1940-1985).
“Hello Mary Lou” – Ricky Nelson (1961) (Links to an external site.)Links to an external site.
In the early years of the 20th century, many music publishers located in an area of New York City that became known as Tin Pan Alley. In the late fifties and early sixties, popular music composers also seemed to be centered in office buildings within a few blocks of each other in the city of New York. Most significant was The Brill Building located at 1619 Broadway on 49th Street in Theater District, Manhattan, New York City, just north of Times Square and further uptown from the historic musical Tin Pan Alley neighborhood.
8. Research The Brill Building from sources on the web. What was happening there that was so significant to popular music? Name some of the song writers (composers) and musicians who worked in that building during the 1950’s and 1960’s.
9. In what way did music of the sanctified church influence the music of Ray Charles?
10. Listen to and describe the musical activity in Ray Charles’ cover of Hank Snow’s country song, “I’m Movin’ On”, and in his cover of the Walter Davis composition, “Come Back Baby”.
11. Name the host of the popular ABC Television network weekday afternoon show, American Bandstand. This famous pop culture person served as the host of American Bandstand from 1956 until its very last episode in 1989.
12. Describe and comment on what you are seeing and hearing in these three extraordinary video clips from different years on American Bandstand:
13. In 1961, Ben E. King was playing with the words to an old spiritual called Lord, Stand By Me. His placement of secular lyrics into the spiritual created the pop classic, Stand By Me – a song that is considered to be one of the earliest examples of what would become known as Soul Music. Listen to the recording of Stand By Me, by Ben E. King. List some of the characteristics you notice in the song. What music styles are present here?
“Stand By Me” – Ben E. King (Links to an external site.)Links to an external site.
14. Listen to and describe what you notice in the recorded selections by James Brown below. List any of the unique characteristics (as detailed in Friedlander) you happen to hear in his music. Also, watch the video of James below performing “Sex Machine” from 1971. What do you notice happening musically and physically here?
I’ve Got The Feelin’
I Feel All Right
It’s A Man’s World
15. What is Motown? Who is Berry Gordy Jr.? In what American city was Motown established?
16. What was the name of the excellent Motown House Band that featured the great James Jamerson on Bass? Name two songs composed by Smokey Robinson. Name two songs composed by the song writing team of Holland, Dozier, & Holland (HDH).
17. Listen to and describe each of the following Motown songs:
a) My Guy – Mary Wells
b) Heat Wave – Martha and the Vandellas
c) For Once In My Life – Stevie Wonder
d) Where Did Our Love Go? – The Supremes
e) My Girl – The Temptations
f) Ain’t Too Proud To Beg – The Temptations
18. Listen to and describe “Cloud Nine” by The Temptations. How was this song different than the majority of Motown’s earlier songs?
19. Providing an alternative to the polished sound of the Motown recording artists from Detroit, is the bass centered, rhythmically punchy sound out of Memphis by the Stax Records house band, Booker T. and the MG’s. Briefly outline the origin, impact, and musical contributions of this great soul band. What was the racial make-up of the personnel in the band?
20. Listen to and describe what you hear in the following examples of this distinctive Stax/Atlantic Soul Music Sound:
“Soul Man” – Sam & Dave live in W. Germany in 1967 (Links to an external site.)Links to an external site.
21. Listen to and describe the four wonderful Aretha Franklin selections below ( be sure to list instruments you hear, and stylistic influences present):
b) Chain of Fools
d) video below of “Think” from the 1980 film The Blues Brothers
22. Listen to and reflect upon James Brown’s, Say It Loud-I’m Black I’m Proud.
Why, and how does this song transcend the boundaries of a typical pop song?
23. What primary contributions has Phil Spector made to the history of rock and roll? Describe and provide the name given for his special recording technique?
24. View, listen to, and describe the video below of The Ronettes singing “Be My Baby”. Did the advent of the “girl groups” (The Crystals, the Chiffons, the Shangrilas, the Ronettes etc.) and the rise of individual female performers in popular music of the early sixties help to balance their artistic or financial status in the music/recording industry?
25. Among the composers writing hit songs in the sixties were the great Carole King and her husband at that time Gerry Goffin. Several rock/pop classics were penned by the King/Goffin duo. List three of their song titles along with the respective performing artist who recorded the song.
26. Among her numerous musical accomplishments, Carole King recorded in 1971 one of the greatest albums in all of pop music history, Tapestry. The album sold (and continues to sell) millions of copies. She, as stated in the Rolling Stone Encyclopedia “helped inaugurate the Seventies’ singer/songwriter style”. I have told my students for years that one way to determine if a musical selection is “Quality” or not is its ability to withstand repeated listenings and the passage of time. When people hear a song or an entire album that they haven’t listened to for years and immediately feel those positive feelings of complete musical satisfaction that are not always present from other music, then they are probably are listening to music of high quality. There several examples that I can personally cite—the music of The Beatles, Radiohead, Johann Sebastian Bach, The Who, Bela Bartok, Little Richard, John Adams, The Rolling Stones, Ludwig van Beethoven, Chuck Berry, Thelonious Monk, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, Miles Davis, and Clifford Brown all pass the test with flying colors.
The Tapestry album by Carole King is in this same league. Each song seems as fresh as it was the first time I remember experiencing it.
Listen to the songs from the 1971 album “Tapestry” by Carole King (track list and links are below).
List any of the songs you already know of or have familiarity with. If all of these songs are new to you, please write that as your response.
Then, select two songs to profile–list music characteristics you notice in the two songs–including lyrics, instruments used, vocal delivery style and vocal timbre.
Of what significance is this album to American Popular Music history? Who composed these songs?
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