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History of Rock 1/18/2012

The Early 60s: The Calm Before the Storm

Becky Brown

on 25 January 2018

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Transcript of History of Rock 1/18/2012

What styles, sounds, trends,
etc. do you associate with rock
and roll in the 1960s?
The Early '60s: The Calm Before the Storm
The years between 1959 and 1963 were a time of transition for popular music.
Classic rock and doo-wop had essentially faded from the scene
They were replaced on the popular charts by a variety of styles that had little in common besides the absence of a strong beat and a worldview and performance style that contained more clean teen romance and less sexuality.
The Major Labels Take Back Popular Music
Powerful pressure from a combination of religious and secular groups, governmental officials, and major-label interest within the music industry had combined to speed up the death of '50s rock.
In the '50s, classic rockers had written a majority of their own hits, cut them with their own bands, and were responsible for artistic interpretation; by the early '60s, the major labels forced artists to revert to an assembly-line process in which songs were crafted by office-based writers, recorded by studio musicians, and produced by major label producers.
The Teen Idols
The music of the teen idols was representative of the turn away from classic rock.
The performers were cute and nattily attired young men who sang fake rock music that contained little or no beat, icky string arrangements and a multitude of nonsexual, romantically safe messages.
Bobby Rydell, Frankie Avalon and Fabian were three such "safe" teen idols.
Female Artists
Female artists were also successful during this period.
They were not usually categorized as "teen idols," but their success followed the same formula.
Annette Funicello, Leslie Gore, and Connie Francis were among the most popular of the group.
The Girl Groups
The most prominent female artists of the period were known simply as "the girl groups."
The groups produced some the most memorable and best-produced songs of the era.
They included the Crystals, the Shirelles, and the Shangri-La's.
Though the success of the groups increased both black and femal prominence in pop music, the songwriting, production, and financial rewards still rested with the major record labels.
Motown and Stax
Berry Gordy's Motown label was developing its roster and producing the first hits by Smokey Robinson, Marvin Gaye, the Marvelettes, and Mary Wells.
Soul artists like Otis Redding followed Booker T. and the M.G.s to the Stax/Volt sudios in Memphis as people began to climb aboard the "soul train."
Folk Music
American folk music was having a revival.
Traditionalists such as Joan Baez toured college campuses, and button-down groups like the Kingston Trio and the Highwaymen had refined top-40 hits with "Tom Dooley" and "Michael Row Your Boat Ashore".
Another group, Peter, Paul, and Mary, entered the charts with a tune called "Blowin' in the Wind," penned by the then unknown Bob Dylan.
Surf Music
On the West coast, sun, sand and suburban lifestyles were reflected in a style termed surf music.
Its musical roots lay in guitar-oriented classic rock with a driving beat, but its worldview contained an affluent, white, suburban, male-dominated society preoccupied with the common teenage concerns of girls, cars, and surfing.
The Beach Boys were the most popular and talented of the group.
Sporting a lineup that included the three Wilson brothers, Brian, Dennis, and Carl, cousin Mike Love, and neighbor Al Jardine, this suburban L.A. combo created one of the few original sounds of the early '60s that was derived from classic rock.
Frankie Avalon: "Venus"
How do the tone and lyrics of the song represent the "clean teen" worldview?
Annette Funicello: "Tall Paul"
How does the song confirm the values and behaviors of the establishment?
The Shangri-Las and the Crystals
How would you describe the format of the "girl group?"

What themes emerge in the lyrics?
Booker T. and the MGs: "Green Onions"
In what ways do you see Booker T. and the MGs innovating?
Marvin Gaye: "Ain't No Mountain High Enough"
How does the song represent Motown's "soul" sound?
Joan Baez: "It Ain't Me, Babe"
What elements of folk music do you see in the song?
The Beach Boys: "I Just Wasn't Made for These Times"
How do you observe the Beach Boys expanding the "surf sound" in this song?
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