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A History of Popular American Music

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nick jackson

on 25 January 2013

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Transcript of A History of Popular American Music

A History of
American Music Before Recorded Music African-American Spiritual -These were songs that American Slaves would sing to encourage themselves.
-The subjects of these songs were usually religious: being saved by Jesus, or returning to heaven.
-Sometimes, They were secret messages that told other slaves how to escape to the North.
-These songs had a strong influence on all American music to follow. Bar Songs - Songs that men would sing together at local taverns - Usually contained repetitive choruses - Lyrics were simple so that everyone could sing along Instrumental Music Classical music, played live by orchestras. Usually only the rich could enjoy this. Marching music, sometimes as part of a parade. The general public could enjoy this. Folk Musicians: people playing their own instruments, and often writing their own songs. For personal enjoyment. Thomas Edison Invents the Phonograph -The first machine for recording sound.

- A wax tube had indentations on it that represented sound. When the tube spun and a needle was dragged over it, it produced sound.

- Edison's first recording was "Marry Had a Little Lamb". Made recording and mass-producing music possible, which gave birth to the phenomenon of "popular music" or music made to be listen to by a wide, general audience. History - Legend says that jazz was originated in New Orleans as funeral music.
- The custom in N.O. was to have a small band playing a "dirge" at the head of funeral processions
- After the service, these bands would start playing up-beat, syncopated music to cheer people up. Became huge during the 1920s and was a favorite of many Americans through the 1960s. Considered at first to be "African American music", because many of the best jazz composers were. Style Notable Jazz Musicians -Duke Ellington
-Louis Armstrong
-Cab Calloway
-Billie Holiday
-Miles Davis
-John Coltrane
-Vince Gauraldi -Dizzy Gillespie
-Benny Carter
-Charlie Parker
-Benny Goodman
-Count Basie
-Thelonious Monk
-John Zorn Dixieland Jazz -Jazzy interpretations of traditional southern songs

-Usually several different melodies going on at the same time (in the same key signature)

-Clarinet, trombone, and tuba were often featured instruments Be-bop -Syncopated drum beats became very important

-Trumpet, saxophone, and piano are featured instruments. Guitar and bass are added to rhythm section

-Tempos were usually very quick

-Improvisation is also a major feature Cool Jazz -Be-bop slowed down

-Improvisation is now so important, that several songs top 10 minutes

-Singing style known as Crooning Jazz Fusion -Jazz mixed with elements of other musical genres like heavy metal (The Crucible) or punk (The Minutemen).

-Lots of improvisation

-Electric guitar and saxophone very important Style - Very simple, stripped down music.

- Featured instruments are usually drums, guitar, bass, or banjo. Often, folk musicians were soloists

- Song lyrics were the most important feature of folk songs. The instrumentation was usually softer and took a backseat

-Song subjects were often about politics, home-life, or romance. Sometimes songs were silly and contained a lot of local dialect.

-Famous folk songs include "This Land is Your Land" "Oh Susanna" "We Shall Overcome" "Froggy Went A-Courtin'" Notable Folk Singers -Woody Guthrie
-Pete Seger
-Bob Dylan
-Joni Mitchell History - There's a controversy over where Blues came from. Both Chicago and Memphis claim to be the "home of the blues".

-Became popular in the 1930's in clubs, bars, and clubs.

-Most early blues musicians were African-Americans. Therefore, it was considered "black music" and was not given much air-play on white-controlled media.

-Later became the biggest influence on Rock and Roll. In fact, many of rock's biggest acts (The Beatles, the Rolling Stones, Led Zeppelin, Black Sabbath) cited the blues as a major influence. Style - Like folk, very stripped down and basic. Blues bands usually consisted of lead guitar, bass, drums, and vocals. Guitars were usually electric. Some blues musicians were just solo guitar players.

-Musicians used the "blues scale" which was augmented. In a traditional C scale, the notes are C, D, E, F, G, A, B, C. In a blues scale, the notes are C, E-flat, F, F-sharp, G, B-flat, C.

-Utilized the same, syncopated beats as jazz

-Lyrics were usually about the hardships of life, often from the point of view of a persecuted black person, (hence the name, The Blues). Notable Blues Musicians - Muddy Waters
- John Lee Hooker
-Howlin' Wolf
-Big Mama Thornton
-B.B. King
-Taj Mahal
-Freddie King
-Jimmy Reed
-Robert Johnson Elements of Jazz, Folk, and Blues
Were all used in the creation of


ROCK!! History Styles - No one knows who exactly was the first rock musician, but many music historians think that Ike Turner recorded the first true rock record, "Rocket 88" in the early 1950s.

- Most early rock musicians were African-American, and like blues, were not given air-time on the radio.

-Sam Freed (from Salem, Ohio) was the first white radio D.J. to play African-American rock musicians (On a Cleveland radio station).

-Chuck Berry was considered to be the first rock super-star. His guitar style was a major influence on many rock musicians to follow.

-White audiences did not widely accept rock and roll until Elvis Presley became a star. Many of the songs that Elvis got popular from were actually written by black rock musicians. He paid them a very small amount for the copyrights and made huge profits from album sales! Rock has literally hundreds of different styles and sub-genres, so it's difficult to define one particular style.
In general, Rock can be defined by the use of rhythm instruments (drums, guitar, bass) 4/4 time signature, and use of blues scale. Some of the more creative artists break these rules, however. Sub-genre: Rockabilly Sub-genre: Garage Rock Sub-Genre: Folk Rock Sub-Genre: Psychadelic Rock Sub-Genre: Progressive Rock Sub-Genre: Arena Rock Sub-Genre: Heavy Metal Sub-Genre: Punk Sub-Genre: Alternative Rock The First Rock Musicians - Chuck Berry - Ike Turner
- Chubby Checker - Bill Haley
- Jerry Lee Lewis - Bo Diddly
- The Big Bopper - Buddy Holly
- Screamin' Jay Hawkins - Fats Domino
- Little Richard - The earliest rock "sub-genre", rockabilly mixed rock and roll with country.
- Characterized by heavy syncopation in both the drums and bass (which was usually an upright), twangy guitar, a lot of "re-verb", and a lot of vocal vibrato. Notable Rockabilly Stars - Elvis Presley - Johnny Cash
- Roy Orbison - Carl Perkins - As rock became more mainstream, and acceptable, it was accepted by American and British youth, and many kids wanted to make their own bands. They would usually be a group of friends who would practice together in their garages.
- The music was heavily inspired by blues, was raw and sometimes sloppy, and very energetic.
- A lot of the most famous rock bands in history started out as garage bands.
- Garage rock is still a popular sub-genre today. Notable Garage Rockers - The Beatles - The Kinks
- The Rolling Stones - Love
- The Monks (Cleveland) - The Raspberries
(Cleveland) Modern Garage Rockers - Nirvana - White Stripes
- Eagles of Death Metal - Dr. Dog
- Black Keys (Akron) - Took the traditional vocal emphasis of folk music and put rock and roll instrumentation behind it.
- Just like traditional folk, the instrumentation was subtle and the vocals were more important.
- At first, acoustic guitars were the norm, and fans were extremely upset when folk rock hero Bob Dylan switched to electric guitars. Notable Folk Rockers - Bob Dylan - Neil Young
- Van Morrison - Simon and Garfunkel
- Joni Mitchell - Leonard Cohen Modern Folk Rockers - Billy Bragg - Mumford and Sons
- Fleet Foxes - Bon Iver
- The Decemberists - Feist
- Ani Defranco - P.J. Harvey - As Rock became more experimental, and it's starts started to get wrapped in in the "Counter-Culture" movement of the 1960's, the sound of rock started to get weirder and weirder.
- Psychedelic Rock is characterized by it's strange and sometimes warped sounding instrumentation.
- The sitar, and stringed instrument from India, became a feature.
- Psychedelic Rockers used a lot of visual imagery, such as colorful clothing, lots of flowers, tinted sunglasses, long hair, beads, and shifting colors in their performances.
-This is when the "image" became just as important as the sound. Notable Psychedelic Rockers - Cream - Jefferson Airplane
- Grateful Dead - The Beatles
- The Doors Modern Psychedelia - Kyuss - Fu Manchu
- Nebula - Earthless
- Sleep - Black Moth Super Rainbow - Took the experimentation of Psychedelia to another level. Prog-Rock could range from "spacey" to "pretty" to "strange"
- Many prog-rock musicians were classically-trained, and therefore many of the songs had a classical feel.
- Some prog-rock musicians were incorporate bizzare sounds or themes into their songs.
- Many prog-rock songs intentionally tried to make the listener feel like they were "floating through space".
- It would be normal for many prog-rock songs to top 10 minutes. Notable Prog Rockers - Pink Floyd - Rush
- Jethro Tull - Genesis
- Yes - King Crimson
- Frank Zappa - Alan Parsons
- ELP - Hawkwind - For some rock fans, prog was too weird or complicated. But they liked the "powerfulness" of it.
- Arena rock took the "power" of prog-rock and toned down the intricate instrumentation to something more accessible.
- Arena rock can be characterized by "power chords", sing-along choruses, and solos.
- Arena rock died out in the 1980s because it started to become too cheesy and over-the-top for younger rock fans who were influenced by punk, metal, and hip-hop. Notable Arena Rockers - Queen - The Who
- REO Speedwagon - Styx
- Whitesnake - Aerosmith
- Van Halen - Foreigner
- Bruce Springsteen (A Mr. Jackson Favorite) - Eddie Money - Kiss - Journey - Bad Company - Boston - No one really agrees on who the first heavy metal band was. Most argue over it being either Deep Purple or Black Sabbath.
- Legend says that Metal's dark guitar sound originated when Tony Iommi, guitar player for Black Sabbath, sliced his fingertips off in a factory accident and had to tune down his guitar strings in order to play them.
- Metal is characterized by its hard guitar sound, dark themes, and agressiveness.
- Metal is one of the first rock sub-genres that was further broken down into sub-sub-genres. Let's take a look: Proto-Metal - Metal before Metal. This style of music incorporated all of the parts that are needed for Metal, but the term "Heavy Metal" did not exist yet.
- Proto-Metal band Steppenwolf invented the musical term "Heavy Metal" in their song "Born to be Wild":
-"I like smoke and Lightning.
Heavy Metal Thunder" Notable Proto-Metal bands - Steppenwolf - Jimi Hendrix
- Blue Cheer - Led Zeppelin
- Black Sabbath - Deep Purple
- Blue Oyster Cult - Thin Lizzy New Wave of British Heavy Metal - At First, Black Sabbath, Deep Purple and Led Zeppelin were considered the kings of heavy metal, but their sound was still rooted in traditional rock and roll.
- NWBHM amped up the speed and agression of the music, and started to incorporate dark themes into the lyrics such as crime, and horror.
- They also used strong images in their album artwork Notable NWBHM Bands - Judas Priest - Iron Maiden
- Motorhead - Girlschool Black Metal - Inspired by NWBHM, metal bands began to spring up
around the world that tried to push the envelope and
make their music darker and more "evil" sounding.
-Black metal groups focused lyrically on "evil" themes, and
introduced the "growl" metal voice. Notable Black Metal Bands -Venom - Merciful Fate
-King Diamond - Danzig (A Mr. Jackson Fav.) Thrash Metal -Thrash metal increased the speed of the music to new levels. Everything was as fast and as loud as possible.
-Lyrically, the songs could range from the dark themes of Black Metal, to more politically charged songs.
- Thrash metal always sounds angry. Notable Thrash Bands - Slayer - Metallica
- Anthrax - Testament Modern Thrash Bands - Unearth - At the Gates
- Disfear - High on Fire Death Metal - Death metal is something of a mixture of Black and Thrash metal.
- The Themes of the music are very dark and at times, "Evil".
- The tempo can be break-neck fast, like thrash, or slower.
- Instrumentation is often very intricate and complicated.
- Death Metal itself has a bajillion different sub-sub-sub genres which I won't talk about, because we don't have a lifetime. Notable Death Metal Bands - Nile - Cannibal Corpse
- Lamb of God - Morbid Angel
- Converge Doom/Sludge Metal - Doom Metal is the opposite of Thrash, but is just as "threatening"
-Characterized by extremely slow tempos and screamed or growled lyrics.
- Keeps many of the same themes as Black or Death Notable Doom/Sludge Bands -Electric Wizard -The Sword
-Om - Yob
-Mastodon - Corrosion of Conformity Grindcore - Probably the fastest and loudest music every made.
- Grindcore bands threw off all notions of musicality and just played extremely loud and fast.
- Lyrics were usually screamed, growled, and inaudible.
- Grindcore songs ranged from 3 seconds to 1 minute long. Notable Grindcore Bands -Napalm Death - The Locust
-Cattle Decapitation - Pig Destroyer Industrial Metal - Similar to Black Metal, in that it was dark and mid-tempo.
- Instituted electronic and industrial (machine-like) noises. Notable Industrial Acts - Ministry - Nine Inch Nails (Cleveland)
- Marilyn Manson (Canton) - Filter
- Fear Factory - Mindless Self Indulgence Nu Metal - Metal mixed with funk or rap.
- The music was usually very fuzzy and heavy
- Also known as Frat-Metal because it generally characterized the whiny aggressiveness of frat boys Notable Nu Metal Groups - Korn - Slipknot
- Limp Bizkit - White Zombie - Punk's origins are a little fuzzy, it really depends on opinion.
- Several bands existed for years playing what many consider to be "punk rock", but never adopted the title.
- Punk originated in New York City as a frustrated reaction to the over-produced, over-the-top world of rock and roll that existed in the 1970s
- Punk was an effort to force rock back to it's roots with a simplified "Do-it-yourself" approach to the music.
- Many members of punk bands had no musical experience before their band formed. Hence, punk had a very sloppy and raw sound, similar to garage rock.
- Punk bands also tended to be more socially and politically aware because punk rockers often came from difficult backgrounds. This was reflected in the music. Pre-Punk - Punk before punk. Had all the punk-rock elements, but never called themselves punk.
- These bands tended to be highly influenced by The Rolling Stones and emulated Mick Jagger's Swagger.
- Very high energy, and sometimes angry Notable Pre-Punk - Iggy and the Stooges - Patti Smith
- The Dictators - New York Dolls
- Richard Hell - Television True "Punk" - The First band to call themselves "punk rockers" were the Ramones. They played rock inspired by bubblegum pop of the 60's at rapid speed.
- The Ramones influenced dozens of other bands to play music in this style, many of them putting their own touches on it.
-True Punk is charactarized by it's speed, volume, pop-sensibility, and "snotty" attitude. Notable Punk Bands - The Ramones -The Clash
- Johnny Thunders - Blondie
- The Talking Heads - The Dead Boys (Cleveland) Psychobilly - Punk renewed interest in older rock styles, among them was rockabilly.
-Psycholbilly bands took the elements of rockabilly music and infused them with the elements of punk.
- Psychobilly songs were usually about deviant life-styles Notable Psychobilly Groups - The Cramps - Stray Cats
- Reverend Horton Heat - Necromantix Goth-Punk - The musical style of Goth-Punk could range from something like Psychobilly to something resembling industrial rock
- Lyrical themes were often centered on horror movies, or the macabre
-Band members of Goth-Punk groups usually dressed up in gothic clothing or costumes Notable Goth-Punk Bands - The Birthday Party - The Misfits
- Joy Division - Bahaus Hardcore - The anger is turned up quite a few notches for Hardcore.
- The music becomes faster and harder as well.
- Lyrics are often shouted, and choruses chanted.
- Themes are very political and social. Anger toward government or society.
- Similar to Thrash Metal, except the musicianship was not as complicated and vocals still retained pop sensibility. Notable Hardcore Bands - Black Flag - Dead Kennedys
- Minutemen (Mr. Jackson's favorite) - Minor Threat
- Descendants - Bad Brains
- The Germs - OFF! Ska - Ska became popular in England in the late 70's.
- It mixed elements of Punk Rock with elements of Jamaican Reggae
- Later in the 80's a horn section became an integral part of Ska and the Reggae influence died out.
- Ska experienced mainstream success in the mid 90's thanks to bands like The Mighty Mighty Bosstones.
- Ska had it's own dance style known as "Skanking" where people would stomp their feet and pump their arms while moving in a circle. Notable Ska Groups - The Specials - Bad Manners
- The Mighty Mighty Bosstones - Operation Ivy
- VooDoo Glow Skulls - The Aquabats What if Thrash and Hardcore had a Baby? - The perfect mixture of thrash and hardcore punk.
- Bands would switch easily back and forth between styles.
- Bands: Pennywise, Propagandhi, The Offspring, Turbonegro Thrash-Punk Glam/Hair Metal - A phenomenon of the 1980's, hair metal took the loud, extremism of heavy metal, but dropped all of the dark, evilness.
- Songs were instead about partying and having a good time.
- The look of the musicians sometimes overshadowed the actual music because they dressed over-the-top, wore heavy make-up, and made their hair look as "big" as they could. Notable Hair Bands - Motley Crue - Guns N' Roses
- Poison - Warrant
- Skid Row - Twisted Sister New Wave - This was mainstream media's attempt to commercialize punk.
- "Punk Rock" had a bad reputation with most people, due to the offensive antics of The Sex Pistols, so punk was not given air-play or mainstream attention.
- Many of the original New York punk groups like Blondie and The Talking Heads were re-classified as "New Wave" and went on to huge mainstream success.
- The music was generally watered down and made more acceptable to mass audience, which most punk purists detested. Notable New Wave Bands - The Cars - Adam Ant
- Boomtown Rats - New Order
- The Pretenders (Akron) - Devo (Akron) North East Ohio's Punk Boom - Most punk groups in the 70's and 80's came from certain areas of the world.
- New York - England - L.A. - Cleveland/Akron - Punk Rock appealed to our area because of the frustrated, working-class feel of the music.
- Several punk bands emerged in the mid-seventies as a reaction to punk's success in New York (Rocket From The Tombs, Dead Boys, Pere Ubu, Devo)
- Devo became a hugely popular punk band because of their weirdness. They toured England, and in an interview, Mark Mothersbaugh said that Akron was the 'Liverpool' of the U.S. What he meant was that it was a gloomy industrial city. The media took that to mean that Akron was a musical Mecca, much like Liverpool, England, home of The Beatles and Black Sabbath. In the following months, several Akron bands were given record deals. Notable NEO bands - Rocket From the Tombs - Dead Boys
- Pere Ubu - Devo
- The Pretenders - Rubber City Rebels
- The Waitresses - The Bizzaros - Alternative is not an easily defined genre. It's not even really a genre. Alternative rock can be many different things. In general, Alternative rock is a mixture of all previous forms of rock, especially punk and metal, and is heavy with experimentation.
- Many bands and artists we have already discussed can be considered Alternative. Noise-Rock Post-Punk Indie Geek Rock Grunge and Post-Grunge Noise rock was born from punk and psychedelic music. It took the raw, organic guitar sound of punk and stretched it out. Guitar solos were extensive, and the use of fuzz and feedback were trademarks of early noise-rockers. Later musicians included digital sound effects. The sound can either be melodic and (sort of) accessible or threatening and jarring. Notable Noise Rock Groups - The Velvet Underground - Sonic Youth
- The Flaming Lips - Beck (Mr. Jackson Fav)
- Husker Du Post punk was a more mature, serious take on punk rock. Musicians wanted to keep the stripped-down, basic rock aspect of punk, but they shed the silly humor, and directionless anger. Post punk was often more artistic than it's predecessor, and post punk musicians often created music that was surreal and "pretty". Notable Post Punk Bands - The Pixies - Gang of Four
- Fugazi - The Violent Femmes Indie stands for Independent, as in "Independent Labels". In the mid 1980s, a lot of small, independent record labels were starting up. Since they could not compete economically with the large labels, they focused their attention on small, unknown bands. They usually agreed to give these bands a large amount of creative control on their projects. This allowed such bands to explore music outside of the mainstream appeal, and experiment with weirdness. Today, indie music has a more typical sound that blends post-punk influences with folk rock and/or hip-hop. Notable Indie Musicians - The Cure - The Smiths
- The Replacements - R.E.M.
- Pavement - Wilco
- The Arcade Fire - B.R.M.C. Geek rock bands wrote poppy, catchy, simplistic tunes that often exemplified the awkwardness of youth. They were often love songs, or songs about being a nerdy teen trying to fit in. In the 1990s, it became a geek rock cliche to adopt hip-hop culture in an intentionally poor way, as a joke. Groups would attempt to rap, but the subject matter would be about how lame their suburban lives were. Some of the truly great geek rock bands actually wrote songs about scientific theories or historical figures. Notable Geek Rock Bands - They Might Be Giants - Weezer
- Cake - Presidents of the United States
Of America.
- Bare Naked Ladies - The Mountain Goats Grunge broke through in the early 1990s as a mixture of noise rock, post-punk, and heavy metal. It was angry and depressed. Socially, it was a response to the over-the-top, party all the time attitude of hair metal, and was the direct reason why hair metal became unpopular. The term "grunge" refers to the unwashed, dirty look of many of the bands, and also, the raw, dirty, unclean sound of the music. It had little popularity until the band Nirvana exploded with their song "Smells Like Teen Spirit." Grunge was the most successful style of rock throughout the 1990s. Toward the beginning of the 2000's, grunge was loosing steam, so several bands cleaned up their sound and made it more accessible and mainstream. These bands, known as post-grunge, make up the majority of today's radio rock. Notable Grunge Bands - Nirvana - Pearl Jam
- Stone Temple Pilots - Sound Garden
- Mudhoney - Soul Asylum Notable Post-Grunge Bands - Nickleback - Creed
- Queens of the Stone Age - Audioslave
- Daughtry During the 1950's, jazz crooning started to develop into it's own genre, separate from rock, and free of most blues influences. Instead, these musicians took inspiration from traditional gospel songs. This music would develop into what we know as... POP Pop music was originally a term describing any music recorded for the populous, which really encompasses everything except classical. Whenever you go into Best Buy, you'll find almost everything in the Pop/Rock section for that reason. But pop music began to take on its own identity. If rock was the rebellious child, then pop was the
"favorite" Early Pop Music In the early 1950's the popular music, that is what was acceptable to most, was usually a sweet sounding love song that people could slow dance to. There was really nothing threatening about it. The musicians even wore suits or evening gowns! However, since the term "pop music" wasn't really widely used, it was broken down a little farther into different categories Doo-Wop
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