1960s pop and beatles and 2014(2)
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The 1960s, Rock and Youth Culture and The Beatles n The emergence and economic importance of youth culture. n Youth consumers have a sense of being part of a common audience
that is new and distinct – that rock music articulates a new set of ideals – that of a new counter culture.
n That rock is distinct from pop – that it has aspirations towards art music.
n That the Beatles’ Sergeant Pepper album is the milestone that illustrates best the transformation of the concerns of youth culture away from materialism and teenage angst, to one that is anti-materialist and in opposition to the mores of the parental generation.
n That the pop music mainstream fragments into many subgenres that articulate a spectrum of subcultures and generations.
n That the technology of music production is changed from one based primarily on live performance to one that is studio based or which needs great technological support to reproduce studio composition.
n Account for the rise of a new kind of popular music aimed specifically at the young in America in the 1950s. Discuss at least two songs with reference to form, text, melody and harmony.
Rock in relation to Pop
n Rock as music produced commercially for simultaneous consumption by a mass youth market.
n Rock in contrast to pop carries intimations of sincerity, authority, even of art: i.e. non-commercial concerns.
n Rock is mass produced music that carries a critique of production – mass consumed music that constructs its own authenticity.
Roots of Rock n Song form that makes its point musically and not in the lyrics. n Areas of influence: n 1. Black music of America in the 50s – blues, r&b. The Elvis
connection bringing to a white audience music that had its roots in black music.
n 2. Country music – interest in vocal quality. Musicians moving from country to R&B.
n 3. Folk Music – 30s revival and political consciousness raising. The idea that everyone could do it. But by the 60s musicians raised in folk had moved away from the idea that they represented their audiences e.g. Pete Seeger and Woody Guthrie to Arlo Guthrie; to Joan Baez and Bob Dylan.
Baby Boom Generation – My Generation
n Youth generation of early 1960s – the demographic bulge. The post war economic boom and mass employment gave economic power to teenagers – a new phenomena. Articulated by The Who’s `My Generation’
n Rock becomes a means of mass expression for youth groups within society.
n The problem lies in the relationship between music as a means of popular expression, and music as a means of making money. There are moments of breakdown when the music does express the needs of real communities- but it never takes the industry long to control and corrupt the results. Rock is interpreted by some as `folk’ form but appealing to a mass audience.
Contextualisation - America n America under the Kennedy clan – John F. Kennedy assassinated
in November 1963. Robert Kennedy assassinated in election to become Presidential candidate. Lyndon Johnson becomes president. 1964
n Civil Rights era c.1956-1966. n Supreme Court struck down `separate but equal’ ruling. n Cuban missile crisis 1962 – Bay of Pigs. n America becomes drawn into the Vietnam war when France gives
up. n Johnson cannot contain American involvement in Vietnam and
Nixon gets in on promise to end war 1968 – but with Kissinger escalates conflict and bombs Cambodia and Laos as well. The draft extended and many middle class kids seek to evade it.
Contextualisation – Britain in the mid 1960s n Britain under Macmillan and Tories (in power since 1951). Slogan
`Never had it so good’. Great building schemes – motorways, council houses. Continue many post war Labour policies.
n End of Empire. Last batch of countries to go Independent. South Africa refuses and goes down apartheid avenue
n Profumo scandal helps to bring in Labour government under Wilson – 1965. Slogan `white heat of technology. Nuclear power and progress. But in reality decay and industrial decline. Strikes and growing Union power.
n Gold standard and economic stagnation. Decimalisation – Britain tries to move with the times and away from imperial age and towards common market and Europe.
n But by 1964 London was the place to be – and Carnaby Street the place to shop.
Post War Pop Anglo-American Tradition
n The 45 and the post-war generation of teenagers produced the first manifestation of youth culture – Teds, Mods, Rockers, to Hippies, Punks.
n Each successive generation has produced youth subcultures that have defined themselves by the music they consume. You are a mod because you listen to the music – you also have the hair and clothes, etc – but the consuming the music is vital. It binds and connects the group.
1960s Britain and Popular Music
n Conservatism ruled on BBC but British youth were keenly interested in American developments. BBC had Home service, Light programme and Third. American pop only on Luxemburg, and from 1964 Radio Caroline. Trad Jazz had a following in Britain – but otherwise Jazz seemed to have lost its way after Bebop. Radio one not started until 1967.
n Skiffle crase from late 50s – Freight Train and Rock Island Line. Blend of blues `Jug’ bands and folk. Anyone could have a go.
n Big folk revival – Dylan and Baez. Protest and folk to the individual picture. Bringing it all back home – greatest album (1965). Mr Tambourine Man
Dylan – Mr Tamborin Man
Rolling Stones – link with American blues and R and B
Beatles chart the 60s n The story of Beatles really charts that of popular music through the
60s. n Formed from the Quarrymen (started in 1956). Periods in Hamburg
and changes to personnel created the Beatles that we know by 1962.
n Taken up by Parlophone (EMI) and given George Martin to work with - they produced steady hits throughout the mid 60s.
n By 1962 they were composing their own material by preference. n The tradition of one way pop exports (from America) by taking the
American market by storm. From then on there is Brit invasion (Stones, Who, Herman’s Hermits, etc.) The Monkeys the attempt at an American response.
n Ed Sullivan show appearance broke all viewing records.
Beatles 1960s Roll Over Beethoven - cover of Chuck Berry’s Chess Records1956 hit
Brian Epstein and the Beatles
1962 LOVE LOVE ME DO
Please please me 1963
Beatles to 1967
n They played live until 1967 but were totally inadequately amplified. 30 Watt Vox Valve Amps and non-solid electric guitars meant that they could not hear themselves as they played – because of the hysterical fans.
n Incessant tours of UK up until 1964 and then and all over the world – America, Far East, Australia, Hong Kong, etc, meant that they were physically and mentally exhausted.
n Drugs turned from uppers (amphetamines, speed, etc), to downers as the decades progressed. By 1965 John had moved on to Cannabis (experimented with Heroin) and by 1966 LSD was on the scene. This development comes through in the music.
Summer of Love -1967 n 1. 1967 from `The Bay’ (Haight Ashbury district) to London and Paris –
Psychedelia spreads – recovery of innocence. Pop verses rock divide opens up.
n 2. Line up of guitar bands from the days of skiffle (Lonnie Donnagon) with two guitars bass and drums (optional keyboard). Then some groups dropped the rhythm and guitar allowing the lead singers to become more physical (visual) performers, and the lead guitar to become the central musical character in the ensemble. Controlled violence.
n Kinks, Who, Small Faces – produced the first songs based around riffs c1966 and onwards. Big amplification increases and possibilities of feed back opened up after 1967 and the slaving of speakers together into a wall of sound controller by a mixing desk.
n Great importance of Pirate Radio Stations between 1964 and 1967. In 1967 Radio 1 starts up. Rock is seen as subversive and the medium for the counter culture.
Crisis of late 60s n By 1967 the Beatles were fed up with their lot. They became
hippies. n Turned to the studio – Beach Boys Pet Sounds album of 1967 had
shown what was possible using studio techniques. n Spent months in the studio producing the first true concept Album –
Sergeant Pepper – full of new technology/recording techniques and was loosely meant to hang together as a compositional entity.
n Start Abbey Road Studios and Apple Label started – which is shambolic and financially hopeless. Too many hippie ideals get in the way of hard nosed music business. Some artistic finds however.
n They could not, nor had any intention of trying to re-produce their studio albums live. Became an `Album band’ with singles as a side line, and no real attempt to perform live again.
n All the later album were studio concepts.
n John and Paul moved in different directions. John towards `art’ and political consciousness, and Paul towards more gentle pop/rock.
n George takes his own direction with Eastern religion (Hari Krishna, etc) and mysticism.
n John takes up with Yoko and gets into all sorts of avant garde art music, and direct political statements. Increasingly pulled by New York art scene.
n By 1970 they are finished and there is a acrimonious split – legal frenzy ensues.
n 1964 started. Anger a trademark Townsend smashing up his guitar.
n Led by Townsend who wrote the material. n Hope I die before I get old – band members reputedly
hated each other – and everyone else. n 1965 `My Generation’ first big hit. n Stole show at Monterey Pop Festival in 1967 with live
act. n Tommy 1969 – first Rock Musical. n Forward locking in having a singer that sang in an
aggressive style without guitar and used the microphone stand as accessory to the Townsend combined both rhythm and lead guitar.
Birth of Prog Rock
n 1. Audience passivity – they sit in seats and listen like a classical concert – parallel with experience of Jazz in late 40s – self-conscience art music.
2. Songs often poetic and may have a narrative. No longer about inter-personal relationships. Escape from the pop song as a 3-minute fiction. Tracks frequently 5 minutes and longer – emergence of the rock ballad with acoustic prologue leading after a first/second verse to an electric finale with guitar solo before final section.
n 3. Seeks classical legitimacy as art. Use of keyboard to front groups – ELP.
More on prog rock n 1. Reception by audience bound up with counter culture and ideals
of new world order of hippies. n 2. Unity of project – concept album encoded a message. n 3. Advanced harmonies, electro/studio techniques, rock opera,
elaborate stage/lighting shows. Extended instrumentals. n 4. More successful and advanced groups are British and Middle
class – Moody Blues, Jethro Tull, King Crimson, Yes, Genesis, Pink Floyd, Nice, Emmerson Lake and Palmer, Van der Graff Generator, etc. But intended to sell to an American and worldwide audience. (Many such groups still perform to non-UK audiences – Jethro Tull)
n 6. Many parallels with 19th century romanticism and the life of artistic bohemian.
e.g. Pink Floyd
n Breathe from ‘The Dark Side of the Moon’ (1973)
Hippies n 1. Young middle-class whites who had rejected the lifestyle of their
parents. Live on today as crusties. n No organised agenda – dislike of any kind of
organisation. n Emphasis on uncovering new realms of conception and
consciousness – through drugs, sex and meditation. n Adoption of Eastern or ‘mythical’ religious practices – TM n Anti-materialists; refused to work; nomadic lifestyle,
despised the 9to5 existence of ‘straights’. n Anti-military and any form of law enforcement.
Concept Album n 1. Concept Album emerges with Pet Sounds and Sergeant Pepper.
Golden age from 1967 to 1977. Killed off by arrival of Punk which was in part a reaction to Prog Rock. Alternative direction taken by Heavy Metal.
n Subject of songs is often veiled. Not a narrative nor does it related a message. Allusions to drugs and states of mind – though not directly stated.
n The Sleeve design becomes important – gives the idea of a coherent package.
n The meaning of the concept album is socially constructed among the listeners- there is always a range of meanings.
n Segueing between tracks not uncommon. n Use of new electronic instruments – minimoogs and mellotrons.
Breakthough of Oldfield’s `Tubular Bells’.
What was so new about Sergeant Pepper
n 1. It had a vague theme – that of a dimly remembered working class Liverpool – remembered through the passed down reminiscences of the parent generation – an idealist community with mention of places, music hall, circus performers, etc.
n 2. The music was unplayable live and relied on studio techniques – laying down tracks individually, synthetised sounds, close amplification, etc. George Martin’s skills as an arranger and producer were crucial.
n The sleeve design conveyed the message.
n Please Please Me 22/11/63LPParlophonePCS 3045 n With the Beatles 19/06/64LPPolydor236 201 n The Beatles First 10/07/64LPParlophonePCS 3058 n A Hard Day's Night 4/12/64LPParlophonePCS 3062 n Beatles For Sale 6/08/65LPParlophonePCS 3071 Help ! 3/12/65LPParlophonePCS 3075 n Rubber Soul 5/08/66LPParlophonePCS
Revolver 10/12/66LPParlophonePCS 7016 A Collection of Beatles Oldies 1/06/67LPParlophonePCS 7027Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band 22/11/68LPApplePCS 7067/8The Beatles (a.k.a. The White Album) 17/01/69LPParlophonePCS 7070Yellow Submarine 26/09/69LPApplePCS 7088 Abbey Road 8/05/70LPApplePXS 1Let it Be (Box Set) 6/11/70LPApplePCS 7096Let it Be 18/12
n Above all it had all the aspirations of art music and not of pop.
n Veiled references to LSD and connection with hippy ideology.
n Every one bought the album and it was universally recognised in its own time as something new.
Hendrix and Woodstock
Collapse of the Mainstream in the 1970s
n 1. The emergence of the hippie ideal (counter-culture) and escape to the back woods – country/folk rock, acoustic singer-song writers. Festivals.
n Glam rock, transvestitism and gender bending – exploration of the pop star cult and play with audience reaction.
n Programme/Classical rock – high seriousness and technological innovation. The grand event concert with light shows and complexity of operation.
n Metal – music as metaphor – images of power to create social meanings.
Kinks – Riff based songs
n Frith, Simon (1976): The Sociology of Rock (London, Constable)
n (also published as):- n Frith, Simon (1983): Sound Effects, Youth, Leisure and
the Politics of Rock (London, Constable) n Lonhurst, Brian (1995): Popular Music and Society
(Cambridge, CUP) 1960s and The Beatles: n Moore, Allen F. (1998): The Beatles: Sergeant Pepper
(Cambridge, CUP) n Mellor, Wilfred (1973); The Twilight of the Gods