Rock History

This class was very well put together, covering a lot of ground in going over the history of Rock music and its associated sub-genres. Filled with video interviews of artists, producers, engineers, and promoters, as well as a number of original articles the course author, Steve Morse, had written for various publications, the course is overflowing with the history of Rock.

When I signed up for this class I thought that it would be pretty easy to get through as I had done so much personal research on the subject over the years. Turned out that I ended up spending way more time on researching the assignments for class than I thought I would, just to make sure that I had my facts and references straight. That being said I couldn’t see myself doing very well with a history class on classical music so I’m glad that this course was available. All in all, it was a good class, just a bit too much information for 12 weeks.

Here’s what was covered in the course.

Week 1 – “Dawn of Rock & Roll” – Jan 9th – Jan 13th
Introduction, Meet and Greet, Historical Perspective, Digging Into the Roots, Influence of Country-Hillbilly Music, Influence of Acoustic Blues, The Blues Gets Amplified, Rock’s Commercial Beginnings: From Bill Haley to Elvis and Sun Records in Memphis, Elvis, Business Spotlight: Colonel Tom Parker, Discussion 1.1: Analyzing the King, Early Rock & Roll Hitmakers, Technology Spotlight: Leo Fender, Les Paul, Business Spotlight: New Trends, Emergence of Black Stars: Chuck Berry, Little Richard, Bo Diddley, Fats Domino, Emergence of Female Stars: Wanda Jackson, Brenda Lee, Sister Rosetta Tharpe, Ruth Brown, LaVern Baker, Discussion 1.2: Birth of Rock Music Map, Inside the Music: The Beats, In Their Own Words, Quiz 1.1: Birth of Rock, Assignment 1: Rock’s Roots, Recap

Week 2 – “Rock’s Racial Integration, a Backlash; Payola; and Moving Beyond the Day the Music Died” – Jan 14th – Jan 20th
Introduction, Historical Perspective, Buddy Holly’s Pioneering Role and Tragic End, Business Spotlight: Buddy Holly and Decca, Rock in Retreat, Alan Freed Helps to Racially Integrate Radio Stations and Concert Tours, then Implodes, Early Rock & Roll DJs: The Pied Pipers of Rock, New Trends, Dance Crazes, Teen Idols Signify Safe Music and a Retreat from Rock’s Roots, Discussion 2.1: Teen Idol’s Re-Recordings, The Rise of The Brill Building Movement and Spector’s Wall of Sound, Surge of Girl Groups and Female Stars, Technology Spotlight: Shifting Music Formats, The Four Seasons Bridge Doo-Wop and Rock, In Their Own Words, The Isley Brothers Provide a Bright Spot and a Link to the Beatles, Workshop: You Know My Name, Assignment 2: 1959-1963: Rock’s Dark Age?, Recap

Week 3 – “Rock Regains its Lustre, Climaxing with the British Invasion of the Beatles and Rolling Stones” – Jan 21st – Jan 27th
Introduction, Historical Perspective, Roy Orbison, Ray Charles, Instrumental Rock, The Surf Rock of the Beach Boys, Business Spotlight: Rock Matures, Beatlemania, Fab Four Inventiveness, Beatles Firsts, The British Invasion, Discussion 3.1: The Beatles’ Popularity, The Rolling Stones Add a Sense of Rebellion, Sparked by Chicago Blues, Stones on a Roll, Business Spotlight: Brian Epstein of the Beatles Vs. Andrew Loog Oldham of the Stones, The Who Slam Into View, Technology Spotlight: Marshall Amplifiers, The Kinks Create a Different World, Quiz 3.1: Rock’s Golden Age, In Their Own Words, Assignment 3: The British Invasion, Recap

Week 4 – “Soul Music, Funk, Bob Dylan and Folk-Rock, and the Birth of Protest Music” – Jan 28th – Feb 3rd
Introduction, Historical Perspective, Motown Records, Behind The Hits, Business Spotlight: Hitsville USA, Marvin Gaye, Stevie Wonder, Smokey Robinson & the Miracles, the Temptations, Stax-Volt Records, Otis Redding, Sam & Dave, Wilson Pickett, Soul Sisters: Tina Turner and Aretha Franklin, Funk-Rock Pioneers: James Brown and Sly & The Family Stone, Sly & The Family Stone, Protest Music, Bob Dylan’s Inspiration for Folk-Rock, Like a Rolling Stone, Business Spotlight: Albert Grossman, Personal Manager, In Their Own Words, Discussion 4.1: Folk Music’s Influence, Technology Spotlight: Recording Innovations, Donovan: the So-Called “Scottish Dylan”, Simon & Garfunkel: Bringing Folk-Rock to the Mainstream, Workshop: Terms Review, The Lovin’ Spoonful’s Good Time Music, Frank Zappa: The Ultimate Iconoclast, Assignment 4: Rock’s New Voice, Recap

Week 5 – “More British Invasion, Guitar Heroes, British Folk-Rock, and the Rawness of Garage Rock” – Feb 4th – Feb 10th
Introduction, Historical Perspective, More British Invasion Bands of the ’60s: Dave Clark Five, Animals, The Hollies, Them, Hendrix in a Class by Himself, Discussion 5.1: The Jimi Hendrix Experience, Yardbirds and their Alumni: Eric Clapton, Jeff Beck, and Jimmy Page, The Jeff Beck Group, Jimmy Page and Led Zeppelin, Fleetwood Mac, Alvin Lee and Ten Years After, Technology Spotlight: New Frontiers in Electronics, Garage Rock’s Cult Status, Spotlight Moment: Rock Critic Gets Carried Away, In Their Own Words, Business Spotlight: Muscle Shoals Studio, Birth of British Folk-Rock, Quiz 5.1: Guitar Gods, British-Folk, and Other Acts of the Middle to Late 1960’s, Assignment 5: Second British Wave, Recap

Week 6 “Progressive Rock; the Birth of Psychedelia; and Acid Rock in San Francisco, L.A., and London” – Feb 11th – Feb 17th
Introduction, Historical Perspective, Progressive Rock Soars in England: Cream, Traffic, and More, Traffic, Jethro Tull and King Crimson, Emerson, Lake, & Palmer and Yes, Technology Spotlight: Robert Moog and the Synthesizer, What is Psychedelic Rock?, Pink Floyd Launches Psychedelic Rock, Life in the Studio: The Moody Blues, The Beatles Raise the Bar, The San Francisco Scene, The Grateful Dead, Janis Joplin’s Cosmic Blues, Jefferson Airplane Take Off, Santana’s Latin Rock, Country Joe and the Fish, Business Spotlight: Concert Promotion Impresarios Graham and Law, Los Angeles Weighs In, The Byrds, The Doors, Love, Buffalo Springfield, Mamas & the Papas, Afro-Psychedelia: The Chambers Brothers, Black Voice of Conscience: Curtis Mayfield, Discussion 6.1: Psychedelic Sounds: West Coast and Across the Atlantic, Festival Peaks at Monterey Pop and Woodstock, Business Spotlight: Trends, Workshop: Terms Review, In Their Own Words, Assignment 6: Still Rock & Roll?, Recap

Week 7 – “Turning the Corner to the ’70s” – Feb 18th – Feb 24th
Introduction, Historical Perspective, A Tough Start, Rock Festivals Imperiled, Excesses on the Road, The 27 Club, Straddling the Extremes: Crosby, Stills, Nash, & Young, Heavy Metal and Hard Rock Accelerate, Black Sabbath, Led Zeppelin, Glam Rock Asserts Itself, David Bowie, Alice Cooper, T. Rex, Garry Glitter, Elton John, Glam-Funk Psychedelia: George Clinton, Rock Opera in Vogue, Discussion 7.1: Rock Opera, Business Spotlight: Trends and More Lester Bangs, Technology Spotlight: Laser Lights and Inflatables, Soft Rock as a Rejection of the High Decibels, Carole King, Jackson Browne, Carly Simon, James Taylor, In Their Own Words, Canadians Leave their Mark on the Soft Rock Genre, Joni Mitchell, Leonard Cohen, Neil Young, Business Spotlight: David Geffen, Record Executive, Britain’s Contribution, Cat Stevens, Rod Stewart, Nick Drake, The Beatles Go Solo: Paul McCartney, John Lennon, Ringo Starr, George Harrison, Quiz 7.1: Ushering the 1970’s, Assignment 7: Rock’s Extremes, Recap

Week 8 – “Americana, Reggae, Blues Power in the Arenas, and New Superstars” – Feb 25th – Mar 3rd
Introduction, Historical Perspective, Americana, The Band, Creedence Clearwater Revival, Gram Parsons, Linda Ronstadt, The Eagles, Business Spotlight: Chris Blackwell, Reggae Pioneers, Bob Marley, Peter Tosh, Jimmy Cliff, Discussion 8.1: Reggae, Blues Rock Returns and Southern Rock Peaks, Allman Brothers, Lynyrd Skynyrd, ZZ Top, J. Geils Band, Steely Dan Builds a Cult, In Their Own Words, Technology Spotlight: Heil Talk Box, Screaming Your Way: Aerosmith, Kiss, Ted Nugent, Kiss, Ted Nugent, New Superstars: Springsteen, Seger, Fleetwood Mac, Bob Seger, Fleetwood Mac, Mainstream Rock, Boston, Foreigner, Heart, Bad Company, Meat Loaf, Rush: Doing it their Way, Business Spotlight: Trends, Jimmy Buffett Hits the Beach, Workshop: You Know My Name, Assignment 8: Rock Regionalism, Recap

Week 9 – “The Extreme Rebellion of Punk” – Mar 4th – Mar 10th
Introduction, Historical Perspective, Setting the Scene, The Velvet Underground, MC5, The Stooges, CBGB’s Provides a Home, The Ramones, The Patti Smith Group, Television, Richard Hell & the Voidoids, Talking Heads, Blondie, Suicide, The Cramps, Business Spotlight: Seymour Stein of Sire Records, Discussion 9.1: Rockin’ At CBGB’s, Fanzines, In Their Own Words, Technology Spotlight: Drum Machines, The Sex Pistols Pace British Punk Explosion, The Clash Pick Up the Banner, Rock Against Racism, Quiz 9.1: Fill in the Blank Generation, Other Punks of Note, The Jam, The Buzzcocks, Devo, X, Assignment 9: Three Chords and the Truth?, Recap

Week 10 – “Lennon Shock, New Wave, MTV Superstars, The ’80s Soar Despite Censorship” – Mar 11th – Mar 17th
Introduction, Historical Perspective, The John Lennon Tragedy, From Punk to New Wave: U2 and The Police, The Police, U2, Business Spotlight: Super-Producer Brian Eno, Discussion 10.1: Your Thoughts on U2?, Other Prominent New Wave Acts, Elvis Costello, Cheap Trick, The Cars, The Pretenders, The B-52’s, The Go-Go’s, Squeeze, MTV Changes Everything, MTV Stars: Michael Jackson, Madonna, Prince, and More, Michael Jackson, Madonna, Prince, Billy Idol, Peter Gabriel, ZZ Top, Synth Pop and the New Brit Invasion, Eurythmics, Duran Duran, Culture Club, In Their Own Words, Business Spotlight: Trends, Technology Spotlight: Dawn of the Digital Age, Brits on the Edge, The Cure, Joy Division, Gang of Four, Hard Rock Grows a Sense of Humor, Van Halen, AC/DC, Business Spotlight: Super-Producer Mutt Lange, Rock Censorship Turns Nasty, Discussion 10.2: Rock Censorship, Workshop: You Know My Name, The Mainstream Prospers, Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers, Huey Lewis & the News, Bryan Adams, Assignment 10: Rock Videos, Recap

Week 11 – “Rock’s Social Conscience, Street Poets, Surging Female Stars, Rap Crossover, and Thrash Metal” – Mar 18th – Mar 24th
Introduction, Historical Perspective, Benefit Concerts in Vogue, Live Aid: July 13, 1985 at JFK Stadium in Philadelphia, Farm Aid: Sept. 22, 1985 in Champaign, Illinois, Conspiracy of Hope: June 15, 1986 in New Jersey, Human Rights Now!, Discussion 11.1: Benefit Concerts, Rock’s New Street Poets, Billy Joel, Warren Zevon, John Mellencamp, Tom Waits, Revivals: Blues and Rockabilly, Stevie Ray Vaughan, George Thorogood & the Destroyers, Stray Cats, Musical Spotlight: Give the Bass Player Some!, Sisters Doin’ It For Themselves, Donna Summer, Tracy Chapman, Tina Turner, In Their Own Words, Business Spotlight: Ampitheaters and Another Format Becomes History, Technology Spotlight: Scholz Research & Development, Rock/Rap Crossover, Run-D.M.C., Beastie Boys, Arena Rock Surges, and Hard Rock/Heavy Metal Returns, Hair Metal Brings the Ooze, Mötley Crüe, Bon Jovi, New King of the Hill, Thrash Metal Slams In, Metallica, Slayer, ’80s Surprises, Quiz 11.1: The Late 1980s, Decade’s Positive Climax: Bonnie Raitt, Assignment 11: New Attitudes, Recap

Week 12 – “More from the ’90s, then the Effect Of 9/11 and Rocking into the 21st Century” – Mar 25th – Mar 31st
Introduction, Historical Perspective, Alt-Rock Comes on Strong, R.E.M., Pixies, Welcome to Grunge, Nirvana, Pearl Jam, Soundgarden, Alice In Chains, Grunge by Association: Smashing Pumpkins, Pushing the Boundaries: Red Hot Chili Peppers, Nine Inch Nails, Flaming Lips, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Nine Inch Nails, Flaming Lips, Business Spotlight: SoundScan Changes the Industry, Dramatic New Voices, Sinead O’Connor, Alanis Morissette, Melissa Etheridge, Amanda Palmer and the Dresden Dolls, Nu Metal and Rap-Metal, Rage Against the Machine, Korn, Limp Bizkit, Linkin Park, Punk-Pop Redux: Green Day, Technology Spotlight: Pro Tools, Watershed Moments at Woodstock ’94 And ’99, Woodstock ’94: Rain, Mud, the Launch Of Green Day, the Coronation of Metallica, and the Feistiness of Aerosmith, Woodstock ’99: An Anger-Filled Festival Erupts with Rap-Metal Bands and a Destructive Finale, More Noteworthy Festivals, Brit Revival with Oasis, Radiohead, and Coldplay, Oasis, Radiohead, Coldplay, Business Spotlight: Napster Jolts the Industry, Discussion 12.1: Alternative Rock, In Their Own Words, Sonic Pastiche: Beck, Garage-Rock & Blues Revival: The White Stripes, Jam Bands Capture Fresh Attention, Phish, Dave Matthews Band, The Black Crowes, Technology Spotlight: A Classic Band on Stage, ’90s/’00s Surprises, Workshop: You Know My Name, Disastrous Effect of 9/11 On Changing Radio Playlists, Rock Goes Country, Rolling Stones Keep Rolling, Long Live Rock: Into the Future, Assignment 12: New Horizons, Recap, Postscript: Sources and Texts