The Beatles, Rolling Stones, Folk, Folk-Rock, Bob Dylan, Simon and Garfunkel
Reading: Rock and Roll: A Social History, Chapters 7, 8, 10, & 11
Students are encouraged to repeat the listening examples in the Listening Links to Lesson 4 as necessary. It would be counterproductive to listen to this great music only once.
Lesson 4 Questions
1. For this writer, The Beatles were the greatest musical group to exist in the 20th century. Much has been written since their break up in 1969. This was expanded in the period following the assassination of John Lennon in December of 1980. The Beatles Anthology television production, subsequent CD and DVD packages, along with new books on the lives and musical contributions of John Lennon, and George Harrison have served to further the explorations of this amazing music group. According to Friedlander, what elements did the Beatles fuse together to develop their own sound?
2. Listen, compare, and contrast the following Beatle’s songs. List stylistic characteristics for each song. How are they different? What (if anything) do they seem to have in common?
a) Please, Please Me
b) I’ll Be Back
c) Norwegian Wood
f) Tomorrow Never Knows
3. Obtain a copy (purchase, locate on the web, or borrow from a library or a friend) of one of the following Beatle albums listed below.
Rubber Soul – the stretched photo seems to be made of Rubber; great songs that belie the December 1965 release date.
Revolver – check out the great collage artwork on the cover by the German artist, friend, and bassist, Klaus Voormann. Amazing variety of styles and influences!
Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band – the entire work stands as one of the greatest albums in all of rock history.
Magical Mystery Tour – soundtrack recordings from the movie on side one, plus superb additional music on side two.
The Beatles – commonly referred to as The White Album, is actually a double album. Eclectic is an understatement.
Abbey Road – their final work together as a band; a masterpiece. Listen for the flow of the songs.
After obtaining your copy of one of the listed Beatle albums, read and respond to the following:
As we have discovered throughout this course, the varied art of music utilizes many different materials in its creation. Listen and describe the contents of each song on your selected album. Do all the songs sound the same (as if they are influenced by one specific genre of music)? Yes or no? Explain.
Next, look at the big picture. View the album as a whole musical experience as opposed to a series of single recordings. Do you notice anything about the programming of the album? Is there any evidence of a conscious consideration given to the order that the songs appear in? Or, is it structured in a random, John Cage-inspired approach? Explain.
4. As examples of music from what was labeled as “The British Invasion” listen to the following recordings featuring some great selections and fine individual talent within the respective bands. Are there any musical characteristics that these bands seem to have in common? Conversely, what characteristics do you notice that seem to distinguish each band from the other?
a) From Belfast, Northern Ireland a band called Them featuring Van Morrison perform the classic rock tune, Gloria.
b) From Hertfordshire, England come The Zombies featuring Rod Argent and the classic, She’s Not There.
c) From Manchester, England The Hollies featuring Graham Nash perform their 1965 hit Bus Stop.
d) From London, The Kinks with brothers Ray and Dave Davies, perform All Day and All Of The Night.
5. What style of music has most influenced the sound of The Rolling Stones? To assist you with your response, listen to and describe the following Rolling Stones songs:
a) “2120 South Michigan Avenue” (a collective composition that started as a jam by the entire band–the composer name “Nanker Phelge” is actually a pseudonym for songs composed by the entire ban such as this one ) The recording featured Bill Wyman – bass, Brian Jones – harmonica, Charlie Watts – drums, Keith Richards – guitar, Mick Jagger – percussion, and Ian Stewart – organ.
2120 South Michigan Avenue
b) “I Can’t Be Satisfied” (Waters) original Chess Records recording by Muddy Waters from 1948
I Can’t Be Satisfied–Muddy Waters
c) “I Can’t Be Satisfied” (a Muddy Waters composition) original studio recording by the Rolling Stones from 1964 featuring Vocals: Mick Jagger, Bottleneck Slide Guitar: Brian Jones, Rhythm Guitar: Keith Richards, Bass: Bill Wyman, Drums: Charlie Watts.
I Can’t Be Satisfied
d) “I Can’t Be Satisfied” – The Rolling Stones live in 2006
“I Can’t Be Satisfied” – The Rolling Stones live in Milan, Italy 2006
6. To contrast the previous questions’ focus on one particular genre, listen and describe what you notice in the following Rolling Stones songs:
a) It’s All Over Now
b) Under My Thumb
c) Street Fighting Man
d) Ruby Tuesday
7. Of what significance was Andrew Loog Oldham to the Rolling Stones?
8. Beyond its obvious humor, explain the relevance of the following newspaper headline: “WOULD YOU LET YOUR DAUGHTER GO WITH A ROLLING STONE?” What sort of image does this present to the public?
9. According to Friedlander (include your own observations if you wish to) describe Mick Jagger’s vocal style and on-stage delivery behavior.
10. According to Friedlander, what four albums “insured the Rolling Stones would forever be considered one of rock and roll’s greatest groups?
11. Who was Woody Guthrie? What were his contributions to music history? What were the topics he dealt with in his songs? In addition to the song I have provided for your listening pleasure, please list two other song titles composed by Woody. As you respond to this question listen to Woody’s performance of his own classic:
a) So Long, It’s Been Good To Know You
12. Who is Pete Seeger? What impact has he had on the history of music? What function or purpose did the Pete Seeger-formed ensemble known as The Weavers dedicate themselves to?
13. Listen to the following selections by the Weavers. Which song do you like best? Why?
b) I’ve Got A Home In That Rock
c) Go Where I Send Thee
d) Goodnight Irene – composed by Huddie Ledbetter (“Leadbelly”) and John Lomax
14. Listen to California Dreamin’ by The Mamas and the Papas. As you listen, list any specific musical styles you happen to recognize as an important component(s) to the song.
15. As principal member of The Lovin’ Spoonful, John Sebastian offered the following contributions to the groups’ sound: as composer, player of guitar, autoharp, harmonica, and as lead vocalist. Listen and list the musical characteristics/styles present in the following two songs by The Lovin’ Spoonful:
a) Do You Believe In Magic?
b) Summer In The City
16. What famous musician was born as Robert Zimmerman?
17. Name the famous record producer who helped many artists (including many African-Americans who were either being completely ignored or taken advantage of by other producers/labels) in jazz, blues, rhythm and blues, and in rock and roll with an opportunity to sign recording contracts that were equitable. Billie Holiday,
Count Basie, Bob Dylan, and Bruce Springsteen are a few who were signed by him.
18. Who(m) were the early musical influences on the young Bob Dylan?
19. According to Friedlander, which Bob Dylan album depicted America full of people struggling against the tide of injustice?
20. What was the “musical surprise” that shocked many folk music fans on Dylan’s 1965 release, Bringing It All Back Home ?
21. Listen and briefly list/describe the musical characteristics and lyric content (main focus/topic or “meaning” behind the words) you hear in each of the following Bob Dylan songs:
a) The Times They Are A-Changin’
b) Subterranean Homesick Blues
c) Positively 4th Street
d) Like A Rolling Stone
Like A Rolling Stone – from 1965 was most significant in that this record (with its duration of over six minutes) proved to break the standard for top forty AM radio stations’ rule of never playing a song over three minutes in length. The Columbia 45 rpm single used very small micro grooves in order to fit it all on one side. Like A Rolling Stone featured a gradual build – the combination of the Dylan’s voice increasing in both volume and intensity with the instruments responding to his stimuli (Al Kooper’s organ playing), raises the level to create one of the greatest finishes in all popular music history. Enjoy!
22. Describe the unique sound of the group known as The Byrds. Listen and describe the differences between Dylan’s original version of Mr. Tambourine Man and their cover version of the classic song. Which version do you prefer? Why?
23. Listen to the song “For What It’s Worth” by the Buffalo Springfield. List and describe the musical characteristics and lyric content of the song. What type (genre/style) of music is this? Buffalo Springfield featured Neil Young and Stephen Stills on guitars and vocals. Stills composed “For What It’s Worth”.
24. According to Friedlander, what folk-rock band proved that essentially acoustic folk-rock could be effective, moving music? This group’s “mellifluous, celestial harmonies” became their stylistic trademark.
25. List the musical characteristics and different styles you hear in the following songs by Crosby, Stills, Nash, and Young:
a) Carry On
b) Teach Your Children
c) Woodstock composed by the amazing singer/songwriter Joni Mitchell
26. According to Friedlander, what are some of the topics/subjects included in the songs of the wonderful vocalist, artist, and composer Joni Mitchell?
27. From Friedlander, “Paul Simon was one of the most consistent, high-quality songcrafters of the sixties and seventies, creating two generations of musically and lyrically sophisticated folk-rooted pop-rock music.”
Listen and describe what happens in each of these songs:
a) Scarborough Fair/Canticle
b) A Simple Desultory Philippic
c) 7 O’Clock News/Silent Night
d) Homeward Bound
After listening and describing what you hear in these songs, explain/respond to this quote from Rock and Roll: Art and Anti-Art, by Nathan Rubin:
“Simon and Garfunkel were not producing better rock and roll but, indeed, something other than rock and roll. . . “
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