American Popular

Larry Starr & Christopher Waterman Copyright © 2003, 2007 by , Inc.

This condensation of AMERICAN : FROM MINSTRELSY TO MP3 is a condensation of the published in English in 2006 and is offered in this condensation by with Oxford University Press, Inc.

Larry Starr is Professor of Music at the University of . His previous publications include Clockwise from top: The Dickinson of Aaron and Joan Copland (2002), A Union of Baez on the road; sings to Diversities: Style in the Music of thousands; Louis (1992), and articles Armstrong and his in American Music, Perspectives ; DJ Jazzy Jeff of New Music, Musical Quarterly, spins records; ‘NSync and Journal of Popular Music in ; Elvis Studies. Christopher Waterman Presley sings and acts. is Dean of the School of Arts and Architecture at the University of , . His previous publications include Jùjú: A Social History and Ethnography of an (1990) and articles in and Music Educator’s Journal.

Larry Starr & Christopher Waterman CONTENTS �

Introduction ...... 3 CHAPTER 1: Streams of Tradition: The Sources of Popular Music ...... 6 CHAPTER 2: Popular Music: Nineteenth and Early Twentieth Centuries ...... 1 2 An Early Pop : ...... 1 9 CHAPTER 3: Popular and : America’s Original Art Form ...... 2 0 CHAPTER 4: : Creating “Musical Standards” ...... 2 6 CHAPTER 5: Early Music of the American South: “Race Records” and “ Music” ...... 3 0 CHAPTER 6: Rhythm & : From to Doo-Wop ...... 3 4 Thornton ...... 3 9 Brown and ...... 4 0 Jazz Gallery ...... 4 4 CHAPTER 7: : Songs of Tradition and Change ...... 5 6 ...... 6 1 CHAPTER 8: Rock ’n’ roll : A Generation’s Identity ...... 6 2 Bob Dylan ...... 7 0 CHAPTER 9: Music: The ...... 7 2 and “” ...... 6 5 CHAPTER 10: : Innovations and Controversies ...... 7 6 The Electric ...... 8 0 CHAPTER 11: � Hip-Hop: The “Rapper’s Delight” ...... 8 2 ...... 8 8 The Message ...... 8 9 CHAPTER 12: � Collaborations: Crossing Cultural Boundaries ...... 9 0 Glossary ...... 9 4 Introduction

opular music, like so much Lacking a mixing board, Prach used will encounter here and of American culture, reflects a karaoke machine and sampled old rappers, folkies and rockers, the a kaleidoscope of contribu­ propaganda speeches “King,” a Prince, and the “Queen of tions,P a cross-fertilization of styles, for his powerful musical condemna­ Soul.” Explained here is in and a blending of dreams. It could tion of the . musical technology, from the solid- hardly be otherwise in this nation hope the pages that follow body to the lossless of immigrants. Arguably the United convey a sense of creative ferment, compression digital file. And read­ States is a perfect musical laborato­ of artistic , and of how Ameri­ ers will learn about the people who ry: take people from every corner of cans, borrowing from diverse musi­ make the music, truly American in the globe, give them freedom to cre­ cal traditions, have made their own their stunning diversity. Theirs are ate. Distribute their effort: by sheet original contributions to humanity’s perhaps the most wonderful stories music, , radio — or, for truly universal language. The reader of all. the younger reader: by Blu-ray Disc, , stream. And what results! European recast with African poly­ textures or blended with a Cuban-flavored habanera (bold­ faced terms are defined in the glos­ sary) or a “refined” rumba. “Cold” bop. “Hot” jazz. “Acid” rock. “Gangsta” rap. We might speak less of a singular American popular mu­ sic than of a constellation of mutu­ ally-enriching American popular “.” borrows from African-American blues, and black stars recast “white” pop. Ask Khmer-American rapper Prach Ly, also known as “praCh,” about American popular music and he’ll speak of growing up with Snoop Dog, Dr. Dre, Run DMC, and Public Enemy on the radio and of cutting gather around the great , seated at the . his first in his parents’ garage. Armstrong grew up in in the early part of the and gave the world a lasting legacy — jazz.

3 Louis Armstrong in a 1931 photo

Consider the African-American As he later wrote: That ’s name was Louis Arm­ child, born in 1901 and living in a day when I was on the wagon strong. He would give the world jazz. poor New Orleans neighborhood. with Morris Karnovsky … we American popular music is the At the seven, with his mother passed a pawn shop which had sound of countless Louis Arm­ and sister in poverty, he found work in its window — an old tarnished strongs sharing the music in their with a family of junk dealers — Rus­ beat up “B” Flat cornet. It cost souls. It spans a matchless range of sian Jewish immigrants nearly as only $5. Morris advanced $2 human experience, from matters poor as his own family. “They on my salary. Then I put aside 50 of the heart — Sinatra bemoaning always warm and kind to me,” he cents each week from my small a lost love “ later would write — indeed, as one pay — finally the cornet was paid of the morning” — to the political scholar later put it, they “virtually in full. Boy, was I a happy kid. protest of adopted him.” The boy would ride performing the “I Feel Like I’m Fixin’ the junk wagon and blow a small tin to Die Rag.” Some tunes propel horn to attract potential customers. couples to the floor, there to

4 Clockwise from upper left: � or jitterbug, hustle or tango. “Without music, life would be a A couple whirls across the dance � depict their muses so mistake,” the German philosopher floor of Harlem’s Savoy Ballroom, � 1953; Dancers “Twist” at New � vividly we can almost believe them wrote. Here ’s Peppermint Lounge, � real: ’ Caroline per­ you will meet many visionaries who 1961; , � haps, ’s , would agree. 1943; Singer-songwriter Rickie � Bob Dylan’s “Absolutely Sweet Ma­ Lee Jones, 1999; Country Joe � rie,” or Rickie Lee Jones’s “Chuck E.” —Michael Jay Friedman McDonald in the late . � And sometimes what resonates is not the girl in the , but the one with whom you first heard it, a long ago.

5 � Streams of Tradition:


Every aspect of popular The European-American Stream gardens provided an idyllic rural music today regarded as experience for an expanding urban ntil the middle of the audience. The pleasure gardens be­ American has sprung , American came one of the main venues for the from imported traditions. popular music was almost dissemination of printed songs by Uentirely European in character. The professional . In the 1760s These source traditions cultural and linguistic dominance of the first American pleasure gardens may be classified into three the English meant that their music opened in Charleston, New York, broad “streams”: European- established early on a kind of “main­ and other cities. stream” around which other styles The English opera tradi­ American music, African- circulated. tion was also popular in America American music, and Latin At the time of the American during the early 19th century. Per­ , professional composers haps the best known is John Gay’s American music. Each of of popular songs in drew The Beggar’s Opera (1728). The main these is made up of many heavily upon ballads. Originally an characters in ballad operas were styles of music, and each oral tradition, ballads were circu­ people, rather than the lated on large sheets of paper called kings and queens of imported op­ has profoundly influenced broadsides. While some broadside eras; the songs were familiar in form the others. ballads were drawn from folk tra­ and content; and the were all dition, many were urban in origin in English rather than Italian. and concerned with current events. The English folk ballad tradition In most cases only the words were thrived in America. In the early provided, with an indication of a tra­ 20th century folklorists were able ditional melody to which they were to record dozens of versions of old to be sung. Balladmongers hawking English ballads in the . the broadsides sang them on the While today these songs are pre­ streets. Composers of broadside served mainly by enthu­ ballads often added a catchy , siasts, the core of the tradition lives a repeated melody with fixed text on in and inserted between verses. music. The thin, nasalized The pleasure garden was the most tone known as the “high lonesome important source of public enter­ sound” continues today as a marker tainment in England between 1650 of southern white identity. and 1850. Large urban parks filled with tree-lined paths, the pleasure

6 A sampling of musical diversity (clockwise from left): “ King” Frank Yankovic; -rock Golem; and other (often -driven) Cajun stylings have profoundly influenced many kinds of American popular music.

Irish, Scottish, and Italian songs was another impor­ performed in two lines with also influenced early American tant aspect of the European influ­ the partners facing each other) that popular music. Copies of Thomas ence on American popular music. form part of the modern folk music Moore’s multivolume collection of Until the late 19th century ­ scene. Irish Melodies were widely circu­ an-American dance was modeled on In addition to songs and dance lated in the United States, and Scot­ styles imported from England and music produced by professional tish songs such as “Auld Lang Syne” the European continent. Country composers, immigration brought also enjoyed wide popularity. By the dances were popular. In the United a wide variety of European folk first of the 19th century, the States the country dance tradition music to America. The mainstream Italian opera was also popular in developed into a plethora of urban of popular song and dance music the United States, and the bel canto and rural, elite and lower-class, black was from early on surrounded by style of operatic had a major and white variants. It continues to­ folk and popular styles brought by effect on the development of popular day in country and western line immigrants from other parts of singing. dances and in the contradances (folk Europe. The descendants of early

7 Clockwise from left: Rhythm and Whitney has sold an estimated 54 million recordings; is considered a of the ; helped pave the transition from blues to early rock ’n’ roll ; died in a plane crash at age 22, but described as “the single most influential creative force in early rock ’n’ roll .”

8 French settlers in tions. In the United States, people Holly. and the maintained their from the Senegambia region of West In contrast to the aesthetics of own musical traditions. Millions appear to have made up a Western , in which a “clear” of Irish and German immigrants large part of the slave population. tone is the ideal, African singers and came to the United States during The , an African-American instrumentalists make use of a wide the 19th century. Between 1880 and invention, was developed from palette of . Buzzing tones 1910 an additional 17 million im­ stringed instruments common in are created by attaching a rattling migrants entered the United States. Senegambia; and certain aspects of device to an instrument, and singers These successive waves of migration blues singing are derived from the frequently use growling and hum­ contributed to the diversity of musi­ (praise singer) traditions of the ming effects, a technique that can cal life. European-derived musical West African savannah. also be heard in African-American styles such as Cajun fiddling, Jewish Certain features of African music genres such as blues, gospel, and klezmer music, and the Polish polka form the core of African-Ameri­ jazz. In West African drumming have each contributed to main­ can music and, by extension, of traditions the lead often stream popular music while main­ American popular music as a whole. plays the lowest-pitched in the taining a solid base in particular Call-and-response forms, in which group. This emphasis on low-pitched ethnic communities. a lead singer and chorus alternate, sounds may be a predecessor of the are a hallmark of African-American prominent role of the drum The African-American Stream musical traditions. In much African in black -and-drum music-making repetition is regarded ensembles and of the “sonic boom Not all immigrants came . as an aesthetic strength, and many bass” aesthetic in rap music. Between one and two million Af­ forms are constructed of short The influence of African musical ricans were forcibly brought to the phrases that recur in a regular cycle. aesthetics and techniques on Ameri­ United States between the 17th and These short phrases are combined can popular music has been pro­ 19th centuries. The areas of western in various ways to produce music of found. Its history reveals both the and central Africa from which slaves great power and complexity. In Afri­ creativity of black musicians and the were drawn were home to hundreds can-American music such repeated persistence of in the music of distinct , languages, and patterns are often called riffs. business and American as a musical traditions. The aesthetic interest of much whole. In the early 20th century Af­ The genesis of African-American African music lies in the interlock­ rican-American and blues music in the United States involved ing of multiple repeating patterns profoundly shaped the mainstream two closely related processes. The to form dense polyrhythmic of American popular song. The “jazz first of these was syncretism, the se­ textures (textures in which many age” of the and the “swing era” lective blending of traditions derived rhythms are going on at the same of the and involved the from Africa and Europe. time). This technique is evident in reworking of African-American was the creation of institutions African-American styles such as dance music to appeal to a white that became important centers of music, particularly the work of middle-class audience. black musical life — the family, the , and the Although country music is typi­ church, the voluntary association, for contemporary cally as a “white” style, the school, and so on. rap recordings. One common West some of its biggest stars have been It is misleading to speak of “black African rhythm pattern has gener­ black, and the styles of country music” as a homogeneous entity. ated many variants in the Ameri­ musicians such as Jimmie Rodg­ African-American culture took dif­ cas, including the “hambone” (a ers, Hank Williams, and Willie ferent forms in , , , syncopated rhythm, at times Nelson were strongly influenced , and the United States, produced by a rhythmic knee and by African-American music. One shaped in each by the particular chest slapping motion) popularized could cite many more examples of mix of African and European source during the rock ’n’ roll era by Bo the influence of on the traditions, and by local social condi­ Diddley, , and Buddy musical “mainstream” of America:

9 Left: Ferdinand “Jelly Roll” Morton called himself the “Originator of Jazz,” and some critics agree. Right: In a 50-year career, percussionist helped popularize mambo and other genres.

1950s rock ’n’ roll was, in large rived in the United States before “Latin tinge” in American jazz. part, rhythm & blues (R&B) music forebears of many white . The next wave of Latin American reworked for a predominantly white The complex history of interaction influence on the music of the United teen music market; the influence of between European-American and States came from . The , rooted in black African-American styles, musicians, tango was influenced by the haba­ gospel and R&B, is heard in the vocal and audiences demonstrates the ab­ nera, Italian and Spanish songs, and style of practically every pop singer, surdity of racism. the songs of gauchos (cowboys). In from Bonnie Raitt and Whitney the United States the ballroom ver­ Houston to and The Latin American Stream sion of the tango, a couple dance fea­ ; the virtuoso guitar turing close contact between part­ style of heavy metal owes a large debt As in the United States, musicians ners and an insistent rhythm, was to the urban blues of in developed a wide popularized around 1914 by dance and Howlin’ Wolf; and rap music, range of styles blending African stars Irene and Vernon Castle. based on African-derived musical music with the traditions of Europe. A subsequent Latin American and verbal traditions, continues to Caribbean, South American, and musical influence was the rumba. provide many white Americans with Mexican traditions have long influ­ The of the ballroom rumba a vicarious experience of “listening enced popular music in the United style that became popular in the in” on black urban culture. States. United States lie in 1920s Cuba. say that, with every The first Latin American style to The rural son — a Cuban parallel passing year, American popular have a major international impact of “country music” — moved to Ha­ music has moved closer to the core was the Cuban habanera. The char­ vana, where it was played by profes­ aesthetic values and techniques acteristic habanera rhythm (eight sional dance bands. These musicians of African music. Yet this is mis­ beat pattern divided 3–3–2) influ­ created a more exciting style by add­ leading, for it directs attention enced late 19th-century ragtime ing rhythms from the rumba, an ur­ away from the fact that African music, and was an important part of ban street drumming style strongly Americans are Americans, that the what the great New Orleans pianist rooted in African traditions. ancestors of black Americans ar­ Ferdinand “Jelly Roll” Morton called

10 A “refined” version of rumba was music include the great singer Celia musicians visited the World’s Co­ introduced to the world by Don Cruz and bandleader Tito Puente. In lumbian Exposition in Azpiazú and his Havana Casino the Sound Machine and later toured throughout the . Azpiazú’s 1929 record­ created a commercially successful United States. The two best-known ing of “El Manicero” (“The Peanut blend of salsa and music, and Mexican-derived styles today are Vendor”) became a huge interna­ “world beat” musicians such as Paul conjunto acordeón (“accordion tional hit. Within a few months of Simon and David Byrne began to band”) music, played in northern its release many dance in experiment with traditional - and ; and the United States had recorded their Cuban rhythms. (“marriage”) music, performed own versions of the song. The rumba The Brazilian is another by ensembles made up of , reached a height of popularity in dance style strongly rooted in Af­ , and . Country and the United States during the 1930s rican music. The variant of samba western music has been influenced and was succeeded by a series of that had the biggest influence in by Mexican styles since at least the Cuban-based ballroom dance fads, the United States was the carioca, 1930s. Mexican immigrants in Cali­ including the mambo (1940s) and a smooth style developed in Rio de fornia have also played an important cha-cha-chá (). Janeiro and boosted in the 1940s by role developing . This Variants of Cuban-based music Carmen Miranda, who appeared in continuing influence is exempli­ in the United States ranged from a series of popular musical . A fied by ’s 1959 hit “La the exciting blend of modern jazz cool, sophisticated style of Brazilian Bamba,” based on a folk tune from and rumba pioneered by Machito music called the bossa nova became Veracruz; the mixture of salsa and and in the 1940s to popular in United States during the guitar-based rock music developed the tourist-oriented style performed early 1960s, eventually spawning in the late 1960s by Carlos by Desi Arnaz’s orchestra on the hit songs such as “The Girl from Santana; recordings of traditional I Love television show. The Ipanema” (1964). Mexican songs by ; 1960s saw the emergence of salsa, Mexican music has long had a and the hard-rocking style of the Los a rumba-based style pioneered by symbiotic relationship with styles Angeles-based band . Cuban and Puerto Rican migrants north of the . At the in . The stars of salsa end of the 19th century Mexican

Left: Part of the original poster advertising guitarist ’s “Live at ” concert. Right: Santana successfully fuses rock, blues, , and salsa elements in his distinctive sound.

11 �


Popular music both shaped The Thomas Dartmouth Rice (1808­ and reflected American 60), a white actor born into a poor he minstrel show, the first family in New York City’s Seventh culture throughout the 19th form of musical and theat­ Ward, demonstrated the potential and early 20th centuries. rical entertainment to be popularity of minstrelsy with the regardedT by European audiences as song “Jim Crow” (1829), the first in­ This period saw the birth of distinctively American in character, ternational American song hit. Rice minstrelsy, the first distinctively featured mainly white perform­ sang this song in while American form of popular ers who blackened their skin and imitating a dance step called the carried out parodies of African- “cakewalk,” an Africanized version culture, the rise of the modern American music, dance, dress, and of the European quadrille. , and rapid dialect. Today blackface minstrelsy Soon after Rice introduced “Jim is regarded with embarrassment or Crow” to New York in 1832, there audience expansion, not least anger. Yet there is reason was a veritable explosion of black- because new technologies that its common interpretation as an face performance in venues ranging enabled the dissemination of expression of racism oversimplifies from theaters to saloons, the latter the diverse meanings it represented. often patronized by a racially mixed music to a national audience. In any case, it would be difficult to audience. Black and mixed-race per­ Some of the song and dance understand American popular mu­ formers were on view in most of the music styles that emerged sic without some knowledge of the local “dives” that featured minstrel minstrel show. performances. The musical and lin­ would influence profoundly The minstrel show emerged from guistic heritage of early minstrelsy U.S. popular music working-class neighborhoods where was just as mixed as its audience and interracial interaction was common. practitioners. The most likely inspi­ throughout the 20th century. Early blackface performers were the ration for “Jim Crow” was not an first expression of a distinctively African-American song but an Irish American , in which folk tune subsequently transformed working-class white youth expressed into an English stage song. their sense of marginalization “Daddy” Rice’s Jim Crow charac­ through an identification with Af­ ter spoke and sang in a dialect based rican-American cultural forms. This on white rural characters (such as does not mean that minstrelsy was the rifleman Davy Crock­ not a projection of white racism, but ett) and partly on the variety of black its meanings were neither fixed nor and Creole dialects heard by Rice unambiguous. as a youngster growing up by the

12 Minstrel shows featured white Seventh Ward docks. From the 1840s through the 1880s people wearing blackface, or even . They often Come, listen all you gals and blackface became the predominant depicted blacks in an unflattering boys, I’se just from Tuckyhoe genre of popular culture in the Unit­ light. By the turn of the 20th I’m goin to sing a little song, My ed States. As the genre was trans­ century, minstrelsy had largely died out, replaced by . name’s Jim Crow formed into the more formally or­ Weel about and turn about and ganized “minstrel show,” much of its do jis so original subversive quality was lost. Eb’ry weel about I jump The 19th-century minstrel show dis­ came routinized, and its portrayal of Jim Crow played many of the themes that will black characters more rigidly stereo­ concern us throughout this survey. typed. This pattern, in which a The Jim Crow character used this Minstrelsy arose during the 1830s new genre of music arises within a hybrid dialect — neither black nor as an expression of a predominantly marginalized community and then white but something in between white urban , which moves into the mainstream of mass — to make fun of pretentious politi­ sought to express its independence popular culture, in the process los­ cians and social elites, introducing by appropriating black style. As min­ ing much of its original rebellious a satirical subtext that Rice’s high- strelsy became a mass phenomenon energy, will be encountered many class targets found threatening. in the decades just before and after times in this book. the American , its form be-

13 Clockwise from top left: Late 19th and early 20th century vaudeville shows combined a variety of acts, including classical and popular musical performers along with comedians, dancers, trained animals and other acts. The format declined in popularity with the rise of the motion picture; , a leading of ragtime music; John Philip Sousa was the leading composer and conductor of American military marches; the “Elmira Cornet Band,” Thirty- third Regiment, of the New York State Volunteers, July 1861.

14 Dance Music and Brass Bands Ballroom dancing focused more — which began in the 1830s with the on uniformity and restraint than cakewalk steps performed by white From the beginning, American pop­ improvisation or the expression of minstrels — intensified, becoming ular music has been closely bound emotion. However, as the 19th cen­ the dominant force in American up with dance. The earliest examples tury progressed, there was a shift popular dance during the first few of published dance music were ­ away from formal dances toward an decades of the 20th century. eled on styles popular in England. increased emphasis on couple danc­ From through the Until the early 20th century, social ing. By the , the , were dancing among white Americans waltz had become the sym­ one of the most important musical was dominated by offshoots of the bol of sophistication and romance. aspects of . Although country dance tradition and by Throughout the 19th century military bands had been around dances such as the waltz, mazurka, there was a continual feedback be­ since the birth of the United States, schottische, and polka, performed tween urban “high-class” and rural they spread rapidly during and after by couples. The adoption of country “low-class” dance styles. Urban the Civil War (1861-65). While a dances by the urban elite was an as­ professional musicians arranged folk number of these regimental bands pect of a common romantic fascina­ dances for mass consumption, and continued to flourish after the war, tion with rural themes. some of the popular songs published many decommissioned musicians The typical setting for dancing by big New York compa­ formed bands in their home commu­ among the upper classes was the nies were adopted into rural dance nities. By 1889 there were over 10,000 ball, organized around pre-selected traditions. The diversity of Ameri­ brass bands in the United States. music played by an orchestra to can popular dance was reinforced by The brass-band movement drew accompany a specific sequence of waves of immigrants from different energy from the interaction of pa­ dances, overseen by a dance mas­ parts of Europe. And the mass in­ triotism and popular culture, and ter, who called out the movements. fluence of African-American dance from the growing force of Ameri­

“March King” John Philip Sousa, center, leads the United States Marine Corps band.

15 can nationalism. The lion’s share popular songs performed in dance and lionized by others for his sup­ of a band’s repertoire consisted of halls, beer gardens, and theaters. posed championing of “authentic” patriotic marches. Brass bands are These new publishing firms African-American music, the real associated with national holidays, — many of them founded by Jew­ situation is more complex. Bland, and their music holds a special sig­ ish immigrants from Eastern Eu­ the product of a comfortable mid- nificance for those who have served rope — had offices along a stretch dle-class home, was determined to in the armed forces. Many bands of ’s 28th Street that achieve the same level of economic also played of the became known as “Tin Pan Alley,” success as his white contemporaries. popular hits of the day. a term that evoked the clanging Like many other black musicians This ability to move between patri­ sound of many simultane­ who sought access to mass markets, otic music and the popular styles ously playing songs in a variety of he had to work through the imagery reinforced the brass band’s role as a keys and . The saw the of blackness already established in community institution. rise of the modern American music mainstream popular music. The most popular bandleader business, an industry that aimed to from the 1890s through World War provide “hits” for an expanding ur­ I was John Philip Sousa (1854-1932). ban mass market. For the first time, Sousa conducted the U.S. Marine a single song could sell more than a Band and later formed a “commer­ million copies. cial” . This band made By the turn of the century vaude­ two dozen hit ­ ville, a popular theatrical form de­ ings between 1895 and 1918. Sousa scended from music hall shows and toured constantly, and the appear­ minstrelsy, had become the most ance of his band created a sensa­ important medium for populariz­ tion that could only be surpassed ing Tin Pan Alley songs. Vaudeville by a presidential “whistlestop” shows consisted of a series of perfor­ tour. (These were named for the mances — singers, acrobats, come­ campaign tours of presidents and dians, jugglers, dancers, animal acts, other political candidates — made and so on. Every city had at least one by rail, they often included the vaudeville theater. “whistlestops,” small stations the Tin Pan Alley songs dominated train normally would bypass unless the American music industry for signaled to stop.) Sousa was one almost 70 years. The romantic par­ of the first musicians to negotiate lor song remained popular, as did royalty payments with publishers, “Irish” and waltz songs. Plantation and an important advocate of copy­ songs, descended from the minstrel right reform. song tradition, were also popular. One of the best-known and most The Birth of Tin Pan Alley successful composers of plantation songs was James A. Bland (1854­ One of many sheet music publishing By the end of the 19th century, the 1911), the first commercially suc­ houses lining New York City’s West American music publishing busi­ cessful black songwriter. Bland 28th Street (“Tin Pan Alley”) between ness had become centered in New wrote some 700 songs and became 1885 and the mid-20th century. York City. The established publish­ popular in Europe. In stylistic terms, The street possibly acquired its nickname because some likened the ers, who had made their fortunes Bland’s songs are similar to those of clashing sound of many pianos playing in and genteel parlor his white contemporaries. Although different tunes to that of a child songs, were, from around 1885 on, Bland has been criticized by some banging on a tin pan. challenged by smaller companies later observers for pandering to specializing in the more exciting white misconceptions about blacks

16 for the original program of “!,” the seminal Broadway musical that marked the first collaboration between the composer and /librettist Oscar Hammerstein II .

Top: Sheet music cover for “Alexander’s Ragtime Band,” (1911) the composer ’s first big hit. Right: The artist Jay Campbell Phillips depicted, often stereotypically, southern African Americans, including the banjo strumming example depicted here.

A performance of ’s “American folk opera” (1935). An , the work fuses jazz and blues elements into an operatic form.

17 The Ragtime Craze, 1896–1918

This same period saw the intensifi­ cation of African-American musical influence, a trend best represented by ragtime. Ragtime emerged in the 1880s, its popularity peaking in the after the turn of the century. In some regards the ragtime craze was a descendant of minstrelsy, but the ragtime style also represented a more intimate engagement with African-American musical tech­ niques and values, due to the in­ creasing involvement of black song­ writers and performers in the music industry. The word “ragtime” derives from the African-American term “to rag,” meaning to enliven a piece of music by shifting melodic accents onto Irving Berlin entertaining Women’s the offbeats (a technique known as The growing market for ragtime Army Corps members during the ). This technique has songs at the turn of the century Second World War. the effect of intensifying the beat suggests a continuation of the white and creating rhythmic momentum. fascination with African-American The basic patterns of ragtime music music first evinced in minstrelsy. Ragtime is an interesting example were transferred from the banjo, Tin Pan Alley composers simply of the complex crosscurrents of a stringed instrument developed added syncopated rhythms and er­ American musical history: rooted by slave musicians from African satz black dialects to spice up bland in the mastery of European musical prototypes. Ragtime was also influ­ popular tunes. The idea was to create forms by talented black musicians, enced by Latin American rhythms songs enough to stimulate the the style circulated across boundar­ such as the Cuban habanera and by audience’s interest but not so radical ies of race, class, region, and genera­ music. During the that they required a great deal of tion and was put to different uses by height of its popularity, from the work on the listener’s part. Just as various communities. late 1890s until the end of World the songs performed by blackface War I, ragtime music was played by minstrels were European in style, every imaginable type of ensemble: most popular ragtime songs were dance bands, brass bands, country march-style songs with “irregular” string bands, symphony orchestras, rhythms added for effect. banjo and ensembles, and, Some young white Americans in the classic ragtime style, by solo associated themselves with rag­ pianists. time to rebel against the cultural conservatism of their parents and other authority figures, a pattern that became even more prominent during the of the 1920s and the rock ’n’ roll era of the 1950s.

18 Stephen Foster �

tephen Collins Foster (1826-64) is the first creating simple but compelling combinations of melody important composer of American popular song and text, later referred to as “hooks.” His compositions Sand the first American to make his living as a were heard everywhere: in saloons, theaters, variety full-time professional songwriter. His earliest musical shows, and band concerts. His biggest hit, “Old Folks at experiences growing up on the western frontier near Home,” sold 100,000 sheet music copies in 1851. This is were dominated by the sentimental song equal to a million-seller today. Some of Foster’s songs tradition, considered a mark of gentility by upwardly became part of American oral tradition, passed from mobile Americans. Foster also incorporated into his generation to generation. work the various song styles popular in mid-century Foster’s success as a “hit maker” depended on the America: ballads, Italian light opera, Irish and German public’s ability to read the arrangements of his songs songs, and minstrel songs. Foster was a master at published on sheet music and in songbooks. During this period, people often performed music in their homes. The piano remained a center of domestic music-making in the United States until the 1920s, when commercial radio was introduced. Foster’s life ended in obscurity and poverty at the age of 37. His first success, “Oh! Susanna,” was sold to a for $100. The publisher made thousands of dollars from the worldwide hit, but no more money went to Foster. a typical situation, for the covered the rights of music firms but not those of the composers of songs.

19 �


Jazz music was the anthem dmittedly, the ability of traditions, both sacred (the spiritu­ for the first well-defined youth to indulge in the als) and secular (the blues). sorts of up-to-date pas­ The New Orleans-born cornet­ American youth culture. timesA portrayed in Hollywood films ist and singer Louis Armstrong is Rebelling against the horrors and novels such as F. Scott Fitzger­ commonly credited with establish­ ald’s The Great Gatsby was strongly ing certain core features of jazz of mechanized warfare and affected by their position in society — particularly its rhythmic drive the straitlaced morality of — after all, not everyone could afford or swing and its emphasis on solo the 19th century, millions luxury automobiles, champagne, instrumental virtuosity. Armstrong and top-flight dance orchestras. also profoundly influenced the de­ of college-age Americans However, jazz’s attraction as a sym­ velopment of mainstream popular adopted jazz as a way to mark bol of sensuality, freedom, and fun singing during the 1920s and 1930s. does appear to have transcended Armstrong emerged as an influen­ their difference from their the boundaries of region, ethnicity, tial musician on the local scene in parents’ generation. and class, creating a precedent for the years following , phenomena such as the swing era, and subsequently migrated to Chi­ rhythm & blues, and rock ’n’ roll . cago to join of his mentor Jazz, one of America’s original King (Joe) Oliver, playing on what art forms, emerged in New Orleans, are regarded by many critics as the , around 1900. New Or­ first real jazz records. leans’s position as a gateway between In 1924 Armstrong joined the United States and the Caribbean, ’s band in New its socially stratified population, and York City, pushing the band in the its strong residues of colonial French direction of a hotter, more improvi­ culture, encouraged the formation satory style that helped to create the of a hybrid musical culture unlike synthesis of jazz and ballroom dance that in any other American city. music that would later be called Jazz emerged from the confluence of swing. By the 1930s Armstrong was New Orleans’s diverse musical tradi­ the best–known black musician in tions, including ragtime, marching the world, as a result of his record­ bands, the rhythms used in Mardi ings and and radio appearances. Gras and funerary processions, Armstrong’s approach was shaped French and Italian opera, Caribbean by the aesthetics of early New Or­ and Mexican music, Tin Pan Alley leans jazz, in which the cornet or songs, and African-American song trumpet player usually held the re­

20 Clockwise from left: jazz stars have become national icons, even depicted on postage stamps; Members of the New Wave at the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival; “America’s classical music” is inextricably linked to the African American experience. Here a student works on a Dr. Martin Luther King Day mural.

21 sponsibility of stating the melody of frequency in fancy downtown caba­ end of the decade (five brass instru­ the song being played. Throughout rets and hotel ballrooms (although ments, five reed instruments, four his career Armstrong often spoke they could enter these places only as violins, and a five-piece rhythm sec­ of the importance of maintaining employees, not customers). During tion). In 1927 Whiteman began to a balance between improvisation the late 1920s white jazz fans began hire some of the leading white jazz (or “routining,” as he called it) and to frequent in African- musicians of the time, including the straightforward treatment of the American neighborhoods. In New brilliant cornetist melody. “Ain’t no sense in playing a York’s Harlem and the South Side of and the Dorsey brothers (Jimmy and hundred notes if one will do,” Arm­ Chicago, these “black and tan” caba­ Tommy), who would later achieve strong is reported to have said on his rets offered their predominantly success as bandleaders in the Swing 70th birthday. white clientele an array of jazz mu­ Era. At concerts and dances he used sic. Performing at Harlem’s famous a small “band-within-a-band,” made Dance Music in the “Jazz Age” , the great jazz pianist up of the best jazz musicians in and composer de­ his orchestra, to play “hot” music. Although jazz was initially regarded veloped a style that he called “jungle Whiteman hired pioneering dance by the music industry as a passing music,” featuring dense textures and band arrangers — and fad, its impact on the popular music dark, growling timbres. Bill Challis — to craft his band’s mainstream represented an impor­ “book” (library of music), and he tant cultural shift. A new subculture “The King of Jazz” helped to promote jazz-influenced emerged from the white upper and crooners such as . middle classes, symbolized by the The most successful dance band “jazz babies” or “flappers” (eman­ of the 1920s was the Ambassador “The King of Swing” cipated young women with short Orchestra, led by . skirts and bobbed ) and “jazz­ Whiteman’s role in the history of Beginning in 1935, a new style of bos” or “sheiks” (young men whose jazz is ambiguous. On the one hand, jazz-inspired music called “swing,” cool yet sensual comportment was he promoted a watered-down, “safe” initially developed in the late 1920s modeled on the film star Rudolph version of jazz to the public. On the by black dance bands in New York, Valentino). This movement involved other hand, Whiteman did make Chicago, and Kansas City, trans­ a blend of elements from “high some important contributions, formed American popular music. culture” — the novels of F. Scott widening the market for jazz-based The word “swing” (like “jazz,” Fitzgerald, the paintings of Pablo dance music (and paving the way “blues,” and “rock ’n’ roll ”) derives Picasso, the plays of Eugene O’Neill for the Swing Era), hiring brilliant from African-. — and from popular culture, par­ young jazz players and arrangers, First used as a verb for the fluid, ticularly styles of music, dance, and and establishing a level of profes­ “rocking” rhythmic momentum cre­ speech modeled on black American sionalism that was widely imitated ated by well-played music, the term prototypes. The idea of the jazz age by dance bands on of was used by extension to refer to an was promoted by the , the color line. He also defended jazz emotional state characterized by a especially by Hollywood. against its moral critics (whom he sense of freedom, vitality, and en­ Following on the heels of rag­ called “jazz-klanners”) and carried joyment. References to “swing” and time, the jazz craze represented the on aspects of the brilliant African- “swinging” are common in the titles intensification of African-American American musician Jim Europe’s and lyrics of jazz records made dur­ influence on the musical tastes and vision of a symphonic version of ing the 1920s and early 1930s. buying of white Americans. jazz. (The 1924 debut of George Ger­ provides us with While it did increase opportunities shwin’s Rhapsody in featured a window onto the cultural values for some black musicians, the world Whiteman’s band.) and social changes of the of dance orchestras remained strict­ The Ambassador Orchestra, era. The basic ethos of swing music ly segregated. African-American which comprised only 10 players was one of unfettered enjoyment, musicians appeared with increasing in 1920, had expanded to 19 by the “swinging,” “having a ball.” The au­

22 Clockwise from left: Jazz composer, pianist, and bandleader Duke Ellington; the band leader Paul Whiteman popularized a less improvised, more “respectable” form of jazz; trumpeter John Birks “Dizzy” Gillespie pioneered and Afro-Cuban jazz.

23 dience for swing spanned the , and progressive members of clarinetist named boundaries that separated ethnic the educated elite. (1909–1986) embarked on a tour of groups, natives and immigrants, For the swing era, the mythic California. Goodman was not only southerners and northerners, city “founding moment” occurred a skilled jazz improviser but also a dwellers and country folk, the work­ in the summer of 1935, when a strict disciplinarian, insisting that ing class, the expanding middle dance band led by a young jazz his musicians play their parts with

From left: The composer, lyricist, and pianist (seated) performed his distinctive mix of ragtime, jazz, and popular music well into his nineties. Louis Armstrong said of cornetist Bix Beiderbecke (1903–1931): “Lots of tried to play like Bix; ain’t none of them play like him yet.” Frank Sinatra (left) and Bing Crosby, considered by many the two finest “crooners.”

Left: Bandleader Guy Lombardo’s (1902 – 1977) popular New Year’s telecasts became a national tradition. Right: The Dorsey brothers, Tommy, on , left, and Jimmy, alto saxophone, right, each led influential bands. Their 1950s television show Stage Show helped introduce Elvis Presley to a national audience.

24 perfect precision. The Goodman 1920s and early 1930s black dance Neither jazz nor its far-reaching band’s appearances on the national bands in Kansas City had developed influence on American music and Let’s Dance radio broadcasts and its their own distinctive approach to culture ended in the 1930s, how­ hot syncopated style built a sizable playing hot dance music. Kansas ever. Swing, also known as following. City-style was more closely linked music, grew out of and was strongly In a seeming echo of the hype to the tradition than influenced by jazz. Beyond swing, surrounding Paul Whiteman’s pub­ the style of the New York bands, every succeeding generation of mu­ lic image, the press crowned Benny and it relied more heavily upon riffs sicians has defined its own style of Goodman the “King of Swing.” (repeated patterns). One important jazz, responding to and challenging However, there are several big dif­ influence on the rhythmic concep­ the aural legacy that began in New ferences between the so-called tion of the K.C. bands was the boo­ Orleans. Bebop, , fusion kings of jazz and swing. While gie-woogie blues piano tradition, in jazz, , and are just a Whiteman remained a classical which the pianist typically plays a few of the varieties that have grown musician all his life, Goodman was repeated pattern with his left hand, from the original tree of sound. in fact a fine (if often under-rated) down in the low range of the piano, improviser who studied jazz closely. while improvising polyrhythmic While Whiteman’s band played patterns in his right hand. syncopated ballroom dance music Another prominent swing in a style that borrowed its name era band was the Duke Ellington from jazz, Goodman’s really was a Orchestra, led by Edward Ken­ jazz band, performing music closely nedy “Duke” Ellington (1899–1974), modeled on the innovations of Afri­ widely regarded as one of the most can-American musicians, compos­ important American musicians of ers, and arrangers. And while Paul the 20th century. Ellington was an Whiteman’s dance orchestras of the experimenter. He devised unusual 1920s never included musicians of musical forms, combined instru­ color, Goodman was the first promi­ ments in unusual ways, and created nent white bandleader to hire black complex, distinctive tone colors. players, beginning with the pianist A third leading swing band was Teddy Wilson in 1936 and followed that of (1904–1944). by the brilliant young electric gui­ From 1939 until 1942 the Miller tarist , vibraphon­ Orchestra was the most popular ist , and trumpeter dance band in the world, breaking Cootie Williams. and concert attendance Although big bands relied heavily records. Miller developed a peppy, on arrangements of popular Tin Pan clean-sounding style that appealed Alley songs, the blues—with its 12­ to small-town midwestern people bar structure, three-chord pattern, as well as to the big-city, East and blue notes, and call-and-response West Coast constituency that had patterns—also remained a mainstay previously sustained swing music. of swing music. Of all the big bands, In terms of sheer popular success, the one most closely associated with the Miller band marked the apex of the blues tradition was led by the the swing era, racking up 23 Num- jazz pianist William “Count” Basie ber-One recordings in a little under (1904–84). Basie, born in New Jer­ four years. sey, gained much of his early experi­ ence as a player and bandleader in Kansas City, Missouri. During the

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During the 1920s and 1930s The American “Musical Standard” section should at some point be fol­ professional tunesmiths, lowed by a contrasting section with uring the 1920s and 1930s, different chords, words, and melody working within a set of forms composers and (the bridge), and that the perfor­ inherited from 19th-century fused earlier song struc­ mance would likely end with the turesD to produce a verse- form A section heard again. Composers, popular music and influenced which, in the hands of more inven­ singers, and arrangers — the indi­ by the craze for ragtime and tive composers, allowed for all sorts viduals whose choice of key, , jazz music, wrote some of of interesting variations. While the instrumental , and verse came to be regarded as mere so on matched a given singer’s vo­ the period’s most influential introduction, the refrain, the part cal strengths to a particular song and commercially successful that is usually considered “the song,” — became adept at fulfilling these songs. These composers, typically comprised four sections of expectations while introducing equal length, in the pattern A B B A. just enough unexpected variation many of them Jewish • The A section presents the main to keep the listener’s attention. The immigrants, found in music an melody, the basic pattern of the best Tin Pan Alley composers could lyrics, and a set of chord changes to work creatively within these struc­ industry comparatively free of support them. tural limitations. the social prejudice that often • The music of the A section is then Tin Pan Alley songs did not, blocked their advancement repeated with new lyrics; often by and large, deal directly with some slight melodic changes will the troubling issues of their times; in other fields. Their efforts be introduced, making this A, i.e., popular songs and the musical plays yielded many standards, songs a variation of A. and films in which they appeared in­ • The B section, or “bridge,” is then stead typically aimed to help people that have remained in active introduced. The bridge presents escape the pressures of daily life. circulation until this day. new material — a new melody, Both in lyrical content and perfor­ chord changes, and lyrics. mance style, the Tin Pan Alley song • Finally, the A melody and chord explored the ideal of romantic love. changes are repeated with new Unlike the old European ballads — lyrics and sometimes with further in which of characters was melodic alterations or with an ad­ often narrated from a vantage point dition called a “tag,” producing an outside the singer’s own experience A, a second variation of A. — the first-person lyrics characteris­ Listeners familiar with this form tic of Tin Pan Alley songs (suggested might typically expect that an A in such song titles as “What’ll ?,”

26 “Why Love You?,” “I Get A Kick the mid-1920s, is an altogether dif­ Irving Berlin, born , or Isa­ Out of You,” and “Somebody Loves ferent sort of musical experience, a dore Baline (1888-1989) arrived with Me”) allowed the listener to identify private experience. The singer’s silky, his family on New York City’s Lower his or her personal experience more gentle, nuanced voice invites you to East Side at the age of four, a refugee directly with that of the singer. Tin share the most intimate of confidenc­ from the Russian pogroms. He was Pan Alley songwriters by and large es; it speaks to you alone. Sometimes, on the streets by age eight, selling adopted a down-to-earth manner the listener imaginatively enters the , and at 14 he left home of speech, as in songs like “Jeepers voice of the singer, and a kind of ­ for good. He worked as a guide for Creepers, Where’d You Get Those chological fusion occurs between a blind street musician, as a saloon Peepers?,” that suggested that any two individuals who will never actu­ pianist, and as a singing waiter. working stiff could experience the ally meet face to face. The song that first brought Ber­ bliss of romantic love or, through the lin mass acclaim was “Alexander’s “torch song,” suffer the heartbreak of Giants of Tin Pan Alley Ragtime Band,” published in 1911. a romance gone sour. It sold 1.5 million copies almost im­ The development of a singing style Jewish immigrants, particularly from mediately. Like other Tin Pan Alley called crooning reinforced these central and , played a composers, Berlin wrote songs for links between popular music and central role in the early 20th-cen­ the Broadway stage and for the new personal experience. Listening to the tury music business, as composers, medium of (he wrote early recordings of vaudeville per­ lyricists, performers, publishers, and music for 18 films). An Irving Berlin formers such as or Al promoters. In vaudeville and then song, “Blue Skies,” was performed Jolson, whose exaggerated styles were throughout the entertainment in­ by in . The developed for performances in large dustry, they often encountered less 1942 film introduced theaters, one feels that one is being anti-Semitism than was present in one of Berlin’s most successful songs, “sung at” (sometimes even “shouted other established . As a “White Christmas,” and music for at”). A Bing Crosby or result, many, but by no means all of the 1946 Broadway musical Annie recording, made after the introduc­ the era’s most successful songwriters Get Your Gun, composed by Berlin, tion of the electric microphone in were Jews. probably included more hit songs

Left to right: Eddie Cantor was a favorite of Broadway, radio, and early television audiences. Originally a secretary, Ethel Merman (1908– 1984), transitioned first to vaudeville then debuted in the Gershwin brothers musical Girl Crazy (1930), which also marked the debut of Ginger Rogers.

27 Left: George Gershwin penned classical and jazz standards and, with his brother, the lyricist Ira Gershwin, many of the tunes that today comprise “The .” Right: Composer , seated, with lyricist partner Lorenz Hart. After Hart’s death, Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein II would create a second string of smash hit Broadway musicals, including the revolutionary Oklahoma!

Left: Eleanor Powell and Fred Astaire dance to “Begin the Beguine,” a 1938 hit recorded by the clarinetist and His Orchestra and written by , right, whose sophisticated rhythms and complex musical forms marked him as one of America’s leading songwriters.

28 than any other show (“They Say It’s mainstream popular, and African- a period of virulent racism, and the Wonderful,” “The Girl That I Marry,” American stylistic influences — a emergence of a truly national popu­ “Doin’ ,” and synthesis that remains his own but lar culture. These songs no longer “There’s Like Show that also celebrates the wide diver­ dominate popular taste as they used Business,” among others). Berlin was sity of American culture. to. Nonetheless, they continue to the most prolific and consistent of Cole Porter (1891-1964) was be rediscovered by new generations Tin Pan Alley composers, with an born into a wealthy Indiana family of musicians and listeners. Tin Pan active songwriting career spanning and studied classical music at Yale, Alley and the singing style known almost 60 years. Harvard, and the Schola Cantorum as crooning were important (if often The career and achievements in Paris. His lasting contributions unrecognized) influences on rhythm of George Gershwin, born Jacob to the “American songbook” include & blues and rock ’n’ roll during the Gershowitz (1898-1937), the son of “Night and Day,” “I Get a Kick Out 1950s and 1960s. Many Tin Pan Al­ an immigrant leatherworker, are of You,” and “I’ve Got You Under My ley songs are still used by contem­ unique. At the time of his tragically Skin.” Richard Rogers (1902-1979), porary jazz musicians as a basis for early death at the age of 38 (from a who produced many of the period’s improvising. Current pop stars still brain tumor), he was already world finest songs in collaboration with perform them — for example, Elvis famous, and to this day he remains lyricists Lorenz Hart (1895-1943) Costello’s recording of “My Funny probably the most widely known of and Oscar Hammerstein II, was the Valentine” (composed by Richard American composers. Alone among college-educated son of a doctor and Rodgers and Lorenz Hart), Willie his many distinguished Tin Pan a pianist. Among his hits were “Isn’t Nelson’s version of “Blue Skies” (Ir­ Alley contemporaries, Gershwin It Romantic” and “Blue Moon.” ving Berlin), ’s with Frank sought and achieved success in the The songs written by these Sinatra on “I’ve Got You Under My world of concert music (“Rhapsody men and a few others represent an Skin” (Cole Porter), and the Smash­ ,” “An American in Paris”) as achievement in terms of both quality ing Pumpkins’ revival of “My Blue well as popular music. Together with and quantity that appears extraordi­ Heaven” in 1996. In the early 1990s his brother the lyricist Ira Gershwin, nary to this day. Many of their finest the veteran crooner George composed scores of Tin Pan efforts fed the long-standing and appeared on MTV’s Unplugged se­ Alley classics, including standards mutually beneficial relationship be­ ries, finding a new audience among like “I Got Rhythm,” “Fascinating tween Tin Pan Alley and the nearby fans of “alternative” music, who Rhythm,” and “Oh, Lady Be Good!” Broadway theaters, which enjoyed valued the combination of ­ Both Gershwin’s popular songs great success featuring musical re­ tional intensity and sophistication and his “classical” works demon­ vues and “Follies” which, with their in Bennett’s style and in many of the strate a sophisticated incorporation sequences of diverse skits, songs, old standard songs themselves. of stylistic devices derived from Af­ dances, and performers, were an ob­ rican-American sources — such as vious successor to vaudeville. Berlin, syncopated rhythms and blue notes Porter, the Gershwin brothers, Rod­ — that far surpasses the rather su­ gers and Hart, and other prominent perficial use of such devices in most songwriters of this period all wrote other white American music of the the scores to Broadway shows. time. Gershwin’s greatest composi­ Popular song both reflected tion, Porgy and Bess (1935), which and helped to shape the profound he called an “American folk opera,” changes in American society during represents his most thoroughgo­ the 1920s and 1930s: the intermix­ ing synthesis of European classical, ing of high and low cultures, the adoption of new technologies and expansion of corporate , the increasingly intimate interaction of white and black cultures during

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R 5ETPAHC Early Music of the American South: “RACE RECORDS” AND “HILLBILLY MUSIC” �

The terms race and hillbilly were lthough a clear distinc­ Race Records used by the American music tion was drawn between industry from the early 1920s race music and hillbilly The music industry’s discovery of musicA — each of which comprised black music (and southern music in until the late 1940s to classify dozens of specific styles — the two general) can be traced to a set of re­ and advertise southern music. had a number of important features cordings made in 1920, featuring the “Race records” were recordings in common. Both bodies of music black vaudeville performer Mamie originated mainly in the American Smith (1883-1946). Perry Bradford, a of performances by African- South and were rooted in long­ successful black songwriter and mu­ American musicians produced standing folk music traditions. As sic store owner, brought Smith to the mainly for sale to African- they entered the mass marketplace, attention of the Okeh Record Com­ both blended these older rural mu­ pany. A record that featured Smith American listeners. “Hillbilly” or sical styles with aspects of national performing two of Bradford’s songs “old-time” music, on the other popular culture, including the min­ was released in July 1920, and al­ hand, was performed by, and strel show, vaudeville, and the musi­ though Okeh made no special effort cal forms, poetic themes, and perfor­ to promote it, sales were unexpect- mainly intended for sale to, mance styles of Tin Pan Alley pop. southern whites. Although there Race music and hillbilly music both were some exceptions, the music grew out of the music industry’s ef­ forts to develop alternative markets industry in general reflected during a national decline in record patterns of segregation more sales and were disseminated across widespread in American society. the country by new media — includ­ Paradoxically, these records were ing electric recording, radio, and sound film — and by the process of also one of the main means by urban migration, which affected the which music flowed across the lives of millions of rural Americans boundaries of race. during the 1920s and 1930s. And both bodies of music provided the basis for forms of popular music that emerged after World War II (rhythm & blues, country and western, and Blues singer Stavin’ Chain on guitar, Lafayette, Louisiana, 1934. His name rock ’n’ roll ), extending their appeal may refer to encircling across regional and, in the end, in­ often black prisoners’ ankles as they ternational boundaries. labored in deep South chain gangs.

30 edly high. Smith reentered the stu­ dio two months later and recorded “Crazy Blues,” backed with the song “It’s for You (If You Don’t Get It … ‘Tain’t No Fault of Mine).” Okeh advertised “Crazy Blues” in black communities and sold an as­ tounding 75,000 copies within one month (at that time, 5,000 sales of a given recording allowed a record company to recoup its production costs, meaning that any further re­ cord sales were almost all profit). ’s records were soon available at music stores, drugstores, furniture stores, and other outlets in northern and midwestern cities, and throughout the Deep South. The promotional catchphrase “race music” was first applied by (1892-1960), a Missouri-born talent scout for Okeh Records who had worked as an assistant on Ma­ mie Smith’s first recording sessions. Although it might sound derogatory today, the term “race” was used in a positive sense in urban African- American communities during the 1920s and was an early example of black nationalism; an individual who wanted to express pride in his heritage might refer to himself as “a race man.” The term was soon picked up by other companies and Among the most popular blues vocalists was also widely used by the black of the 1920s and press. The performances released 1930s, on race records included a variety of (1894–1937) influenced musical styles — blues, jazz, gospel profoundly subsequent , vocal , string bands, generations of jazz singers. and jug-and-washboard bands — as well as oral performances such as sermons, stories, and comic rou­ tines. Not all recordings featuring African-American artists were auto­ matically classified as race records. For example, recordings by black dance orchestras or jazz bands with a substantial white audience were

31 listed in the mainstream pop record compared with the mainstream was during this period that the first catalogs. A few records by African- record market, especially consider­ generation of national black music American artists even found their ing that many black people lived in stars emerged, including Bessie way into the hillbilly catalogs. poverty. Many young people in these Smith, , and The emergence of race records communities thus grew up with the . set a pattern that has been repeated sound of a phonograph as part of many times in the history of Ameri­ their everyday experience. Migrants Early Country Music: can popular music, in which talent­ from rural communities who had Hillbilly Records ed entrepreneurs, often connected relocated to urban centers returned with small, independent record periodically, bringing with them “Hillbilly music,” later rechristened labels, take the lead in exploring and the latest hit records and creating a “country and western music” or promoting music outside the com­ continual flow of musical styles and simply “country music,” developed mercial mainstream. tastes between city and country. mainly out of the folk songs, ballads, The 1920s also saw the emergence It is clear that the music busi­ and dance music of immigrants from of African-American-owned record ness did not create race music or its the British Isles. The first generation companies. The first of these was intended audience out of thin air. It of hillbilly recording artists was also Black Swan, founded in 1921 in New would be more accurate to say that familiar with the sentimental songs York by Harry Pace. In announcing the basis for an African-American of Tin Pan Alley, and this mate­ the new company, Pace stated that audience already existed and the rial became an important part of the it intended to meet “a legitimate companies, hungry for new markets, country music repertoire, alongside and growing demand” among the 12 moved to exploit (and in some cases the older Anglo-American ballads million people of African descent in to shape) this sense of a distinctive and tunes. the United States. black identity. This process in turn Interestingly, it was the race re­ By 1927 a total of some 500 race helped to create a truly national cord market, established in the early records were being issued every African-American musical culture 1920s, that led to the first country year. Throughout the 1920s African — for the first time, people living music recordings. The first com­ Americans bought as many as 10 in New York City, Gary (Indiana), mercially successful hillbilly record, million blues and gospel record­ Jackson (Mississippi), and Los Ange­ featuring a north Georgia musician ings a year, almost one per person, les could hear the same phonograph named Fiddlin’ John Carson, was an astonishingly high figure when records at around the same time. It made by Okeh Records in 1923

Left: A concert marks the 75th anniversary of the 1927 “,” when Ralph Peer recorded Appalachian region “hillbilly music” artists, among them Jimmie Rodgers and the . Right: The “Texas Troubadour” Ernest Dale Tubb helped launch the -tonk style of country music.

32 during a recording expedition to wings of an angel, over these prison the most versatile, progressive, and . This field trip, led by Ralph walls I would fly.” This was the first widely influential of all the early Peer and a local record store owner big hillbilly hit, a million-seller that country recording artists. The ex- named Polk Brockman, was contributed to the success of the railroad brakeman from Meridian, aimed at locating new material for fledgling country music industry. Mississippi, celebrated the allure of the race record market. Two of the most popular acts of the open road and chronicled the The new medium of radio was early country music were the Carter lives of men who forsook the ben­ in fact crucial to the rapid growth Family and Jimmie Rodgers. The efits of a settled existence: ramblers, of the hillbilly music market. In Carter Family, born in the isolated , gamblers, convicts, cowboys, 1920 the first commercial radio foothills of the Clinch Mountains railway men, and feckless lovers. His station in the United States (KDKA of , are regarded as one of influence can be seen in the public in Pittsburgh) began broadcasting, the most important groups in the images of Hank Williams, Waylon and by 1922 there were more than history of country music. The leader Jennings, , and almost 500 stations nationwide, including of the trio was A. P. “Doc” Carter every contemporary male country 89 in the South. Many farmers and (1891-1960), who collected and ar­ music star. working-class people who could not ranged the folk songs that formed the Both race and hillbilly music afford to buy new phonograph re­ inspiration for much of the group’s represent a process of hybridiza­ cords were able to purchase a radio repertoire; he also sang bass. His tion between southern folk music on a monthly installment plan and wife, Sara (1899-1979), sang most of and Tin Pan Alley pop. The singers thereby gain access to a wide range the lead vocal parts and played auto- may stand at some distance from of programming. or guitar. Sister-in-law Maybelle the rural origins evoked by their Most hillbilly musicians of the (1909-78) sang , played steel songs, yet are able to perform in 1920s and 1930s did not start out guitar and autoharp, and developed a style respectful of those origins. as full-time professional musicians. an influential guitar style, which Finally, many of the recordings are The country music historian Bill C. involved playing the melody on the early examples of a phenomenon Malone has noted that the majority bass strings while brushing the upper that will become more important as worked as textile mill workers, coal strings on the off-beats for rhythm. on through the history of miners, farmers, railroad men, cow­ The Carter Family were not pro­ American popular music: the cross­ boys, carpenters, wagoners, paint­ fessional musicians when their re­ over hit, that is, a record that moves ers, common laborers, barbers, and cording career started in 1927 — as from its origins in a local culture or even an occasional lawyer, doctor, Sara put it when she was asked what marginal market to garner a larger or preacher. One important excep­ they did after the Bristol session, and more diverse audience via the tion to this rule was “Why, home and planted mass media. (1883-1948), a Texas-born former the corn.” The Carters’ image, borne light-opera singer who recorded the out in radio appearances and inter­ first music hit. Dalhart’s views, was one of quiet conserva­ recording career, which had begun ; their stage shows were simple in 1916, had started to wane, and he and straightforward, and they gen­ talked the Victor Company into let­ erally avoided the vaudeville circuit ting him record a hillbilly number, and promotional tours. in an effort to cash in on the genre’s If the Carter Family’s public im­ growing popularity. In 1924 Dalhart age and musical repertoire evoked recorded two songs: “Wreck of the the country church and the family Old 97,” a ballad about a train crash fireside, Jimmie Rodgers (1897-1933) in Virginia, and “The Prisoner’s was the quintessential rambler, a Song,” a sentimental amalgam of footloose man who carried home preexisting song fragments best in his heart but drank deeply of the known for the line “If I had the changing world around him. He was

33 �


R&B, as the “rhythm and he top R&B recordings of the leaders of some big bands were blues” genre came to be the late 1940s and early forced to downsize. They formed 1950s included swing-in­ smaller combos, generally made up known, was a loose cluster fluencedT “jump bands,” Tin Pan of a and horn play­ of styles, rooted in southern Alley-style love songs performed ers. These jump bands specialized in by crooners, various styles of urban hard-swinging, boogie-woogie-based folk traditions and shaped by blues, and gospel-influenced vocal party music, spiced with humorous the experience of returning harmony groups. The reappearance lyrics and wild stage performances. military personnel and of small independent record labels The most successful and influ­ provided an outlet for performers ential jump band was the Tympany hundreds of thousands of who were ignored by major record Five, led by Louis , who began black Americans who had companies. The development of making recordings for Decca Re­ portable tape recorders made re­ cords in 1939. Jordan was tremen­ migrated to urban centers cord producers and studio owners dously popular with black listeners such as New York, Chicago, out of entrepreneurs who could not and able to build an extensive white , and Los Angeles previously have afforded the equip­ audience during and after the war. ment necessary to produce master Jordan’s first big hit, “G.I. Jive,” during and just after recordings. They visited nightclubs reached Number One on Billboard’s World War II. to find new talent, hustled copies “Harlem Hit Parade,” as the R&B of their records to local record store chart was labeled in the earlier owners, and attempted to interest a 1940s, held the top on the pop major label in a particular recording music charts for two weeks, and sold or artist with crossover potential. By over a million copies. From 1945 1951 there were over 100 indepen­ through 1948 Jordan, working with dent labels slugging it out for a piece a white record producer named Milt of the R&B market. Gabler, recorded a string of crossover hits, including “Caldonia,” “Stone Jump Blues Cold Dead in the Market,” and “Ain’t Nobody Here but Us Chickens.” The Jump blues, the first commercially popularity of the was successful category of rhythm & reinforced by a series of films featur­ blues, flourished during and just ing the band. These short musical after World War II. During the war, features were rented to individual as shortages made it more difficult to movie theaters and shown as a pro­ maintain a lucrative touring schedule, motional device a few days before the

34 band was due to hit town. Jordan’s ways. Sometimes white R&B fans Blues Crooners films, like his records, were popular sat in the balcony of a segregated in white as well as black movie the­ theater or dance hall, watching the If jump bands represented the hot aters, even in the Deep South. How­ black dancers below in order to pick end of the R&B spectrum, the cool ever, the fact that his music appealed up the latest steps. At other times a end was dominated by a blend of to an interracial audience should not rope was stretched across the mid­ blues and pop singing sometimes lead us to assume that Jordan’s career dle of the dance floor to “maintain called the blues crooner style. The was unaffected by racism. order.” Then, as at other times, of this urbane approach to the As R&B artists like Jordan began circulation of popular music across blues reached back to a series of race to attract a more diverse audience, racial boundaries did not necessarily recordings (records made by and the separation between white and an amelioration of racism in for African Americans, including black fans was maintained in various everyday life. especially those who had joined the “Great Migration” to northern cities but wished to enjoy the Southern- flavored African-American music they had grown up with) made in Saxophonist , “The King of the Jukebox,” the late 1920s and 1930s by pianist enjoyed “cross-over” Leroy Carr and guitarist Scrapper appeal from the R&B Blackwell. Carr developed a smooth, “race” charts to the largely laid-back approach to blues singing white-dominated pop that contrasted sharply with the music scene of the 1940s. R&B, urban blues, and rough-edged rural blues recordings early rock ’n’ roll artists, all of and Blind Lemon built upon Jordan’s work. Jefferson, and he attracted a national black audience. The late 1930s jazz recordings of the King Cole Trio, with its instrumentation of piano, bass, and guitar, were a more im­ mediate influence on postwar blues crooners, although Cole’s later re­ cordings took him well into the pop mainstream. The most successful blues crooner of the late 1940s and early 1950s was a soft-spoken Texas-born pianist and singer named Charles Brown. Brown, who studied classi­ cal piano as a child, moved to Los Angeles in 1943 and joined Johnny Moore’s Three Blazers, a small combo that played pop songs for all-white parties in Hollywood and a more blues-oriented repertoire nightclubs along L.A.’s Central Avenue. His smooth, sensi­ tive, somewhat forlorn vocal style attracted attention, and he began to develop a national reputation

35 with the release of “Drifting Blues.” Harlem and L.A.’s Central Avenue. form. The career of Muddy Waters In 1948 Brown left to form his own The musical taste of black Chicago­ (McKinley Morganfield) exempli­ and had a Number One R&B ans, many of them recent migrants fies these developments. Waters was hit the following year with “Trouble from the Deep South, tended toward “discovered” in the Mississippi .” Over the next three years he rougher, grittier styles, closely linked by the folk music scholars John and recorded 10 Top 10 hits for Aladdin to African-American folk traditions , who recorded him Records and became one of the most but also reflective of their new, ur­ in the late 1930s for the Library of popular R&B singers nationwide. A ban orientation. Congress. In 1943 he moved to Chi­ handsome, dapper, gracious man, Chicago was a re­ cago and found work in a paper mill, Brown projected an image of ease sponse to these demands. It could while continuing to work as a musi­ and sophistication. His repertoire be argued that the rural blues tra­ cian at nightclubs and parties. In — which included blues, pop songs, dition had almost completely died response to the noisy crowds, and to and semiclassical numbers such as out as a commercial phenomenon the demand for dance music, Waters the Warsaw — suggested by the time of World War II, as the soon switched from the acoustic to a man in touch with his roots but urbanizing black audience sought the electric guitar (1944) and even­ not constrained by them. Brown out more cosmopolitan forms of tually expanded his group to include was never able to break through to entertainment. From this point of a second electric guitar, piano, bass, the pop charts — view, the mid-1930s recordings of amplified , and drum offered him a solo contract in 1947, Robert Johnson represent the final set. During the late 1940s and early but he turned it down out of loyalty flowering of the Delta blues. How­ 1950s he was the most popular blues to his bandmates. But he was redis­ ever, the old Delta blues style didn’t musician in Chicago, with a sizeable covered by a new generation of R&B really die out; it emerged in a rein­ following among black listeners na­ fans in the 1980s and went on to vigorated, electronically amplified tionwide. develop a successful international Like many of the great Mississippi touring career, culminating in a , Waters was a master of Grammy nomination. bottleneck slide guitar technique. He used his guitar to create a Chicago Electric -steady, churning rhythm, in­ terspersed with blues licks, which A very different urban blues tradi­ were counterpoised with his voice tion of the postwar era, Chicago in a kind of musical conversation. electric blues, derived more directly The electric guitar, which could be from the Mississippi Delta tradition used to create dense, buzzing tone of Charley Patton and Robert John­ colors (by using distortion) and son. Chicago was the terminus of the long sustained notes that sounded Central railroad line, which like screaming or crying (by em­ ran up through the Midwest from ploying feedback), was the perfect the Mississippi Delta. Although tool for extending the Mississippi Chicago’s black neighborhoods were blues guitar tradition. Waters’s sing­ well established before World War ing style — rough, growling, moan­ II, they grew particularly rapidly ing, and intensely emotional — was The leading artist of the 1950s during the 1940s, as millions of ru­ also rooted in the Delta blues. And scene, Muddy ral migrants came north in search of Waters influenced artists in genres the songs he sang were based on employment in the city’s industrial ranging from rhythm-and-blues to themes long central to the tradi­ plants, railroad shops, and slaugh­ country, from folk to jazz. The Rolling tion: on the one hand, loneliness, terhouses. The South Side’s night­ Stones reportedly took their name frustration, and misfortune, and on clubs were the center of a lively black from Waters’ 1948 “Rollin’ Stone” the other, independence and sexual recording. music scene that rivaled New York’s braggadocio.

36 Doo-Wop dicate that these groups served a noes, led by Billy Ward, number of functions: a means of a strict disciplinarian and savvy en­ Another important thread in the musical expression, an alternative or trepreneur. In 1950 Ward started tapestry of postwar rhythm & blues adjunct to urban gangs, and a route rehearsing with a number of his was groups. (Al­ to popularity. Few members of these most promising students and a 17­ though this tradition is today some­ groups initially saw singing as a way year old tenor singer named Clyde times called “doo-wop,” the earliest to make a living; this perception McPhatter, whom he hired away performers did not use this term.) changed rapidly after the first vocal from a gospel group. The Domi­ During the postwar era, young sing­ R&B groups achieved commercial noes’ first big hit was “Sixty Min­ ers trained in the black church be­ success. ute Man.” But it was the Dominoes’ gan to record secular material. Many The vocal harmony group most next big hit, “,” of these vocal groups were made up responsible for moving away from that pushed vocal-group R&B firmly of secondary school kids from the the pop-oriented sound of the Mills in the direction of a harder-edged, black neighborhoods of cities such Brothers and creating a new, harder- more explicitly emotional sound. as New York and Washington, D.C., edged sound more closely linked to “Have Mercy Baby” was the first and interviews with the singers in­ black , was the Domi­ record to combine the 12-bar blues

Left to Right: , a popular 1950s doo-wop group. Billy Ward and the Dominoes, a top R&B group of that decade, launched the career of . Its hits included “.”

37 form and the driving beat of dance- major role in shaping his musical music with popular music was con­ oriented rhythm & blues with the sensibility. While in formal terms troversial in some quarters, and intensely emotional flavor of black “Have Mercy Baby” is a 12-bar blues, McPhatter and later gospel-based gospel singing. The song’s commer­ it is essentially a gospel performance R&B singers faced occasional oppo­ cial success was due to the passion­ dressed up in R&B clothing. With a sition from some church leaders. But ate performance of Clyde McPhat­ few changes in the lyrics, McPhat­ in retrospect the postwar confluence ter. McPhatter, the son of a Baptist ter’s performance would have been of the sacred and secular aspects of preacher and a church organist, was perfectly at home in a black Baptist black music, and its commercial like many other R&B musicians in­ church anywhere in America. exploitation by the music business, sofar as the black church played a To be sure, this mixing of church seem inevitable. Although it did not appear on the charts, Doo-wop quartet The Delroys. “Have Mercy Baby” attracted an au­ dience among many white teenagers, who were drawn by its rocking beat and emotional directness. In addi­ tion, the Dominoes were featured on some of the earliest rock ’n’ roll tours, which typically attracted a racially mixed audience. Although McPhatter soon left the Dominoes to form a new group called , the impact of his rendition of “Have Mercy Baby” was profound and lasting — the record is a direct predecessor of the soul music move­ ment of the 1960s, and of the record­ ings of , James Brown, and Aretha Franklin.

38 Big Mama Thornton �

he daughter of a Baptist minister, Big Mama beats here and there in response to Thornton’s Thornton began her career as a singer, phrasing, another feature that links this urban Tdrummer, harmonica player, and comic on the recording to . The final touch, with black vaudeville circuit. Her imposing physique and the all-male band howling and barking in response to sometimes malevolent personality helped to ensure her Big Mama’s commands, reinforces the record’s humor survival in the rough-and-tumble world of con artists and its informality. and gangsters. In the early 1950s Thornton arrived in Los Angeles and began working with Johnny Otis, a Greek American who was a major force in the R&B scene. Looking for material for Big Mama to record, Otis consulted two white college kids who had been pestering him to use some of their songs. Jerry Leiber and Mike Stoller composed a song that they felt suited her style: “Hound Dog.” The combination of Leiber and Stoller’s humorous country-tinged lyric, Johnny Otis’s drumming, and Thornton’s powerful, raspy singing produced one of the top-selling R&B records of 1953. Most people today know “Hound Dog” through Elvis Presley’s version of the song. If you are familiar only with Presley’s version, the original recording may come as a revelation. From the very first phrase Thornton lays claim to the song. Her deep, commanding voice, reprimanding a ne’er-do-well lover, projects a stark image of female power rarely expressed in popular music of the 1950s. The lyrical bluntness is reinforced by the musical accompaniment, which includes a bluesy Delta- style electric guitar, a simple drum part played mainly on the tom-toms, and hand . The tempo is relaxed, and the performance energetic but loose. The song‘s basic form is a 12-bar blues, but the band adds a few extra

39 James Brown and � Aretha Franklin �

Among many significant artists whose names became this description does the song scant justice — when linked with “soul music” in the 1960s, James Brown and performed by Brown its effect is mesmerizing. Brown’s Aretha Franklin stand out as exceptionally popular fully developed version of soul is a music of exquisitely performers with multidecade careers; in fact, they are focused intensity, devoted to demonstrating that “less the top two rhythm-blues artists of this entire more.” period. Both brought experience with gospel singing to In the politically charged “Say It Loud — I’m bear upon their performance of secular material. They Black and I’m Proud,” which reached Number One on each developed an , flamboyant, gritty, and the R&B charts in 1968, Brown pares his vocal down highly individual approach to the singing of pop music. to highly rhythmic speech. Although the term would not be in use for at least a decade, “Say It Loud — I’m Black and I’m Proud” is for all a “rap” number, a striking anticipation of important JAMES BROWN black music to come. In the wake of the urban folk movement of the early 1960s, in which white singers f Ray Charles employed “soul” as an avenue of presented themselves as spokespeople for the political approach to diverse material, James Brown revealed and social concerns of their generation, Brown led Idifferent tendencies from the beginning. His first black musicians in assuming a comparable role for record, “Please, Please, Please” (1956), is indicative: the black community. Soul musicians came to be while the song is in the format of a 1950s R&B ballad, seen as essential contributors to — and articulators of Brown’s vocal clings to repetitions of individual words — African-American life and experience. so that sometimes the activity of an entire strophe From the late 1960s through the disco music will center around the syncopated, violently accented of the , from the beginnings of rap on through reiterations of a single syllable. The result is startling the flowering of hip-hop in the 1990s, single and hypnotic. Like a secular version of a transfixed musician has proven to be as influential on the sound preacher, Brown leaves traditional notions of grammar and style of black music as James Brown. His repetitive, and meaning behind in an effort to convey a heightened riff-based instrumental style, which elevated rhythm emotional condition. Later, Brown would leave the far above harmony as the primary source of interest, structures of 1950s R&B far behind and abandon provided the foundation on which most dance-oriented chord changes entirely in . By the later music of the period is based. 1960s a characteristic Brown tune like “There Was a Brown’s focus on rhythm and demonstrates Time” offered music focused on the play of rhythm his strong conceptual links with African music styles. and timbre. While the singer does tell , the The minimizing or elimination of chord changes and vocal melody is little more than informal reiterations the consequent de-emphasis of harmony makes Brown’s of a small number of brief, formulaic pitch shapes; the music seem, both in conception and in actual sound, harmony is completely static, with the instrumental a lot less “Western” in orientation than a good deal of parts reduced to repeating riffs or held chords. But the African-American music that preceded it. On the one hand, this quality resonated with many aspects

40 James Brown

41 of African-American culture in the late 1960s and What is most important about Aretha Franklin the 1970s, when there was a marked concern with the is the overwhelming power and intensity of her vocal awareness of African “roots.” On the other hand, one delivery. Into a pop culture that identified female could argue that the acceptance and wide influence of singers with gentility, docility, and sentimentality, her the “non-Western” aspects of Brown’s music provided a voice blew huge gusts of fresh air. When she demanded foundation for the recent explosion of interest in world “respect” or exhorted her audience to “ about music of many sorts. what you’re trying to do to me,” the strength of her interpretations moved her songs beyond the traditional realm of personal relationships into the larger political and social spheres. Especially in the context of the late ARETHA FRANKLIN 1960s, with the civil rights and black power movements at their heights, and the movement for women’s ike Ray Charles and James Brown, Aretha empowerment stirring, it was difficult not to hear large- Franklin underwent a long period of scale ramifications in the records of this extraordinary L“apprenticeship” before she achieved her African-American . Although Aretha Franklin breakthrough as a pop star in 1967. After a less than did not become an overtly political figure, she made stellar career at Columbia Records, from 1960 to strong political and social statements through the 1966, she went over to , where Ahmet character of her performances. Ertegun and encouraged her to record Franklin was not only a vocal interpreter on her strong material well suited to her spectacular voice records but also a major player in many aspects of and engaged stellar and empathetic musicians to back their sound and production. She wrote or co-wrote her up. The rest, as they say, is history. Beginning with a significant portion of her repertoire. Franklin is a “I Never Loved a Man (The Way I Love You)” in 1967, powerful keyboard player; her piano is heard to great Franklin produced an extraordinary stream of hit advantage on many of her recordings. And she also records over a five-year period that included 13 million- provided vocal arrangements, colored by the call and sellers and 13 Top 10 pop hits. Although the later response of the gospel traditions in which she was 1970s and early 1980s witnessed a decline in Franklin’s raised. status as a top hit maker, she was never absent from the Franklin symbolized female empowerment not charts, and the mid-1980s brought her a resurgence of only in the sound of her records but also in the process popularity. As of 1994 Franklin was still a presence on of making them. By the time she recorded a tune called the charts. “Sisters Are Doin’ It for Themselves” in 1985, she was Franklin grew up with gospel music; her father telling a story that had been true of her for a long time. was the pastor for a large Baptist congregation in In the 1960s female empowerment was something new Detroit. Franklin’s first recordings were as a gospel and important in pop music. And neither its novelty singer, at the age of 14, and she occasionally returned nor its importance was lost on the rising generation to recording gospel music in the midst of her career as of female singer-songwriters, such as Laura Nyro and a pop singer — most spectacularly with the live album , whose ascent to prominence began (1972), which was recorded in a church. directly in the wake of Aretha Franklin’s conquest of Amazing Grace introduced legions of pop music fans the pop charts. to the power of gospel music. The album was a Top 10 bestseller and the most successful album of Franklin’s entire career; it sold over two million copies.

42 Aretha Franklin

43 Jazz Gallery

During the swing era, jazz artists stood at the forefront of American popular music. In subsequent decades, genres from rock to country to hip-hop mostly supplanted jazz in this Grammy-Award winning jazz singer Cassandra role. But jazz continued to influence other forms Wilson at the Avo Session in Basel, of American music, even as it branched out in Switzerland, in 2006. new directions. Bee-bop, acid, fusion, and other styles appealed to smaller and more specialized — but equally enthusiastic — audiences. The photographs here portray a number of post- swing jazz giants, artists of unsurpassed creativity, sophistication, and talent.

44 45 Pulitzer Prize winner Wynton Marsalis, a contemporary champion of “traditional” jazz.

46 “” drummer played with many of his era’s leading jazz stars, and founded the Jazz Messengers.

47 Saxophonist Ornette Coleman initiated the “” style, which abandoned fixed harmonic patterns to permit greater improvisation.

48 , one of the most inventive pianists of any musical genre, helped in the bebop revolution in the 1940s.

A protégé of , pianist led a number of seminal jazz- rock fusion groups.

49 Known as “Bird,” was the principal genius stimulating the chromatically and rhythmically complex bebop style.

“First Lady of Song” was the most popular female jazz singer in the United States for more than half a century.

50 51 The supremely creative explored the limits of bop and free .

52 Successful and critically-acclaimed guitarist Pat Metheny has been touring for the last 30 years, playing 120-140 concerts each year.

53 Clockwise from above: Trumpeter Miles Davis stood at the forefront of multiple jazz , from 1950s “cool jazz” to 1970s jazz-rock-funk fusion. Trumpeter-vocalist battled addiction, but his distinctively sad tone was unduplicated. pioneered the West Coast “cool jazz” style and later introduced U.S. audiences to the Brazilian-inflected Bossa Nova.

54 Lester “Prez” Young was famous for performing with jazz greats and and for playing his tenor saxophone at an angle.

55 �


Country music has always “You wouldn’t read my letter if I wrote you been about the relationship You asked me not to call you on the phone But there’s something I’m wanting to tell you between the countryside and So I wrote it in the words of this song …”

the city, home and migration, Honky-Tonk singer , “” the past and the present. This is not surprising if we arly country music records set up its country music operation in consider the main audience provide us with a stereo­ Nashville, — it was esti­ scopic image of tradition in mated that country music accounted for during the aE period of rapid change: on the one for fully one-third of all record sales 1920s: rural people whose hand, ballads and love songs, images nationwide. of the good old days, family, hearth In some ways, the range of coun­ way of life was being and home; and on the other, tales try music styles during the postwar radically transformed by the of broken love, distance from loved era resembles contemporaneous mechanization of agriculture ones, and restless movement from developments in rhythm & blues. town to town. There were country crooners, who and changes in the American Country and western music specialized in a smooth, pop-orient­ economy, and migrants who mushroomed in popularity after ed style; bluegrass musicians, who left home to find jobs and World War II. Although the South focused on the adaptation of tradi­ remained a lucrative area for touring tional southern music in a package establish new lives in the city. performers, the wartime migration suitable to the times; and honky- of millions of white southerners tonk musicians, who performed in a meant that huge and enthusiastic hard-edged, electronically amplified audiences for country and western style, and wrote songs about the tri­ music had also been established in als and tribulations of migrants to the cities and towns of Pennsylva­ the city and about gender roles and nia, , Michigan, and Califor­ male/female relationships during a nia. The postwar era saw the rapid period of intense social change. spread of country music program­ While some musicians sought to ming on radio, and by 1949 over move country music onto the main­ 650 radio stations were making live stream pop charts, others reached broadcasts of country performers. back into the musical traditions of In 1950 — when the American South, refurbishing became the first major company to old styles to fit new circumstances.

56 While this “neotraditionalist” im­ pulse took many forms, the most influential was probably the rise of , a style rooted in the venerable southern tradition. The pioneer of bluegrass music was (1911-97), born in Kentucky. Monroe started playing music at a young age and was influenced by his uncle (a coun­ try fiddler) and by a black musician and railroad worker named Arnold Schulz, whose influence can be seen in the distinctive bluesy quality of Monroe’s music; the interaction between white and black styles has long been an important aspect of country music. In 1935 Bill formed a duet with his brother, Charlie. The Monroe Brothers played through­ out the southeastern United States, creating a sensation with their vocal and virtuoso and guitar playing. In 1938 Bill started his own group, the Blue Grass Boys, and the following year joined the cast of the (a hugely popular country pro­ gram. Its regular “member” artists were widely acknowledged as the genre’s elite. Since 1974 it has been broadcast from the Grand Ole Opry House, a 4,400 seat venue outside Nashville, Tennessee). A third major direction in post­ war country and western music is represented by honky-tonk — some­ times called “hard country” — a style that conveyed the sound and Singer, songwriter, mandolin player Bill Monroe was the founder of ethos of the roadside bar or juke bluegrass country music. joint. During the the oil fields of Texas and Oklahoma provided a lucrative (and rare) source establishments frequented by these relief, in the form of drinking and of steady, well-paid work, attracting men multiplied and became a ma­ dancing, from the daily pressures of thousands of men from the Ameri­ jor source of employment for coun­ work on the oilfields. By the postwar can Southwest and farther afield. try and western musicians. These period thousands of these rowdy When Prohibition was repealed in honky-tonks, as the people who fre­ nightspots were sprinkled across the 1933, the formerly illegal drinking quented them called them, provided American Southwest and beyond.

57 Country and western music and dominated the her recording of “Walkin’ After was crucial to the profitability of country and western charts during Midnight,” which was successful honky-tonks. Many of them fea­ the early and mid-1950s. Although on both the country and the pop tured colorfully glowing jukeboxes, their fortunes declined after the charts. Her two big hits of 1961, “I the mechanical record players that emergence of rock ’n’ roll , honky- Fall to Pieces” and “Crazy,” reflected had grown rapidly in popularity tonk music remains the heart and a particular kind of sensibility: they during and after World War II. In soul of modern country music. were ballads of broad appeal, in no adjusting to the honky-tonk milieu, In the 1960s, many of the younger sense “teen” records, performed by country musicians made a number country artists , while Cline in a manner that, while so­ of changes in their performance not directly embracing the rocka­ phisticated in phrasing and articula­ practice. First, many of the old-time billy styles of Elvis Presley or Buddy tion, had sufficient hints of rural and songs about family and the church Holly, wanted to update the sound of bluesy inflections to show where her seemed out of place in the new set­ their honky-tonk roots. They opted roots lay. The crooning background ting. Musicians began to compose for a newly voices gave these records a pop songs about aspects of life directly to the vocal presentation and in­ sheen, while the high-register piano relevant to many of their listeners: strumental arrangement of country remained evocative of the honky- family instability, the unpredictabil­ music, a highly influential approach tonk origins of this type of music. ity of male-female relationships, the that came to be known as “country­ Cline continued to be a significant attractions and dangers of alcohol, politan,” a fusion of “country” and presence on both country and pop and the importance of enjoying the “cosmopolitan.” Nashville was at charts until her premature death in present. When the rural past was the center of this development, and a plane crash in early 1963. referred to, it was usually through a the style was also often called the The records made by rock’n’roller veil of nostalgia and longing. Honky- “.” Elvis Presley from 1960 on (after tonk vocal styles were often directly (1932-63) began her he returned from a tour of duty in emotional, making use of “cracks” career as a hit maker in 1957 with the army) reflected an increasingly in and stylistic features from black music, such as melisma and blue notes. Country musicians adapted traditional instruments and playing techniques to the rowdy atmosphere of the juke joint. The typical instrumentation of a honky- tonk band included a fiddle, a , a “takeoff” (lead) guitar, a string bass, and a piano. The guitars were electronically amplified, and the musicians played with a per­ cussive, insistent beat (sometimes called “sock rhythm”) well suited to dancing. When today’s musicians talk about playing “good old country music,” they are most often refer­ ring to the postwar honky-tonk style rather than to the rural folk music of the South. Honky-tonk stars such as , the “King of Country Music,” with the Smokey Mountain Boys in 1943 , Hank Williams, Lefty at Nashville, Tennessee’s famous Grand Ole Opry. Frizzell, , ,

58 Top left: Pasty Cline is said to be the most popular female country singer in recording history. Her song “Crazy” is still heard on jukeboxes throughout the U.S. Top right: ’ popularity transcended national boundaries.

Bottom left: Hank Snow is credited with launching Elvis � Presley’s career at the Grand Old Opry in 1954. � Bottom right: is one of the Top 20 best-selling � country artists of all-time. �

59 eclectic set of influences, but the blues. By the later 1960s the career from the run-down Nashville the­ Nashville sound is especially promi­ of Charley Pride — an African ater where it had been broadcasting nent among them. Good illustrations American who set out to appeal since 1941 into a multimillion-dollar of this would be his 1961 hit “Can’t principally to the country audience facility, complete with a 110-acre Help ” and his 1965 — was in full swing; by 1983 Pride theme park called “Opryland.” The recording of “,” had racked up an astonishing 29 generally conservative mood of the originally a country hit in 1953. Number-One country hits, thus country — reflected in Richard Nix­ It might seem surprising that the illustrating once again how color­ on’s landslide victory over George Nashville sound’s influence extend­ blind music and its audiences really McGovern in the 1972 presidential ed into rhythm & blues in the early can be some of the time. Notable in election — reinforced country’s pop­ 1960s, but given the constant inter­ more recent years were a 1994 album ularity among the American middle changes between white and black entitled Rhythm Country and Blues, class. musicians throughout the history of which paired R&B and country au­ Since that time, country music American popular music, this really diences for , and Burke’s 2006 has continued to grow in popular­ shouldn’t strike us as unexpected. album, entitled simply Nashville ity and influence. It remains both a Two hits by , “Just — the U.S. city most associated with significant cultural force and a large, Out of Reach (Of My Two Open country music. profitable industry. The traditional Arms)” and “Cry to Me,” sound for During the 1970s, country music approach represented by the ­ all the world like country records became a huge business, reaching ville sound continues to produce performed by a black vocalist, and out to young and middle-class lis­ dozens of hits and artists yearly, a large number of similar-sounding teners while at the same time rein­ and for many Americans the Nash­ records were made in the wake of forcing its traditional southern and ville sound is country music. At the their success, by Burke and by other white working-class audience base. same, a range of styles that are usu­ artists associated with rhythm & In 1974 the Grand Ole Opry moved ally lumped together, for marketing purposes, as “alt country” (alterna­ tive) provide a rich variety of sounds and approaches to music-making while maintaining their ties to the country tradition.

Piano player ’s signature style has been described as a “a lonesome, sound.”

60 Hank Williams �

ank Williams (1923-53) was the most Williams affirmed the importance of religious significant country music figure to emerge traditions in country music by recording some gospel Hduring the post-World War II period. In the material. However, the fact that he recorded his sacred course of his brief career, Williams wrote and sang tunes under a pseudonym, rather than under his own many songs that were enormously popular with country name, ties him more closely to the practices of black audiences; between 1947 and 1953 he amassed 36 Top secular singers than to those of most white artists. 10 records on the country charts, including “,” “Cold, Cold Heart,” “ (on the Bayou),” and “Your Cheatin’ Heart.” All of these hits — along with many other Williams songs — have remained country favorites and are established genre “standards.” In addition, his songs were successfully covered by contemporary mainstream pop artists, thus demonstrating the wide-ranging appeal of the new country material. Hank Williams reinvigorated for the postwar country audience the enduring of the hard-living, hard-loving rambler. Williams’s life tracked that image so closely that one might believe — erroneously — that promoters had custom-designed a suitable biography: born into crushing poverty in , this son of a sharecropper learned to make his way at an early age by performing on the street, learning from a black street singer named Rufe “Tee-Tot” Payne. By the time he was 16, Williams had his own local radio show; shortly thereafter he formed a band and began touring throughout Alabama. Enormous success came by the time Williams was in his mid-20s, but it did not come without problems. By 1952 he was divorced, had been fired from the Grand Ole Opry (for numerous failures to appear), and was seriously dependent on alcohol and painkilling . He was dead on New Year’s Day 1953 at 29, having suffered a heart attack in the back of his car en route to a performance.

61 �


The rise of rock ’n’ roll in he advent of rock ’n’ roll 1950s, a period of relative economic the mid-1950s transformed music in the mid-1950s stability and prosperity marked by a brought enormous changes return to socially and politically con­ the landscape of American toT American popular music, chang­ servative ways. This was also the first popular music, further es whose impact is still being felt. generation to grow up with televi­ Styles that had remained on the sion; this new mass medium proved cementing the popularity margins of pop music began to in­ a force of incalculable influence. of southern-derived styles filtrate and eventually dominate the The term “rock ’n’ roll ” was first ultimately derived from the center. Rhythm & blues and country used for commercial and genera­ music recordings were no longer tional purposes by Alan blues and country music, and directed to specialized and regional­ Freed. In the early 1950s Freed dis­ transforming the teenager ized markets; they began to be heard covered that increasing numbers of on mainstream pop radio, and many young white kids were listening to into both a marketing concept could be purchased in music stores and requesting the rhythm & blues and a cultural icon. Rock ’n’ nationwide. records he played on his nighttime roll records were played for The emergence of rock ’n’ roll program in — records he was an event of great cultural sig­ began to call “rock ’n’ roll .” Freed dances at inner-city, primarily nificance. But several issues demand black, public schools, for our attention: first, rock ’n’ roll was parties at predominantly white neither a “new,” nor indeed even a single musical style ; second, the suburban private schools, and rock ’n’ roll era does not mark the for socials in rural settings first time that music was written specifically to appeal to young peo­ catering to young people. If ple; third, rock ’n’ roll was certainly you were young in the 1950s not the first American music to fuse in the United Statess, no black and white popular styles. The new audience was dominated matter where you lived, no by the so-called baby boom gen­ matter what your race or class, eration born immediately following World War II. It was a much younger rock ’n’ roll was your music. target group than ever before, a large audience that shared specific charac­ New York disc jockey teristics of group cultural identity. coined the phrase “Rock ’n’ Roll.” These were kids growing up in the

62 promoted concert tours featuring Trousers and Motorcycle Boots” rageous performance style that ap­ black artists, playing to a young, ra­ and “Itsy Bitsy Teenie Weenie Yel­ pealed on the basis of its strangeness, cially mixed audience, and promoted low Polkadot ”), social danc­ novelty, and sexual ambiguity; and them as “rock ’n’ roll .” The ing (“At the Hop” and “Save the Fats ’s work embodied the term “rock ’n’ roll ” itself was derived Last Dance for Me”), and courtship continuity of rhythm & blues with from the many references to “rock­ (“Teen-Age Crush,” “Puppy Love,” “ ’n’ roll . Domino was the earliest in’” and “rollin’” found in rhythm & Teenager in Love,” and “Poor Little of the three to become an established blues songs and on race records. Fool”). Some rock ’n’ roll songs — for performer, but all three crossed over The purchase of rock ’n’ roll re­ example, “Roll Over Beethoven” and to mainstream success within the cords by kids in the 1950s proved a “Rock’n’Roll Is Here to ” — an­ first few months following the mas­ way of asserting their generational nounced themselves as emblems of sive success of the white rocker Bill identity through against a new aesthetic and cultural order, Haley’s “Rock Around the Clock.” adult standards and restrictions. dominated by the tastes and aspira­ The biggest rock ’n’ roll star to Thus the experience of growing up tions of youth. come from the country side of the with rock ’n’ roll music became a music world was Elvis Presley. In defining characteristic of Rhythm & Blues 1955, RCA Victor, a major label, set boom generation. So it is not sur­ about trying to turn the “hillbilly prising that the music catered to this Three prominent African Americans cat” into a mainstream performer age group, which by the late 1950s represent the rhythm & blues-based without compromising the strength had its own distinctive culture and side of rock ’n’ roll . Chuck Berry of his appeal to teenagers. They its associated : school and was a songwriter/performer who ad­ succeeded beyond anyone’s expec­ vacation (represented in songs such dressed his songs to teenage America tations. Although Presley’s televi­ as “School Day” and “Summertime (white and black) in the 1950s; Little sion performances were denounced Blues”), fashions (“Black Denim Richard cultivated a deliberately out­ by authorities as vulgar, the shows

Left : Chuck Berry broke racial barriers with tunes such as “Johnny B. Goode” and “Maybellene.” Center: is known for his piano stylings and exuberant vocals in “Tutti Frutti,” “Good Golly, Miss Molly,” and other classics. Right: ’s hits include “Blueberry Hill” and “Ain’t That a Shame.”

63 were attended by hordes of scream­ bridled exuberance of his live per­ an incontestable role in defining the ing young fans and admired on the formances during that era became character and spirit of the 1960s. screen by millions. And Presley’s re­ the model for every kid who wanted The baby boom generation played a cords racked up astronomical sales to move mountains by strumming a vital role in the political and cultural from 1956 on into the early 1960s, es­ guitar, shaking his hips, and lifting events of this period, and the boom­ tablishing him as the biggest-selling his voice. ers were a generation identified with solo artist of rock ’n’ roll , and then rock ’n’ roll . as the biggest-selling solo recording Rock ’n’ roll Women Three important trends emerged artist of any period and style—a title in the early 1960s. A new kind of he still holds at the beginning of the The 1950s was an inauspicious social dancing, inspired by “The ! time to be seen as a rebellious and Twist,” gave rock ’n’ roll music a Presley’s extraordinary popular­ empowered young woman. The distinctive set of movements and ity established rock ’n’ roll as an un­ rebellious, empowered young men social customs. Members of the first precedented mass-market phenom­ of early rock ’n’ roll proved contro­ generation to grow up with rock ’n’ enon. His reputation as a performer versial enough, and most teenagers roll began to assume positions of and recording artist endured up to were happy admiring them from a shaping indus­ his death in 1977 at the age of 42 safe distance. The pioneering female try. And new stylistic — and continues beyond the grave. rocker , for instance, for rock ’n’ roll began to emerge out Presley made fine records at many recorded a number of classic singles of California, spearheaded by the points throughout his career, but his and enjoyed the encouragement and Beach Boys. principal importance rests upon his mentoring of Elvis Presley himself formed the Beach achievements during the early years — but none of her records became Boys in Hawthorne, California, of rock ’n’ roll . In 1956 Presley cut hits. The post-World War II ideal of in 1961. The band was achieving a handful of records that changed domestic femininity proved to be national chart hits within a year. the musical world for himself and powerful and provoked no wide­ Wilson was the first self-conscious for those around him, and the un- spread challenges until the 1960s. second-generation rock ’n’ roll er. By 1960 America was at last He explicitly acknowledged his ready to embrace a young female reliance on, and reverence for, his recording artist with a feisty public predecessors in the rock ’n’ roll image, and the teenage , field, by covering and quoting from who became known as “ their records. At the same time, he Dynamite,” was there to fill the bill carved out distinctive new ground, with engaging rock ’n’ roll songs by deliberately moving the lyrics and like “Sweet Nothin’s” and “Rockin’ the music of his own songs beyond Around the Christmas Tree.” Lee the territory carved out by his pre­ also recorded a large proportion of decessors, into novel areas that were slow, sentimental love songs. of particular meaning to him, to his time, and to his place in America. The 1960s: Rock ’n’ roll ’s Second If to conceptualize a Generation defining model for the career of a self-sustaining, trend-setting rock Few eras in American history have group of the 1960s, it would look been as controversial as the 1960s, something like this: a period marked by the civil rights •S tart out by demonstrating a movement, the War, and mastery of the basic early rock ’n’ According to Magazine, Wanda Jackson was “the first to bring the of President John roll ballad and uptempo styles; a woman’s intuition” to rock ’n’ roll. F. Kennedy and the Reverend Martin • C reate original material based on, Luther King Jr. Popular music played and extending, those styles;

64 “I’ll Never Stand in Your Way” (1953) is Elvis Presley’s first known recording. The “ ’n’ Roll” holds records for the most Top Forty and Top Ten hits, the most consecutive #1 hits, and the most weeks at #1.

65 Left: Founding Beach Boys (l. to r.) Mike Love, Al Jardine, Brian Wilson, Dennis Wilson and Carl Wilson became known for their close vocal harmonies. Right: Berry Gordy founded Motown Records. With his unmatched ability to discern popular taste, he launched the careers of many popular music giants.

• E ventually branch out totally “Motor town,” Detroit, the automo­ can pop music addressed to the wid­ beyond the traditional forms, bile production of America. It est possible listening public. sounds, and lyric content of rock came to be one of the most stunning It is almost as if Gordy launched ’n’ roll to create something truly African-American business success his enterprise as a kind of counterof­ different and unique. stories. The intensity and duration fensive against the expropriation of The reference point that most of Motown’s commercial success re­ African-American music and the people would use for constructing flected the distinctive dual thrust of exploitation of African-American a model like this would probably be Gordy’s vision. musicians that had been as much a . But the group that first First, he was determined to keep part of the early history of rock ’n’ established this model, and did so all of the creative and financial as­ roll as it had been of other periods with outstanding success, was the pects of the business under Afri­ in the development of American Beach Boys. The Beach Boys were can-American control. This worked popular music. And the unique ge­ in fact a clear, and stated, model for because Gordy had an uncanny abil­ nius of Gordy was the ability to cre­ the Beatles, especially during the re­ ity to surround himself with first- ate a black music aimed right at the markably productive and innovative rate musical talent in all aspects of commercial mainstream that never years (for both groups) of 1965-67. the record-making process, and to evoked the feeling, or provoked the maintain the loyalty of his musi­ charge, of having sold out. With Motown cians for substantial periods of time. few exceptions, Motown recordings It also worked because Gordy had a avoided direct evocations of earlier The music of the 1960s includes a shrewd head for business as well as rhythm & blues forms and styles; 12­ remarkable spectrum of styles and for music, and this leads us to the bar blues patterns are strikingly rare, influences. In Detroit, Berry Gordy second element of his visionary plan. as are the typical devices of doo-wop Jr. was creating his own songwrit­ Motown’s music was not directed or anything suggestive of the 1950s ing/producing/marketing organiza­ primarily at black audiences. Gordy sounds of Chuck Berry, Fats Domino, tion. Motown was named after the sought to make an African-Ameri­ or Little Richard. Yet a generalized

66 blues or gospel manner remained a consciously addressed his record­ of talents Charles cultivated. He defining characteristic of Motown’s ings to the teen market. As soon as was a fine song-writer, having writ­ performers; sometimes it could be he established himself as a mass- ten many of his early rhythm & very subtle, as is often the case with market artist with the blues-based blues hits, including classics of the William “Smokey” Robinson, and and gospel-drenched “What’d I Say,” genre like “I’ve Got a Woman” and sometimes much more overt, as is in 1959, he sought new worlds to “Hallelujah I Love Her So.” He was the case with . This conquer; his next record was a high­ a highly skilled arranger, as well as proved sufficient to give a definite ly individual cover of Hank Snow’s an exceptionally fine keyboard play­ African-American slant to the pop- 1950 hit “I’m Movin’ On,” one of the er who was fluent in jazz as well as structured, pop-flavored songs that biggest country records of all time. mainstream pop idioms. And above were characteristic of Motown. Within a year, Charles had achieved all he was an outstanding vocalist, his first Number One pop hit with with a timbre so distinctive as to be Ray Charles and Soul Music his version of the old Tin Pan Alley instantly recognizable and an ex­ standard “Georgia on My Mind.” pressive intensity that, once heard, is Even as Berry Gordy’s Motown re­ Charles was not the first artist difficult to forget. But this still is not cordings defined one stream of to assay many different genres of the whole story. Charles’s most char­ 1960s popular music, another hugely American popular music, and he acteristic recordings are not only talented artist was defining the path was only one of many to achieve distinguished, individual statements that would lead to the “soul” music crossover success. What is it then but also unique and encompassing that appeared later that decade. Ray that made his career so distinctive, statements about American popular Charles was a constant presence on that made him such a universally ad­ music style. the rhythm & blues charts during mired pop musician — by audiences, Although the term “soul music” the 1950s, but major crossover suc­ critics, and other musicians — that would not enter the common vo­ cess eluded him until 1959. Charles the appellation “genius” has clung to cabulary until the later 1960s, it is was never interested in being type­ his name for decades? clearly soul music that Ray Charles cast as a rock ’n’ roll er, and he never Part of it is the astounding range was pioneering in his gospel-blues synthesis of the 1950s. He is now widely acknowledged as the first Ray Charles was a important soul artist, and his work Grammy-winning singer who blended gospel and proved an incalculable influence blues in heartfelt ballads on James Brown, Aretha Franklin, like “Georgia On My Mind.” , , , and innumerable others. When Charles went on to record Tin Pan Alley and country mate­ rial in the 1960s, far from leaving his soul stylings behind, he brought them along to help him forge new, wider-ranging, and arguably even braver combinations of styles.

67 The and ing the “beat” literary movement of low sold over one million copies. The the 1950s, a lively urban folk music biggest celebrity in the group was scene, and a highly visible and vocal vocalist (b. 1939), who The explosive entrance of gay community. “Psychedelic rock” was the most important female mu­ into the wide arena of American encompassed a variety of styles and sician on the scene. popular culture coincided with musical influences, including folk Grace Slick’s only serious compe­ the development of increasingly rock, blues, “,” , tition as queen of the San Francisco innovative approaches to rock ’n’ and . In geo­ rock scene came from roll itself. This was a period of in­ graphical terms, San Francisco’s psy­ (1943-70), the most successful white creasing political restlessness and chedelic music scene was focused on blues singer of the 1960s. Joplin ferment in the United States. The the Haight-Ashbury neighborhood, came to San Francisco in the mid­ youth audience for pop culture was center of the movement. 1960s and joined a band called Big directly implicated in the was the first Brother and the Holding Company. of the , as all young nationally successful band to emerge Their appearance at the Monterey American men between the ages of out of the San Francisco Festival in 1967 led to a contract 18 and 26 were eligible to be drafted scene. Along with the Quicksilver with Columbia Records, eager to into the armed forces. In addition, Service and the Grate­ cash in on RCA’s success with Jef­ significant number of young people ful Dead, Jefferson Airplane was one ferson Airplane, and on the growing were involved with the many orga­ of the original triumvirate of San national audience for . Big nizations, demonstrations, and legal Francisco “acid rock” bands, play­ Brother’s 1968 album Cheap Thrill initiatives that characterized the ing at the Matrix Club (center of the reached Number One on the pop . San Francisco alternative charts. Joplin’s full-tilt singing style During the late 1960s an “alterna­ scene), larger concert venues such as and directness of expression were tive” rock music scene established the Avalon Ballroom and Fillmore, inspired by blues singers such as itself in San Francisco. The city had and at communal outdoor events Bessie Smith and by the R&B re­ long been a center for artistic com­ such as and be-ins. The cordings of Big Mama Thornton. munities and subcultures, includ­ Airplane’s 1967 LP Surrealistic Pil­

Left: The Jefferson Airplane in 1966. Right: Janis Joplin.

68 , the jobs at all), who were looking for ro­ mance and excitement in the face of The 1960s saw the rise of a new repeated disappointments. Spring­ generation of electric guitarists steen performed with his E Street who functioned as cultural heroes Band, and their music was charac­ for their young fans. Their achieve­ terized by a strong, roots-rock sound ments were built on the shoulders that emphasized Springsteen’s con­ of previous generations of electric nections to 1950s and 1960s music. guitar virtuosos — , whose The band even included a saxophone innovative tinkering with electronic — virtually an anachronism in the technology inspired a new genera­ pop music of this period — to mark tion of amplifier tweakers; T-Bone the link with the rhythm & blues and Walker, who introduced the elec­ rock ’n’ roll of earlier eras. tric guitar to R&B music in the late Purists insist that rock music 1940s; urban blues musicians such is past its prime. The times have as Muddy Waters and B. B. King, changed, and so has the spirit of the whose raw sound and emotional di­ times. Many others insist just as fer­ rectness inspired rock guitarists; and vently that rock continues alive and early masters of rock ’n’ roll guitar, healthy today, and many will agree Guitarist Jim Hendrix fused elements including Chuck Berry and Buddy of rock, soul, blues, and jazz. that it is hard to argue with their evi­ Holly. Beginning in the mid-1960s, dence. The profusion of forms and the new guitarists — including Jimi genres that can be called, in one way Hendrix, , , rock concerts, was not unrelated to or another, rock music, is astound­ Jeff , and the Beatles’ George the wild stage antics of some rhythm ing. One Web site lists 32 varieties Harrison — took these influences & blues performers. of rock music. Punk, thrash, metal, and pushed them farther than ever , , and glam before in terms of technique, sheer Rock ’n’ roll Will Never Die? rock, to name just a few, have all volume, and improvisational bril­ developed out of the rock ’n’ roll tra­ liance. During the 1970s, the music indus­ dition that began in the 1950s. They Jimi Hendrix was the most try created a number of rock genres, continue to be played and heard and, original, inventive, and influential designed to appeal to the widest just as significantly, to provide the guitarist of the rock era, and the possible demographic and promoted stimulus for and styles most prominent African-American on Top 40 radio and television. Mu­ of popular music in America and rock musician of the late 1960s. His sicians as diverse as ; around the world. early experience as a guitarist was ; ; Carole gained touring with rhythm & blues King; ; ; Neil bands. In 1966 he moved to , Diamond; Crosby, Stills, and Nash; where he joined up with two English ; musicians, and and ; and drummer , form­ Santana were promoted by record ing a band called the Jimi Hendrix companies under the general head­ Experience. The Experience was ing of rock music. By the mid-1980s, first seen in America in 1967 at the the rocker Bruce Springsteen found , where Hen­ a large audience. Springsteen’s songs drix stunned the audience with his reflected his working-class origins flamboyant performance style. This and sympathies, relating the stories sort of guitar-focused showmanship, of still young but aging men and soon to become commonplace at women with dead end jobs (or no

69 Bob Dylan �

eginning in the early 1950s a genre of popular rock ’n’ roll and into the 1960s. But by 1967 called “urban folk” began to appear on the instruments and had joined Peter, Paul, and Bpop charts. Artists like and their Mary’s acoustic guitars, and the well-known folk group leader , and, a few years later, the Kingston was in the pop Top 10 singing “I Dig Rock’n’Roll Music”! Trio, and Peter, Paul, and Mary mated political The individual responsible for this shift was the man protest themes and an urban intellectual sensibility who had written their biggest acoustic hit, “Blowin’ in to a musical style inspired by rural folk music. Urban the Wind.” He was also , virtually single­ folk continued to flourish during the early days of handedly, dragged urban folk music into the modern era of rock. His name was Bob Dylan. Dylan (born Robert Zimmerman) first established himself as an acoustic singer-songwriter in New York City’s urban folk scene. The early 1960s was a period of explosive growth for acoustic urban folk music. The were reaching college age, demonstrating increasing cultural and political interests and awareness,

Bob Dylan playing the harmonica and in 1963. In 2006, he was still touring and performing.

70 and they represented an expanding audience for pop music scene. Suddenly, it was all right for rock ’n’ traditionally based folk music and for newly composed roll to be as “adult” as its baby boomer audience was “broadsides” on the issues of the day (such as the Cold now becoming, and rock ’n’ roll abruptly grew up into War with the , the testing and stockpiling rock. Pop records on serious subjects, with political of nuclear arms, and racial bigotry). and poetical lyrics, sprang up everywhere; before long, Dylan’s contemporaries included gifted performers this impulse carried over into the making of ambitious such as and , and talented concept . The later 1960s flowered into a period songwriters such as and . But of intense and remarkable innovation and creativity in Dylan stood out early for the remarkable quality of pop music. his original songs, which reflected a strong gift for Despite the popularity of “” poetic imagery and metaphor and a searing intensity and a few singles that followed, Dylan never really of feeling, sometimes moderated by a quirky sense established himself as primarily a “singles artist.” of irony, and for his rough-hewn performance style, Rather, he was the first important representative of combining aggressive vocal, guitar, and harmonica and another pop phenomenon: the rock musician whose demonstrating affinities to rural models in blues and career was sustained essentially by albums. Although earlier country music. his influence was at its peak in the 1960s, Dylan In addition to writing impressive topical songs has continued to be a widely admired and closely like “Blowin’ ,” Dylan distinguished himself followed artist into the new century. Never content as a composer of more intimate but highly original to be pigeonholed or to fall into a predictable role as songs about human relationships. The year 1965 was elder statesman for any movement or musical style, pivotal in Dylan’s career; he moved from being the most Dylan has over the course of his career produced a distinctive songwriter among American urban folk distinctive, heterogeneous, and erratic output of albums artists to being an epochal influence on the entirety of that represent a singular testament to the spirit of pop American popular culture. music invention. Among these albums may be found Early in 1965 Dylan released his fifth album, examples of country rock (, 1969), Bringing It All Back Home, in which acoustic numbers what would later be termed (Slow Train shared space with songs using electric guitar and Coming, 1979), and even latter-day forays back into drums. The album featured several songs that carried traditional acoustic folk material (Good as I Been to Dylan’s flair for intense and unusual poetic imagery You, 1992)—along with many examples of the folk-rock into the realm of the surreal. One such song, “Mr. approach that initially sealed his place in the pantheon Man,” was covered by the fledgling of American music. No Direction Home (2005), an California rock group ; their version of “Mr. Emmy-award documentary directed by Martin Tambourine Man” soared to Number One in June Scorsese, chronicles the evolution of Dylan’s career, one 1965, thus becoming the first landmark folk-rock hit. that remains productive, with Dylan still touring and The lesson was not lost on Dylan, who returned to the recording tirelessly, and challenging his audiences to early in the summer with a rock band guess what his next move might be. to cut his own breakthrough single, “Like a Rolling Stone.” This six-minute, epic pop single certified that a sea change was taking place in American popular culture. By the mid-1960s changes within rock ’n’ roll were in the wind. But Dylan’s electric style and other manifestations of folk rock had the effect of an enormous injection of growth hormones into the


To understand the history he music business shapes what key the song should be in, how of American popular music, both the production of many times it should be repeated, popular music and the and a host of other details. The A&R we need to learn about meansT by which it is transmitted to () personnel the workings of the music the consumer. From the 19th cen­ of a record company seek out tal­ tury until the 1920s, sheet music was ent, often visiting nightclubs and business. The production the principal means of disseminating to hear new groups. The of popular music typically popular songs to a mass audience. producer of a record plays several involves the work of many This process typically involved a roles: convincing the board of direc­ complex network of people and in­ tors of a record company to back a individuals performing stitutions: the composer and lyricist particular project, shaping the de­ different roles. who wrote a song; the publishing velopment of new “talent,” and often company that bought the rights to intervening directly in the recording it; song pluggers, who promoted the process. Engineers work in the stu­ song in stores and convinced big stars dio, making hundreds of important to incorporate it into their acts; the decisions about between stars themselves, who often worked voice and instruments, the use of ef­ in shows that toured along a circuit fects such as echo and reverb, and of theaters controlled by yet other or­ other factors that shape the overall ganizations; and so on, right down to “sound” of a record. The publicity the consumer, who bought the sheet department plans the advertising music and performed it at home. campaign, and the public relations The rise of radio, recording, and department handles interactions movies as the primary means for with the press. popularizing music added many The emergence of rock ’n’ roll in layers of complexity to this process. the 1950s illustrates how this model Today hundreds of people will have adapted to changes in technology, a hand in producing the music you popular taste, and the emergence listen to. In mainstream pop music, of an increasingly influential youth the composer and lyricist are still culture. The overall vitality of the important; the songs they write are American economy after World reworked to complement a particu­ War II helped push the entertain­ lar performer’s strengths by an ar­ ment industry’s profits to new levels. ranger, who decides which instru­ Sales of record players and radios ments to use to accompany them, expanded significantly after the war.

72 Total annual record sales in the The sales charts published in in­ erful director of the A&R (artists United States rose from $191 mil­ dustry periodicals like Billboard and and repertoire) department at Co­ lion in 1951 to $514 million in 1959. Cashbox during the 1950s chronicle lumbia Records, and in that role had This expansion was accompanied by changes in popular taste, the role of helped to establish the careers of pop a gradual diversification of main­ the indies in channeling previously crooners such as , Tony stream popular taste, and by the marginal types of music into the pop Bennett, and . He was reemergence of independent record mainstream, and the emergence of a also an arch-enemy of rock ’n’ roll companies, whose predecessors had new teenage market. The charts also music and of its increasing influence been wiped out 20 years before by reveal a complex pattern of compe­ on AM radio programming, which the Great Depression. Most of these tition among musical styles. As an he derided as being geared to “the smaller companies — established by example, let’s have a look at the Bill­ eight- to 14-year-olds, to the pre­ entrepreneurs in New York and Los board charts for July 9, 1955, when shave crowd that make up 12 per­ Angeles, and in secondary centers Bill Haley and the Comets’ “Rock cent of the country’s population and such as Chicago, , Nash­ around the Clock” became the first zero percent of its buying power.” It ville, Memphis, and New Orleans rock ’n’ roll hit to reach the Number is not hard to understand Miller’s — specialized in rhythm & blues One position on the “Best Sellers anger over the domination of radio and country and western record­ in Stores” chart. This event is cited by Top 40 playlists — predetermined ings, which had begun to attract a by rock historians as a revolution­ lists of records by a limited number national mass audience. This process ary event, the beginning of a new of artists, often backed up by bribes was viewed with a mixture of inter­ era in American popular culture. from record company officials to est and alarm by the directors of the However, two very different record­ radio station personnel. One could “majors” (large record companies ings, reminiscent of earlier styles of see the free-form FM broadcasts of such as RCA Victor, Capitol, Mer­ popular music, held the Number the late 1960s and the rise of alterna­ cury, Columbia, MGM, and Decca), One positions on the jukebox and tive stations in the 1980s and 1990s which still specialized mainly in the radio charts on July 9 — the — where disc jockeys were free to music of Tin Pan Alley, performed Latin American ballroom dance hit play eclectic and often challenging by crooners. A few of the majors “Cherry Pink and Apple Blossom music —as similar reactions against — for example, Decca, which had White,” by Perez Prado and His the playlist concept. But his refusal already made millions from the sale Orchestra, and “Learning the Blues,” to recognize the teenage market of R&B and country records — did performed by the former big-band was nothing if not short-sighted. A manage to produce some early rock crooner Frank Sinatra with the ac­ 1958 survey of the purchasing pat­ ’n’ roll hits. Other large record com­ companiment of and terns of the 19 million teenagers in panies took a couple of years to react His Orchestra. And lest we assume the United States showed that they to the emergence of rock ’n’ roll . that this contrast in styles repre­ spent a total of nine billion dollars RCA Victor, for example, scored sented a struggle between a year and strongly influenced their a Number One hit in 1956 with small and large record companies, parents’ choices of everything from Kay Starr’s rendition of “Rock and it should be noted that all three of toothpaste and canned food to au­ Roll Waltz” (a song that described the records were released by majors tomobiles and . And, a teenager watching her parents (Decca, RCA Victor, and Capitol, of course, they bought millions and try to dance to the new music, ac­ respectively). millions of records. companied by music more akin to a The record that pushed “Rock ballroom waltz than to rock ’n’ roll ). Around the Clock” out of the Num­ Production and Promotion of But RCA also signed the ber One position two months later Popular Music singer Elvis Presley and set to work was “ of Texas” (a transforming him into a Hollywood 19th-century minstrel song), per­ Before music hits the stores and matinee idol and rock ’n’ roll ’s first formed in a deliberately old-fash­ airwaves, business agents, video bonafide superstar. ioned singalong style by the Mitch producers, graphic artists, copy Miller Singers. Miller was the pow­ editors, record stores, stage hands,

73 truck drivers, T-shirt companies, vidualistic than they like to think, dle-class audience. The indies, run and the companies that produce and it is often true that record by entrepreneurs, have often had to musical hardware — often owned by companies con us into buying the be more daring, searching out new the same corporations that produce latest thing on the basis of tiny dif­ talent, creating specialized niches, the recordings — play vital roles in ferences in musical style, rather like and feeding new styles into the mu­ the production and promotion of the little design changes that mark sical mainstream. It is mostly these popular music today. It is hard to off different kinds of automobiles or small labels that initially popular­ know where to draw the boundar­ mp3 players or tennis shoes. And it ized blues, country music, rhythm & ies of an industry that has extended is true that the private experience blues, rock ’n’ roll , funk, soul music, itself into so many aspects of com­ of listening over — like , , rap, grunge, merce and culture. the experience of driving alone in an , and other “alternative” In addition, many of the roles automobile with the windows rolled styles. In some cases, indie labels described above have become inter­ up — can isolate people have grown large and powerful; one mingled in complex ways. A person another. example of this is Atlantic Records, like , for example, is a But there’s more to it than that. which began as a small R&B label in performer, a song-writer, an arrang­ Just ask anyone who’s worked in the late 1940s and grew into a multi­ er, a producer (who makes lots of the music business and developed million-dollar corporation. engineering decisions), and a record an ulcer trying to predict what the Today, the relationship between label executive. And the wider avail­ next trend will be. Compared to indies and majors has been extended ability of equip­ other industries that produce con­ over the globe — five corporations ment means that some performers sumer products, the music business (only one of them actually based in may also act as their own arranger, is quite unpredictable. Today, only the United States) now control at producer, and engineer (Stevie Won­ about one out of eight recordings least 75 percent of the world’s legal der and Prince are good examples of makes a profit. One platinum record trade in commercially recorded this kind of collapsing of roles). — something like Michael Jackson’s music. Each of these transnational Theodor Adorno, a German phi­ Thriller, ’s Like a Virgin, corporations has bought up many losopher who wrote in the 1940s Nirvana’s , or Dr. Dre’s smaller labels, using them as incuba­ and 1950s, powerfully criticized — must compensate for tors for new talent, a system remi­ the effects of capitalism and indus­ literally hundreds of unprofitable re­ niscent of the relationship between trialization on popular music. He cords made by unknown musicians major and minor league suggested that the music industry or faded stars. As record company teams. promotes the illusion that we are all executives seek to guarantee their This consolidation will not likely highly independent individuals de­ profits by producing variations on be the end of the story. With the rise fined by our personal tastes — ”I’m “the same old thing,” they also ner­ of the mp3 and other digital formats a country music fan,” “You’re a met­ vously eye the margins to spot and — developments discussed in chap­ alhead.” In fact, Adorno argued, the take advantage of the latest trends. ter 10 — and of Internet and person­ industry manipulates the notion of The relationship between the al digital device distribution models, personal taste to sucker us into buy­ “majors” — large record companies the music business will continue to ing its products. Emotional identifi­ with lots of capital and power — and evolve. One constant will remain: cation with the wealthy superstars the “indies” — small independent listeners will continue to seek out portrayed on television and in film labels operating in marginal markets and enjoy their favorite tunes. — the “Lifestyles of the Rich and — has been an important factor Famous” syndrome — is, in Ador­ in the development of American no’s view, a poor substitute for the popular music. In most cases, the humane and ethical social relations majors have played a conservative that typify healthy communities. role, seeking to ensure profits by In some ways Adorno was right: producing predictable (some would Americans are probably less indi­ say “bland”) music for a large mid-

74 Bill Haley and � “Rock Around the Clock” �

But they attained their unique status in pop when “Rock Around the Clock” became, in 1955, the first rock ’n’ roll record to be a Number One pop hit. It stayed in the top spot for eight consecutive weeks during the summer of 1955 and eventually sold over 22 million copies worldwide. “Rock Around the Clock” was actually recorded in 1954 and was not a big hit when first released. But the record was prominently featured in the opening credits of the 1955 movie Blackboard Jungle and quickly achieved massive popularity. Bill Haley’s claim to have “invented” rock ’n’ roll deserves as little credibility as Paul Whiteman’s claim a generation earlier to be the “King of Jazz.” But Haley proved to be an important popularizer of previously marginalized musical sounds and ideas, and he paved the way for the widespread acceptance of more creative artists. ”Rock Around the Clock” demonstrated the unprecedented success that a white group with a country background could achieve playing a 12-bar blues song driven by the sounds of electric guitar, bass, and drums. It proved a portent of the enormous changes that were about to overtake American popular ill Haley would seem an candidate for music and opened the floodgates for artists like Elvis the first big rock ’n’ roll star, but in the early Presley, , and Buddy Holly. “Rock Around B1950s this leader of obscure the Clock” also helped prepare a receptive mass groups was seeking a style that would capture the audience for the sounds of rhythm & blues, and for enthusiasm of the growing audience of young listeners black artists building on the rhythm & blues tradition. and dancers. He dropped his cowboy image, changed While the song was still at the top of the pop chart in the name of his accompanying group to the Comets, 1955, Chuck Berry’s trailblazing “Maybellene” made and in 1953 wrote and recorded a song, “Crazy, Man, its appearance on the same chart, and before long was Crazy,” that offered a reasonable emulation of dance- itself in the Top 10. oriented black rhythm & blues music. The record rose as high as Number 12 on the pop charts. Bill Haley and the Comets recorded cover versions of rhythm & blues hits in the mid-1950s, notably “Shake, Rattle, and Roll” and “, Alligator.”



From the heyday of printed lthough we tend to associ­ Digital Technology and sheet music in the 19th ate the word “technology” Popular Music with novelty and change, century through the rise olderA technologies often take on im­ During the 1980s, new technologies of the phonograph record, portant value as tokens of an earlier — including digital tape recorders, time. Old forms of musical hardware compact discs, , sam­ network radio, and sound and software — music boxes, player plers, and sequencers — became cen­ film in the 1920s, up to pianos, phonographs, sheet music, tral to popular music. These devices the present era of digital 78s, 45s, and LPs — become the were the fruit of a long history of basis for subcultures made up of interactions between the electronics recording, computerized avid collectors. In some cases, older and music industries and between sampling, and Internet-based music technologies are regarded as individual inventors and musicians. superior to the new. Some contem­ Analog recording transforms the radio, technology has shaped porary musicians make a point of energy of sound waves into physical popular music and has helped using analog rather than digital re­ imprints or into electronic wave­ disseminate it to more and cording technology. Musicians who forms that follow the shape of the prefer analog recording say that it sound waves themselves. Digital re­ more people. is “warmer,” “richer-sounding,” and cording, on the other hand, samples “more human.” the sound waves and breaks them Sometimes the rejection of elec­ down into a stream of numbers. A tronic technology functions as an device called an “analog-to-digital emblem of “authenticity,” as, for converter” does the conversion. To example, in MTV’s Unplugged se­ play back the music, the stream of ries, where rockers like Eric Clapton numbers is converted back to an demonstrate their “real” musical analog wave by a “digital-to-analog ability by playing on acoustic instru­ converter” (DAC). The analog wave ments. However, there are also many produced by the DAC is amplified examples of technologies being used and fed to speakers to produce the in ways that encourage active in­ sound. volvement, including the manipula­ Synthesizers that allow musicians tion of multiple record turntables to create musical sounds began to by hip-hop DJs and the increasing appear on rock records during the popularity of karaoke singalong early 1970s, but their history begins machines and computer software in earlier. One important predecessor American nightclubs and homes. of the was the ,

76 a sound generator that used elec­ data rather than sound and allow At each stage in the development tronic oscillators to produce sound. the creation of repeated sound se­ of popular music, new technologies Another important stage in the quences (loops), the manipulation have opened up creative possibilities interaction between scientific inven­ of rhythmic grooves, and the trans­ for musicians, creating a wider range tion and musical technology was mission of recorded data from one of choices for consumers. We are ac­ the , introduced in program or device to another. Drum customed to thinking of technology 1935. The sound of the Hammond machines rely on “drum pads” that as an agent of change. In some cases, B-3 organ was common on jazz, can be struck and activated by the however, the new digital technolo­ R&B, and rock records. The player performer. gies have allowed musicians to ex­ could alter the timbre of the organ Digital technology has given mu­ cavate the musical past. The through control devices called “tone sicians the ability to create complex musician did precisely this bars,” and a variety of rhythm pat­ 128-voice textures, to create sophis­ on his bestselling 1999 album Play, terns and percussive effects were ticated synthesized sounds that ex­ when he sampled segments of per­ added later. ist nowhere in nature, and to sample formances by Georgia Sea Islands The 1980s saw the introduction and manipulate any sound source, singer Bessie Jones, among others. of the first completely digital syn­ creating sound loops that can be In the 21st century, technology thesizers capable of playing dozens controlled with great precision. continues to affect how popular mu­ of “voices” at the same time. The With compact, highly portable, and sic is made, recorded, reproduced, MIDI ( Digital increasingly affordable music equip­ marketed to, and enjoyed by listen­ Interface) specification, introduced ment and software, a recording stu­ ers. A new standard for digital mu­ in 1983, allowed synthesizers built dio can be set up anywhere. As the sic making was introduced in 1992 by different manufacturers to be individual musician gains more and with the Alesis ADAT. The core connected with and communicate more control over the production of of the ADAT system was an eight- with one another. Digital samplers a complete musical recording, dis­ track digital synthesizer/recorder were capable of storing both pre­ tinctions between the composer, the that could expand to 128 tracks by recorded and synthesized sounds. performer, and the producer some­ adding additional units. This meant Digital sequencers record musical times melt down entirely. that a consumer could set up a basic

Left: Musician Nick Haworth and the � band “La Rocca” record their debut album at the Napster � live studio, Aug. 2, 2006, in Los Angeles. � Right: Napster promotional stickers. �

77 home studio at relatively small ex­ pense, while professionals could use the same technology to build highly sophisticated digital sound facilities. The 1990s also saw the introduc­ tion of music software programs such as Pro-Tools, running on personal computers. This software allowed recording engineers and musicians to gain more control over every parameter of musical sound, including not only pitch and tempo but also the quality of a singer’s voice or an instrumentalist’s tim­ bre. One complaint voiced against ProTools and similar software by some musicians is that it allows the correction of musical errors, includ­ ing the substitution of individual notes and phrases and the alteration The once controversial peer-to-peer file trading service Napster spurred debate of a musician’s sonic identity. From about . Napster is now back in business as a legal, pay- this perspective, “imperfection” is a per-song music-download site. necessary part of music as a form of human expression.

The Internet

It can be argued that the most pro­ found transformations in popular music have been catalyzed by the Internet. In musical terms, the most influential new medium associated with the Internet is MP3, which al­ lows sound files to be compressed to as little as one-12th of their original size. Let’s assume that you would like to download a four-minute track of music from a Web site featuring original music. In its uncompressed, digitally encoded form, this track would require 40 megabytes of data. With MP3 compression, this file can be squeezed down to only four Consumers listening to music or a podcast on an Apple Video iPod pose a megabytes, while still retaining the challenge to traditional broadcasters. sound quality of a CD.

78 The introduction of MP3 tech­ Studies of the intimate relation­ straints of any particular technol­ nology spurred a series of bitter ship between the iPod and its users ogy. This development has raised struggles between entertainment suggest that for many listeners that will no doubt shape corporations and small-scale en­ device functions as an aural pros­ the course of American popular trepreneurs, echoing past conflicts thetic, an extension of the ears and music for years to come: What does between major and indie record la­ musical mind and a point of connec­ it mean when a consumer licenses bels, though on an even larger scale. tion to wider circuits for the circula­ the right to use the contents of an In 1997 a firm called was tion of digital information. Through album, rather than buying a single founded by Michael Robertson, who these portable devices, consumers copy of it in a store? How can copy­ started by making 3,000 songs avail­ of popular music are connected to right be enforced — indeed, what is able for free downloading over the a global entertainment matrix that the meaning of the term “copyright” Internet. By the year 2000 includes home computers, the Inter­ — when thousands of consumers had become by far the most success­ net, services, and can download the same piece of mu­ ful music site on the World Wide new services that are beginning to sic simultaneously over the Internet? Web, with over 10 million registered supplant the traditional functions of How will the transformation of members. As with digital sampling, broadcasting. The rise of “podcast­ music into pure information affect this new way of disseminating musi­ ing” — a method of online audio musicians and consumers? If “Video cal materials raised a host of thorny distribution in which digital sound Killed the Radio Star” — to cite the legal problems, centered on the issue files are uploaded to a Web site, and first song promoted on MTV — will of copyright. While MP3 files are listeners can automatically load files the Internet kill the CD store? What not inherently illegal, the practice onto a portable player as become will the music industry of tomorrow of digitally reproducing music from available — has some cultural ob­ look like? a copyrighted and servers forecasting the demise of giving it away for free without the radio. artist’s or record company’s permis­ sion arguably is illegal. Controversies

Personal Listening Devices There is no way to provide the final word on the rapidly shifting land­ The development of new personal scape of music technology. The fact listening devices came hand-in­ that digital technology allows the hand with the rise of file-sharing on content of a recording to be liber­ the Internet. In 2001 Apple Comput­ ated from its physical medium cre­ er introduced the iPod player, which ates controversy. Earlier recording could store up to 1,000 CD-quality technologies involve a process of songs on its internal hard drive. The “translation” from one medium to iPod and other MP3 players have another: analog recording, for ex­ come to dominate the market for ample, translates sound waves in the portable listening devices because air into physical impressions on the they provide the listener with the surface of a disc or arrangements of ability to build a unique library of iron oxide molecules on a magnetic music. The ability of the iPod to tape. But digital recording involves “shuffle” music has not only exerted the translation of musical sound an influence on personal listening into pure information, encoded habits but also provided a metaphor in streams of ones and zeros. This for the contemporary state of con­ means that music can be transmit­ sumer culture. ted, reproduced, and manipulated in a “virtual” form, free of the con­

79 The Electric Guitar �

t is impossible to conjure up a mental image of guitars. By the mid-1930s the Company had Chuck Berry without an electric guitar in his introduced a hollow-body guitar with a new type of Ihands. One of rock ’n’ roll ’s most significant effects pickup — a magnetic plate or coil which, attached to on popular music was its elevation of the electric the body of the guitar, converts the physical vibrations guitar to a position of centrality. The development of of its strings into patterns of electric energy. the electric guitar is a good example of the complex The solid-body electric guitar was developed relationship between technological developments and after World War II and first used in rhythm & blues, changing musical styles. Up through the end of World blues, and country bands. The first commercially War II, the guitar was found mainly in popular music produced solid-body electric guitar was the Fender that originated in the South, and in various “exotic” Broadcaster (soon renamed the Telecaster). Released genres (Hawaiian and Latin American guitar records in 1948, it featured two electronic pickups, knobs to were quite popular in the 1920s and 1930s). Because control volume and tone, and a switch that allowed of its low volume, the acoustic guitar was difficult to the two pickups to be used singly or together, allowing use in large dance bands. In 1931 the Electro String the player to create a palette of different sounds. In Instrument Company introduced the first electric 1954 Fender released the Stratocaster, the first guitar

Left: Sampling the wares at the store in Los Angeles. Right: Pop star Madonna playing electric guitar on her “” in Berlin, 2001.

80 Clockwise from upper left: Bruce Springsteen and Chuck Berry at the Hall of Fame in Cleveland, Ohio, 1995. Country and pop star Willie Nelson has recorded hundreds of top-selling singles in his 50-year long career. Electric guitar inventor Les Paul plays B.B. King’s blues guitar “Lucille” at a 2003 .

with three pickups, and the first with a “whammy bar” Many mainstream press put-downs of young 1950s rock or “vibrato bar,” a metal rod attached to the guitar’s ’n’ roll ers ridiculed the guitar, suggesting that it was bridge that allowed the player to bend pitches with his an instrument that anyone could play. But the electric right as well as his left hand. Fender’s most successful guitar became a symbol of the energetic diversity competitor, the Gibson Company, released a solid-body elbowing its way into the mainstream of American guitar in 1952, christening it the Les Paul in honor popular music. This feeling of excess and invasion of the guitarist who helped to popularize the new was reinforced by the development of portable tube instrument. amplifiers, which provided a dense, sizzling, and very Why are electric guitars such objects of loud sound, augmented by special effects devices such fascination for musicians and fans alike? Like any as wah-wah pedals and “fuzz boxes.” Over time, the influential technology, the guitar’s impact is complex. guitar has acquired an aura of danger and excitement. To begin with, the instrument came into the popular mainstream with a somewhat dubious reputation — medieval Europeans had associated stringed instruments with the Devil — and the guitar also was associated with the music of marginalized regions.



Of all genres of popular ap draws on African musi­ complex called hip-hop. Hip-hop music, none has spurred cal and verbal traditions. Its culture, forged by African-American deep continuities with Afri­ and Caribbean-American youth in more vigorous public debate Rcan-American music include an em­ New York City, included distinctive than rap music. Rap has phasis on rhythmic momentum and styles of visual art (), dance creativity; a preference for complex (an acrobatic solo style called break- been characterized as a tone colors and dense textures; a dancing and an energetic couple vital link in the centuries-old keen appreciation of improvisational dance called the freak), music, dress, chain of cultural and musical skill (in words and music); and an and speech. Hip-hop was at first a lo­ incorporative, innovative approach cal phenomenon, centered in certain connections between to musical technologies. neighborhoods in , the Africa and the Americas; Much rap music does constitute a most economically disadvantaged cultural response to historic oppres­ area of New York City. as the authentic voice of an sion and racism, a system for com­ The young adults who pioneered oppressed urban underclass; munication among black communi­ hip-hop styles such as and as a form that exploits ties throughout the United States and rap music at nightclubs, block (“black America’s CNN,” as rapper parties, and in city parks often be­ long-standing stereotypes of Chuck D once put it), and a source longed to informal social groups black people. In fact, each of of insight into the values, percep­ called “crews” or “posses,” each these perspectives tells us tions, and conditions of people liv­ associated with a particular neigh­ ing in America’s beleaguered urban borhood or block. It is important to something about the history communities. And finally, although understand that hip-hop culture be­ and significance of rap music. rap music’s origins and inspirations gan as an expression of local identi­ flow from black culture, the genre’s ties. Even today’s multiplatinum rap audience has become decidedly mul­ recordings, marketed worldwide, tiracial, multicultural, and transna­ are filled with inside references to tional. As rap has been transformed particular neighborhoods, features from a local phenomenon located of the urban landscape, and social in a few neighborhoods in New groups and networks. York City, to a multimillion-dollar If hip-hop music was a rejec­ industry and a global cultural phe­ tion of mainstream dance music by nomenon, it has grown ever more young black and Puerto Rican listen­ complex and multifaceted. ers, it was also profoundly shaped by Rap initially emerged during the techniques of disco DJs. The the 1970s as one part of a cultural first hip-hop celebrities — Kool

82 DJ Kool speaks at a 2006 news Herc (Clive Campbell), Grand­ New York City at the age of 12. Herc conference to launch “Hip-Hop Won’t Stop: The Beat, The Rhymes, The master Flash (Joseph Saddler), and noticed that the young dancers in his Life,” at the Smithsonian’s National (Kevin ) audiences responded most energeti­ Museum of American History. — were DJs who began their careers cally during the so-called breaks on in the mid-1970s, spinning records funk and salsa records, brief sections at neighborhood block parties, gym where the melody was stripped away of the turntable from a medium dances, and dance clubs, and in pub­ to feature the rhythm section. Herc for playing back recorded sound lic spaces such as community cen­ responded by isolating the breaks into a playable musical instrument. ters and parks. These three young of certain popular records — such Sometime in the mid-1970s Kool men — and dozens of lesser-known as James Brown’s “Get on the Good Herc began to put two copies of DJs scattered throughout the Bronx, Foot” — and mixing them into the same record on his turntables. Harlem, and other areas of New York the middle of other dance records. Switching back and forth between City and New — developed These rhythmic sound the turntables, Herc found that he their personal styles within a grid of came to be known as “” could “backspin” one disc (i.e., turn fierce competition for celebrity and music, a term subsequently trans­ it backward, or counterclockwise, neighborhood pride. ferred to “breakdancing,” acrobatic with his hand) while the other con­ The disco DJ’s technique of “mix­ solo performances improvised by tinued to play over the loudspeakers. ing” between two turntables to the young “B-boys” who attended This allowed him to repeat a given create smooth transitions between hip-hop dances. break over and over, by switching records was first adapted to the hip- Another innovation helped to back and forth between the two hop aesthetic by Kool Herc, who had shape the sound and sensibility of discs and backspinning to the be­ migrated from Kingston, Jamaica, to early hip-hop: the transformation ginning of the break. This technique

83 Right and Far Right: DJs practice “scratching,” the art of manipulating a turntable needle along an LP record.

Grandmaster Flash, center rear, and the Furious Five after being inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame during ceremonies in New York, 2007.

84 Afrika Bambaataa at a 2006 news conference describing a project that will trace hip-hop from its origins in the 1970s to its status today.

Hip-hop artist Paco of Waterloo, Iowa, shows off some of his break dancing moves to high school students.

85 was refined by Grandmaster Flash, musical textures and grooves on rap ’s Convention was a compel­ who adopted the mixing techniques records, producers frequently used ling portrait of “the life” — the urban of disco DJs, particularly their use these sounds as a way of signaling underworld of gamblers, pimps, and of headphones to synchronize the a connection to the “old school” ori­ — through prison toasts tempos of recordings and to create gins of hip-hop. with titles like “Sentenced to the smooth transitions from Although all DJs used micro­ Chair.” The record, featuring musi­ groove to the next. Using head­ phones to make announcements, cal accompaniment by an all-star phones, Flash could more precisely Kool Herc was also one of the first lineup of funk, soul, and jazz musi­ pinpoint the beginning of a break DJs to recite rhyming phrases over cians, became enormously popular by listening to the sound of the the “” produced on his in the Bronx and inspired Kool Herc disc being turned backward on the turntables. Some of Herc’s “raps” and other DJs to compose their own turntable. Flash spent many hours were based on a tradition of ver­ rhymes. Soon DJs were recruiting practicing this technique and gained bal performance called “toasting,” members of their posses to serve local fame for his ability to “punch a form of poetic storytelling with as verbal performers, or “MCs” (an in” brief, machine gun–like seg­ roots in the trickster tales of West abbreviation of the term “master of ments of sound. Africa. The trickster — a sly char­ ceremonies”). MCs played an im­ A new technique called “scratch­ acter whose main goal in life is to portant role in controlling crowd ing” was developed by Flash’s young defy authority and upset the normal behavior at the increasingly large protégé, Theodore, who broke away order of things — became a com­ dances where DJs performed and and formed his own hip-hop crew at mon figure in the storytelling tradi­ soon became more important celeb­ the tender age of 13. In 1978 Theo­ tions of black slaves in the United rities than the DJs themselves. If DJs dore debuted a new technique that States, where he took on additional are the predecessors of today’s rap quickly spread through the com­ significance as a symbol of cultural producers — responsible for shaping munity of DJs. While practicing survival and covert resistance. Af­ musical texture and groove — MCs backspinning in his room, Theodore ter the Civil War the figure of the are the ancestors of contemporary began to pay closer attention to the trickster was in part supplanted by rappers. sounds created in his headphones more aggressive male figures, the fo­ Until 1979 hip-hop music re­ as he turned the disc counterclock­ cus of long, semi-improvised poetic mained primarily a local phenom­ wise. He soon discovered that this stories called “toasts.” The toasting enon. The first indication of the technique yielded scratchy, percus­ tradition frequently focused on genre’s broader commercial poten­ sive sound effects, which could be “bad men,” hard, merciless bandits tial was the 12-inch dance single punched in to the dance groove. and spurned lovers who vanquished “Rapper’s Delight,” recorded by the At first Theodore wasn’t sure how their enemies, sometimes by virtue Sugarhill Gang, a crew based in Har­ people would react: of their wits, but more often through lem. This record, which popularized physical . the use of the term “rapper” as an The Third Avenue Ballroom was Although the toasting tradition equivalent for MC, established Sug­ packed, and I figured I might as well had largely disappeared from black ar Hill Records — a black-owned in­ give it a try. So, I put on two copies communities by the 1970s, it took dependent label based in New Jersey of [James Brown’s] “ Machine” root in prisons, where black in­ — as the predominant institutional and started scratching up one. The mates found that the old narrative force in rap music during the early crowd loved it… they went wild. form suited their life experiences 1980s. The recording recycled the and present circumstances. One of rhythm section track from Chic’s The distinctive sound of scratch­ the main sources for the rhymes “,” played ing became an important part of composed by early hip-hop DJs in by session musicians usually hired the sonic palette of hip-hop music the Bronx was the album Hustler’s by Sugar Hill to back R&B singers. — even in the 1990s, after digital Convention (1973) by Jala Uridin, The three rappers — Michael “Won­ sampling had largely displaced leader of a group of militant ex- der Mike” Wright, Guy “Master turntables as a means of creating the convicts known as the Last Poets. Gee” O’Brien, and Henry “Big Bank

86 Hank” Jackson — recited a rapid-fire Public Enemy. Founded in 1982, poses and insisted in effect that rap succession of rhymes, typical of the Public Enemy was organized around music continue to engage with the performances of MCs at hip-hop a core set of members who met as real-life conditions of urban black dances. college students, drawn together communities. by their interest in hiphop culture During the 1990s, a number Well it’s on-n-on-n-on-on-n-on and political activism. The standard of important rap artists achieved The beat don’t stop until the break hip-hop configuration of two MCs mainstream success, among them of dawn — Chuck D (a.k.a. Carlton Riden­ M.C. Hammer (Stanley Kirk Burrell, I said M-A-S, T-E-R, a G with a hour, b. 1960) and Flavor Flav (Wil­ b. 1962), whose Please Hammer double E liam Drayton, b. 1959) — plus a DJ Don’t Hurt ‘Em, held the Number I said I go by the unforgettable name — Terminator X (Norman Lee Rog­ One position for 21 weeks and sold Of the man they call the Master Gee ers, b. 1966) — was augmented by a over 10 million copies, becoming the Well, known all over the “Minister of Information” (Professor bestselling rap album of all time, and world Griff, a.k.a. Richard Griffin) and the white rapper Vanilla Ice (Robert By all the foxy ladies and the pretty by the Security of the First World Van Winkle, b. 1968). Regional girls (S1W), a cohort of dancers who hip-hop dialects emerged, notably I’m goin’ down in history dressed in paramilitary uniforms, in , where a As the baddest rapper there could carried Uzi submachine guns, and smoother, more laid-back style of ever be. performed martial arts–inspired gained traction. choreography. Today, rap music and hip-hop The text of “Rapper’s Delight” The release of Public Enemy’s culture continue to influence and alternates the braggadocio of the second album in 1988 — It Takes inspire musicians and audiences three MCs with descriptions of a Nation of Millions to Hold Us around the world. dance movements, exhortations to Back — was a breakthrough event the audience, and humorous stories for rap music. The album fused and references. One particularly the trenchant social and political memorable segment describes the analyses of Chuck D — delivered in consternation of a guest who is a deep, authoritative voice — with served rotting food by his friend’s the streetwise interjections of his mother, seeks a polite way to refuse sidekick Flavor Flav, who wore comi­ it, and finally escapes by crashing cal glasses and an oversized clock through door. The around his neck. Their complex record reached Number Four on the verbal interplay was situated within R&B chart and Number 36 on the a dense, multilayered sonic web cre­ pop chart and introduced hip-hop ated by the group’s production team, to millions of people throughout the the Bomb Squad (Hank Shocklee, United States and abroad. The unex­ Keith Shocklee, and Eric “Vietnam” pected success of “Rapper’s Delight” Sadler). Tracks like “Countdown to ushered in a series of million-selling Armageddon” (an apocalyptic open­ 12-inch singles by New York rap­ ing instrumental track, taped at a pers, including ’s “The live concert in London), “Don’t Be­ Breaks,” “Planet Rock,” by Afrika lieve the Hype” (a critique of white- Bambaataa and the Soul Sonic Force, dominated mass media), and “Party and “The Message,” by Grandmaster for Your Right to Fight” (a parody of Flash and the Furious Five. the Beastie Boys’ hit “Fight for Your The tradition of socially engaged Right (to Party),” from the previ­ rap received its strongest new impe­ ous year) turned the technology of tus from the New York-based group digital sampling to new artistic pur­

87 Prince �

ne of the first things that strikes one about established him as a pop superstar. The album sold Prince (born Prince Rogers Nelson, 1958) more than 13 million copies. The plot and characters Ois his productivity. Between 1982 and 1992 of Purple draw heavily on Prince’s life. The film he placed nine albums in the Top 10. During the same concludes on an upbeat note as the Kid adopts one of decade he placed 26 singles in the Top 40. Over the his father’s compositions, incorporating a rhythm track course of his career, he has sold almost 40 million created by members of his band, The Revolution, and recordings. More importantly, he is one of the most creates the song “Purple Rain.” talented musicians ever to achieve mass commercial It is not easy to draw boundaries between success. the fictional character, the celebrity , and Prince’s recorded output reflects a wide range of the private individual. A major source of the film’s inspirations, from funk and guitar-based rock ’n’ roll to attraction for Prince’s fans lay in the idea that this urban folk music, new wave, and psychedelic rock. He was a tantalizing opportunity to catch a glimpse has from the beginning sought to exert equally tight of the “man behind the curtain.” If Purple Rain is a control over his music and the business of creating and film with confessional aspects, it is also a product distributing that music. Prince owns his own studio of the sophisticated marketing strategies applied by and produces his own recordings; plays most of the entertainment corporations during the 1980s. instruments on his albums; and struggled to wrest control of his music from Warner Brothers. By the late 1990s he was releasing music exclusively on his own label, through his Web site, and via his direct-selling telephone hotline. Descriptions of Prince’s personality in the popular press present a series of opposed images: he is portrayed as a and as a dictator; a male chauvinist who can form close personal relationships only with women; an intensely private person and a shrewd self- ; a satyr and a steadfastly pious man. Prince’s British biographer Barney Hoskyns christened Prince “the Imp of the Perverse,” referring to his apparent delight in confounding the expectations of his audience. As a celebrity, Prince occupies a middle ground between the hermitlike reclusiveness of Michael Jackson and the exuberant exhibitionism of Madonna. Throughout his career, Prince has granted few press interviews yet has managed to keep himself in the limelight. The best example of his skill at manipulating the boundary between the public and the private is the film and Purple Rain (1984), which

88 “The Message”

erformed by Grandmaster Flash and the man, we’re with Grandmaster Flash and the Furious Furious Five, “The Message” (1982) established Five.” Flash enters from one side to defend his friends: Pan influential trend in rap: social realism. “The “Officer, officer, what’s the problem?” “You’re the Message” is a grim portrait of life in New York City’s problem,” the cop shouts back, “get in the car!” We hear South Bronx section. On top of the stark, cold electronic the car driving away with the Furious Five in custody, groove Grandmaster Flash intones the rap’s hook: arrested evidently for the crime of assembling on a It’s like a jungle sometimes, makes me street corner, and the track “fades to black.” wonder how I keep from goin’ under A whole stream of rap music can be traced from The sudden sound of shattering introduces this gritty record, ranging from the political raps of a rhythmically complex and carefully articulated KRS-One and Public Enemy to the “gangsta” style of performance that alternates the smooth, slyly Los Angeles MCs like N.W.A., Snoop Doggy Dogg, and humorous style of Grandmaster Flash with the edgy, 2Pac Shakur. As the first gritty description of life in frustrated tone of MC Melle Mel: the nation’s urban ghettos of the 1980s to achieve wide Don’t push me ‘cause I’m close to commercial circulation, “The Message” established I’m tryin’ not to lose canons of and street credibility still vitally Ah huh huh huh huh important to rap musicians and audiences. The two MCs time their performances with great precision, compressing and stretching the spaces between words, and creating against the steady musical pulse. The lyric alternates between the Grandmaster Flash humorous wordplay typical of hip- performs in New York in 2007. hop MC performances and images of desperation. The relationship between the grim reality of ghetto life and the tough-minded humor that is its antidote is summed up by Melle Mel’s humorless quasi- laugh: “Ah huh huh huh huh.”The second half of “The Message” paints a chilling picture of the life of a child born into poverty in the South Bronx, followed by the sound of the Furious Five meeting on a street corner. A police car screeches up and officers emerge, barking orders at the young black men. “What are you, a gang?” one of the policemen shouts. “Nah,


2R 1ETPAHC 2R World Music Collaborations: CROSSING CULTURAL � BOUNDARIES �

During the 1980s the hat, then, is world Music Recording in 1994, and a sam­ boundary between music? In a strictly pler album inspired by the film Dead musical sense, it is a Man Walking, which reached Num­ mainstream and marginal pseudo-genre,W taking into its sweep ber 61 on the album charts in 1996. music became ever fuzzier, styles as diverse as African urban Talking Timbuktu was produced pop (juju), Pakistani dance club by the singer and guitarist Ry Cood­ and pressures to expand the music (bhangara), Australian Ab­ er, whose career as a session musi­ global market for American original rock music (the band Yothu cian and bandleader had already popular music and create Yindi), and even the Bulgarian State encompassed a wide array of styles, Radio and Television Female Vocal including blues, reggae, Tex-Mex new alternative genres , whose 1987 release Le Mys­ music, urban folk song, Hawaiian and audiences within the tère des Voix Bulgares (The Mystery guitar music, jazz, and of the Bulgarian Voices) reached gospel music. The sound and sen­ American market grew Number 165 on the Billboard album sibility of Talking Timbuktu are ever stronger. One result chart in 1988. Bestselling albums on derived from the music of Ali Farka of these processes was the Billboard’s world music chart have Touré, a guitarist and traditional featured the Celtic group , praise singer (griot) from the West emergence of a category Spanish flamenco music, Tibetan African nation of . called world music. The Buddhist chant, and diverse col­ term was adopted in the late laborations between American and English rock stars and musicians 1980s by independent record from Africa, Latin America, and label owners and concert . By the 1990s collaborations be­ promoters, entering the tween American and foreign musi­ marketplace as a replacement cians had become more common, for longer-standing categories spurred on the one hand by folk and alternative music fans’ search such as “traditional music,” for a broader range of musical ex­ “international music,” and periences, and on the other by the of the music industry. “ethnic music.” Two interesting examples of this sort of transnational collaboration are the Ali Farka Toure was born in Mali album Talking Timbuktu, which won and is known as the most important the Grammy Award for Best World interpreter of “.”

90 Clockwise from left: Pakistani Nusrat Encountering a track like “Di­ Fateh Ali Khan was considered a araby,” an American listener is likely leading performer of Sufi devotional music. Indian students perform the to be struck by the music’s close Qawwali, the devotional music of affinities with the blues. This is no the Sufis. The late blues musician, accident. To begin with, the blues Clarence ‘Gatemouth’ Brown plays styles of Mississippi, Texas, and the fiddle at the Newport Folk other southern states were strongly Festival in Rhode Island in 1996. influenced by the traditions of Af­ rican slaves, many of whom came precisely from the Sahel region of , homeland of Ali Farka What is wrong my love? It is you Touré’s people, the Bambara. The I love high-pitched, almost wailing sound Your mother has told you not of Touré’s singing; the percussive to marry me, because I have guitar patterns; and the use of song nothing. But I love you. as a medium for social and personal Your friends have told you not commentary — all of these features to marry me, because I have represent an evolution of centuries- Talking Timbuktu features con­ nothing. But I love you. old links between the West African tributions by the blues guitarist Your father has told you not griot tradition and the blues cre­ and fiddler Clarence “Gatemouth” to marry me, because I have ated by black musicians in America’s Brown and various prominent ses­ nothing. But I love you. Deep South. It turns out that Touré’s sion musicians. The result hews What is wrong my love? It is you style was directly influenced by close to its African roots, with the I love. American blues musicians such as American musicians playing in sup­ Do not be angry, do not cry, do , whose records he port of Touré. The lyric of the song is not be sad because of love. discovered after his career was es­ itself reminiscent of the bittersweet tablished in Africa. emotion of some American blues:

91 Right: Hugh Masekela, from , performs during the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival in 2004. Far right: , an American guitarist, singer, and composer, performs in in New York in 2005.

From the mid-1950s until his death in 2003, legendary singer wrote, produced, and sang an array of country, patriotic, and religious songs.

92 The sound and sensibility of “Di­ poetic texts with spectacular and No, nothing dies within pure light araby” provide additional evidence of elaborate melodic improvisations, in Only one hour of this pure love the deep links between African and an attempt to spiritually arouse his To last a life of 30 years American music. This is listeners and move them into emo­ Only one hour, so calm and dark functioning as a universal language, tional proximity with the Divine. but a conversation between two During the 1990s Nusrat Fateh This is not an example of music’s dialects of a complexly unified Afro- Ali Khan became the first qawwali functioning as a universal language, Atlantic musical language. artist to command a large interna­ for most members of the film’s The track “The Face of Love” is a tional following, owing to his perfor­ American audience neither under­ different sort of collaboration, fea­ mances at the annual WOMAD fes­ stood the words that Khan sang turing the lead singer for the - tivals curated by the rock star Peter nor possessed any knowledge of the based alternative rock band Pearl Gabriel. Khan began to experiment centuries-long history of Sufi mysti­ Jam, , and the great with nontraditional instruments cal traditions. Nonetheless, it could Pakistani musician Nusrat Fateh Ali and to work with musicians outside be argued that this is a case where Khan, and produced by Ry Cooder. the qawwali tradition, leading some the well-meaning effort of artists to Khan was a leading performer of critics to charge that the music had reach across cultural and musical qawwali, a genre of mystical sing­ moved away from its spiritual roots. boundaries does produce something ing practiced by Sufi Muslims in “All these albums are experiments,” like an aesthetic communion, a Pakistan and . Qawwali singing Khan told the interviewer Ken Hunt common purpose embodied in mu­ is accompanied by a double-headed in 1993. “There are some people who sical texture and poetry. drum called the dholak and a por­ do not understand at all but just like Khan’s appearance on the table called my voice. I add new lyrics and mod­ soundtrack of Walking the harmonium, which creates a ern instruments to attract the audi­ led to his being signed by the indie continuous drone under the singing. ence. This has been very successful.” label American Recordings, man­ In traditional settings the lead singer The 1996 film Dead Man Walk­ aged by , formerly the alternates stanzas of traditional ing — the story of a nun’s attempt to mastermind behind the rappers redeem the soul of a convicted mur­ Run-D.M.C. and the Beastie Boys. derer on the verge of execution—was The American music industry’s mar­ the first to foreground Khan’s contri­ ket positioning of world music as yet butions. Many reviews of Dead Man another variant of alternative music Walking stressed the contribution of is indicated by that label’s roster Khan’s voice to the haunting, mysti­ of artists, which included not only cal, and spiritual atmosphere of the but also the film. The song “The Face of Love” “” band , the rap is based on a simple melody, sung artist Sir MixA-Lot, and the country first by Khan with lyrics in the Urdu music icon Johnny Cash. language, and then with English lyr­ ics by ’s lead singer Eddie Vedder: Jeena kaisa Pyar bina [What is life without love] — Is Duniya Mein Aaye ho to [Now that you have come to this world] (2x) Ek Duje se pyar karo [Love each Pearl Jam lead singer and guitarist other, one another] Eddie Vedder performs in Mexico Look in the eyes of the face of love City in 2003. Look in her eyes, for there is peace

93 Glossary �

a cappella Vocal singing blues A genre of music composer A person who creates that involves no instrumental originating principally from the a piece of music. Although the accompaniment. field hollers and work songs of term may be, and often is, used to rural blacks in the southern United describe the creators of popular A&R Abbreviation for “artists States during the latter half of songs, it is more commonly applied and repertoire.” This is the the nineteenth century. Themes to those who create more extended, department of a record company treated by blues lyrics included formally notated works of music. whose responsibility it is to discover the oppressive conditions suffered and cultivate new musical talent, counterculture A subculture by African Americans; love gone and to find material for the artists existing in opposition to and wrong; alienation; misery; and the to perform — naturally, with an espousing values contrary to that supernatural. The lyrics are often eye toward commercial potential. of the dominant culture. The term obscured by a coded, metaphorical As many artists today write and is most often used to describe the language. The music of the blues record their own material, the latter values and lifestyle of some young is rich in and earthy function of A&R has atrophied to people during the late 1960s and rhythms. Originally an acoustic some extent. early 1970s (see Chapter 10). music, the blues moved to the urban arranger A person who adapts North in the mid-twentieth century, counterpoint The sounding of (or arranges) the melody and chords becoming electrified in the process two independent melodic lines or of a song to exploit the capabilities (see Chapters 5 and 7). voices against one another. and instrumental resources of bridge A passage consisting of dialect A regional speech variant; a particular . new, contrasting material that serves one may allude to regional musical For example, a simple pop tune as a link between repeated sections “dialects” to describe stylistic originally written for voice and of melodic material. A bridge is variants of the same basic musical piano may be arranged for a jazz sometimes called a release (see genre, as with Mississippi Delta “big band” with many horns and a discussion of Tin Pan Alley song blues or blues. rhythm section. form in Chapter 4). dissonance A harsh or grating ballad A type of song consisting cadence A melodic or harmonic sound. (The perception of usually of verses set to a repeating event that signals the end of a dissonance is culturally conditioned. melody (see strophic form) in which musical line or section, or of the For example, the smaller intervals a story, often romantic, historic, or piece as a whole. employed in certain Asian and tragic, is sung in narrative fashion. Middle Eastern musics may sound chord The simultaneous sounding blue notes Expressive notes or “out of tune” and dissonant to of different pitches. scalar inflections found primarily Western ears; within their original in blues and jazz music. The blue chorus A repeating section within context, however, they are regarded notes derive from African musical a song consisting of a fixed melody as perfectly consonant.) practice; although they do not and lyric that is repeated exactly distortion A buzzing, crunchy, correspond exactly to the Western each time that it occurs, typically or “fuzzy” tone color originally system of major and minor scales, following one or more verses. achieved by overdriving the vacuum it is helpful to imagine them as coda The “tail end” of a musical tubes of a . This effect “flatter” or “lower” versions of the composition, typically a brief can be simulated today by solid scale degrees to which they are passage after the last complete state and digital sound processors. related, and thus one speaks of section that serves to bring the piece Distortion is often heard in a hard “blue” thirds, fifths, and sevenths to its conclusion. rock or heavy metal context. (see Chapter 5).

94 DJ Disc jockey (deejay); one who that are constructed from the major radio station or deejay in order to plays recordings (as on a radio scale. Of course, a song may (and ensure the prominent airplay of a program). frequently does) “borrow” notes and particular recording. chords from outside a particular feedback Technically, an out­ The simultaneous major scale, and it may “modulate” of-control sound oscillation that sounding of rhythms in two or or shift from key to key within the occurs when the output of a more contrasting meters, such as course of the song. loudspeaker finds its way back into a three against two, or five against microphone or electric instrument melisma One syllable of text four. Polyrhythms are found in pickup and is reamplified, creating spread out over many musical tones. abundance in African and Asian a sound loop that grows in intensity musics and their derivatives. minor Refers to one of the two and continues until deliberately scale systems central to Western producer A person engaged broken. Although feedback can music (see major); a minor scale either by a recording artist or, be difficult to manage, it becomes is arranged in the following often, a record company, who a powerful expressive device in of whole- and half-step intervals: directs and assists the recording the hands of certain blues and 1-½-1-1-½-1-1. (This pattern process. The producer’s duties rock musicians, most notably the represents the so-called natural may include securing the services guitarist Jimi Hendrix. Feedback can minor scale, often found in blues of session musicians; deciding on be recognized as a “screaming” or and blues-based popular music; it arrangements; making technical “crying” sound. is easy to see if one begins at the decisions; motivating the artist groove Term originally employed pitch A on the piano keyboard and creatively; helping to realize the by jazz, rhythm & blues, and funk plays the next seven white notes artistic vision in a commercially musicians to describe the channeled in succession, which yields the A viable way; and not unimportantly, flow of swinging, “funky,” or “phat” minor scale: ABCDEFGA. The two ensuring that the project comes rhythms. other minor scales in common in under budget. A good producer usage — the melodic minor and often develops a distinctive habanera a slow, tango-like harmonic minor scales — have signature sound, and successful Cuban musical style, elements of ascending and descending forms producers are always in great which were integrated into jazz that differ somewhat from the demand. They are often rewarded by New Orleans-based musicians natural minor scale.) A song is said handsomely for their efforts, including . to be in a minor tonality or key if garnering a substantial share of a hook A “catchy” or otherwise it uses melodies and chords that recording’s earnings, in addition to a memorable musical phrase or are constructed from the minor commission. pattern. scale. Of course, a song may (and R&B Rhythm & blues. An African frequently does) “borrow” notes and lyricist A person who supplies a American musical genre emerging chords from outside a particular poetic text (lyrics) to a piece of vocal after World War II. It consisted minor scale, and it may “modulate” music; not necessarily the composer. of a loose cluster of styles derived or shift from key to key within the from black musical traditions, major refers to one of the two course of the song. In comparison characterized by energetic and scale systems central to Western to the major scale, the minor scale is hard-swinging rhythms. At first music (see minor); a major scale often described as having a “sad” or performed exclusively by black is arranged in the following order “melancholy” sound. musicians and aimed at black of whole- and half-step intervals: MP3 A variant of the MPEG audiences, R&B came to replace the 1-1-½-1-1-1-½. (This pattern is compression system, which allows older category of “race records” (see easy to see if one begins at the sound files to be compressed to as Chapter 7). pitch C on the piano keyboard and little as one-twelfth of their original plays the next seven white notes ragtime A musical genre of size. in succession, which yields the C African American origin, later major scale: CDEFGABC.) A song The illegal and historically exploited to great advantage by is said to be in a major tonality or widespread practice of offering white performers, that emerged in key if it uses melodies and chords money or other inducements to a the 1880s and became quite popular

9595 at the turn of the century. Ragtime stream of binary numbers that timbre The “tone color” or char­ is characterized by melodic accents represent the profile of the sound, acteristic sound of an instrument or that fall on “off” or weak beats; it is quantized, and stored in computer voice, determined by its frequency highly syncopated. Scott Joplin is memory. The digitized sound and overtone components. Timbre the recognized master of this genre, sample may then be retrieved in any is the aspect of sound that allows us, having composed numerous rags for number of ways, including “virtual for example, to differentiate between the piano (see Chapter 2). recording studio” programs for the the sound of a and a flute computer, or by activating the sound when both instruments are playing refrain In the verse-refrain song, from an or the same pitch. the refrain is the “main part” of the . song, usually constructed in AABA tonic Refers to the central or or ABAC form (see discussion of Tin A technique that “home” pitch, or chord, of a musical Pan Alley song form in Chapter 4). involves the use of nonsense piece — or sometimes of just a syllables as a vehicle for wordless section of the piece. release See bridge. vocal improvisation. It is most often tremolo The rapid reiteration of reverb Short for “reverberation”— found in a jazz context. a single pitch to create a vibrating a prolongation of a sound by slap-back A distinctive short sound texture. This effect can be virtue of an ambient acoustical reverberation with few repetitions, produced by acoustic instruments or space created by hard, reflective often heard in the recordings of by electronic means. surfaces. The sound bounces off rockabilly artists, such as the Sun these surfaces and recombines with tutti Literally, “together” (from Records recordings of Elvis Presley. the original sound, slightly delayed Italian). A passage in a musical piece (reverb is measured in terms of soli (plural of solo) Band textures wherein all the instruments of the seconds and fractions of seconds). achieved by having a small group of ensemble (band or orchestra) are Reverberation can occur naturally or players within the band play certain playing simultaneously. be simulated either electronically or passages of music together. Soli verse In general usage, this term by digital sound processors. playing contrasts with tutti sections, refers to a group of lines of poetic wherein the entire ensemble plays riff A simple, repeating melodic text, often rhyming, that usually (see the discussion of swing bands in idea or pattern that generates exhibit regularly recurring metrical Chapter 3). rhythmic momentum; typically patterns. In the verse-refrain song, played by the horns or the piano in strophes Poetic stanzas; often, a the verse refers to an introductory a jazz ensemble, or by an electric pair of stanzas of alternating form section that precedes the main guitar in a rock ’n’ roll context. that constitute the structure of a body of the song, the refrain (see poem. These could become the verse discussion of Tin Pan Alley song rockabilly A vigorous form and chorus of a strophic song. form in Chapter 4). of country and western music (“hillbilly” music) informed by the strophic A song form that vibrato An expressive musical rhythms of black R&B and electric employs the same music for each technique that involves minute blues. It is exemplified by such poetic unit in the lyrics. wavering or fluctuation of a pitch. artists as Carl Perkins and the young syncopation Rhythmic patterns waltz A dance in triple meter Elvis Presley. in which the stresses occur on what with a strong emphasis on the rumba a ballroom dance of Afro- are ordinarily weak beats, thus of each bar. Cuban origin with a basic pattern displacing or suspending the sense featuring two quick sidesteps and of metric regularity. one slow forward step per bar, and tempo Literally, “time” (from the syncopated, 4/4 time musical Italian). The rate at which a musical style associated with this dance. composition proceeds, regulated sampling A digital recording by the speed of the beat or pulse to process wherein a sound source which it is performed. is recorded or “sampled” with a microphone, converted into a

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