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Chapter 2
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  • The relative importance of associating specific dates with overall historic developments
    • Comparison between American history and the development of rock and roll
      1. 1776 United States broke with England to become a country in its own right
        • In actuality many contributing events preceded that year's revolution
        • Many other crucial events followed that revolution
        • Specific dates and events are historians' means of organizing history
      2. Rock and roll is associated with the year 1955 as an important point of emergence
        • An indistinct period surrounds this year in a similar parallel to the American Revolution
        • Many preceding and subsequent events contributed to rock and roll around this time
    • Three styles were clearly established by the early 1950s and directed at specific audiences
      1. Country and western
      2. Rhythm and blues
      3. Tin Pan Alley
    • The style that dominated the mainstream was Tin Pan Alley popular music
      1. Tin Pan Alley style songs were dominated by three industries
        • Publishing
        • Major record labels
        • Radio and television
      2. Rhythm and blues became popular with the post-WWII youth culture
        • Lyrics were cleaned up for radio so as to be more accessible to white audiences
        • Cleaner lyrics on radio accounted for unimagined sales success for record labels
    • The introduction of rhythm and blues into the mainstream in 1955 was the start of rock and roll
      1. The "first wave" of rock and roll performers included black performers and white performers
        • Fats Domino
        • Little Richard
        • Chuck Berry
        • Elvis Presley
        • Jerry Lee Lewis
        • Bill Haley
        • Buddy Holly
    • The golden age of rock and roll: 1955-1960
      1. Different from Tin Pan Alley, country and western or rhythm and blues
      2. Older generations viewed rock and roll as a threat
        • Believed to encourage unacceptable moral practices
        • These practices were associated with black culture
      3. Middle-class teenagers listening to the music in large numbers
        • Lucrative market for record companies
        • White teenagers embraced this as their own style
  • The rise of youth culture in the 1950s
    • Previous generations assimilated into their parents' culture after high school
      1. Post-WWII white middle-class teens were given fewer standards to comply with
        • Allowed to remain teenagers
        • Given less responsibility
        • This was historically unique
        • More leisure time
        • More spending money
      2. Middle-class made efforts to return to "normalcy" after wartime domestic disruption
        • Focus on family
        • Focus on children's health, education, and overall happiness
      3. White middle-class teenagers embraced rhythm and blues
        • Knowing parents wouldn't approve of suggestive lyrics
        • This could be children's form of social rebellion
        • Allowed an alternative to assimilating into their parents' adult world culture
    • Movies appeared with rebellious themes
      1. Rebellious young people who rebelled for the sake of rebellion
        • The Wild One (1953) starring Marlon Brando
        • Rebel without a Cause (1955) starring James Dean
      2. Blackboard Jungle (1955) about teenage delinquency in an urban high school
        • Featured "(We're Gonna) Rock Around the Clock"
        • Song was played over the opening credits
        • Caused rock and roll to be associated with delinquency
        • One of the top pop records of that year
      3. By 1955 rhythm and blues was being called rock and roll
  • Radio and records
    • Alan Freed and the rise of the disk-jockey in regional radio
      1. Freed was an announcer on a Cleveland clear radio station WJW
      2. Sponsored by Rendezvous Records who suggested Freed start a rhythm and blues show
      3. July 11, 1951, Freed started the Moondog show (his "on-air" name)
      4. Promoted rhythm and blues concerts
      5. Moved to station WINS in New York in 1954
      6. Stopped using the name "Moondog" because a street person was known by that name
      7. Changed the name of his show to Rock and Roll Party
        • Soon nationally syndicated
        • Also broadcast in Europe
      8. Freed brought out movies about teens and rock and roll featuring popular artists
        • Bill Haley
        • Chuck Berry
        • Frankie Lymon
        • Moonglows
        • Plot was meant to showcase the artists' performances
    • Other radio stations were playing rhythm and blues as well
      1. Dewey Phillips: Red, Hot and Blue show on WHBQ in Memphis
      2. WLAC in Nashville had more than one rhythm and blues disk-jockey
        • Gene Nobles
        • John R. Richbourg
        • Hoss Allen
      3. WGST in Atlanta had Zenas "Daddy" Sears
      4. KFVD in Los Angeles had Hunter Hancock
      5. Rhythm and blues radio shows were initially targeted at a black audience
      6. White teens were listening as well
      7. During the late 1940s black disk-jockeys began to become popular
        • Vernon Winslow ("Doctor Daddy-O") in New Orleans
        • Lavada Durst ("Doctor Hepcat") in Austin
        • William Perryman ("Piano Red" and "Doctor Feelgood") in Atlanta
        • Al Benson in Chicago
        • Jocko Henderson in Philadelphia
        • Tommy Smalls ("Doctor Jive") in New York
    • Independent record labels were a major influence in promoting rock and roll
      1. They had small budgets and few distribution contacts beyond their local region
      2. Set up cooperative deals with each other to distribute in other regions
      3. Developed rapports with local disk-jockeys to encourage airplay of their records
        • Disk-jockeys received "gifts" in exchange for playing records
        • Gifts included cash, gifts, and entertainment
      4. Indie (independent) labels worked at getting records into jukeboxes
        • Jukeboxes were popular in bars and restaurants
        • Teens would hear new records on jukeboxes and go out and buy them
      5. Major labels controlled the pop market, so indie labels concentrated on the remaining styles
        • Rhythm and blues
        • Country and western
      6. The reason indie labels and regional radio stations flourished:
        • Major labels were too conservative to be concerned with rhythm and blues
        • Indie labels had to be creative and entrepreneurial to stay in the game
        • The same held true for network radio, leaving a hole for regional stations to fill
      7. Major labels weren't prepared for rhythm and blues to enter the pop charts in the early 1950s
  • Crossovers and covers
    • During the first half of the twentieth century the music business became very large and organized
      1. Magazines pointed out marketing trends in the music trade
        • Billboard
        • Cashbox
      2. These trade magazines categorized the music into three kinds called "charts"
        • Pop
        • Rhythm and blues
        • Country and western
      3. The categories were based on buying patterns among consumers of music
        • Pop was based on white middle-class consumers
        • Rhythm and blues on black consumers
        • Country and western on rural and low-income white consumers
      4. In the mid 1950s when white middle-class teens discovered rhythm and blues the distinction between styles blurred
    • Crossovers are records that appear on one chart and then on one of the other two
      1. Two ways that a song can cross over to another chart:
        • The record sales can generate a chart position on another chart
        • For instance, a pop song becomes popular among country and western listeners, who buy enough copies of the record to generate a chart position on the country and western chart
        • A different artist can record a new version of the song specifically for a particular listening audience
        • When a different artist records a new version of a song it is called a "cover"
      2. It is possible (and not uncommon) for a song to be both a cover and a crossover
        • This phenomenon was less common in the years from 1950 to 1953.
        • Only about 10% of songs crossed over from one chart to another chart
        • Beginning in 1954 25% of the rhythm and blues records began to cross over
        • By 1958 that figure was 94%
      3. The cover and crossover trend followed a pattern based on economics
        • A black rhythm and blues artist would release a song recorded on a small indie label
        • A major label (or larger indie label) would release a cover of that song
        • The cover would usually be a white artist
        • The cover would come out quickly after the original—sometimes during the same month
        • Major labels had the distribution system and financial wherewithal to produce their recording quickly and get it out to a national audience
        • Therefore, the major label cover would be more successful than the original indie product
  • Black artists began to cross over in 1955
    • Fats Domino (Antoine Domino) from New Orleans
      1. Recorded on Imperial records based in Los Angeles
      2. Several early 1950s rhythm and blues hits
        • "The Fat Man" (r6, 1950)
        • "Goin' Home" (r1, 1952)
        • "Something's Wrong" (r6, 1953)
      3. In 1955 "Ain't It a Shame" hits rhythm and blues #1 and pop #10
      4. 1955-1963 thirty-seven top 40 singles
        • "I'm in Love Again" (rl p3, 1956)
        • "Blueberry Hill" (r1 p2, 1956)
        • "I'm Walkin'" (r1 p4, 1957)
      5. Fats Domino persona and musical style
        • Overweight and gentle nonthreatening demeanor
        • Warm friendly personality
        • Repeated triplet chords on the piano
    • Chuck Berry: blending rhythm and blues with country and western aimed at white youth
      1. Met Leonard Chess at Chess records through Muddy Waters (a Chess artist)
      2. 1955: first hit for Chess was a country fiddle tune to which Berry wrote words—"Maybelline"
        • Rhythm and blues #1 hit and crossed over to pop chart and went to #5
        • "School Day" (rl p3, 1957)
        • "Rock & Roll Music" (r6 p8, 1957)
        • "Sweet Little Sixteen" (rl p2, 1958)
        • "Johnny B. Goode" (r2 p8, 1958)
      3. Chuck Berry vocal style was influenced by country and western
      4. Flamboyant performer—his "duck walk" during his solos became his trademark
      5. All in good fun. Not threatening to white listening audience
      6. Lyrics were directed specifically at teenage listeners
        • "Roll over Beethoven" used classical music as a metaphor for conservative values
        • Suggested that rock and roll would make Beethoven roll over in his grave
        • "School Day"—school is the oppressive culture to rebel against
        • Berry was careful to stay humorous and unthreatening
        • "Maybelline" veils sexual innuendo through clever wordplay
        • "Memphis" tricks the listener into thinking the woman he's calling is an adult—it isn't
      7. Berry had enormous musical influence on rock and roll
        • Guitar style was one of the most imitated in all rock music
        • Song structure based on 12-bar blues
        • Two-string boogie-woogie alternation of a fifth / sixth
        • Played above the chord root on low strings
        • Frequent double stops in his solos: best example is "Johnny B. Goode"
    • Little Richard (Richard Wayne Penniman): the most flamboyant 1950s performer
      1. Recording on Hollywood's Specialty records
      2. "Tutti Frutti" topped the rhythm and blues charts in late 1955
      3. Hit #17 on the pop charts
      4. Nine top forty hits included
        • "Long Tall Sally" (rl p6, 1956)
        • "Keep Knockin'" (r2 p8, 1957)
        • "Good Golly, Miss Molly" (r4 p10, 1958)
      5. Wild performance style
        • Sometimes-manic singing (and even screaming)
        • Aggressive piano pounding
        • Strong driving beat in the rhythm section
        • Played with one leg propped up over the keyboard of the piano
        • Strong contrast to Fats Domino
      6. The first rock performer to wear makeup
      7. Highly suggestive lyrics left nothing to guesswork
        • "Good golly, Miss Molly/you sure like to ball" ("Good Golly Miss Molly")
        • "I got a girl named Sue, she knows just what to do" ("Tutti Frutti")
      8. White artists covered his songs with cleaned up lyrics
      9. They outsold Little Richard's original recordings
    • Rhythm and blues hits were covered by white artists with cleaned up lyrics
      1. Rhythm and blues hits frequently focused on sexual innuendo
        • Joe Turner's hit "Shake, Rattle, and Roll"
        • "(We're Gonna) Rock Around the Clock"
        • Dominoes' "Sixty Minute Man" (r1, 1951)
        • Ruth Brown's "5-10-15 Hours" (rl, 1952)
        • Ravens' "Rock Me All Night Long" (r4, 1952)
        • Midnighters with Hank Ballard "Work with Me, Annie" (rl, 1954)
        • Midnighters with Hank Ballard "Annie Had a Baby" (rl, 1954)
        • Georgia Gibbs' "Dance with Me Henry" was a #2 pop hit
      2. Often lyric references to sex were replaced with references to dancing
      3. White artists covered these and many others with less offensive lyrics
    • Bill Haley and his Comets
      1. Originally a disk jockey playing in a country-swing band named the Saddlemen
        • Early in the 1950s Bill Haley and his Comets recorded "Rocket 88"—it flopped
        • Haley's 1953 recording "Crazy Man Crazy" did better
        • In 1954 Bill Haley and his Comets signed with major label Decca
        • Released "Shake, Rattle, and Roll" that year
        • "(We're Gonna) Rock Around Clock" also 1954
        • These two weren't big hits then—only charted on rhythm and blues charts
        • "(We're Gonna) Rock Around Clock" used in the 1955 film Blackboard Jungle
        • Became #1 pop hit for 8 weeks (r3)
      2. Nine more top 40 hits included
        • "Burn That Candle" (r9 p9, 1955) and
        • "See You Later, Alligator" (r7 p6, 1956)
    • Charles Eugene "Pat" Boone (actual descendant of Daniel Boone)
      1. Recorded on Nashville indie label Dot Records
      2. During the 1954-1959 period Boone scored thirty-two Top 40 hits including
        • Fats Domino's "Ain't It a Shame" (renamed "Ain't That a Shame")
        • Number one for two weeks in the fall of 1955
        • Little Richard's "Tutti Frutti" (p12, 1956) and "Long Tall Sally" (p8, 1956)
      3. Boone's covers usually outsold the original rhythm and blues artists' records
      4. Many other original hits during the same period
        • "Don't Forbid Me" (p1, 1956)
        • "Love Letters in the Sand" (pl, 1957)
        • "April Love" (p1, 1957)
        • Polite, clean-cut personal image
        • Continued the pop style established by Frank Sinatra and Eddie Fisher
        • Helped establish rock and roll as a valid part of the mainstream in the last half of the 1950s
  • Cover versions controversy
    • Black artists resented white artists covering and outselling their records
      1. Records were often reproduced in meticulous detail
        • Difference only that these covers were by white pop artists on another label
        • Intent seemed to be to replace the black artists' recordings in charts, broadcast, and jukeboxes
      2. Pop music business executives watched rhythm and blues charts to get in on the next hit
      3. Rhythm and blues and rock and roll artists provided material for the pop market
    • Black artists didn't reap the financial benefits of their recordings that they should have
      1. Rhythm and blues artists often were paid a flat fee
        • Didn't get royalties that were usually paid to songwriters
        • Their record companies were small-scale operations
        • There was always the possibility that they would fold so money up front seemed better
        • Therefore the only long-term beneficiaries were the label executives—who were white
      2. Music business revolved around the song itself rather than a recording of a song
        • Common practice was to capitalize on whatever song was currently popular
        • Record labels promoted their singers as stylists
        • Therefore, singers like Frank Sinatra or Tony Bennett sold because of their individual styles
        • White artists covering rhythm and blues songs made the songs in their own style
        • These artists believed that their covers brought the songs to the white audience
        • Black artists strongly disagreed and resented the practice of covering their songs for big profits
  • Elvis Presley
    • The first artist to repeatedly have hits on all three charts
    • The first rock and roll artist to gain the attention and interest (and investment) of a major label (RCA)
    • When signed to RCA in 1955, the company started the actions that brought rock and roll into pop mainstream
    • Elvis's youth was spent in a simple humble way among simple common people
      1. Elvis was born to a poor family in Tupelo, Mississippi
      2. Family moved to Memphis at age 13—an impressionable time for a youngster
        • Knew and liked the usual country music popular in that region
        • Also exposed to thriving rhythm and blues community
        • Identified with blacks and particularly their style of clothing
        • Elvis learned to sing country songs and rhythm and blues songs as a child
    • Elvis Presley at Sun Records: the "Hillbilly Cat"
      1. Owner Sam Phillips started Memphis Recording Service in 1950
      2. Specialized in recording black blues musicians and singers
        • Joe Hill Louis
        • B. B. King
        • Howlin' Wolf
        • Roscoe Gordon
        • Jackie Brenston and the Delta Cats 1951 rhythm & blues hit, "Rocket 88"
      3. Phillips licensed his recordings to other rhythm and blues labels
        • Modern Records in Los Angeles
        • Chess Records in Chicago
      4. Started Sun Records in 1952 as his own real record label recording more blues artists
        • Rufus Thomas
        • Little Junior Parker
        • Little Milton
        • The Prisonaires (a singing group from the Tennessee State Penitentiary)
      5. Elvis came in to record a demo recording in 1953
        • In 1954 Phillips asked him to record a couple of songs that needed a vocal:
        • "It Wouldn't Be the Same Without You" and "I'll Never Stand in Your Way"
        • Nothing happened with those, but Phillips decided to see what Elvis could do
        • Asked guitarist Scotty Moore and bassist Bill Black to work with him and try things
      6. Phillips was an easygoing person and let musicians loosen up while he rolled tape
      7. By July 1954 they finally came up with something
        • Arthur "Big Boy" Crudup's "That's All Right (Mama)"
        • B side was Bill Monroe's bluegrass song "Blue Moon of Kentucky"
      8. Phillips took it to Memphis disk-jockey Dewey Phillips to play on his Red, Hot, and Blue radio show
        • Phillips liked it and played it a lot of times
        • Elvis and the other two musicians went on tour to promote the record
        • They played the Grand Ole Opry (not received well)
        • They were received well on the Louisiana Hayride show
        • At first, Elvis was billed as a country and western performer
      9. Elvis had several regional hits recorded at Sun
    • The biggest deal in the history of popular music up to that time
      1. In 1955 Elvis took on a new manager, Colonel Tom Parker
      2. Parker arranged a deal with RCA in Nashville to bring Elvis to a national level company
      3. Sam Phillips needed money to keep Sun Records going
      4. Parker set up a deal for RCA to buy Elvis's contract from Sam Phillips: $35,000
      5. Also included was a $5,000 bonus for Elvis in back royalties
    • Sam Phillips put the money into the label and a radio station he'd purchased
      1. Put Sun Records into the process of cultivating rockabilly artists
        • Carl Perkins
        • Johnny Cash
        • Jerry Lee Lewis
        • Roy Orbison
  • Elvis Presley: the first major label rock and roll superstar
    • "Heartbreak Hotel" in early 1956
      1. Pop number one
      2. Country and western number one
      3. Rhythm and blues number five
      4. Television appearances
      5. Motion picture deals set into motion
    • Elvis Presley's success was due to RCA's major label level of marketing capabilities
      1. Even though he was signed to their country division
      2. This signaled to other labels that they too should sign rock and roll artists
      3. The significance is that rock and roll would now become a part of pop mainstream
    • Elvis was a cover artist
      1. He was a master song-stylist who interpreted songs in compelling or engaging ways
      2. He had near total control over the songs he chose to record and release
        • Sometimes recorded songs he was already familiar with
        • Professional songwriters submitted songs to him
      3. Elvis continued the pop singer tradition started by earlier artists
        • Bing Crosby
        • Frank Sinatra
        • Tony Bennett
    • The Sun recordings are the template for the "rockabilly" style
      1. They feature production aspects pioneered by Sam Phillips
        • Elvis recordings did not include drums
        • Elvis playing acoustic rhythm guitar
        • Bill Black on acoustic string bass
        • Scotty Moore's electric lead guitar playing style was influenced by Chet Atkins
        • Warm reverberation
        • "Slapback echo" was a rapid return echo
    • The characteristics of Elvis's vocal style are drawn from many sources
      1. Rhythm and blues singers like the Drifters
      2. Crooning in the tradition of Frank Sinatra or even Bing Crosby
      3. RCA intended to bring Elvis to a more adult audience
        • This was aided by his move into making motion pictures
        • He was signed to their country and western division (a style with more adult themes than youth themes)
      4. Post-1960 Elvis recordings show European pop influence that would lend itself to an adult audience
        • "It's Now or Never" in the style of Italian singer Mario Lanza
        • "Are You Lonesome Tonight" was an Al Jolson song he covered
        • It featured a narration in the middle
    • Major shifts in Elvis's image
      1. Drafted into the army in 1958
        • Much happened in popular music during his absence
        • Returned from army duty in Germany singing softer, more pop style songs
        • By mid 1960, he was a pop song-stylist
        • He had established himself in rock and roll but moved on
      2. In 1968 he appeared in a "comeback" special signaling a return to stage performance
        • Excellent performance
        • Intent was to reestablish rock roots
      3. The most important part of Elvis's career is his work in the 1950s
        • Acknowledged as the first "rockabilly" performer while at Sun
        • Early work on RCA established the rock and roll style in mainstream pop
    • The Elvis TV phenomenon (Performance Box 2.3)
      1. First nationally televised performance: 6 episodes on Tommy and Jimmy Dorsey's The Stage Show in 1956
        • Didn't attract much attention
        • On first show he performed Big Joe Turner's "Shake, Rattle, and Roll" and "Flip, Flop, and Fly"
        • Week 2 he performed Little Richard's "Tutti Frutti" and "Baby, Let's Play House"
        • Third week he performed "Heartbreak Hotel" with Jimmy Dorsey's orchestra and "Blue Suede Shoes"
        • It took six shows for Elvis to get comfortable on camera
      2. April 30, 1956 he appeared on the Milton Berle Show
        • Repeated his combination of "Heartbreak Hotel" and "Blue Suede Shoes"
        • Appeared in a comedy skit with host Berle—it went fine
      3. June 5th return to Berle's show was different
        • Performed "Hound Dog"
        • Didn't use his guitar for the first time
        • Stage moves were noticeably sexual
        • In the middle of the song he cut the tempo in half and thrust his hips in a very sexual way
        • This was a popular show, and a large audience saw this and was shocked
        • National press were highly critical and unkind
      4. He appeared on the Steve Allen Show in a tuxedo
      5. On Sept 9, 1956, he appeared on the season premiere of the Ed Sullivan Show
        • He was at that point the biggest music star in America
        • Already working on his first movie (Love Me Tender)
        • Paid $50,000 for three appearances
        • TV cameras showed him only from the waist up
    • Why would Sam Phillips sell Elvis's contract?
      1. Independent labels had to pay everybody up front before a record was released for sale
        • Labels, sleeves, and the manufacture of the records themselves had to be paid for
        • Distributors paid for records shipped to them only after the records had been sold
        • There would be a delay of weeks or months before a producer got paid for records sold
        • Eventually ongoing sales helped balance things out
        • A big hit record is a financial puzzle for small independent labels
        • They struggled to keep going until the money arrived
      2. Elvis's polarity had put a huge strain on Sun Records
      3. Sam Phillips took advantage of Elvis's impending contract expiration
      4. By selling the contract he could invest back into the label
  • Rockabilly at Sun Records after Elvis
    • Carl Perkins: guitarist-vocalist from Tennessee
      1. "Blue Suede Shoes" went to number two on the pop charts in 1956
        • Covered by Elvis on RCA
        • First million-selling record for Sun
      2. "Honey, Don't"
        • One of the first recordings with Sun
        • This song and others were covered by the Beatles
      3. Influence on the Beatles, particularly George Harrison
      4. Career was set back when Perkins and his band were injured in an auto accident
      5. Signed with major label Columbia in 1957
    • Johnny Cash
      1. Popular on the Louisiana Hayride broadcasts
      2. "Folsom Prison Blues" was a hit on country and western charts
      3. "I Walk the Line" crossed over in 1956 reaching number seventeen on the pop chart
      4. Became a major figure in the country and western scene during the 1960s
    • Jerry Lee Lewis
      1. Piano player-singer
      2. Wild manic performance style similar to style of Little Richard
      3. Sensational appearance on the Steve Allen show
        • Wild performance of "Whole Lotta Shakin' Goin' On"
        • Tossed the piano bench across the stage
        • Record went to number one on country and western and rhythm and blues charts"
        • Went to number two on pop chart
      4. Several hits crossed over to all three charts
        • "Great Balls of Fire" (1957)
        • "Breathless" (1958)
        • "High School Confidential" (1958)
      5. Scandal devastated his career in the late 1950s
        • On a tour in England he told the press that his wife was fourteen (she was actually thirteen)
        • Journalists discovered that he had already been married twice
        • Created a negative stereotype of the southern rock and roll musician
  • Rockabilly artists on other labels
    • Gene Vincent
      1. Signed to Capitol Records
      2. Best remembered of three top 40 hits was "Be BOP a Lula", number seven in 1956
      3. Appeared in the 1956 rock and roll film The Girl Can't Help It
      4. Popular in England
      5. Injured in an auto accident in England in 1960
    • Eddie Cochran
      1. 1958 hit "Summertime Blues"
      2. Also appeared in The Girl Can't Help It
      3. Inspired Paul McCartney with his performance of "Twenty Flight Rock" in that film
      4. Killed in the 1960 auto accident in England in which Gene Vincent was injured
    • Buddy Holly (Charles Hardin Holley)
      1. One of the first major rock and roll artists influenced by rhythm and blues, country and western, and the first wave of rock and roll performers
        • Elvis Presley
        • Little Richard
        • Chuck Berry
      2. Actually spent time with Elvis and Little Richard
      3. Originally signed to Decca Records in Nashville
        • Recordings and releases didn't go well
        • Holly dropped from the label
      4. Formed a band, the Crickets, and recorded with independent producer Norman Petty in Clovis, New Mexico
        • Crickets signed to Decca subsidiary Brunswick Records
        • Holly signed as solo artist to Coral Records (also a Decca subsidiary)
      5. From 1957 to 1959 he had seven top forty hits
        • "That'll Be the Day" (p1, 1957)
        • "Peggy Sue" (p3, 1957)
        • "Oh, Boy!" (p10, 1957)
        • "Maybe Baby" (p17, 1958)
      6. Some hits became well known covers by other important artists
        • "Not Fade Away" (Rolling Stones)
        • "It's So Easy" (Linda Ronstadt)
        • "Words of Love" (Beatles)
      7. Killed in plane crash on February 3, 1959
      8. Last recordings employed string arrangements indicating shift toward mainstream pop sound
        • "It Doesn't Matter Anymore"
        • "True Love Ways"
    • Comparing Buddy Holly to Chuck Berry
      1. Both are influential guitarists
        • Berry influenced more by rhythm and blues with loud distortion
        • Berry's frequent use of only lower strings for rhythm
        • Berry's use of double notes and bending during solos
        • Holly's influence by country and western playing with very clean electric guitar timbre
        • Holly's use of full strum chords common to country and western rhythm guitar playing
      2. They were both influenced by country and western styles
      3. They were both influenced by rhythm and blues styles
      4. Both Chuck Berry and Buddy Holly are songwriters who wrote for a pop audience
        • Berry wrote country-style story songs
        • Both had a country twang in their vocals
        • Holly had a vocal "hiccup" that became a trademark
    • The Buddy Holly sound
      1. "Oh. Boy!" is a clear model of his guitar technique
        • Based on 12-bar blues (see Interlude A)
        • AABA form typical of rhythm and blues and country and western music
        • Guitar part borrows heavily from the country and western approach to guitar playing
      2. "Peggy Sue" is a clear example of his vocal technique
        • Also 12-bar blues
        • Changes the notes and rhythms in each of the verses
        • Changes the timbre of his voice in each of the verses
        • Sometimes producing the sound back in his throat and chest
        • Sometimes through his nose
    • Holly as a songwriter
      1. Buddy Holly was most influential among later rockers as a songwriter
      2. Songs were happy and positive
      3. Important that he wrote those songs himself
      4. He was a model for many of the 1960s and 1970s rock singers
      5. Holly used more formal designs in his songs
        • 12-bar blues structure
        • AABA
        • Simple verse-chorus
        • Contrasting verse-chorus
      6. Lyrics were less clever than Chuck Berry's but conveyed youthful frustrations and hopeful longing
      7. Like Berry, Holly was a model of the successful songwriter-performer
      8. An important point is the influence on the Beatles who took this idea to unimagined levels in the 1960s
  • The Day the Music Died—the two major setbacks that severely threatened rock and roll
    • At the end of the 1950s, the most important and influential artists were out of the picture
      1. In 1958 Little Richard left to become a Seventh Day Adventist minister
      2. Elvis received his draft notice and went to Germany in September 1958
      3. May of 1958, the British press reported Jerry Lee Lewis's marriage to his thirteen-year-old cousin
      4. Buddy Holly's plane crashed on February 3, 1959
      5. In 1959 Chuck Berry was charged with violating the Mann Act
        • Transporting a minor across state lines for immoral purposes
        • Overturned on appeal
        • Tried again and convicted in February of 1961, serving two years
    • The payola scandal
      1. Historical background goes back into the nineteenth century
      2. Common practice for publishers to pay those who could help advance the success of a song
        • Early twentieth-century singers received payola to perform particular songs in their act
        • Big band era bandleaders received it to play and record certain numbers
        • During the 1950s disk-jockeys were paid off to play records on their radio shows
      3. Independent labels had the most rock and roll hits during the 1950s
      4. They were seen as a severe threat to the major labels
      5. Performance rights organizations that collected royalties for songwriters were also key players
        • ASCAP (American Society of Composers, Authors, and Publishers)
        • ASCAP members were conservative, having come up through the Tin Pan Alley heyday
        • BMI (Broadcast Music Incorporated)
        • BMI was a newer organization and aligned itself with rock musicians and songwriters
      6. Major labels and their conservative associates were upset that so much rock and roll got so much airplay
      7. November 1959: House Special Subcommittee on Legislative Oversight began investigating payola
        • Arkansas Democrat Oren Harris chaired the committee
        • The Federal Trade Commission got involved
        • So did the Federal Communications Commission
      8. It wasn't illegal to pay to have records played
        • Gift had to be acknowledged on the air
        • Recipient had to declare it in their tax statements
      9. Two central figures became Dick Clark and Alan Freed
        • Clark cooperated and came out well, appearing as a fine young entrepreneurial businessman
        • Freed was defiant and claimed never to have accepted money for a song he didn't like already
        • Freed is named of one of writers on songs he didn't write, but promoted to great success
        • Case in point: Chuck Berry's "Maybellene"
      10. Freed's career was destroyed
        • In December 1962 Freed pleaded guilty to taking bribes
        • He only received a six-month suspended sentence and a $300 fine
        • The publicity caused all radio stations not to want to hire him
  • Box 2.1 Reading the Chart Numbers
    • The Billboard chart is the reference for this book
    • The rhythm and blues chart is represented by the letter "r" followed by the position and the year
      1. (r3, 1955) means that a song reached number three on the rhythm and blues chart in 1955
    • The pop chart is represented by the letter "p" followed by the position and the year
      1. (p4, 1958) means that a song reached number four on the pop chart in 1958
    • The country and western chart is represented by the letter "c" followed by the position and the year
      1. (c6, 1957) means that a song reached number six on the country and western chart in 1957
    • British chart positions are represented by the letters "uk" followed by the position and the year
      1. (uk3, 1955) means that a song reached number three on the British chart in 1955
  • Doo-wop and crossover
    • Doo-wop is vocal group music originating in urban areas
      1. Based on singing styles developed by the Mills brothers and Ink Spots
      2. Also based on horn arrangements from big bands
      3. Groups often sang a cappella—without instrumental accompaniment
    • The Orioles had a crossover hit with "Cryin' in the Chapel"
      1. One of the first doo-wop songs to cross over to the pop mainstream chart
      2. The Chords' "Sh'boom" was a hit for Atlantic Records in 1954
    • The Platters was one of the most successful vocal groups
      1. "Only You (and You Alone)" (rl p5, 1955)
      2. "The Great Pretender" (rl p1, 1955)
      3. "My Prayer" (r1 p1, 1956)
      4. "Twilight Time" (rl pl, 1958)
      5. "Smoke Gets in Your Eyes" (r3 p1, 1958)
    • Clyde McPhatter and the Drifters were very successful on Atlantic Records
      1. "Money Honey" (r1, 1953)
      2. "Whatcha Gonna Do?" (r2, 1955)
    • Because of their success, indie labels scrambled to find vocal groups
      1. Often arrangements would be worked out in the studio
        • Groups were usually made up of only singers
        • Drums, piano, bass, and guitar would be added in the studio
        • Occasionally other instruments as well
      2. Sometimes the groups' own sometimes primitive arrangement would be used
      3. Some groups had only one record
        • Their vocal arrangement on their first song often had taken months to rehearse
        • They weren't able to follow up their success quickly


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