Lesson 7 – Fusion, Reggae, MTV, Funk, Disco, New Wave, Hip-Hop, Rap, and Alternative
Reading: Rock and Roll: A Social History, Chapters 18, 19, & 20
Students are encouraged to repeat the listening examples (located in the Listening Links for Lesson 7 ) as necessary. It would be counterproductive to listen to this great music only once.
Lesson 7 Questions
Note: Open another tab to access the Listening Links page, for you will need to answer several of these questions while listening to the music.
1. Jazz-Rock Fusion is a wonderful marriage of elements from both genres. Believing that there was more to be done than just coast on their laurels, innovative jazz musicians began to use electronic keyboards, amplify acoustic instruments—adding distortion and echo effects as well. Jazz-Rock Fusion is captured in many fine recordings by Miles Davis, Chick Corea, Weather Report, Return To Forever, the Mahavishnu Orchestra, and Stanley Clark.
Listen to the following Jazz-Rock recordings and list the music characteristics and instruments you hear in each:
b) Spinning Wheel – Blood, Sweat & Tears from their self-titled 1969 album Blood, Sweat & Tears. The song was composed by their vocalist, David Clayton-Thomas; that hot trumpet solo in the middle of the recording is played by the great Lew Soloff who recently passed away on March 8, 2015. Note the tight horn section and musically sophisticated rhythm section too–that great drummer is Bobby Colomby. (Links to an external site.)Links to an external site.
2. Listen to, view, and describe what you are hearing in each of the following songs of Bob Marley & the Wailers:
3. What is MTV and what was its impact on the rock/pop music industry?
4. View one of the original network ID’s for MTV – note the hard rock sound. Next look at, listen to and comment on the first music video ever played on MTV – “Video Killed The Radio Star” by The Buggles broadcast on August 1, 1981. The music video of The Buggles performing their hit is provided below to give you a look at the actual band. Describe and comment on what you are seeing and hearing!
The Buggles song “Video Killed The Radio Star” (1979) – This was the first video broadcast on MTV 12:01AM August 1, 1981 – the music video was written, directed, and edited by Russell Mulcahy (Links to an external site.)Links to an external site.
Components of New Wave Music were reggae, minimalism (the repeated use of a short melodic or rhythmic motif that becomes the basis for an entire composition), the use of speech, use of synthesizers to create “a flat instrumental sound.”
5. Listen and describe the characteristics, influences, instruments, and vocal styles in each of the following five songs:
a) Too Much Information – The Police
b) Cold War – Devo
c) Don’t Go – Yaz
d) I Before E Except After C – Yaz
e) Radio, Radio – Elvis Costello
Another band to emerge from the famous CBGB and survive beyond Punk into New Wave was originally known as the Stilettoes, then, Angel and the Snakes, and finally, Blondie-featuring compositions by vocalist Deborah Harry and guitarist Chris Stein.
6.Click on the two Blondie links below to listen and respond – list prevalent characteristics, influences, instruments, and vocal timbre and vocal delivery styles.
Heart of Glass (Links to an external site.)Links to an external site.
7. Select the links below to listen, view, and respond to songs from Stop Making Sense – a 1984 film directed by Jonathan Demme with live music performances by Talking Heads. List prevalent music characteristics, genre influences, instruments, and vocal styles you notice in each of these three songs.
8. Click on the link below to view, listen and respond to Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band performing “Born To Run”. What is it that distinguishes Bruce’s approach to rock music from others? List and describe the various musical characteristics and mood conveyed in this performance.
9. What was the basis for the so-called Mega-Event Concerts of the 1980’s? Name some of these and some of musicians and bands who appeared.
About Disco Music:
Its primary purpose was to get people up from (or off) their seats and dance! Disco, the dance music of the Seventies was disseminated not by live performances of disco bands, but by DJ’s operating turntables in clubs called discotheques.
For a great look into the music, fashion, and performing artists of disco music get your hands on a copy (borrow from a library, rent from a video store) of the 1977 film, Saturday Night Fever. The film features music by several artists who were most important to this genre-KC and the Sunshine Band, Hues Corporation, Van McCoy, Kool and the Gang, Village People, Tavares, Donna Summer, and of course, the Bee Gees. Additionally, the film presents John Travolta fully clad in polyester, dancing the style quite well.
10. Click on the following links to listen, view, and describe the six songs below featured in Saturday Night Fever:
John Travolta dancing in Saturday Night Fever (Links to an external site.)Links to an external site.
b)Stayin’ Alive – Bee Gees (Links to an external site.)Links to an external site.
c)How Deep is Your Love – Bee Gees (Links to an external site.)Links to an external site.
d)Night Fever – Bee Gees (Links to an external site.)Links to an external site.
e)More Than A Woman – Bee Gees (Links to an external site.)Links to an external site.
About Tower of Power:
The amazing jazz-rock, rhythm and blues, James Brown inspired sound of Tower of Power is always a pleasure to the ears. This band began in 1968 in Oakland, CA. All of the vocalists and instrumentalists who have played in this band since its inception are accomplished musicians. Their rhythm section is to the jazz-rock style what Count Basie’s was to big band jazz. Their vocalists have always had compelling timbres and wonderfully wide ranges. Their amazing horn section, which in addition to their fine individual improvisational work has consistently laid down some of the tightest and intricate horn lines in all pop music history – listen to some of the classic James Brown recordings for the roots of this Tower of Power horn section sound.
As you listen to their music below, be sure to focus and list the musical contributions from each section of the band: the horn section (trumpets and saxophones), the rhythm section (piano, organ, bass, guitar, and drums), and their vocals which do not only come from their lead vocalist.
11. Listen and describe what you hear on each of the following three Tower of Power songs originally broadcast on November 16, 1973:
a) Get Yo Feet Back On The Ground
b) Soul Vaccination
c) This Time It’s Real
12. Click on the link below to view, listen and respond to George Clinton’s Parliament/Funkadelic performing “Give Up The Funk” in 1976, What characteristics are present in this music? How would you classify this music? What impact has George Clinton made to this vast world of music and music culture?
13. View, listen to, and list characteristics you notice in each of the following three recordings of music by Michael Jackson:
“Rap is yet another expression (like Spirituals; Blues; Gospel; Jazz; Rhythm and Blues; and Soul) of a people that have historically been disenfranchised by the mainstream-a culture that reaches far beyond the disillusionment of the inner city.”
From the liner notes to the album, The Best of Sugarhill Gang
Shannita Williams-Alleyne, April 1996
The New Rolling Stone Encyclopedia of Rock & Roll cites that although “Rap” and “Hip-hop” are used interchangeably, “hip-hop is the cut-and-paste backing music for rap. It is a street derived, avant-garde art form. Additionally, Hip-hop is used to describe rap culture, i.e., graffiti, fashion, and break-dancing.”
14. Listen to and write a response to each of the following two classic old-school hip-hop music selections below. For both, focus on the lyric content and delivery style, the use/application of specific instruments, and a general description of the style.
a) Rapper’s Delight (1980) – Sugarhill Gang
b) The Message (1982) – Grandmaster Flash & The Furious Five featuring Melle Mel and Duke Bootee
Run-D.M.C. – 1981, Hollis, Queens, New York– Run (Joseph Simmons), D.M.C. (Darryl McDaniels), and Jam Master Jay (Jason Mizell). Brought hip-hop to a wider audience by introducing gold chains, hats, and untied athletic shoes to the youth of America. A unique aspect of their rap is their ability to finish each other’s lines as opposed to simply trading the verses. Run’s (Simmons) older brother Russell and the Caucasian Rick Rubin co-founded the important rap recording label, Def Jam Records.
15. Click on the two Run-D.M.C. videos below to view, listen, and describe what you are seeing and hearing.
Run-D.M.C. – Raising Hell (Links to an external site.)Links to an external site.Furthering the momentum into pop culture, Run-D.M.C. hooked up with Aerosmith to do a combined version of the Aerosmith classic, Walk This Way.
Public Enemy – 1982, Garden City, New York
Chuck D, Flavor Flav, Terminator X, and Professor Griff. Calling themselves the “prophets of rage,” they presented a tougher, intense sound that proved to be the change of direction for the art form.
16. Click on the Public Enemy video below to view, listen, and describe what you are seeing and hearing.
The Beastie Boys – 1981, New York City, New York
MCA (Adam Yauch), Mike D(Michael Diamond), and Ad-Rock (Adam Horovitz). From hardcore punk to rap? Yes, that’s exactly what this band did, becoming the first white group to successfully enter the African-American genre. Their sound is very eclectic-there is funk, hardcore punk, psychedelia, and rap.
17. Click on the two Beastie Boys videos below to view, listen, and describe what you are seeing and hearing.
N.W.A. (Niggaz With Attitude) – 1986, Los Angeles, CA
Ice Cube, M.C. Ren, Eazy-E, Dr. Dre, and DJ Yella. Preceded by Philadelphia rapper Schooly D’s song PSK-What Does It Mean?, N.W.A. ushered in Gangsta Rap with their album, Straight Outta Compton. The album offers the perspective of looking out from the inside-vividly depicting the brutal environment of gangs etc. in South-Central Los Angeles. The use of musique concrete is most evident as sirens and gunshot sounds are used in the musical texture.
18. Click on the N.W.A. video below to view, listen, and describe what you are seeing and hearing. Considering this music and video are a snapshot of Black Urban life in Los Angeles, CA from 1988; of what relevance does this music and its message have in our American society today?
19. Yet another dimension of Hip-hop culture (represented by bands such as Gang Starr, A Tribe Called Quest, Us3, Digable Planets, and Gang Starr member-Guru) is known as Jazz-Rap. Somewhat more even-tempered than their hard-core, inner-city colleagues, these groups express their culture by mixing in samples of Sonny Rollins, the Crusaders, Donald Byrd, and others. As you listen to the following four selections, describe the musical activity.
a) Jettin’ – Digable Planets (Butterfly, Ladybug, and Doodlebug)
b) Introduction – Guru
c) Loungin’ – Guru with Donald Byrd on Trumpet and Piano
d) Transit Ride – Guru with Branford Marsalis on Alto and Soprano Saxophones.
20. Always on the cutting edge of greatness fulfilled, the late Miles Davis, (1926-1991) didn’t leave us until he fused his jazz-rock approach with hip-hop. His final album appropriately called Doo-Bop, was released posthumously in 1993. Listen and describe the musical activity as it unfolds here.
21. Is a record turntable a musical instrument? Yes or No? Why?
22. What is the term “Alternative”, or “Alternative Rock” (chapter 19 in the new second edition) Provide an overview of the kind of artists included in this category. Select a recording by one of those artists to list characteristics, influences, instruments etc.
Possible choices are:
c) Pearl Jam
d) Alice in Chains
f) Nine Inch Nails
g) Red Hot Chili Peppers
i) De La Soul
j) Arrested Development
l) Sonic Youth
n) The Pixies
23. Consider for a few moments all the rock/pop artists who have appeared on the music scene since 2000. Select one that you enjoy. Describe his/her/their music. List the categorical label for their music (the category or style of music that the recording industry has labeled for your artist) and provide one of your own if you don’t like the one given your artist by the recording industry, and finally tell me why you like his/her/their music?
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