1970s Excess (The Me Decade)
• Unprecedented amounts of money were being generated by rock musicians
o Rock becomes big business
o Reflected in extravagant touring/lifestyles
? Jet planes, limos, entourages, drugs etc.
o Music industry & technology was catching up
? Merchandising, marketing, sound systems
• Shows became more theatrical, stage production more elaborate
o In the age before MTV, live shows were more essential part of the bands careers
Aerosmith “Walk this Way”
• This song from 1975 Toys in the Attic Album
• Considered by many to be the greatest rock band
• Influenced by Stones, Yardbirds, R&B
• 1986, this song was recorded with rappers RUN-DMC and become a hit again
• One of the first rap and rock collaborations
• Steven Tyler- Vocals
• Joe Perry- Guitar
• Brad Whittord- Guitar
• Tom Hamilton- Bass
• Joe Kramer- drums
• Examples of women being degraded? Sexually liberated feminists?
• During this era, some groupies became famous in their own right
o GTOs (Girls Together Outrageously)
? Recorded an album with Frank Zappa
? Pamela De Barres, most famous member, has become a well known author
o Plaster Casters
• Hard rock which emphasized visual spectacle/theatrical aspects
• Advocated sexual freedom, including androgynous stage persona and sometimes open for bisexuality
• Generally lacked interest in social/political issues
• Important artists: David Bowie, Alice Cooper, Kiss
David Bowie “Fame”
• This song from “Young Americans” album was his 1st #1 hit
• Quintessential “glam” artist, but has had varied and diverse career, including film acting
• Ziggy Stardust- androgynous alter ego. Image influenced by Japanese Kabuki and avant-garde theater.
• This song is co-written with John Lennon and Carlos Alomar
Alice Cooper- “School’s Out”
• Grew up in Detroit
• One of first rock artists to deliberately set out to shock people
• Theatrical stage shows included guillotines, snakes, chickens, baby dolls, etc.
• Signed to first record deal by Frank Zappa
Kiss “Rock and Roll All Night”
• Influenced by New York Dolls
• Highly influential over-the-top live shows: pyro, explosions, “ego ramps”, high wire flying, fake blood, etc.
• Simmons is marketing and merchandising genius
• Rock as theatre/entertainment, not art
o Gene Simmons-bass
o Ace Frehley-guitar
o Paul Stanley- vocals/guitar
o Peter Criss- drums
Southern Rock
• Fused loud country with blues and soul
• Returned rock to its southern R&B roots
• Projected outlaw-style Southern pride which resonated in Post-Civil Rights era
• Important artists: Allman Brothers, Lynyrd Skynyrd, ZZ Top, Marshall Tucker Band, Charlie Daniels
• (1970s presidential campaign of Jimmy Carter)
Allman Brothers- “Statesboro Blues”
• Influenced by jazz and blues: improvisation a central part of their sound
• Slide guitar genius Duane died in a motor cycle accident 1971; Oakley died the same way a year later
• Still tour and draw large crowds every year
• Live album At the Fillmore East is a classic
• 12 bar blues form
o Berry Oakley- bass/vocals
o Butch Trucks- drums
o Dickey Betts- guitar/vocals
o Greg Allman- vocals/ organ
o Duane Allman- guitar
o Jaimoe-drums
Lynyrd Skynyrd- “Sweet Home Alabama”
• Signature 3-guitar sound
• Blues-rock influence
• Detailed, composed parts for instrumentalists: no improvisation
• 1977 plane crash killed Van Zandt, Gaines and Gaines’ sister Cassie (a background singer)
• Like Allmans, still draw large crowds on tour
o Rossington is the only original member still in the band
o Live shows have always been central to their career
? Leon Wilkeson- bass
? Allen Collins-guitar
? Artimus Pyle- drums
? Gary Rossington- guitar
? Steve Gaines- guitar
? Billy Powell-piano
? Ronnie Van Zandt- vocals
Music Industry in the 70s
• Rock radio formatting catered to specific demographics (oldies, AOR, R&B, Top 40, easy listening, etc.)
• Consolidation of power by the recording industry
• Rock became big business
o Arena tours
o Multi-platinum sales
o Non music-oriented corporations began buying record companies when they saw how much money could be made
• Punk rockers eventually rebelled against what they perceived to be bloated, stale, MOR music
Fleetwood Mac
• Late 60s version of the band (before Nicks and Buckingham) featured British blues guitarist Peter Green
• Evolved into a polished rock/pop band
• Phenomenal commercial success (Rumors is one of the biggest selling records of all time)
o Mick Fleetwood- drums
o John McVie-bass
o Stevie Nicks- vocals
o Christine McVie- keys/vocals
o Lindsey Buckingham- guitar/vocals
Peter Frampton- “Do You Feel Like We Do”
• Was in British band Humble Pie early in career
• Special effect on this song: talk box (rubber tube that straps onto microphone)
• One of the biggest “arena rock” stars of the 70s
• This double album was biggest-selling live recording ever at the time
• Chops and virtuosity with accessibility
• Album= Frampton Comes Alive
Elton John- “Tiny Dancer”
• This song from early in career before later excesses he became notorious for
o Outrageous performances, glasses, costumes, etc.
o Drugs and alcohol problems (like many 70s rock stars)
• Prolific songwriter
• Goodbye Yellow Brick Road is perhaps his greatest album; this is from 1971 Madman Across the Water album
• Collaborates with Bernie Taupin, lyric writer
• Humanness makes song relevant
• Bernie writes lyrics like a poem and Elton would make it into a song
Pink Floyd- “Another Brick in the Wall, Part II”
• Roots in 60s London blues-rock scene (name taken from 2 bluesmen)
• Moved into psychedelia and progressive rock styles
• Experimented with electronic sounds, concept albums
• The Wall was #1 in late ’79 and early ‘80
• Creative leader Syd Barrett left the band in 1968 and was replaced by David Gilmour
o Rick Wright- keyboards
o Syd Barrett- guitar/vocals
o Roger Waters- bass/vocals
o Nick Mason- drums
70s soul funk disco reggae
• Stax Records run by white brother and sister duo (in Memphis)
o ? Isaac Hayes- 2nd generation
Marvin Gaye- “What’s Going On”
• Successful R&B career in the 60s on Motown Records
o Duets with Tammi Terrell are especially notable
• This 1971 song and album mark an artistic departure
o Gaye produced himself
o Concept album organized around a central character who is returning from Vietnam
o Took on subjects like war and poverty that were typically avoided by Motown
o Berry Gordy initially didn’t want to release it
o Friends with NFL players (Detroit Lions heard on track)
Stevie Wonder- “Superstition”
• Big success as a teen on Motown
• In 1971, renegotiated his contract with Motown at age 21
o Gained complete creative control from Berry Gordy
o His greatest artistic achievements came in this initial period of autonomy
• Clavinet- keyboard which plays the famous hook in this song
• This song is from Talking Book album
• West African drumming ensemble with Clavinet (Africa influence)
Sly and the Family Stone- “Everyday People”
• Sly Stone- the leader
• Integrated racially and gender wise
• Combined funk, psychedelic rock
• Larry Graham- innovative bassist
• Stone, Graham and Stone’s sister Rosie all sang lead vocals
• This song from album Stand! Went to number 1
Jackson Five – “ABC”
• Last great act to emerge on Motown Records
• Michael became lead singer at age 6
• First group in history to have first four singes hit #1
• Giant crossover success-even became a Saturday morning cartoon show
• On Ed Sullivan show (1970)
• “The Love You Save”, “I Want You Back”
• named after discotheques, dance clubs where the music was played
• began in underground scene in NYC (esp. Hispanic, black and gay clubs)
• experience is DJ/ dance floor-oriented; typically no bands on stage
• Studio 54 was the most famous of the 70s disco clubs
• Foundation for Euro-dance, techno, and rave trends that followed
• Names for its location; dance music
• Backlash against disco music was homophobia
Donna Summer- “Last Dance”
• “The Queen of Disco” began as a powerful gospel singer
• song begins as ballad, breaks into quintessential disco
• “four on the floors” kick drum pattern (all 4 beats in each measure played)
• elaborate string and horn arrangements
Bee Gees- “Stayin’ Alive”
• This comeback hit marked 2nd phase of career (were also successful 60s “blue-eyed soul” group)
• Robin and Maurice are twins; younger brother Andy became teen idol in the 70s
• 1977 film Saturday Night Fever double LP soundtrack (film starred John Travolta)
• biggest selling album ever until Michael Jackson’s Thriller
• helped bring disco to Middle America
o Barry Gibb
o Robin Gibb
o Maurice Gibb
• Jamaican musicians in 60s influenced by Black Power Movement in US
• Reggae grew out of the more up tempo Jamaican musical genre Ska
• Rastafarian religion is at the core of this music
• Reggae and Ska inspired many punk and new wave musicians
• Jamaican dub mixes were an important part of early hip-hop history
• Ska= island, calypso-esque music
Bob Marley and the Wailers- “I Shot the Sheriff”
• Signed to Island records in 1972; first Jamaican reggae band to have international success
• Wrote songs about spirituality and the struggles of poor Jamaicans
• Listen for piano playing “off beats”- typical reggae sound
• The Wailers still tour (Peter Tosh and Bunny Wailer were in early version)
• Bob Marley died at age 36 (1981) from cancer
Punk Rock
• Originated in NYC’s Bowery district
o Literary-minded avant-garde musicians like Patti Smith and Richard Hell helped define the sound, look and aesthetic
o CBGB’s- club at the center of the scene
• An aesthetic as much as a musical style
o Rebellion against virtually all previous styles of rock music, but especially “corporate rock”
o Rebellion against society/belief in anarchy
o DIY (do it yourself) attitude
o Ripped clothing signaled rejection of rock star clothes/attitude
• Minimalistic, aggressive, angry, musical style
o Belief that anyone should be able to play; virtuosity was unimportant
Lou Reed- “Walk on the Wild Side”
• Leader (with John Cale) of Velvet Underground o Seminal proto-punk band inspired by the Beats o Part of Andy Warhol’s factory scene • Long and diverse career as solo artist • This song is from 1973 album Transformer o Listen for doo wop influence o Produced by David Bowie o Reed’s first pop hit
The Ramones- “I Wanna Be Sedated”
• Considered by most to be the first punk rock band
• All band members took the last name Ramone
• Modeled look after 50s greases like Gene Vincent (black leather, jackets, t-shirts, jeans)
• Were less interested in art and politics (than others like Patti Smith and the Talking Heads)
• Fast, short, raw, catchy, energetic songs
o Joey
o Dee Dee
o Tommy
o Johnny
The Sex Pistols- “God Save the Queen”
• First major British punk band
• Represented working-class anger at dismal economic conditions
• Violent live shows sometimes included Sid’s self-mutilation
• Influenced by Iggy and the Stooges, Ramones
• Put together by clothing store owner Malcolm McLaren
• Nevermind the Bollocks, Here’s the Sex Pistols is their one album
• This song’s release coincided with the Queen’s silver Jubilee celebration
o Johnny Rotten-vocals
o Sid Vicious-bass
o Paul Cook-drums
o Steven Jones- guitar
The Clash- “Train in Vain (Stand By Me)”
• British punk band
o Involved with social causes like Rock Against Racism
• More musical sophistication than some punk bands
o Reggae and rockabilly influenced
o Great songwriting
• This song from classic London Calling album
o Joe Strummer- vocals/guitar
Elvis Costello- “Alison”
• Pictured here with his band The Attractions
• Helped usher in New Wave (punk attitude with more musical sophistication, cleaner image)
• Brilliant Songwriting
New Wave
basic attitude of punk rock
pop-oriented,musically sophisticated, synthesizers, new technology, more accessible and youthful
Talking Heads- “Burning Down the House”
• Part of avant-garde CBGB’s scene
• One of earliest New Wave bands
• First 4 albums produced by Brian Eno (formerly of Roxy music)
• Experimentation with electronic sounds and technology, incl. keyboards
o David Byrne- vocals
The Cars- “Just What I Needed”
• Combined punk, new wave, pop
• Ric Ocasek, singer/guitarist/creative leader
• Most commercially successful of the late 70s-early 80s New Wave bands
• Made music videos which became MTV staples
Music technology in the 1980s
• In early 80s, Americans began buying VCRs and video games in large numbers
• Portable cassette players and boom boxes gained in popularity
• New synthesizer, drum loop technology changed the sound of pop music
• CDs introduced
o Originally a windfall for the music business as music fans re-purchased their vinyl collections
• Cable television arrived late 70s- early 80s in most American homes
• Music television launched Aug. 1, 1981
• First video: “video killed the radio star” by the Buggles
• Targeted young audience and initially played very few black artists
• By the end of the 1980s, arguably replaced radio as most important trendsetter in rock music
Bobby Keys
• Playing with Rolling Stones since 1969
• From Texas (Buddy Holly, Roy Orbison)
• Took girlfriend to see Elvis Presley
• Slaton: football as the town’s identity with largest band
o Baritone sax in group of 74 people
o Improvising
• Touring with bands at 15 years old (Buddy Knox)
• Delaney and Bonnie was first band he was part of
• Jim Price (horn player)
• Favorite venue is Madison Square Garden
• Loves live gigs
• Worked with John Lennon, Keith Richards, BB King, Harry
• Known for throwing a television set out the window
Michael Jackson- “Billie Jean”
• From album Thriller
o Biggest-selling album of all time
o Produced by Quincy Jones
o Breakthrough video production
• Use of drum machines, synths
• One of the first black artists to get airplay on MTV
• Arguable the most successful and influential entertainer of all time-worldwide influence
o Push to dance and important of image for MTV
o Put a lot of money in video production (Hollywood production)
? International appeal
Madonna- “Like a Virgin”
• Trendsetter for 80s dance music (out growth of 70s disco and R&B)
• This song was her first number 1 song and album
• Like Jackson, exploited new video medium
• Brilliant control of her image
o Particularly “good girl” vs. “bad girl” dichotomy, demonstrated here
o Pastiche style throughout career
The PMRC Hearings
• The PMRC (Parental Music Resource center) was a group of senators wives led by Tipper Gore
• Believed that the music industry should submit to a rating system for content of recordings
• 1985 Senate headings included testimony by Frank Zappa, Dee Snider (of Twisted Sister), and John Denver, who argued that musicians’ 1st Amendment rights were being violated
• tax on blank cassettes ? warning stickers on bad music
Prince- “Darling Nikki”
• This song from classic Purple Rain album
• Brilliant performer (guitarist, singer, dancer, keyboardist, drummer, etc.)
• Sexually suggestive songs/performances
• MTV staple in 1980s
• Subject of much controversy and targeted by PMRC
Bruce Springsteen
• “The Boss” was born in Freehold, NJ
• signed by John Hammond (Columbia A&R)
o first two albums didn’t sell well
o fan base grew steadily over time
• rooted in 60s idealism and music, unlike many other 8s stars
• legendary live performances
• overtly interested in regular people
Bruce Springsteen- “Born to Run”
• lyrics deal with working class hopes and frustrations
• E Street Band- backup band
• Signature horn section sound (R&B infl.)
• This album released in 1975; pop stardom arrived in 1984 with Born in the USA album
• AABA structure
The Go-Go’s- “We Got the Beat”
• Next generation of girls, but they played their own instruments
• One of first successful all-female bands that weren’t controlled by male managers and producers
• Fused New Wave and pop (were part of late 70s California punk scene)
• Lead singer Belinda Carlisle also had successful solo career
• Success in England first
Gloria Estefan and Miami Sound Machine- “Rhythm is Gonna Get You”
• Born in Havana, Cuba, but grew up in Miami
• Fused Latin and pop
• The Miami sound machine started as a wedding band and built Hispanic following first
• Keyboardist/husband Emilio Estefan- creative leader
• Predated 90s Latin pop explosion by a decade
Milli Vanilli “Girl You Know It’s’ True”
• Dance- pop duo
o Combination of hip-hop and euro dance styles
• “Rob and Fab” became the first artists ever stripped of a grammy
• Models who lip synched to tracks recorded by studio musicians
• This song sold 7 million copies in the US alone
• Became scapegoats for a technique that was fairly common
Ozzy Osbourne “Crazy Train”
• Fired from Black Sabbath, released first solo album Blizzard of Oz 1980
• This song and controversial “suicide solution” are from that album
• Great showman, outrageous live shows
• Recent success of ozzfest and MTV reality show
• Accused in 1986 of encouraging suicide
AC/DC “Back in Black”
• Visceral, minimalist, and hard rock
• Led by brothers Malcolm (rhythm guitar) and Angus Young (lead guitar)
• Their sister suggested that Angus wear his school uniform onstage- became band’s visual trademark
• Original lead singer Bon Scott died in 1980, replaced by Brian Johnson