Pop Music Test #3

Les Paul
A guitarist and inventor, designed his own eight-track tape recorder and began to release a series of popular recordings featuring his own playing, overdubbed to sound like an ensemble of six or more guitars
Frank (Francis Albert) Sinatra
Born in Hoboken NJ into a working-class Italian family. His singing style combined the crooning style of Bing Crosby with the bel canto technique of Italian opera. Worked as a singing waiter for The Rustic Cabin. Heavily promoted on radio and movies, popularity soared
Nat 'King' Cole (Nathaniel Coles)
The most successful black recording artist of the postwar period. The greatest postwar crooner. A brilliant piano improviser, he exerted a strong influence on later jazz pianists such as Oscar Peterson and Bill Evans. His biggest commercial successes were sentimental ballads accompanied by elaborate orchestral arrangements. One of the first African American musicians to cross over to predominantly white pop charts.
Pete Seeger
Singer, Banjo player, and political activist. He led the urban folk group The Weavers
Damaso Perez Prado
Cuban born pianist, organist, and bandleader who popularized the mambo throughout latin America and the US. Crossed over to a non-Latin audience with hits such as: Mambo No. 5, and Cherry Pink and Apple Blossom White
Milt Gabler
White record producer who worked with Louis Jordan. Later produced rock n' roll hits by Bill Haley and the Comets
Leroy Carr
born in Indianapolis, Indiana. Developed a smooth, laid-back approach to blues singing that contrasted sharply with rough edged rural blues. He attracted a national black audience.
Scrapper Blackwell
along with Leroy Carr, made several race records and established the roots for the blues crooner style
Cecil Gant
A blues crooner who had a hit with a love song called 'I Wonder' sung in a gentle, slightly nasal, bluesy style, and accompanied only by his own piano playing. Never able to repeat the success of his first hit.
Charles Brown
The most successful blues crooner. Soft spoken, Texas born pianist who studied classical piano as a child and graduated from college at the age of twenty. His smooth, sensitive, forlorn vocal style sometimes called cocktail blues. Developed a national reputation with the release of Drifting Blues.
Muddy Waters (Mckinley Morganfield)
Often called the Father of Chicago Blues. He was discovered by Allan Lomax. Waters sang in a country style and was a charismatic performer. He played both acoustic and electric slide guitar and was the single greatest influence on the British Blues boom.
Willie Dixon
Chess Records' house songwriter, bass player, producer, and arranger
Clyde McPhatter
A gospel singer from North Carolina and the son of a Baptist preacher and church organist. The lead singer for The Dominoes. His highly inflected vocal style can be heard on the Dominoes' hit record: Have Mercy Baby
Ruth Brown
Also known as Miss Rhythm. Born in Virginia. Began her professional career at the age of 16. Signed with the independent label Atlantic Records. Chart figures suggest that she was the most popular black female vocalist in America.
Big Mama Thornton
Born in Montgomery, Alabama. The daughter of a Baptist minister. Began her professional career as a singer, drummer, harmonica player, and comic on the black vaudeville circuit. Later settled in Houston, Texas working as a singer in black nightclubs. Her imposing physique and sometimes malevolent personality helped ensure her survival in rough world of con artists and gangsters. Worked with Johnny Otis a greek American drummer.
Johnnie Ray
partially deaf since childhood, rose to become one of the biggest international pop stars. Crowned the 'Prince of Wails' and parodied as the 'Guy with the Rubber Face and Squirt Gun Eyes'. Created an idiosyncratic style based partly in African American modes of performance, and in so doing paved the way for rock n' roll stars. His hit 'Cry' reached #1 on pop and R&B parades. Only white performer to reach the top of the black charts.
Patti Page
Sold more records than any other female singer. Had success with love songs: All My Love, The Doggie in the Window. But the biggest hit was a recording of 'The Tennessee Waltz'
Eddy Arnold
The most popular country crooner. Arnold not only dominated the country charts. Also scored eleven top 40 hits on the pop charts. Began career as a country singer on local radio shows in his native Tennessee and joined the cast of Grand Ole Opry. Key elements: smooth warm baritone voice, propensity for sentimental songs.
Ernest Tubb
Begnah is career as a disciple of Jimmie Rodgers. Developed into one of the first honky-tonk performers. He was one of the first musicians to move toward a harder-edged country sound and to switch to amplified instruments, and he wrote some of the classic songs in the honky-tonk genre. His first big hit was 'Walking the floor over you'. Helped him create a nationwide following.
Bill Monroe
Pioneer of bluegrass music. Born in Kentucky, started playing music very young and was influenced by his uncle a country fiddler. Also influenced by black musician Arnold Schulz. Formed a duet with his brother, but he started the Blue Grass Boys and joined the cast of the Grand Ole Opry
Hank Thompson
A native of Waco, Texas. Created a popular variation of honky-tonk music by mixing it with elements of western swing. His biggest hit was 'The Wild Side of Life', number one on the country charts for 15 weeks.
Kitty Wells
First female superstar of Country Music. Born in Nashville, Tennessee as Muriel Dearson. Married the popular country entertainer Johnny Wright. Began appearing with him on the radio, her stage name was adopted from an old southern parlor song: Sweet Kitty Wells. Reputation was spread by network radio appearances. Specialized in songs of love and betrayal with titles.
Hank Williams
Symbol of the Honky-tonk style. Most significant single figure to emerge in country music during the immediate post WW2 period. At 16, 'the singing kid' had his own local radio show. Vocal style blended elements of blues gospel and traditional country. 36 Top 10 records on the country charts, including: Lovesick Blues, Cold Cold Heart, Jambalaya on the Bayou, and Your Cheatin Heart.
The Postwar Era
the entertainment industry grew rapidly. record companies achieved retail sales of over previous peak. Independent record labels became an important force in the entertainment industry
Chess Records
most important blues 'race' label. Signed most popular blues recording artists like Muddy Waters and Howlin' Wolf. Founded by Leonard and Phil Chess
Atlantic Records
Founded by Ahmet Ertegun and Herb Abramson. Based in NYC. Artist roster included Ruth Brown, Big Joe Turner, Ray Charles, Ben E King, and Otis Redding
Targeting Young People
began for the first time. People under 21 made up 1/3 of the total record-buying population of the US. Larger record companies focused on mainstream pop
Magnetic Tape
better sound quality than previous methods of recording. Recordings could be edited and overdubbed
Battle of the Speeds
Columbia records introduced 12inch 33 1/3 rpm long playing discs. RCA Victor introduced seven inch 45rpm discs, the format for hit singles
increased influence of disc jokeys on popular music. The first commercial FM broadcast took place. Number of white disc jockeys began to mix in black popular music with pop records. WDIA in Memphis 1st station to dedicate playing music for a black audience.
Rise of the Big Singers
Popular attention shifted away from celebrity instrumentalists and bandleaders. Top vocalists started their careers during the swing era. The musicians union recording ban did not apply to vocalists, they sand under their own names with choral accompaniment
Listening: Nancy (With the Laughing Face)
preformed by Sinatra. peaked at number 10 on the Billboard Charts. String instruments dominate the instrumental accompaniment, Co-written by Jimmy Van Heusen and Phil Silvers in honor of the birth of Sinatra's daughter Nancy.
Listening: Nature Boy
written by Eden Ahbez, performed by Nat King Cole. Accompanied by Frank DeVol's Orchestra. Held #1 position on Billboard for 8 weeks. First record to present Nat King Cole's voice with full orchestral accompaniment. In minor key, which is infrequent. Associated with sadness, longing, and images of the orient.
Urban Folk Music
showed up on the pop charts in the early 1950s. Combined a number of seemingly contradictory tendencies. Inspired by rural folk music yet performed by urban intellectuals. Drew inspiration from the populist protest songs of Woody Guthrie, yet was used by the record industry to generate millions of dollars in profits.
The Weavers
The first urban folk group to achieve commercial success. A quartet led by the singer, banjo player, and political activist Pete Seeger. Grew out of an earlier group called The Almanac Singers. Repertoire based on American and international folk songs. Performed at union rallies, college concerts, and urban coffeehouses. Discovered at a NYC nightclub by Gordon Jenkins, managing director of Decca Records. 11 records in top 40
The Weavers and Politics
3 members of the group, including Seeger, were accused of being communists. Because of this, Decca Records dropped their contract. They never again appeared on pop music charts
Goodnight Irene
Performed by the Weavers. Singalong version of a song composed by Huddie Ledbetter (aka Leadbelly). The most successful of their recordings. Strophic form is clearly related to the folk ballad tradition, series of verses and chorus. Despite the folksy informality, song is a pop record.
The Weavers niche
popular market for folk-based popular music. Including the later work of the Kingston Trio, Peter, Paul, And Mary, and Bob Dylan. Use of international materials, including Israeli, Cuban and South African songs, make them the first world beat artists.
The Mambo Craze
most popular form of Latin Dance in the US in the years before the rise of rock n roll. Associated with romance, excitement, and excess. In fact a tightly regimented musical form
Listening: Mambo No. 5
written by Perez Prado, performed by Perez Prado and his orchestra. Prado contributed piano, dancing, leaping, and shouting onstage.
Listening: Mambo Italiano
imitation of Perez Prado's mambo craze. Most interesting. Written by Bob Merrill and performed by Rosemary Clooney. Anthem to hipness that plays on common ethnic sterotypes.
Southern Music in the Postwar Era
Race Music and Hillbilly music underwent a series of name changes. Billboard began using the terms 'rhythm & blues' and 'country and western'. Migration of southerners greatly expanded the target audience for southern-derived music.
Rise of BMI
this and the AFM recording ban provided many southern-born musicians with new opportunities for recording. The success of country and western and R&B music was indebted to the reemergence of dozens of small, independent record labels.
Rhythm & Blues
described music performed almost exclusively by black artists for sale to African American audiences. A loose cluster of styles rooted in southern folk traditions: swing influenced jump bands, tin pan alley style long songs by crooners, various styles of urban blues, gospel influenced vocal harmony groups
Jump Blues
first commercially successful category of R&B. During the war, the leaders of some big bands were forced to downsize. Specialized in hard-swinging, boogie-woogie based party music, spiced with humorous lyrics and wild stage performances.
Louis Jordan
Led the most famous jump band, the Tympany Five. Arkansas born saxophone player and singer. Began making recordings for Decca Records. First jump band musician to appeal to a mass audience. Flamboyant style and humorous lyrics. His ensemble setup (2 trumpets, 2 saxophones, bass, paino, and drums) became standard for R&B
Listening: Choo Choo Ch' Boogie
Louis Jordan's biggest hit, released by Decca Records. Topped the R&B charts for an amazing 18 weeks. Reached #7 on Billboards pop hit list. Exemplifies key elements of the jump blues style of R&B. Cowritten by Milt Gabler, Jordan's producer. Song title draws a parallel between motion of a train and the rhythm of boogie-woogie music.
Boogie Woogie Music
an important link between R&B and country music during the postwar period.
sound of Choo Choo Ch Boogie
combined elements of African American music and Tin Pan Alley song. A trumpet and 2 saxophones imitate the sound of a train whistle. Temp establishes a shuffle.
Blues Crooner Style
dominated by a blend of blues and pop singing. The roots of this urbane approach to the blues reach back to a series of race recordings by Leroy Carr and Scrapper Blackwell
Listening: Black Night
written by Jessie Robinson, performed by Charles Brown and his band. One of brown's most successful recordings, held #1 on R&B charts for 14 weeks. Did not show up on the pop charts because of the dark mood, slow tempo, and somber lyrics that convey anxiety about the future and fear of loneliness
Chicago Electric Blues
urban blues tradition of the postwar era. Derived more directly from the Mississippi delta tradition. The rural blues tradition had almost completely died out as a commercial phenomenon by WW2. The old delta blues emerged in a reinvigorated, electronically amplified form.
Listening: Hootchie Cootchie Man
by Muddy Waters. Features Muddy's lineup, 2 electric guitars, bass, drums, amplified harmonica. Combines blues form with strophic verse-chorus structure. Typical Chicago electric/urban blues.
Vocal Harmony Groups
Although this tradition is today sometimes called 'doo-wop', the earliest performers did not use this term. During the postwar era, variants of the African American version of this moved into the R&B market.
The Dominoes
The vocal harmony group most responsible for moving away from the pop-oriented sound of the Mills Brothers. Harder edged sound more closely linked to black gospel music. Led by vocal coach Billy Ward. Ward started rehearsing with a number of his most promising students and a seventeen year old tenor singer named Clyde McPhatter.
Sixty Minute Man
the Dominoes' first big hit. Recording in NYC and released by the independent label Federal Records. A large part of the song's popularity was due to its lyrics, which catalogue the singer's lovemaking technique in some detail.
Have Mercy Baby
Recorded in Cincinnati, and released by Federal Records. By The Dominoes. It was the first record to combine: the 12 bar blues form, driving beat of dance oriented R&B, and the intensely emotional flavor of black gospel singing.
Listening: Mama He Treats your Daughter Mean
Written by Johnny Wallac,e Herbert J Lance, and Charles Singleton. Performed by Ruth Brown. Held #1 on R&B charts for 5 weeks. Cheated #23 on the pop charts. Form is another example of the blending of blues and Tin Pan Alley derived forms. Vocal style is warm, somewhat husky. Strong rhythmic feeling, little upward squeels.
Listening: Hound Dog
Written by Jerry Lieber and Mike Stoller. Sung by Big Mama Thornton. One of the top selling R&B records, #1 for seven weeks. Stark image of female power rarely expressed in pop music. Bluntness of the music is reinforced by the music. The tempo is relaxed, performed energetic but loose.
style rooted in the venerable southern string band tradition.
Listening: It's Mighty Dark to Travel
performed by Bill Monroe and the Blue Grass Boys. Classic example of bluegrass. A blend of Anglo-American string band music. Traditional singing of the Appalachian Mountains. Influences from black music, especially the blues. Acoustic string instruments, Monroe's chop-chord creates percussive sound.
Honky Tonk Style
Born in oil boomtowns of Texas and Oklahoma after WW2. A name for loud bars. Music had to be loud to be heard. Songs were about the pleasures and problems of the honky-tonk audience. Sentimental or religious songs would not have worked
Sound of Honky Tonk style
country musicians adapted traditionally instruments and playing techniques to the rowdy atmosphere of the juke joint. The typical instrumentation of a honky-tonk band included a fiddle, steel guitar, lead guitar, string bass, and a piano. Guitars were electronically amplified. Musicians played with a percussive, insistent beat well suited to dancing. vocal styles were often directly emotional.
Listening: 'The Wild Side of Life'
Recorded in Hollywood by Hank Thompson. Written by William Warren and Arlie Carter. Based on Warren's personal experiences with a 'honky tonk angel'. Reflects major theme in honky-tonk music: dislocation of urban working-class life. Transience of male-female relationships.
Listening: It Wasn't God Who Made Honky-Tonk Angels
An answer record to Hank Thompson's hit 'The Wild Side of Life'. The first recording by a solo female performer to top the country and western charts.
Listening: I'm so Lonesome I Could Cry
evokes the falvor of 'old-timey' country music. Straightforward strophic. The vocals have intensity that brings the pain behind the words to life. Vocals have sustained vowel sounds placed on downbeats. Performed by Hank Williams.
Listening: Hey, Good Lookin
Written and performed by Hank Williams. Minor crossover hit (pop and country). Danceable character and pop-friendly. Tin Pan Alley AABA. Teen friendly lyrics that address cars, dancing, and young romance. Terms like 'hot rod ford. soda pop, go steady. and date book'
Ending of Hank Williams
Divorced. Fired by the Grand Ole Opry for failing to appear. Dependent on alcohol and painkillers. Died on New years day after suffering a heart attack in the back of his car on the way to a performance.
Rock N Roll
During the mid 1950s brought about enormous changes in American Popular music. Styles previously considered on the margins of mainstream pop music were infiltrating the center and eventually came to dominate it. R&B and country music recordings were no longer geared toward a specialized market
Rise of Rhythm and Blues and the Teenage Market
Target audience for rock n roll consisted of baby boomers, Americans born after WW2. Much younger target audience. Shared some important characteristics of group cultural identity. Shared some important characteristics of group cultural identity. New levels of racial tension in America. Brown v. BOE ended segregation in public schools.
Alan Freed
Disc jockey and concert promoter. Dubbed the 'pied piper of rock n roll'. Supporter and champion of R&B. A National celebrity, but not for long. Preferred original R&B instead of white cover versions. His radio show cancelled for showing a black male dancing with a white girl.
Term of Rock N Roll
derived from the many references to 'rockin' and 'rollin' in R&B songs and race records. sexual implications, which eventually faded. Came to refer to simply a type of music.
The Moondog Rock and Roll Party
Alan Freed's radio program on the independent station WJW in Cleveland. Freed moved his very successful radio show to WINS in NY
The end of Alan Freed
Charged with inciting a riot. Accused of accepting bribes from record companies. Found guilty of commercial bribery. Unemployed and suffering from alcoholism charged with income tax evasion. Died before his case came to trial.
Cover Versions and Early Rock n Roll
copies of previously recorded performances, often adaptations of the originals' style and sensibility, and usually aimed at cashing in on their success. Often bowdlerized imitations of R&B songs. Usually performed by white singers such as Pat Boone. Helped fuel the market for rock n' roll
The 'Little Bird Told Me' Decision
Recording of A Little Bird Told Me by R&B star Paula Watson for the independent label Supreme was covered by Evelyn Knight for Decca Records. Supreme sued Decca and lost. Judge ruled that musical arrangements are not copyrightable property. This cased opened the gates for cover versions.
Big Joe Turner
called a 'Blues shouter' because of spirited raucous vocal delivery. Partnership with boogie-woogie pianist Pete Johnson made him nationally famous. Made recordings with many different labels before signing with Atlantic. 'Shake Rattle, and Roll' was Turner's biggest rock n roll record for Atlantic.
Listening: Shake, Rattle, and Roll'
Bill Haley and the Comets. The lyrics were bowdlerized by producer Milt Gabler to ensure airplay on white radio stations. This song was only a minor hit when it was released.
The Chords and 'Sh-Boom'
Original version composed and performed by the Chords. Good example of the R&B black vocal group style: number two R&B, number 5 pop. Standard AABA love ballad with unexpected elements in the arrangement and performance.
The Crew Cuts: 'Sh-Boom'
Cover version. One of the most famous cover versions of the era. #1 for 9 weeks. begins with scat singing, no sax solo, sounds more like a novelty record, crooner style.
Herman (Little Junior) Parker
original recording artist of 'Mystery Train'. Singer, songwriter and harmonica player. His R&B band: Little Junior's Blue Flames, recorded it for Sam Phillips's Sun label in Memphis TN. R&B instrument lineup typical of the era: electric guitar, acoustic bass, piano, drums & sax. Chugging rhythm conveys a train.
Elvis Presley
Covered 'Mystery Train' for Sun Records. Last record he made with Sam Phillips before he signed with RCA Victor. More aggressive and 'raw' than the original. Young white singer looking with optimism toward the future with new possibilities for styles, synthesis that would ensure satisfying personal expression and popular success.
The Rock N Roll Business
sales of record players and radios expanded significantly after the war. Total annual record sales in the US rose. Gradual diversification of mainstream popular taste and the reemergence of independent 'indie' record companies.
Bill Haley
former DJ and western swing bandleader from Pennsylvania. Dropped his cowboy image, changed the name of his accompanying group from Saddlemen to the Comets. They were signed by Decca Records. Moved toward the R&B jump band sounds, encouraged by Milt Gabler.
Bill Haley and The Comets
Recorded commercially successful cover versions of R&B hits. Largest success came with 'Rock Around the Clock'... Not a big hit when first released. Popularized in Blackboard Jungle, a film about inner-city teenagers and juvenile delinquency.
The Electric Guitar
elevated by Rock N Roll. Engineers began to experiment with electronically amplified guitars.
The Solid-body electric Guitar
developed after WW2. first used in R&B, blues, and country bands. Came into mainstream with a somewhat dubious reputation from medieval European association of stringed instruments with the Devil. Associated with the music of marginalized regions and people.
Chuck Berry
addressed his songs to teenage America (white and black). Absorbed blues and R&B styles. One of the first and most successful black musicians to consciously forge his own version of blues and R&B styles for appeal to the mass market. Songs became celebrations of teenage culture. 'Roll over Beethoven', 'School Day', Rock and Roll Music, Sweet Little Sixteen, Johnny B Goode
Little Richard (Richard Wayne Penniman)
outrageous performance style attracted attention through strangeness, novelty, and sexual ambiguity. Hit the pop charts with the song 'Tutti-Frutti'. Shouting style with falsetto whoops. Epitomized the abandon celebrated in rock n roll lyrics and music. Strong influence on later performers.
Antoine 'Fats' Domino
most directly embodied the continuity of R&B with rock n roll. Born and raised in New Orleans. Established presence on the R&B charts for several years before scoring rock n roll hits. Pop breakthrough 'Aint it a Shame' popularized New Orleans sound. First AA to beat white cover versions. Recorded songs in contradistinction to Chuck Berry and Little Richard. Remake of 'Blueberry Hill' proved to be his most popular record. Recorded a rocking uptempo version of 'My Blue Heaven' -- striking and amusing.
Listening: Maybellene
distantly modeled on country song. 'Ida Red'- primary elements have roots in R&B. Thick, buzzing timbre of Berry's electric guitar.. blue notes and slides in both voice and guitar. Socking backbeat of the drum. Explosive tempo, lyrics describe a lover's quarrel in the form of a car chase. Funny details. Breathless ending with Maybellene in her Cadillac.
Listening: Long Tall Sally
adapted to reflect the more traditionally pop-friendly format of verse-chorus.
Independent Labels
Chuck Berry, Little Richard, and Fats Domino all achieved their successes recording on independent labels. Chuck Berry- Chess in Chicago. Little Richard - Specialty Records in Hollywood. Fats Domino- Imperial in LA
Elvis Presley
Born in Tupelo Mississippi. Discovered by Sam Phillips, owner of Sun Records, independent label in Memphis. 1st recordings were for Sun Records: 'That's Alright' 'Mystery Train'. Biggest Rock n roll start to come from the country side of music
Listening: Dont Be Cruel
Performed by Presley. Vocal is heavy with blues-derived and country inflections. Hiccupping effect. Regional accent. Opening electric guitar. Imposed on all these diverse and intense stylistic elements is a wash of electronic reverb. An attempt by the engineers at RCA's studios to emulate the distinctive 'slap-back' echo sound of Presleys previous recordings on Sun Records.
Hound Dog
Presleys Version of a song that had been a major R&B hit for Big Mama Thornton on the other side of 'Dont be Cruel'. Big Mama's version is full of sexual innuendo. Such implications are gone in Presley's rendition.
Presleys Popularity.
established rock n roll as an unprecedented mass-market phenomenon. His reputation as a performer and recording artist endured up to his death at age 42. Graceland is a public museum. Principal importance as a musical influence and innovator rests on his achievements during the early yrs of rock n roll.
Buddy Holly (Charles Hardin Holley)
Clean cut, lanky, bespectacled. Born in Texas. Began his career with country music but soon fell under the influence of Presley. Formed a rock and roll band: The Crickets. Holly's first record in his new style 'That'll be the day' rose to #1 on pop charts. Established his characteristic and highly influential sound.
Buddy Holly's sound
Combined elements of country, R&B, and mainstream pop. Exhibits elements of both fine country singing and blues, country twang and hiccups. Expressive blue notes. Mixture of toughness and vulnerability.
Listening: That'll Be The Day
Preformed by The Crickets. Form: structured like a typical pop song, verse chorus. At instrumental break they play a 12 bar blues pattern.
End of Buddy Holly
Killed in a plane crash along with Richie Valens and the Big Bopper (JP Richardson). The beatles modeled their insect-based name, their 4 piece instrumental lineup and aspects of their vocal style on The Crickets. Song's Buddy Holly wrote: Everyday, Not Fade Away, and Rave On.
Listening: La Bamba
traditional Mexican Folk Song. In the style of Son Jarocho, a fiery, up tempo genre that alternates vocal refrains with rapid improvisational passages, accompanied by an ensemble of stringed instruments.
Adaptation of La Bamba by Ritchie Valens
Helped create a distinctive LA rock n roll sound. Lyrics exclusively in Spanish. Sonic texture of the recording shaped by the unique tone quality of the instruments used. Valens recording career lasted only 8 months, killed in plane crash that also killed Buddy Holly and the Big Bopper.
Women in Rock n Roll
Early rock n roll was dominated by male artists. Women who aggressively embraced the new stylistic trends were a negligible presence on the charts.
Wanda Jackson
Multitalented singer, instrumentalist, and songwriter. Successful country singer, toured with Hank Thompson. As a teenager, switched to a rockabilly style at the encouragement of Elvis. Her first rockabilly song was 'I Gotta Know'. Recorded fierce performances of rockers, and her own 'Mean Mean Man'. One of the most powerful and convincing rockabilly musicians of her time. Records are classics in every respect, but none were hits.
Janis Martin
Signed by RCA Victor (Elvis' label). Promoted by RCA as the 'female Elvis'. Made energetic professional rockabilly records like 'My Boy Elvis' and 'Drugstore Rock N Roll'. Proved unable to make the hoped-for big impact.
Jo-Ann Campbell
Showcased by disc jockey Alan Freed as 'the blonde bombshell' on radio, in his rock n roll revues and in his movie: Go, Johnny Go! Her recordings failed to achieve commercial success.
Lorie (Lawrencine) Collins
performed with her younger brother Larry as 'The Collins Kids Duo'. Became well known through tv. Cut some scintillating rockabilly records for Columbia, like 'Heartbeat' and 'Mercy'. Neither these or any other recordings made the charts.
Unsung Talent
the essential conseratism of the time, politically and culturally, made it an inauspicious time to be seen as a rebellious and empowered young woman. And given the time, an empowered black rock n' roll 'idol' would have been even more unlikely
The Bobbettes
Group of five african american schoolgirls from Harlem. Scored a rock n' roll hit about their 5th grade teacher 'Mr Lee'.
Connie Francis
the first woman recording 'star' of the rock n roll era. String of hits began with 'Who's Sorry Now'. 'Stupid Cupid' and 'Lipstick on your Collar' are other hits. Mainstream pop singer who appealed to the new young audience.
Brenda Lee
A young recording artist with a somewhat feisty public image. 'Little Miss Dynamite'. Engaging in rock n' roll songs like: Sweet Nothins, Rockin around the Christmas Tree. Also recorded many slow, sentimental love songs
Songwriters and Producers of Early Rock n' Roll
Boundaries that separated songwriters and performers began to blur in early rock n roll success. Only Elvis Presley did not regularly write his own material. The independent songwriter became less important, a major shift brought about by the rock n roll evolution. The roll of record producers became important.
The roots of rock n' roll
lie in R&B and country music. Performers often wrote their own songs. Songwriters frequently performed and recorded their own works
Producers could be responsible for
booking time in the recording studio. Hiring backup singers and instrumentalists. Assisting with the engineering process. Shaping the characteristic sound of the finished record. Best ones left a strong sense of individual personality on their records.
Importance of the producer was even greater
when the producer and the songwriter were the same.
Jerry Leiber and Mike Stoller
The most innovative songwriting-producing team of the early rock n' roll years. Not recording artists. Began writing R&B songs as teenagers. Wrote and produced many hits for Elvis. Worked with one of the most popular vocal groups of this period, The Coasters.
Listening: Charlie Brown
About a class clown. Culture evoked through slang terms like 'cool' and 'daddy-o'. The coasters were adept at delivering a dense, cleverly worded text very clearly at a fast tempo. Intensity of vocal style owes much to R&B. Comic effects suggest roots in vaudeville routines. AABA & 12 bar.