Syllabus—US Popular Music History


Northwestern University, Fall Quarter 2017

Professor Michael J. Kramer, History & American Studies


This course examines the historical significance of popular music in the United States from the nineteenth century to the present. No musical training is necessary to enroll in the course, however we will think about how to analyze music as a dynamic historical force, examining it not only as text, but also in its embedded contexts: the cultural, social, political, and economic dimensions of genres ranging from Tin Pan Alley to blues, jazz, rhythm and blues, country, folk, soul, rock, disco, hip-hop, and classical music. We want to know not merely how popular music “reflects” larger forces in American history, but also what popular music does: how has music itself been a force shaping the past of the United States? We explore popular music as an art form, a business, a medium for shaping identity and making meaning, an entity encompassing both conflict and consensus, a local, national, and global phenomenon, and a key area in the life of Americans. Students are expected to attend lectures, discussion sections, and complete all reading, listening, and viewing assignments. There will be three essay assignments in the course, with draft assignments leading up to each one.



  • David Hadju, Love For Sale: Pop Music in America (New York: Farrar, Straus, Giroux, 2016), ISBN-13: 978-0374170530
  • David Brackett, The Pop, Rock, and Soul Reader: Histories and Debates, 3rd edition (New York: Oxford University Press, 2013). ISBN: 9780199811700. **Note: be sure to purchase the proper edition.**
  • Additional readings, listenings, viewings on Canvas.


WEEK 01  Introduction

·      Hadju, “Introduction,” Love For Sale (hereafter LFS), 3-12

·      Larry Waterman and Christopher Starr, “Themes and Streams of American Popular Music,” American Popular Music (New York: Oxford University Press, 2014), 5-44

·      George Lipsitz, “The Long Fetch of History; or, Why Music Matters,” in Footsteps in the Dark: The Hidden Histories of Popular Music (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 2007), vixx-xxv

·      Michael J. Kramer, “The Multitrack Model: Cultural History and the Interdisciplinary Study of Popular Music,” in Music and History: Bridging the Disciplines, edited by Jeffrey H. Jackson and Stanley C. Pelkey (University Press of Mississippi, 2005), 220-255


“I Got Rhythm” (George and Ira Gerswhin, written for Girl Crazy musical, 1930)

·      Ella Fitzgerald, “I Got Rhythm” (1959); Duke Ellington Orchestra, “Cotton Tail” (1940); Charlie Parker and Dizzy Gillespie, “Anthropology” (1945); Ethel Merman, “I Got Rhythm” (1956); Thelonius Monk, “Rhythm-a-Ning” (1957); Sonny Rollins, “Oleo” (1954); Various studio musicians, “(Meet) The Flintstones” (1961)

“Yesterday” (Written by Paul McCartney, listed as Lennon-McCartney, 1965)

·      The Beatles (1965); The Supremes (1966); Count Basie (1966); Ray Charles (1968); Dandy Livingstone (1968); Frank Sinatra (1969); Elvis Presley (1970); Marvin Gaye (1970); Joan Baez (1967, released 1970); Bob Dylan and George Harrison (1970); Boys II Men (1994); John Lennon (Parody, 1974)


·      Tommy James and the Shondells, “Hanky Panky” (1966)

·      The Capitols, “Cool Jerk” (1966, possibly performed by the Funk Brothers, house band for Motown)

·      James & Bobby Purify, “I’m Your Puppet” (1966)

·      Brad Mehldau, “Paranoid Android” (2002, jazz cover of Radiohead song originally released in 1997)

·      Bill Frisell, “I’m So Lonesome I Could Cry” (1999, jazz cover of song written by Hank Williams, with Ron Carter, bass, and Paul Motion, drums)

·      The Bad Plus, “Smells Like Teen Spirit” (2001, jazz cover of Nirvana song originally released in 1991)

·      The Chordblenders, “I’m From New Jersey” (1961, written by Red Mascara)

·      Donovan, “Epistle to Dippy” (1966)

·      The Rolling Stones, “Let’s Spend the Night Together” (1967)

·      Billy Murray, “You’re a Grand Old Flag” written by George M. Cohan for 1906 musical, George Washington, Jr.)

·      Peter, Paul, and Mary, “I Dig Rock and Roll Music” (1967)


·      Jean Ritchie, “Barbary Allen” (1960, traditional)

·      Gid Tanner and the Skillet Lickers, “Soldier’s Joy” (1929)

·      Tommy Jarrell, “Soldier’s Joy” (early 1980s)

·      Dink Roberts, “Coo Coo” (1974)

·      Lightning Washington and Fellow Convicts, “Long John” (1934)

·      Mississippi John Hurt, “Stagolee” (1965, originally recorded by Hurt in 1928)

·      Carlos Gardel, “La Cumparsita” (1928)

·      Francisco Canaro y Quintero Pirincho, “La Cumparsita” (1951)

·      Grupo Afrocuba de Matanzas, “Enigue Nigue” (1998)

·      Mariachi Vargas De Tecalitln, “Son De La Negra” (1959)


·      The Isley Brothers, “Footsteps in the Dark” (1977), “It’s Your Thing” (1969); “Fight the Power” (1975)

·      Ice Cube, “It Was a Good Day” (1992)

·      Curtis Mayfield, “Pusherman” (1972)

·      King Sunny Ade “Ja Funmi” (1982)

·      Alash Ensemble, “The Raindeer Herder’s Song” (2011)

·      Gary US Bonds, “A Quarter to Three” (1960)

·      Dion and the Belmonts, “The Wanderer” (1961)

·      Parliament Funkadelic, “Flashlight” (1977)

·      KC and the Sunshine Band, “Blow Your Whistle” (1974), “Sound Your Funky Horn” (1974)

·      Zeke Carey and the Flamingos, “I Only Have Eyes for You” (1959)

·      2 Live Crew, “Me So Horny” (1989)

·      Baha Men, “Who Let the Dogs Out?” (2000)

·      Dr. John, “Iko Iko” (1972)

·      Earl Palmer’s Beat, 1956-1964 (Youtube compilations),,,,

“All Along the Watchtower” (Written by Bob Dylan, 1967)

·      Bob Dylan (1967), Jimi Hendrix Experience (1967), Bobby Womack (1973), Brothers and Sisters Gospel Choir (1971), Bob Dylan and the Band (1974), Bob Dylan and the Grateful Dead (1987), U2 (1988), Indigo Girls (1991), Bob Dylan (Unplugged, 1994), Dave Matthews Band (1997), David West, Pickin’ On Jimi Hendrix: A Bluegrass Tribute (1999), Neil Young (2000), Bryan Ferry (2007), Eddie Vedder and the Million Dollar Bashers (2008)


·      Rae Sremmurd ft. Gucci Mane, “Black Beatles” (2017, produced by Mike Will Made It (Michael Len Williams II))

·      The Beatles, “Day Tripper” (1965)

·      OutKast, “Hey Ya!” (2003, written and produced by André 3000)

We 09/20 Introduction — The Multitrack Model: Approaching Popular Music
WEEK 02 PRE-1900

·      W.E.B. Dubois, “Of Our Spiritual Striving” in The Souls of Black Folk (Chicago: AC McClurg & Co., 1903),

·      Amiri Baraka/LeRoi Jones, “Blues People and the Classic Blues” from Blues People: The Negro Experience in White America and the Music that Developed from It, in Brackett, The Pop, Rock, Soul Reader, Part 1, Section 6 (hereafter PRSR)

·      WT Lhamon, “Dancing for Eels at Catherine Market,” in Raising Cain: Blackface Performance from Jim Crow to Hip Hop (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1998), 1-55

·      Jody Rosen, “The 2013 VMAs Were Dominated by Miley’s Minstrel Show,” Vulture, 26 August 2013,

·      Brittney Cooper, “The first rule of blackface: It’s not hard to understand, everyone,” Salon, 29 October 2013,

·      Tressie McMillan Cottom, “When Your (Brown) Body is a (White) Wonderland,” tressiemc, 27 August 2013,


·      Thomas Hampson, “Jeanie With the Light Brown Hair” (1994, written by Stephen Foster in 1854)

·      Joan Morris and William Bolcom, “After the Ball” (1976, written by Charles K. Harris in 1891)

·      Peter DiSante and others, “De Boatmen’s Dance” (1998, credited to Dan Emmett of the Virginia Minstrels, 1843)

·      Peter DiSante and others, “Stop Dat Knocking” (1998, Written by A. F. Winnemore, 1847, often performed by Christy’s Minstrels)

·      New Sandy Minstrels, “Old Dan Tucker” (1843, written by Dan Emmett, recorded 1998)

·      Fisk Jubilee Singers, “Swing Low Sweet Chariot” (1909)


·      Stephen Foster, dir. Randall MacLowry (2006)

·      Bamboozled, dir. Spike Lee (2001)

Mo 09/25 The Empire of Sentimentalism: In the Parlor with Stephen Foster, In the Street with John Philip Sousa
We 09/27 The Minstrel Show’s Many Masks: The Vexing Legacy of the Racial Masquerade
Fr 09/29 Discussion Sections
WEEK 03 1900-1930 Part 1

·      Hadju, LFS, Ch. 1-Ch. 3, 13-61

·      David Suisman, “When Songs Became a Business,” in Selling Sounds: The Commercial Revolution in American Music (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 2009), 18-55,

·      Larry Waterman and Christopher Starr, “Tin Pan Alley Song Form”-“What Makes a Song a Standard,” American Popular Music, 106-121,

·      Brackett, PRSR

o   1. Irving Berlin in Tin Pan Alley, Charles Hamm, “Irving Berlin and the Crucible of God”

o   2. Technology, the Dawn of Modern Popular Music, and the “King of Jazz,” Paul Whiteman and Mary Margaret McBride, “On Wax”

o   3. Big Band Swing Music: Race and Power in the Music Business, Marvin Freedman, “Black Music’s on Top; White Jazz Stagnant”

o   Irving Kolodin, “The Dance Band Business: A Study in Black and White”



·      Edouard-Leon Scott de Martinville, “Au Clair de la Lune” (1860)

·      Clarice Mayne, “I Was a Good Little Girl Until I Met You” (1914, written by James W. Tate and Clifford Harris)

·      Gwendoline Brogden, “I’ll Make a Man of You” (1914, written by Arthur Wimperis and Herman Finck)

·      Al Jolson, “Who Paid the Rent for Mrs. Rip Van Winckle” (1930, written by Fred Fischer and Alfred Bryan in 1914)

·      Bert Williams, “The Darktown Poker Club” (1914, written by Williams, Will H. Vodery, and Jean Havez)

·      Bert Williams, “Nobody” (1906, written by Bert Williams and Alex Rogers)

·      Albert H. Campbell and Irving Gillette [i.e. Henry Burr], “On the Shores of Italy” (1914)

·      Billy Murray, “In Siam” (1915)

·      Enrico Caruso, “Celeste Aria” from Aida (1911)

·      “Whispering” (written by John Schonberger, Richard Coburn (Frank Reginald DeLong), and Vincent Rose, 1920): Paul Whiteman and His Orchestra (1920); Benny Goodman Quartet (1936); Tommy Dorsey And His Sentimentalists with Frank Sinatra and The Pied Pipers (1940); Dizzy Gillespie, “Groovin’ High” (1945); Lena Horne (1946); Harry Belafonte (1949); Miles Davis Sextet (1951); Bing Crosby (1957); Les Paul and Mary Ford (1951); Chet Atkins (1961); The Beatles (1969)

·      Duke Ellington, “I Can’t Give You Anything But Love” (1928, written by Jimmy McHugh and Dorothy Fields), “East St. Louis Toodle-oo” (1927, written by Ellington and Bubber Miley); “Take the ‘A’ Train” (1941, arranged by Billy Strayhorn, lyrics later added by Joya Sherrill, often sung by Ellington trumpeter Ray Nance, compare to Bing Crosby, “Exactly Like You”)

·      Cab Calloway, “Minnie the Moocher’s Wedding Day” (1932, written by Harold Arlen and Ted Koehler)

·      Ethel Waters, “Stormy Weather” (1933, written by Harold Arlen and Ted Koehler); Lena Horne, “Stormy Weather” (1941); Billie Holiday, “Stormy Weather” (1952)

·      Bruce Springsteen, “Jungleland” (1975)

·      Labelle, “Lady Marmalade” (1974, written by Bob Crewe and Kenny Nolan)

·      Earth, Wind, and Fire, “Shining Star” (1975, written by Maurice White, Larry Dunn and Philip Bailey)

Additional listening

·      Dick Hyman, “Maple Leaf Rag” (2011, written by Scott Joplin in 1899)

·      James Reese Europe, “Castle House Rag” (1914)

·      Original Dixieland Band, “Tiger Rag” (1917)

·      Creole Jazz Band, “Dipper Mouth Blues” (1923)

·      Louis Armstrong, “West End Blues” (1928)

·      Al Jolson, “April Showers” (1921)

·      Gene Austin, “My Blue Heaven” (1927)

·      Ben Selvin, “Blue Skies” (1927, written by Irving Berlin for musical Betsy, by Richard Rodgers and Lorenz Hart, 1926)

·      Josephine Baker, “Blue Skies” (1927)

·      Kate Smith, “Swingin’ in a Hammock” (1930)

·      Bing Crosby, “Beautiful Dreamer” (1940, written by Stephen Foster, 1864); “Exactly Like You” (1944, written by Jimmy McHugh and Dorothy Fields, compare to Duke Ellington, “Take the ‘A’ Train”)

·      Paul Whiteman, “Rhapsody in Blue” (1924, written by George Gershwin)


·      Jazz, dir. Ken Burns (2000), Episodes 1-3

Mo 10/02 Standardization: Tin Pan Alley and the Culture Industry
We 10/04 Syncopatin’ Modernity: From Ragtime to Jazz In “The Jazz Age”
Th 10/05, midnight Assignment 01 Outline. Upload to Canvas
Fr 10/06 Discussion sections
WEEK 04 1900-1930 Part 2

·      Hadju, LFS, Ch. 4-5, 63-100

·      W.C. Handy, “Mississippi Mud,” in Father of the Blues, ed. Arna Bontemps (New York: Macmillan Company, 1941), 71-88

·      Brackett, PRSR:

o   5. Hillbilly and Race Music, Crichton, “Thar’s Gold in Them Hillbillies”

o   Reread 6. Blues People and the Classic Blues, LeRoi Jones, from Blues People: The Negro Experience in White America and the Music that Developed from It

o   7. The Empress of the Blues, Nat Shapiro and Nat Hentoff, from Hear Me Talkin’ to Ya: The Story of Jazz as Told by the Men Who Made It

o   8. At the Crossroads with Son House, Jerry Gilbert, “Son House: Living King of Delta”

·      Michael J. Kramer, “Tunesmithing History: Tin Pan Alley Imitation for Historical Inquiry,” Culture Rover, 12 November 2015,



·      Billy Eckstine and Sarah Vaughan, “Always” (1957, written by Irving Berlin, 1925)

·      Ina Ray Hutton and her Melodears, “Doin’ the Susie Q” (1936)

·      Tommy Dorsey and his Orchestra featuring Frank Sinatra with The Pied Pipers, “I’ll Never Smile Again” (1940, written by Ruth Lowe, pianist for Ina Ray Hutton, 1939)

·      Tommy Dorsey and his Orchestra featuring the Sentimentalists, “On the Sunny Side of the Street” (1945, written by Jimmy McHugh and Dorothy Fields in 1930, arranged by Sy Oliver, the Sentimentalists were also known as the Clark Sisters)

·      Rudy Vallee, “Life Is Just a Bowl of Cherries” (1931)

·      Bing Crosby, “Sierra Sue” (1940); “Ol’ Man River” (1928, with Paul Whiteman Orchestra, featuring Bix Beiderbecke on cornet, written by Jerome Kern and Oscar Hammerstein II for musical Showtime, 1927)

·      Mitchell Ayres and His Fashions in Music, “Make Believe Island” (1940)

·      Will Bradley Orchestra, “Beat Me, Daddy, Eight to the Bar” (1940, compare to Andrews Sisters, “Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy,” 1941, both songs written by Don Raye and Hughie Prince and to Glenn Miller Orchestra, “In the Mood,” 1940, arranged by Joe Garland and Andy Razaf based on “Tar Paper Stomp” by Wingy Manone, 1930)

·      The Capitols, “Cool Jerk” (1966, possibly performed by the Funk Brothers, house band for Motown)

·      Adele, “Hello” (2015)

·      Robert Wilcox, “The Jolly Cowboy” (1960, published in John Lomax’s Cowboy Songs and Other Frontier Ballads, 1910); Rowdy Wright, “I’m a Jolly Cowboy” (1937)

·      Billy Murray, “In the Land of the Buffalo” (1907, written by Egbert Van Alstyne and Harry Williams)

·      Tex Ritter, “You Two-Timed Me One Time Too Often” (1945, written by Jenny Lou Carson); “Rye Whiskey” (1949)

·      Carter Family, “Mid the Green Fields of Virginia” (1932, written by Charles K. Harris); “Little Old Log Cabin By the Sea” (1927, recorded as “Little Old Log Cabin In the Lane” by Fiddlin’ John Carson, 1923, and originally written in 1887 by William Shakespeare Hays as “De Old Log Cabin”); “You Are My Flower” (1938, written by Maybelle Carter based on magazine poem with melody from Mexican song heard on radio); “Single Girl, Married Girl” (1927, also on Harry Smith’s Anthology of American Folk Music, released by Folkways Records, 1952)

·      Blind Lemon Jefferson, “See That My Grave Is Kept Clean” (1927, also on Harry Smith’s Anthology of American Folk Music, released by Folkways Records, 1952)

·      Ernst Phipps and His Holiness Singers, “Shine on Me” (1927, originally released on Bluebird, also on Harry Smith’s Anthology of American Folk Music, released by Folkways Records, 1952)

·      Uncle Dave Macon, “Way Down the Old Plank Road” (1926, also on Harry Smith’s Anthology of American Folk Music, released by Folkways Records, 1952)

·      Ken Maynard, “The Lone Star Trail” (1930, also on Harry Smith’s Anthology of American Folk Music, released by Folkways Records, 1952)

·      Jimmie Rodgers, “Blue Yodel No. 2 (My Lovin’ Gal, Lucille)” (1928); “Blue Yodel No. 9 (Standin’ on the Corner)” (1931, with Louis Armstrong on trumpet and Lil Hardin Armstrong on piano)

·      Bing Crosby, Sons of the Pioneers, Louie Prima, and others, “I’m an Old Cowhand from the Rio Grande” (1936, from film Rhythm on the Range, written by Johnny Mercer)

·      Gene Autry, “Back in the Saddle Again” (1939); “I’m an Old Cowhand from the Rio Grande” (1941, from the film Back in the Saddle, with Mary Lee, written by Johnny Mercer)

·      Sons of the Pioneers (including Leonard Slye aka Roy Rogers), “Cool Water” (1947); “Riders in the Sky” (1948)

·      Roy Rogers and Dale Evans, “Happy Trails” (1952)

Additional listening

·      Bessie Smith, “St Louis Blues” (1925, with Louis Armstrong, written by W.C. Handy)

·      Mamie Smith’s Jazz Hounds (no relation to Bessie Smith), “Crazy Blues” (1920)

·      Blind Lemon Jefferson, “That Black Snake Moan” (1927)

·      Charley Patton, “Tom Rushen Blues” (1929)

·      Robert Johnson, “Cross Road Blues” (1936)

·      Don Azpiazu, “El Manisero (The Peanut Vendor)” (1930)

·      Carter Family, “Foggy Mountain Top” (1927); “I’m Thinking Tonight of My Blue Eyes” (1929)

·      Golden Gate Quartet, “The Sun Didn’t Shine” (1941)

·      Ferdinand “Jelly Roll” Morton, “New Orleans Blues (written ca. 1902, recorded by Alan Lomax at Library of Congress, 1938)

·      Fletcher Henderson, “Wrappin’ It Up” (1934)

·      Duke Ellington & His Orchestra, “Caravan” (1937)

·      Jimmie Lunceford Orchestra, “Rhythm Is Our Business” (1935)

·      Benny Goodman and His Orchestra, “Taking a Chance on Love” (1940, with Helen Forrest on vocals, arranged by Fletcher Henderson, written by Vernon Duke, John Latouche and Ted Fetter for the Broadway musical Cabin in the Sky)

·      Benny Goodman Trio, “Tiger Rag” (with Teddy Wilson, piano; Gene Krupa, drums, 1936)

·      Benny Goodman Quartet (with Teddy Wilson, piano, Lionel Hampton, vibraphone, and Gene Krupa, drums, 1937)

·      Benny Goodman Sextet (with Charlie Christian, guitar; Lionel Hampton, vibraphone; Fletcher Henderson, piano; Artie Bernstein, bass; Nick Fatool, drums), “Red Room,” 1939)

·      Count Basie Orchestra, “One O’Clock Jump” (1937)

·      Glenn Miller and his Orch., “In the Mood” (1940, arranged by Joe Garland and Andy Razaf based on “Tar Paper Stomp” by Wingy Manone, 1930)

·      Charlie Parker, “A Night in Tunisia” (1946, with Miles Davis, trumpet, written as “Interlude” by Dizzy Gillespie, 1941-2)

·      Charlie Parker, “Koko” (1946, with Miles Davis or Dizzy Gillespie, trumpet, Dizzy Gillespie or Argonne Thornton (Sadik Hakim), piano, Curley Russell, bass, Max Roach, drums, based on chord changes of based upon the chord changes of Ray Noble’s “Cherokee,” 1938).

·      Dizzy Gillespie and His All-Stars (including Charlie Parker, alto saxophone), “Salt Peanuts” (1945, written by Dizzy Gillespie, with Kenny Clarke and possibly Charlie Parker, 1942)

·      Dizzy Gillespie, “Manteca” (1947, cowritten by Dizzy Gillespie, Chano Pozo and Gil Fuller)


·      Jazz, dir. Ken Burns (2000), Episodes 5-8

Mo 10/09 Anti-Standardization: Race Records, Hillbilly Music, and the Cultivation of Niche Markets
We 10/11 A New Deal: Swingin’ the Machine in the 1930s
Fri 10/13 Discussion sections
Su 10/15, midnight Assignment 01. Upload to Canvas
WEEK 05 1940s-1950s

·      Hadju, Ch. 6, 101-121

·      PRSR:

o   10. Jumpin’ the Blues with Louis Jordan, Down Beat, “Bands Dug by the Beat: Louis Jordan”, Arnold Shaw, from Honkers and Shouters: The Golden Years of Rhythm and Blues

o   13. Country Music as Folk Music, Country Music as Novelty, Billboard, “American Folk Tunes: Cowboy and Hillbilly Tunes and Tunesters”; Newsweek, “Corn of Plenty”

o   16. “The House that Ruth Brown Built,” Ruth Brown (with Andrew Yule), from Miss Rhythm: The Autobiography of Ruth Brown, Rhythm and Blues Legend

o   17. Ray Charles, or, When Saturday Night Mixed It Up with Sunday Morning, Ray Charles and David Ritz, from Brother Ray: Ray Charles’ Own Story

o   18. Jerry Wexler: A Life in R&B, Jerry Wexler and David Ritz, from Rhythm and the Blues: A Life in American Music

o   20. From Rhythm and Blues to Rock ‘n’ Roll: The Songs of Chuck Berry; Norman Jopling, “Chuck Berry: Rock Lives!”

o   21. Little Richard: Boldly Going Where No Man Had Gone Before, Charles White, from The Life and Times of Little Richard: The Quasar of Rock

o   22. Elvis Presley, Sam Phillips, and Rockabilly, Elizabeth Kaye, “Sam Phillips Interview”

o   24. The Chicago Defender Defends Rock ‘n’ Roll, Rob Roy, “Bias Against ‘Rock ‘n’ Roll’ Latest Bombshell in Dixie”



·      Bessie Smith, “T’aint Nobody’s Bizness If I Do” (1923); “Downhearted Blues” (1923); “Gin House Blues” (1925, written by Fletcher Henderson and Henry Troy)

·      Alberta Hunter, “Downhearted Blues” (1922)

·      Duke Ellington, “Down in Our Alley Blues” (1927)

·      Benny Goodman and His Orchestra, “Stompin’ at the Savoy” (1936, arranged by Fletcher Henderson)

·      Big Joe Turner, “Shake, Rattle, Roll” (1954, written by Jesse Stone under the pseudonym Charles E. Calhoun, Atlantic Records); “The Chicken and the Hawk” (1955)

·      Jackie Brentson, “Rocket 88” (1951, recorded by Ike Turner and His Kings of Rhythm)

·      Wynonie Harris, “Good Rockin’ Tonight” (1948)

·      Jimmy Preston and His Prestonians, “Rock the Joint” (1949)

·      Louis Jordan, “Caldonia” (1945); “Ain’t Nobody Here But Us Chickens” (1947); “Saturday Night Fish Fry” (1949); “Ain’t That Just Like a Woman” (1946, compare the guitar intro played by Carl Hogan to Chuck Berry, “Johnny B. Goode”)

·      Jim Jackson, “Jim Jackson’s Kansas City Blues” (1927)

·      Charlie Patton, “Going to Move to Alabama” (1929)

·      Count Basie, “Red Wagon” (1939, with Freddie Green, guitar, Walter Page, bass, and Jo Jones, drums)

·      Hank Williams, “Move It On Over” (1947)

·      Big Bill Broonzy and the Famous Hokum Boys, “Eagle Riding Papa” (1930)

·      Milton Brown and His Brownies, “Easy Ridin’ Papa” (1936)

·      Bob Wills and His Texas Playboys, “Ida Red” (1938, compare to Chuck Berry, “Maybelline”); “New San Antonio Rose” (1940)

·      Bill Haley and His Saddlemen, “Deal Me a Hand” (1950); “Rocket 88” (1951); “Rock the Joint” (1952)

·      Wild Bill Moore, “We’re Gonna Rock, We’re Gonna Roll” (1948)

·      Bill Haley and His Comets, “Shake, Rattle, and Roll” (1954); “Thirteen Women (and Only One Man In Town)” (1954); “(We’re Gonna) Rock Around the Clock Tonight” (1954)

·      Chuck Berry, “Maybellene” (1955); “Thirty Days” (1955); “Too Much Monkey Business” (1956); “Brown-Eyed Handsome Man” (1956); “You Can’t Catch Me” (1956); “Sweet Little Sixteen” (1958, compare to The Beach Boys, “Surfin’ USA,” 1963, Berry won a copyright infringement suit against The Beach Boys for the song); “Back in the USA” (1959, compare to The Beatles, “Back in the USSR” and Bruce Springsteen, “Born in the USA”); “Come On” (1961)

·      Little Richard, “Tutti Frutti” (1957, produced by Robert “Bumps” Blackwell); Pat Boone, “Tutti Frutti” (1957)

·      Little Richard, “Keep a Knockin'” (1958, produced by Robert “Bumps” Blackwell; compare to minstrel song “Who Dat Knocking” and Jaack McVea’s “Open the Door, Richard”)

·      Elvis Presley, “That’s Alright (Mama)” (1954); “Blue Moon of Kentucky” (1954) (compare to Bill Monroe version); “Heartbreak Hotel” (1956); “Don’t Be Cruel” (1956, written by Otis Blackwell); “Jailhouse Rock” (1957, written by Jerry Leiber and Mike Stoller)

Additional listening

·      Mills Brothers, “Paper Doll” (1957)

·      Roy Acuff, “Great Speckled Bird” (1936)

·      Xavier Cugat, “Brazil” (1943)

·      Machito and His Afro-Cubans, “Nagüe” (1941)

·      Frank Sinatra and the Axel Stordahl, “Nancy (With the Laughing Face)” (1945)

·      Nat “King” Cole, “(Get Your Kicks on) Route 66” (1946, written by Bobby Troup)

·      Nat “King” Cole, “Nature Boy” (1948, written by eden ahbez (George McGrew))

·      Pèrez Prado, “Mambo No. 5” (1947)

·      Rosemary Clooney, “Mambo Italiano” (1954)

·      Jack McVea and His All Stars, “Open the Door, Richard” (1947) (compare to minstrel show song “Who Dat Knocking” and Little Richard’s “Keep a Knocking”)

·      Ruth Brown, “Mama, He Treats Your Daughter Mean” (1952)

·      Willie Mae “Big Mama” Thornton, “Hound Dog” (1952, written by Jerry Leiber and Mike Stoller); Elvis Presley, “Hound Dog” (1956)

·      Muddy Waters, “(I’m Your) Hoochie Coochie Man” (1954, written by Willie Dixon, Chess Records)

·      Howlin’ Wolf, “Spoonful” (1960, written by Willie Dixon, Chess Records)

·      Bill Monroe and His Bluegrass Boys, “Blue Moon of Kentucky” (1946); “It’s Mighty Dark to Travel” (1947)

·      Hank Thompson, “The Wild Side of Life” (1952) (compare to Carter Family, “I’m Thinking Tonight of My Blue Eyes” and Roy Acuff, “Great Speckled Bird”)

·      Kitty Wells, “It Wasn’t God Who Made Honky-Tonk Angels” (1952, written by J. D. “Jay” Miller) (compare to Hank Thompson, “The Wild Side of Life,” Carter Family, “I’m Thinking Tonight of My Blue Eyes” and Roy Acuff, “Great Speckled Bird”)

·      Hank Williams, “I’m So Lonesome I Could Cry” (1949); “Hey, Good Lookin'” (1951)

·      The Chords, “Sh-Boom” (1954); The Crew Cuts, “Sh-Boom” (1954)

·      Junior Parker, “Mystery Train” (1953); Elvis Presley, “Mystery Train” (1955)

·      Jerry Lee Lewis, “Great Balls of Fire” (1957, written by Otis Blackwell)

·      Buddy Holly and the Crickets, “That’ll Be The Day” (1957)

·      Ritchie Valens, “La Bamba” (1958)

·      The Coasters, “Charlie Brown” (1959, written by Jerry Leiber and Mike Stoller)


·      Hail! Hail! Rock ‘n’ Roll, dir. Taylor Hackford (1987)

Mo 10/16 Everybody Eats When They Come To My House: Postwar Reconfigurations
We 10/18 Roll Over Beethoven: The Rise of Rock ‘n’ Roll
Fr 10/20 Discussion sections
WEEK 06 1960s Part 1

·      Hadju, LFS, Ch. 7-8, 123-150

·      PRSR:

o   25. The Music Industry Fight Against Rock ‘n’ Roll: Dick Clark’s Teen-Pop Empire and the Payola Scandal, Peter Bunzel, “Music Biz Goes Round and Round: It Comes Out Clarkola”; New York Age, “Mr. Clark and Colored Payola”

o   26. The Brill Building and the Girl Groups, Charlotte Greig, from Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow? Girl Groups from the 50s On

o   27. From Surf to Smile, Richard Cromelin, “Interview with Brian Wilson”

o   29. Bringing It All Back Home: Dylan at Newport, Irwin Silber, “Newport Folk Festival, 1965,” Paul Nelson, “Newport Folk Festival, 1965”

o   32. No Town Like Motown, Harvey Kubernik, “Berry Gordy: A Conversation with Mr. Motown”



·      The Shirelles, “Tonight’s the Night” (1960, written by Luther Dixon and Shirley Owens, produced by Luther Dixon); “Will You Love Me Tomorrow?” (1960, written by Carole King and Gerry Goffin, produced by Phil Spector)

·      Roy Orbison, “Only the Lonely” (1960); “Crying” (1962)

·      Connie Francis, “My Heart Has a Mind of Its Own” (1960)

·      Frankie Avalon, “Why” (1959)

·      Stephen Stills, “Love the One You’re With” (1970)

·      Billy Eckstine, “Love the One You’re With” (1971)

·      Pèrez Prado, “Cherry Pink (and Apple Blossom White)” (1955)

·      Mitch Miller, “The Yellow Rose of Texas” (1955)

·      Elton John, “Philadelphia Freedom” (1974)

·      David Bowie, “Fame” (1975, with John Lennon)

·      The Eagles, “One of These Nights” (1975)

·      Eve Tanguay, “I Don’t Care” (1922)

·      Billie Holiday, “God Bless the Child” (1955)

·      Frank Sinatra, “Ebb Tide” (1958, compare intro to Erroll Garner, “Misty”)

·      George Jones, “She Thinks I Still Care” (1962)

·      Ray Charles, “Hit the Road, Jack” (1961, written by Percy Mayfield)

·      Trini Lopez, “If I Had a Hammer” (1964, written by Pete Seeger, compare to versions by Peter, Paul, and Mary; The Weavers; Odetta; Sam Cooke; Aretha Franklin; Johnny Cash; among others); Peter, Paul, and Mary, “If I Had a Hammer” (1962); Sam Cooke, “If I Had a Hammer” (1964)

·      The Beatles, “Love Me Do” (1963); “Chains” (1963, written by Carole King and Gerry Goffin); “Please Please Me” (1963); “Can’t Buy Me Love” (1964); “You’ve Got To Hide Your Love Away” (1965); “Help!” (1965); “Eleanor Rigby” (1966); “Come Together (1969, compare to Chuck Berry, “You Can’t Catch Me”), all produced by George Martin

·      Bob Dylan, Bob Dylan (produced by John Hammond): “Talkin’ New York” (1962); Freewheelin’ Bob Dylan (producers John Hammond and Tom Wilson): “Masters of War” (1963); “A Hard Rain’s A-Gonna Fall” (1963, music based on traditional Child ballad “Lord Randall”); “Don’t Think Twice It’s Alright” (1963, music adapted from traditional song “Who’s Gonna Buy You Ribbons When I’m Gone?”); “Blowin’ in the Wind” (1963); The Times They Are A-Changin’ (produced by Tom Wilson, compare to version by Sam Cooke, 1964): “The Times They Are A-Changin'” (1964, from The Times They Are A-Changin’, produced by Tom Wilson); “Mr. Tambourine Man” (1965, from Bringing It All Back Home, produced by Tom Wilson, compare to version by The Byrds); “Like a Rolling Stone” (1965, from Highway 61 Revisited, produced by Tom Wilson)

·      The Rolling Stones, “Come On” (1963, compare to Chuck Berry version); “Satisfaction” (1965, compare to Otis Redding version, 1965; Aretha Franklin version, 1968; Britney Spears, 2000; Cat Power (Chan Marshall), 2000)

·      Lovin’ Spoonful, “Do You Believe in Magic?” (1965)

·      Mississippi John Hurt, “Coffee Blues” (1966, Today!)

·      Joni Mitchell, “My Old Man” (1971)

·      REM, “Radio Free Europe” (1983)

·      Guided By Voices, “Hardcore UFO’s” (1994)

·      Eric B. and Rakim, “Eric B. Is President” (1986)

·      Tyler, the Creator, “Yonkers” (2010)

·      Marvin Gaye, “Got To Give It Up” (1977)

·      Robin Thicke, “Blurred Lines” (2013, featuring T.I. and Pharrell, produced by Pharrell Williams, Marvin Gaye added as a writer due to lawsuit over copyright infringement for “Got To Give It Up,” 2015, currently being appealed)

Additional listening

·      The Kingston Trio, “Tom Dooley” (1958, based on actual murder in North Carolina, recorded versions by G. B. Grayson and Henry Whitter, 1928; field recording of Frank Proffitt, 1940, recorded in 1961; Frank Warner, 1952; The Folksay Trio, 1953; Paul Clayton, 1956; Lonnie Donegan, 1958; Doc Watson, 1964)

·      Chubby Checker, “The Twist” (1960, produced by Dave Appell who performed in Jimmie Lunceford Orchestra, released on Cameo-Parkway, originally released by Hank Ballard and the Midnighters, 1959)

·      The Isley Brothers, “Twist and Shout” (1962, originally recorded by The Top Notes, 1961, in version produced by pre-Wall of Sound Phil Spector)

·      Sam Cooke, “Twistin’ the Night Away” (1962, recorded with the “Wrecking Crew” studio musicians, Los Angeles)

·      The Drifters, “Up On The Roof” (1962, written by Gerry Goffin and Carole King)

·      The Ronettes, “Be My Baby” (1963, written by Jeff Barry, Ellie Greenwich and Phil Spector, produced by Phil Spector)

·      The Crystals, “He’s a Rebel” (1962, uncredited vocals by Darlene Love, written by Gene Pitney, produced by Phil Spector); “Uptown” (1962, written by Barry Mann and Cynthia Weil, produced by Phil Spector); “Da Doo Run Run” (1963, written by Jeff Barry, Ellie Greenwich and Phil Spector, produced by Phil Spector)

·      The Beach Boys, “Surfin’ USA” (1963); “In My Room” (1963); “I Get Around” (1964); “Wouldn’t It Be Nice?” (1966, Pet Sounds); “God Only Knows” (1966, Pet Sounds); “Good Vibrations” (1966, Smiley Smile)

·      The Temptations, “My Girl” (1964, written and produced by Smokey Robinson and Ronald White, Motown)

·      Smokey Robinson and the Miracles, “The Tracks of My Tears” (1965, written by Smokey Robinson, Pete Moore, and Marv Tarplin, Motown)

·      The Supremes, “Stop! In the Name of Love” (1965, written by Holland–Dozier–Holland, Motown); “You Can’t Hurry Love” (1966, written by Holland–Dozier–Holland, Motown)

·      Marvin Gaye, “How Sweet It Is (To Be Loved By You” (1964, written by Holland-Dozier-Holland); “Ain’t It Peculiar” (1965, written by Smokey Robinson, Bobby Rogers, Pete Moore, and Marv Tarplin); “Ain’t No Mountain High Enough” (1967, with Tammi Terrell, written by Nickolas Ashford and Valerie Simpson); “I Heard It Through the Grapevine” (1968, written by Norman Whitfield and Barrett Strong, compare to versions by Gladys Knight and the Pips (1967), The Miracles (1968), and in advertisement for California Raisins (1986)); “What’s Going On” (1971, written by Marvin Gaye)

Mo 10/23 Twistin’ Into the Sixties: Teenage Symphonies, Hitsville USA, and More
We 10/25 “Auteur” Pop Star and Their Subcultures: The Beach Boys and California Surfers—Dylan and the Folk Revival—The Beatles and the British Invasion—Marvin Gaye at Motown
Fr 10/27 Discussion sections
WEEK 07 1960s Continued

·      Hadju, Ch. 9, 151-170

·      Michael Frisch, “Woodstock and Altamont,” in True Stories From the American Past, Vol. II: Since 1865, ed. William Graebner (New York: McGraw-Hill, 1997), 210-231

·      PRSR:

o   31. From R&B to Soul, Jerry Wexler and David Ritz, from Rhythm and the Blues: A Life in American Music

o   35. Aretha Franklin Earns Respect, Phyl Garland, “Aretha Franklin-‘Sister Soul’: Eclipsed Singer Gains New Heights”

o   36. The Beatles, the “British Invasion,” and Cultural Respectability, William Mann, “What Songs the Beatles Sang . . .,” Theodore Strongin, “Musicologically . . .”

o   37. A Hard Day’s Night and Beatlemania, Andrew Sarris, “Bravo Beatles!,” Barbara Ehrenreich, Elizabeth Hess, and Gloria Jacobs, “Beatlemania: Girls Just Want to Have Fun”

o   38. England Swings, and the Beatles Evolve on Revolver and Sgt. Pepper; Richard Goldstein, “Pop Eye: On ‘Revolver'”; Jack Kroll, “It’s Getting Better…”

o   39. The British Art School Blues, Ray Coleman, “Rebels with a Beat”

o   40. The Stones versus the Beatles, Ellen Willis, “Records: Rock, Etc.-the Big Ones”

o   41. If You’re Goin’ to San Francisco, Ralph J. Gleason, “Dead Like Live Thunder”

o   42. The Kozmic Blues of Janis Joplin, Nat Hentoff, “We Look at Our Parents and . . .”

o   43. Jimi Hendrix and the Electronic Guitar, Bob Dawbarn, “Second Dimension: Jimi Hendrix in Action”

o   46. Festivals: The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly, J. R. Young, “Review of Various Artists, Woodstock”, George Paul Csicsery, “Altamont, California, December 6, 1969”

o   49. Sly Stone: “The Myth of Staggerlee,” Greil Marcus, from Mystery Train: Images of America in Rock ‘n’ Roll Music



·      Julie Andrews, “The Rain In Spain” (1956, from My Fair Lady, written by Alan Jay Lerner and music by Frederick Loewe, based on George Bernard Shaw’s Pygmalion)

·      Crosby, Stills, Nash, and Young, “Ohio” (1971)

·      Chicago, “Saturday in the Park” (1972)

·      David Bowie, “Ziggy Stardust” (1972); “Starman” (1972)

·      Gilbert and Sullivan, “Favorite Airs from The Mikado” (1914, Edison Records)

·      Sarah Vaughan, “Stairway to Paradise” (1957, written by George Gershwin, 1922)

·      Ella Fitzgerald, “I Get a Kick Out of You” (1956, written by Cole Porter, produced by Norman Grantz); “Can’t Buy Me Love” (1964, compare to The Beatles); “Sunshine of Your Love” (1968, compare to Cream version)

·      Cream, “Sunshine of Your Love” (1968, Disraeli Gears); “Crossroads” (1968, Wheels of Fire, compare to Robert Johnson version)

·      The Beatles, “Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band” (1967, Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band); “Revolution” (1968, The Beatles (The White Album)); “Back in the USSR” (1968, The Beatles (The White Album)), all produced by George Martin

·      The Rolling Stones, “Street Fighting Man” (1968, Beggars Banquet)

·      Janis Joplin, “Piece of My Heart” (1968, Cheap Thrills, compare to Erma Franklin version; Dusty Springfield version, 1968)

·      Erma Franklin, “Piece of My Heart” (1967; compare to Janis Joplin version, 1968; Dusty Springfield version, 1968)

·      Simon and Garfunkel, “The Sounds of Silence” (1964, acoustic; 1966, with overdubbed band, produced by Tom Wilson); “America” (1968)

·      Les Paul and Mary Ford, “How High the Moon” (1951)

·      The Shangri-Las, “Leader of the Pack” (1964, written by George “Shadow” Morton, Jeff Barry, and Ellie Greenwich, produced by George “Shadow” Morton)

·      The Kinks, “Sunny Afternoon” (1966, Face to Face)

·      The Who, “Pinball Wizard” (1969)

·      Various musicians, “Superstar” (1970, from Jesus Christ Superstar, music by Andrew Lloyd Webber and lyrics by Tim Rice)

·      Carole King, “It’s Too Late” (1971, Tapestry)

Additional listening

·      Sam Cooke, “You Send Me” (1957, produced by Robert “Bumps” Blackwell); “A Change is Gonna Come” (1964)

·      James Brown, “Papa’s Got a Brand New Bag” (1966)

·      Otis Redding, “Respect” (1965, written by Otis Redding, Stax Records); Aretha Franklin, “Respect” (1966, produced by Jerry Wexler, recorded at Muscle Shoals Studios, Atlantic Records); The Rationals, “Respect” (1966)

·      Jefferson Airplane, “White Rabbit” (1967, Surrealistic Pillow)

·      Grateful Dead, “The Golden Road (To Unlimited Devotion)” (1967, Grateful Dead); “St. Stephen” (1969, Live/Dead); “Turn on Your Love Light” (1969, Live/Dead, originally recorded by Bobby “Blue” Bland, 1961); “Uncle John’s Band” (1970, Workingman’s Dead)

·      The Doors, “Break on Through” (1968, The Doors)

·      The Temptations, “Cloud Nine” (1968, written by Norman Whitfield and Barrett Strong, produced by Norman Whitfield, Motown)

·      Jimi Hendrix Experience, “Purple Haze” (1967, Are You Experienced?); Jimi Hendrix, “Star Spangled Banner/Purple Haze” (live at Woodstock, 1969, released on Woodstock album, 1970)

·      Credence Clearwater Revival, “Fortunate Son” (1969, Willie and the Poor Boys)

·      Sly and the Family Stone, “Everyday People” (1969, Stand!); “Don’t Call Me Nigga, Whitey” (1969, Stand!)


·      Woodstock, dir. Michael Wadleigh (1970)

·      Gimme Shelter, dirs. Albert and David Maysles and Charlotte Zwerin (1970)

Mo 10/30 R-E-S-P-E-C-T: Soul and Civil Rights in the Sixties
We 11/01 Are You Experienced? Rock and the Youth Counterculture
Th 11/02, midnight Assignment 02 Outline. Upload to Canvas
Fr 11/03 Discussion sections
WEEK 08 1970s

·      Hadju, LFS, Ch. 10, Ch. 12, 171-184, 197-210

·      Jeff Chang, “Loop 1: Babylon Is Burning, 1968-1977,” in Can’t Stop, Won’t Stop: A History of the Hip-Hop Generation (New York: St. Martin’s Press, 2005), 7-88

·      PRSR:

o   47. The Sound of Autobiography: Singer-Songwriters, Carole King, Robert Windeler, “Carole King: ‘You Can Get to Know Me through My Music’

o   52. Heavy Metal Meets the Counterculture, John Mendelsohn, “Review of Led Zeppelin,” Ed Kelleher, “Black Sabbath Don’t Scare Nobody”

o   57. Get On Up Disco, Andrew Kopkind, “The Dialectic of Disco: Gay Music Goes Straight”

o   51. Parliament Drops the Bomb, W. A. Brower, “George Clinton: Ultimate Liberator of Constipated Notions”

o   56. The Global Phenomenon of Reggae, Robert Hilburn, “Third-World Theme of Bob Marley”

o   58. Punk: The Sound of Criticism?, James Wolcott, “A Conservative Impulse in the New Rock Underground”

o   70. Hip-Hop, Don’t Stop, Robert Ford, Jr., “B-Beats Bombarding Bronx: Mobile DJ Starts Something with Oldie R&B Disks,” Robert Ford, Jr. , “Jive Talking N.Y. DJs Rapping Away in Black Discos”

o   71. “The Music Is a Mirror,” Harry Allen, “Hip Hop Madness: From Def Jams to Cold Lampin’, Rap Is Our Music,” Carol Cooper, “Girls Ain’t Nothin’ but Trouble”



·      New York Dolls, “Jet Boy” (1973, produced by Todd Rundgren)

·      The Dead Boys, “Sonic Reducer” (1977, Young, Loud, and Snotty, written by David Thomas of Rocket from the Tombs and Pere Ubu and Cheetah Crome of Rocket from the Tombs and Dead Boys, produced by Genya Ravan)

·      Johnny Thunders and the Heartbreakers, “Chinese Rocks” (1977, L.A.M.F., written by Dee Dee Ramon and Richard Hell)

·      David Bowie, “Heroes” (1977, Heroes, written by David Bowie and Brian Eno, produced by David Bowie and Tony Visconti)

·      Iggy Pop, “Sister Midnight” (1977, The Idiot, produced by David Bowie)

·      The Ramones, “Blitzkrieg Bop” (1976); “Judy Is a Punk” (1976); “Sheena Is a Punk Rocker” (1977)

·      Blondie, “One Way Or Another” (1978); “Heart of Glass” (1978); “The Tide Is High” (1980, cover of The Paragons, 1966); “I Feel Love” (1977, Live cover of Donna Summer song)

·      Donna Summer, “I Feel Love” (1977, written and produced by Giorgio Moroder, original 12-inch version); “Bad Girls” (1979)

·      Barry White, “Love’s Theme” (1974)

·      Don McLean, “American Pie” (1971)

·      Velvet Underground and Nico, “Sunday Morning” (1967, written by Lou Reed and John Cale, sung by Nico) “I’m Waiting For the Man” (1967, written by Lou Reed); “Heroin” (1967, written by Lou Reed)

·      Patti Smith, “Gloria” (1975, Horses, produced by John Cale)

·      The Stooges, “No Fun” (1969, The Stooges, produced by John Cale, lead singer Iggy Pop)

·      James Brown, “Get Up (I Feel Like Being a) Sex Machine” (1970)

·      Sly Stone, “Thank You (Falettinme Be Mice Elf Agin)” (1969); “Thank You for Talkin’ to Me Africa” (1971, There’s a Riot Goin’ On)

·      Gloria Gaynor, “I Will Survive” (1978)

·      Sylvester, “You Make Me Feel (Mighty Real)” (1978)

·      D.O.A., “Disco Sucks” (1979)

·      The Vectors, “Death to Disco” (1979)

·      The Accident, “Kill the Bee Gees” (1979)

·      Grandmaster Flash and the Furious Five, “The Message” (1982)

·      Kraftwerk, “Trans-Europe Express” (1976)

·      Afrika Bambaattaa, “Planet Rock” (1982)

·      Gil Scott-Heron, “The Revolution Will Not Be Televised” (originally recorded in 1970 for Small Talk at 125th and Lenox; re-recorded with full band, 1971, Pieces of a Man)

·      KRS-One and Boogie Down Productions, “The Bridge Is Over” (1987, note reference to Billy Joel, “It’s Still Rock and Roll to Me”)

·      Chic, “Good Times” (1979, lyrics based on Depression era songs “Happy Days Are Here Again,” 1929, written by Milton Ager and Jack Yellen, as well “About a Quarter to Nine,” written by Harry Warren and Al Durban for the 1933 musical 42nd Street, made famous by 1935 performance by Al Jolson, written and produced by Nile Rodgers and Bernard Edwards)

·      Queen, “Another One Bites the Dust” (1980, bassline inspired by “Good Times”)

·      The Sugarhill Gang, “Rapper’s Delight” (1979, produced by Sylvia Robinson of Mickey and Sylvia, samples “Good Times”)

·      Blondie, “Rapture” (1980, note Deborah Harry’s rap and mention of “Fab Five” Freddie and Grandmaster Flash)

·      The Clash, “The Magnificent Seven” (1980, Sandinista!)

·      LL Cool J, “I Can’t Live Without My Radio” (1985, Radio, produced by Rick Rubin and Jazzy Jay

·      Notorious BIG, “Gimme the Loot” (1994, Ready to Die, produced by Sean “Puffy” Combs and others

·      Lonnie Johnson, “Got the Blues for Murder Only” (1930)

·      Huddie “Lead Belly” Ledbetter, “Duncan and Brady” (1947)

·      Johnny Cash, “Folsom Prison Blues” (1957)

·      Charles Ives, Symphony No. 2 (1897,1901)

·      Miles Davis, “Serpent’s Tooth” (1953, featuring Charlie Parker and Sonny Rollins)

·      Public Enemy, “Party for Your Right to Fight” (1988, produced by Chuck D, Rick Rubin, Hank Shocklee of the Bomb Squad, compare to Beastie Boys, ” (You Gotta) Fight for Your Right (To Party),” 1986); “Fight the Power” (1989, produced with members of the Bomb Squad)

·      Kanye West, “Gold Digger” 2005, samples Ray Charles, “I Got a Woman”)

Additional listening

·      Santana, “Oye Como Va” (1970, written by Tito Puente, 1963)

·      Charles Wright & The Watts 103rd Street Rhythm Band, “Express Yourself” (1970)

·      Led Zeppelin, “Stairway to Heaven” (1971, Led Zeppelin IV)

·      Stevie Wonder, “Superstition” (1972, Talking Book, 1972)

·      The Staples Singers, “Respect Yourself” (1972)

·      Townes Van Zandt, “Pancho and Lefty” (1972)

·      Elton John, “Crocodile Rock” (1973, Don’t Shoot Me I’m Only the Piano Player, lyrics by Bernie Taupin)

·      John Denver, “Thank God I’m a Country Boy” (1974)

·      The Eagles, “Hotel California” (1976, Hotel California)

·      Bob Marley, “Simmer Down” (1963/4, as The Wailing Wailers, with Bunny Wailer, Peter Tosh, Junior Braithwaite, Beverley Kelso, and Cherry Smith, produced by Coxsone Dodd); “Get Up Stand Up” (1973, Burnin’, written with Peter Tosh); “Trenchtown Rock” (1975, Live!); “War” (1976, Rastaman Vibration); “Africa Unite” (1979, Survival); “Redemption Song” (1980, Uprising)

·      Sex Pistols, “God Save the Queen” (1977, Never Mind the Bollocks, Here’s the Sex Pistols)

·      The Clash, “1977” (1977, The Clash); “London Calling” (1979, London Calling)

·      X-Ray Spex, “Oh Bondage Up Yours!” (1978, Germ Free Adolescents)

·      Television, “See No Evil” (1977, Marquee Moon, produced by Andy Johns)

·      Talking Heads, “Psycho Killer” (1977, Talking Heads: 77)

·      Willie Colon and Ruben Blades, “Pedro Navaja” (1978)


·      Almost Famous, dir. Cameron Crowe (2000)

·      Wild Style, dir. Charlie Ahearn (1982)

Mo 11/06 Mainstream and Margin in the 1970s: AOR, Funk, Punk, Disco, and More
We 11/08 Two Turntables and a Microphone: The Rise of Hip Hop
Fr 11/10 Discussion sections.
WEEK 09 1980s-1990s

·      Hadju, LFS, Ch. 11, 185-196

·      Jessica Rosenberg and Gitana Garofalo, “Riot Grrrl: Revolutions from Within,” Signs 23, 3, Feminisms and Youth Cultures (Spring 1998), 809-841

·      PRSR:

o   62. Thriller Begets the “King of Pop”, Greg Tate, “I’m White! What’s Wrong with Michael Jackson”, Daryl Easlea, “Don’t Stop ‘Til You Get Enough: Sweden Remembers the Times with Michael Jackson”

o   63. Madonna and the Performance of Identity, Camille Paglia, “Venus of the Radio Waves”

o   65. R&B in the 1980s: To Cross Over or Not to Cross Over?, Nelson George, from The Death of Rhythm and Blues

o   72. Where Rap and Heavy Metal Converge, Jon Pareles, “There’s a New Sound in Pop Music: Bigotry”

o   73. Hip-Hop into the 1990s: Gangstas, Fly Girls, and the Big Bling-Bling, J. D. Considine, “Fear of a Rap Planet”

o   79. Grunge Turns to Scrunge, Eric Weisbard, “Over and Out: Indie Rock Values in the Age of Alternative Million Sellers”

o   80. “We Are the World”?, George Lipsitz, “Immigration and Assimilation: Rai, Reggae, and Bhangramuffin”

o   82. Public Policy and Pop Music History Collide, Jenny Toomey, “Empire of the Air”

o   85. Country in the Post-Urban Cowboy Era, Mark Cooper, “Garth Brooks: Meet Nashville’s New Breed Of Generously Stetsoned Crooner”


·      Michael Jackson, “Thriller” (1982, Thriller); “Man in the Mirror” (1987, Bad, produced by Quincy Jones)

·      The Eurythmics, “Sweet Dreams (Are Made of This)” (1983)

·      Van Halen, “Jump” (1984, 1984)

·      Bruce Springsteen, “Born in the USA” (1984, Born in the USA, produced by former rock critic and Springsteen manager Jon Landau, among others); “Born in the USA” (acoustic demo, 1982)

·      David Bowie, “Let’s Dance” (1983, Let’s Dance, produced by Nile Rodgers)

·      Madonna, “Like a Virgin” (1984, Like a Virgin, produced by Nile Rodgers); “Vogue” (1990, I’m Breathless); “What It Feels Like for a Girl” (2000)

·      Prince, “When Doves Cry” (1984, Purple Rain)

·      U2, “(Pride) In the Name of Love” (1984, The Unforgettable Fire, produced by Brian Eno and Daniel Lanois)

·      Run D.M.C., “King of Rock” (1985, King of Rock, produced by Russell Simmons)

·      Beastie Boys, “(You Gotta) Fight for Your Right (To Party)” (1986, Licensed To Ill, produced by Rick Rubin); “Shake Your Rump” (1989, Paul’s Boutique, produced by Beastie Boys, Dust Brothers, and Mario Caldato Jr.)

·      Run D.M.C. with Aerosmith, “Walk This Way” (1986)

·      Salt N Peppa, “Push It” (1987)

·      NWA, “Fuck the Police” (1988, Straight Outta Compton, produced by Dr. Dre, Easy E, and others); “Express Yourself” (1988, Straight Outta Compton, produced by Dr. Dre, Easy E, and others)

·      De La Soul, “Me Myself and I” (1989, 3 Feet High and Rising, produced by Prince Paul)

·      Garth Brooks, “The Dance” (1989, Garth Brooks)

·      A Tribe Called Quest, “Jazz (We’ve Got)” (1991, Low End Theory)

·      Sonic Youth, “Teen Age Riot” (1988, Daydream Nation)

·      The Pixies, “Debaser” (1989, Doolittle)

·      Nirvana, “Smells Like Teen Spirit” (1991, Nevermind, produced by Butch Vig)

·      Bikini Kill, “Rebel Girl” (1993)

·      Sleater-Kinney, “I Wanna Be Your Joey Ramone” (1996, Call the Doctor)

·      Queen Latifah, “U.N.I.T.Y.” (1993)

·      Hole, “Asking For It” (1994, Live Through This)

·      No Doubt, “Just a Girl” (1995, Tragic Kingdom)

·      TLC, “No Scrubs” (1999, FanMail)

·      Destiny’s Child, “Independent Women, Pt 1” (2000, Survivor and Charlie’s Angels soundtrack)

·      Dr. Dre featuring Snoop Dogg, “Nothin’ But a G Thang” (1992, The Chronic)

·      Tupac Shakur (2Pac), “Dear Mama” (1995, Me Against The World)

·      Puff Daddy featuring The Notorious BIG, The LOX & Lil’ Kim, “It’s All About the Benjamins” (1997, No Way Out)

·      Spice Girls, “Wannabe” (1996, Spice)

·      Radiohead, “Karma Police” (1997, OK Computer)

·      Backstreet Boys, “I Want It That Way” (1999, Millennium)


·      Purple Rain, dir. Albert Magnoli (1984)

·      The Punk Singer: A Documentary Film About Kathleen Hanna, dir. Sini Anderson (2014)

Su 11/12, midnight Assignment 02. Upload to Canvas
Mo 11/13 Video Killed the Radio Star: The 1980s
We 11/15 Indie Nations/Corporate World: 1990s
Fr 11/17 Discussion sections


Week 10 2000s

·      Hadju, LFS, Ch. 13, Coda, 211-244

·      John Seabrook, “The Song Machine,” New Yorker, 26 March 2012,

·      John Seabrook, “Blank Space: What Kind Of Genius Is Max Martin?,” New Yorker, 30 September 2015,

·      PRSR:

o   86. Performance as Simulacrum, Boy Bands, and Other 21st-Century Epiphanies, Joshua Clover, “Jukebox Culture: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Boy Band,” Nina C. Ayoub, “Idol Pursuits”

o   88. The End of History, the Mass-Marketing of Trivia, and a World of Copies without Originals, Jay Babcock, “The Kids Aren’t All Right They’re Amazing,” Robert Everett-Green, “Ruled by Frankenmusic,” Eliot Van Buskirk, “Why File Sharing Will Save Hollywood, Music”



·      Cher, “Believe” (1998, Believe)

·      Jeremih, featuring YG, “Don’t Tell ‘Em” (2014, Late Nights)

·      Kid Ink, “Money and the Power” (2013, My Own Lane)

·      Ke$ha, “Tik Tok” (2010, Animal, written with Dr. Luke and Benny Bianco, produced by Dr. Luke and Benny Bianco)

·      Beyoncé, featuring Jay-Z, “Drunk in Love” (2013, Beyoncé, produced by Timbaland and others)

·      Nicki Minaj, featuring Bobby V & Lil Wayne, “Sex in the Lounge” (2012, Pink Friday: Roman Reloaded)

·      Tina Turner, “What’s Love Got to Do With It?” (1984, Private Dancer, written and produced by Terry Britten)

·      Marvin Gaye, “Let’s Get It On” (1973, Let’s Get It On)

·      KC and the Sunshine Band, “That’s The Way (I Like It)” (1975, At the Time)

·      Katy Perry, “Last Friday Night (T.G.I.F.)” (2010, Teenage Dream, produced by Dr. Luke and Max Martin)

·      Leslie Gore, “You Don’t Own Me” (1963, producer Quincy Jones)

·      Lorde, “Royals” (2013, Pure Heroine)

·      Kendrick Lamar, “Alright” (2015, To Pimp a Butterfly, produced by Pharrell Williams); “The Blacker the Berry,” (2015, To Pimp a Butterfly, produced by Boi)

·      Taylor Swift, “Bad Blood” (2014, 1989, featuring Kendrick Lamar, produced by Martin, Shellback, Ilya)

·      Rolling Stones, “Ruby Tuesday” (1967); “Let’s Spend the Night Together” (1967)

Additional Listening

·      Sleater-Kinney, “I Wanna Be Your Joey Ramone” (1996, Call the Doctor)

·      Britney Spears, “…Baby One More Time” (1998, …Baby One More Time, produced by Max Martin and Rami); “Oops!…I Did It Again” (2000, Oops!…I Did It Again, produced by Max Martin)

·      Christina Aguilera featuring Lil’ Kim, “Can’t Hold Us Down” (2002, Stripped)

·      Katy Perry, “I Kissed a Girl” (2008, One of the Boys, written by, among others, Max Martin, produced by Dr. Luke and Benny Blanco)

·      Maroon 5 ft. Christina Aguilera, “Moves Like Jagger” (2011, Hands All Over, produced by Shellback and Benny Blanco)

·      Taylor Swift, “Shake It Off” (2014, 1989, written by Taylor Swift, Max Martin, and Shellback, produced by Max Martin and Shellback)

·      Beyoncé, “Single Ladies (Put a Ring on It)” (2008, I Am… Sasha Fierce, written by Beyoncé Knowles along with Thaddis Laphonia “Kuk” Harrell and producers Christopher “Tricky” Stewart, Terius “The Dream” Nash); “Formation” (2016, Lemonade, written with Khalif Brown, among others, and produced by Beyoncé Knowles, Mike Will Made It (Michael Len Williams II), Andre “A+” Levins, and others)

Mo 11/20 “Sampling” Recent Pop Music History: The Expansion of Compression—Pop Music Formats in the New Millennium
Su 11/26, midnight Assignment 03 Outline. Upload to Canvas
Th 12/07 midnight Final: Assignment 03. Upload to Canvas



Students are expected to attend all lectures and discussion sections. If a student misses more than three meetings (lectures and/or discussions), the instructor reserves the right to issue a failing grade.


This course features roughly 50-150 pages of reading a week.


Multimedia is an essential part of this popular music course, for obvious reasons. Be sure to complete the listening and viewing assignments as well as your readings. In a course on popular music, it would be a shame to privilege reading over other modes of communication, expression, argument, and experience! Listen to the music, and watch the visual material, as you would read a book: what does it have to say? What details do you notice? What is the context? What’s the argument, implicit or explicit, in this material? What is the form? What is the content? Why does it matter?


Students must complete all assignments to pass the course. These are designed to be fun, but they are also demanding. Rather than test the breadth of your absorption of course materials, the assignments test your ability to wield specific knowledge of US popular music effectively in order to mount compelling, evidence-driven arguments. If this mode of evaluation is not to your tastes, do not take the course.


There is a craft to historical interpretation. The assignments will help you approach this craft and continue to improve your practice of it. Your task in each assignment is to develop effective, compelling, evidence-driven arguments informed by historical awareness and thinking. These will often work by applying your judgment and assessment to consider how things connect or contrast to each other: how do different or similar songs, performers, genres, historical moments, geographic locations, etc., relate to each other? And most importantly, why? Additionally, your task in this course is not only to treat popular music merely as a reflection of larger phenomenon, but rather as a shaping agent of historical activities: music not only as a static mirror, but also as a crucial vessel of historical meaning and action.

Aspire to make your assignments communicate a convincing, compelling, and precise argument. The argument, to succeed, should display close analysis of details found in the evidence. These should be contextualized effectively, with an eye (and ear!) on how the popular music and its cultural formations shaped US history (not just reflections of that history). Try to write, edit, and revise to achieve clarity of expression in graceful, stylish, logical, well-reasoned prose. Evaluation of assignments will be based on the following rubric:

  • (1) Argument – presence of an articulated argument that makes an evidence-based claim and expresses the significance of that claim
  • (2) Evidence – presence of specific evidence from primary sources to support the argument
  • (3) Argumentation – presence of convincingly connection between evidence and arugment, which is to say effective explanation of the evidence that links its details to the larger argument and its sub-arguments with logic and precision
  • (4) Contextualization – presence of contextualization, which is to say an accurate portrayal of historical contexts in which evidence appeared
  • (5) Style – presence of logical flow of reasoning and grace of prose, including:
    • (a) an effective introduction that hooks the reader with originality and states the argument of the assignment and its significance
    • (b) clear topic sentences that provide sub-arguments and their significance in relation to the overall argument.
    • (c) effective transitions between paragraphs
    • (d) a compelling conclusion that restates argument and adds a final point
    • (e) accurate phrasing and word choice
    • (f) use of active rather than passive voice sentence constructions

Recommended Essay Organization

If you have any questions about evaluation in the course geared at helping you access and develop the craft of historical analysis, please speak with the instructor or teaching assistant.

Late/Extension Policy

Please communicate with your instructor or teaching assistant ahead of time if you require an extension for an essay. Reasonable, occasional requests will be granted, but may involve a slight deduction in points to be fair to students who complete work on time. Late assignments without extensions granted will lose 1/4 point per day.

Quizzes/Short Assignments

There may be a number of quizzes and shorter assignments in this course. They will be evaluated as part of your participation grade.

History Department Writing Center

The History Department Writing Center is available for students working on your assignments. It is not merely for students having difficulty with their writing (we all have difficulty with our writing for it is difficult to write well), but also for students at any level or stage of the writing process: reading evidence, “brainstorming,” generating an argument, connecting argument to evidence, structuring paragraphs and transitions, and improving style and tone. Students wishing to contact the History Department Writing Center can email There is also the Writing Place, another excellent resource for improving your thinking and writing about historical topics,

Academic Integrity

All Weinberg College and Northwestern policies concerning plagiarism and academic dishonesty are strictly enforced in this course. The instructor also reserves the right to assign a failing grade for the course if a student is found to have violated college or university policy concerning academic integrity. See for more details.

Special Needs

Students with special needs and disabilities that have been declared and documented through the Northwestern Office of Services for Students with Disabilities (SSD) should meet with the instructor to discuss any specific accommodations. For further information, see the Office of Services for Students with Disabilities (SSD) website:


Assignment 01: 15%

Assignment 02: 15%

Assignment 03: 30%

Assignment Outlines: 5% x 3 = 15%

Class/discussion section attendance/participation (including shorter assignments as necessary): 25%.

Assignments receive grades as both a letter grade (on the scale below) and a point system within the course percentages per assignment. Since assignments are weighted differently, the scales varies as to points given per assignment, but they all translate to the following 100-point scale in terms of letter grades.

93 and above – A

90-92 – A-

87-89 – B+

84-86 – B

80-83 – B-

77-79 – C+

74-76 – C

70-73 – C-

65-69 – D

65 and below – F


Outline Assignments

The outline assignments are designed to help you begin to organize your historical interpretation, evidence, and argumentation (the linking of evidence to support an interpretation) leading up to writing each essay for the course. They ask you to begin to map out the contours of your essay. They should take the following form: (1) a tentative title, (2) a hypothesis, (3) outline of body paragraphs, each with a topic sentence and planned evidence that will be used to support interpretation put forward in topic sentence.

(1) Tentative title of essay

(2) Hypothesis (1-2 sentences or clauses).

What is the overarching contention of your essay in response to the prompt? What material will you use to support this argument? Are you explaining why or how the argument arises from the evidence? Most crucially, are you developing a historical argument based on your evidence, one that rigorously and compellingly connects, locates, links, and shows the relationship between your evidence and a historical moment, era, or time period and what how it has been understood by previous historians? It is often useful to develop an argument as a statement and then add the word “because” to explain the how or why—the justification—of your link from evidence to argument. The hypothesis, in bold in the example below, will most often form the eventual thesis for your essay, perhaps with a snappy opening line. Don’t worry if you only partially begin to develop your hypothesis—that’s the point here: to try to get started on articulating an interpretation in a compelling and cogent form. It’s not easy to do and it usually takes a few tries to arrive at something worth saying.

Example of an opening paragraph with thesis: The taboo blackface minstrel show of the rowdy nineteenth century theater seems so different from the sentimental piano playing of the parlor in the nineteenth century middle-class home, however Stephen Foster’s music forces us to reconsider these distinctions. His career exemplifies the surprising confluence of blackface minstrelsy’s transgressions with the constraints of respectability and decorum emerging in the dominant middle-class culture of modernizing America. Because songs such as “Oh Susannah” and “The Old Folks At Home” musically modeled how participants in middle-class white American society could balance fantasies of wild freedom and release with the need for security and stability, they not only harmonized contradictory elements in Foster’s personal life, but also in the broader culture of the nineteenth-century United States [note: this claim is what I will need to support in the rest of the essay with evidence and argumentation]. In doing so, Foster’s music suggests we revise our assumptions about the incompatibility of the blackface minstrel show’s vulgar roughness with middle-class sentimentalism and supposed refinement.

(3) Body paragraphs (2-3 in shorter assignments, 3-6 or more in longer assignments), each with (a) topic sentence and (b) outline of evidence to be used. Each should have a tentative topic sentence and supporting evidence (1-2 examples of evidence to support the topic sentence).

(a) Topic sentences. As with your hypothesis, your topic sentence should strive to explain the point of its subsequent paragraph and the how or why justifying the argument put forward.

Example: Stephen Foster’s first big hit as a commercial songwriter, “Oh Susannah” mingled desires escape with notions of discovering home; it did so by oddly mapping the idealized bourgeois home of middle-class whites onto a fantastical version of the Southern slave plantation.

(b) Evidence. Evidence can be a short quotation, description of song or performance material on audio, in an image, or a film clip, etc. You can provide an excerpt of it in outline with the reference information.

Example: The lyric “I come from Alabama with a banjo on my knee” condenses the flight from home while the vision of locating Susannah and particularly the recurring idea she is crying for the singer suggests a vision of searching for, and perhaps arriving in, a secure, sentimentalized domestic relationship. Fleeing and reconstituting home blur in the song’s story, which becomes a displaced proxy for the contradictions between seeking freedom from the bourgeois home and securing it in the disorienting culture of industrializing, urbanizing nineteenth-century America. It is no accident, perhaps, that the singer is moving from rural Alabama to urban New Orleans.

Assignment 01

Write an imitation of a Tin Pan Alley song. You will not be evaluated for the quality of your hit-making songwriting skills, but rather for your explanation of how and why your imitation resembles a Tin Pan Alley standard. Have fun with your imitation, try to pay attention to the themes, styles, rhymes, and tones of the quintessential Tin Pan Alley song. You should include the lyrics of your imitation as part of your assignment submission.

To accompany your Tin Pan Alley imitation, in 750-1000 words approximately, explain precisely and compellingly how your lyric relates to the content and context of the Tin Pan Alley song as a historical phenomenon. What cultural formations did the Tin Pan Alley song embody in its historical context? How did it express, or even shape, the larger historical moment in which it emerged? How did it become a leading form of the industrialization of culture in the early twentieth century, or did it? How did it reveal, even shape, larger beliefs, attitudes, values of Americans in its historical time? Are there any ironic aspects to the Tin Pan Alley song’s story as an aesthetic form?

Be sure to justify the choices you made in relation to specific examples and aspects of Tin Pan Alley songwriting and its historical context from lecture, readings, viewings, and/or audio selections. You might even use the moments when your imitation does not seem accurate to you as opportunities to explain what the Tin Pan Alley song was and why it matters.

Refer to the Expectations section of syllabus for more information and guidelines on assignments in the course. For more on this assignment, read Michael J. Kramer, “Tunesmithing History,” Issues in Digital History.

Assignment 02 

You have been asked by a recording label to write an essay and construct an annotated Spotify playlist of 5-10 songs revolving around a particular artist, group, producer, record label, or other topic between 1840 and 1970. You have a lot of room to select something of most interest to you so far. What has caught your ear, your eye, your attention? Why? That might be a good place to start.

Your assignment is to (1) create the annotated playlist in Canvas (1-3 sentences of description and justification of selection per track), and follow it with (2) an analytic essay of 1000-1500 words.

The recording company insists that your essay must offer a compelling, precise, and clear evidence-based argument as to the historical significance of your profile topic (what a bunch of nerds, huh?). In other words, the “suits” (the executives) want to know what their customers can learn about the larger story of US history from studying the story you will tell in your annotated playlist and analytic essay about the playlist. Your annotated tracks can form part of your evidentiary base, along with specific evidence from the readings, listening, viewing, and lectures. Your essay should emphasize how your profile topic relates to a specific theme from the course: why does it matter to the larger history of popular music in the United States between 1840 and 1970? How does your pop music topic not only “reflect” that larger history, but also embody, raise the stakes of, even drive that larger story?

Instructions for assembling and embedding Spotify playlist are below; if Spotify provides a technical problem for you, don’t worry. You will not be penalized at all for simply creating an annotated playlist in the text entry box (in other words do not spend time if you hit technical difficulties; privilege the historical and interpretive work and spend your time on that!).

Refer to assignment rubric under the Expectations section of syllabus for more information and guidelines. For more about the intent of the assignment, read Michael J. Kramer, “Spotify Playlists for Historical Analysis,” Issues in Digital History, 8 February 2016.


-Log in to or create a free account at Spotify web player (or download the Spotify app) at

-Click on “Your Music” on the lefthand column.

-Click on “New Playlist” and Create a playlist name.

-Use the Search function on lefthand column to locate songs you wish to add.

-Move cursor over the three dots next to song name to open up menu. Select Add to and then when next menu opens up add the song to the playlist you have created.

-Click on “Your Music” and go to your playlist.

-Next to each track (not for the playlist as a whole), move cursor to the three buttons and select “Copy Spotify URL.”

-Go to this webpage,

. Paste in the Spotify URL to generate the embed code. Select and cut the embed code to paste in to your Canvas assignment.

-You will write your canvas assignment directly in the HTML page as a “Text Entry.”

-To paste in your Spotify track as an embedded file, you must switch to the “HTML editor” function, which lets you paste in the embed code (which should look something like this: <iframe src=”” width=”300″ height=”380″ frameborder=”0″ allowtransparency=”true”></iframe>). Click on “HTML editor” to paste in code. Once you do so you can switch back to “Rick content editor” to write your annotations of the text and your essay (the embed will show up as a gray box).

-You can also assemble your embed code, annotations, and essay in a text file or MS Word and then paste the entire document into the HTML Editor setting on the Text Entry page. This will prevent you from accidentally deleting or losing any of your work. If you do be sure to switch back to the “Rich content editor” function to make sure your assignment is rendering correctly.

-Be sure to submit your assignment. You can revise it up until the deadline.

-You are now a computer programmer! (And you thought that you wouldn’t be acquiring useful computer skills in a pop music course!)

-It is acceptable if you run into technical difficulties to create a text version of your song tracks and annotations and essay. Give the technical part a try and see if you can do it; if not, spend your time on the content of the assignment.

Additional notes on Assignment 02

-Avoid weaker reflection arguments. What was popular music doing, in its historical moment. Was it amplifying something? Voicing something? Subverting something? Distorting something? Revealing something that we don’t notice through any other source materials or stories?

-Avoid weaker influence arguments. A musician or genre or moment is not important merely because it was influential. That’s the marketing language. More powerful “liner notes” analysis makes an evidence-based argument about what the music was doing, in its historical moment. How or why it did what it did then suggests how or why it may have been influential.

-Playlist. You can use your playlist to generate potential arguments and narrative structures. Songs don’t have to be in chronological order, although they can be. What happens if you reorganize or reorder your playlist? Does it start to suggest a different, more interesting story, argument, narrative about the history you are investigating?

-Don’t sweat the technical part! Here is one way an annotated playlist might look in your assignment if done by song (you can include fewer songs, as per the assignment instructions): The sounds of American counterculture and citizenship, Oxford University Press Blog (Links to an external site.)Links to an external site.. At the bottom of the essay you can see what a Spotify playlist looks like as one linked playlist. It is also completely fine to just include the artist and name of a track with the annotated text below it and no Spotify embed if it proves difficult to do technically. Spend your time assembling a playlist, listening to the songs, doing your reading and viewing assignments, and writing and revising a strong essay!

Happy listening, thinking, analyzing, and writing. Good luck!

Assignment 03

In 2000-2500 words, develop an analytic essay about one genre of American popular music since 1960. Your essay must focus on the relationship of this genre to larger cultural issues in the United States: what did this genre do as an active agent in the shaping of US history? What can we learn about US history through the “amplifier” of this genre? How does this genre relate to other genres of American popular music? Which performers or songs or labels, etc., best exemplify the genre and why? How stable is this genre, or do the performers, songs, sounds, labels, stories that constitute it work at its boundaries, raising questions about how genres themselves get constructed within US popular music history? Your essay must offer a clear, compelling, and precise argument that is driven by explications of specific evidence. You only need to draw upon material from the course, but you may also pursue outside sources as well if you wish to do so through additional research. Refer to assignment rubric under Expectations section of syllabus for more information and guidelines for essays.

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