Promise of Soul


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Slide 1

An original pressing of the Ronettes’ “Be My Baby,” produced by Phil Spector in 1963. Though early ’60s rock and roll is seen by some as a mere pause between Elvis and the Beatles, others cite the period’s many musical innovations. Spector was one of the early 1960s’ most important producers—drawing influence from Leiber and Stoller before him and influencing the Beatles and Brian Wilson after. Spector demanded total control over the music and was famous for his “Wall of Sound”: a unique recording technique in which he would use many instruments—sometimes multiple guitars, other strings, and sleigh bells—in a very small space. This created a complex, richly textured sound that was complemented by strong vocals from female singers like Darlene Love and Veronica Bennett (Ronnie Spector). “Be My Baby,” featuring Ronnie Spector, is representative of Phil Spector’s Wall of Sound. Photo Credit: John Tefteller at

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Chubby Checker is shown here singing and dancing “The Twist” during a nightclub performance. Dick Clark, host of American Bandstand, said that “The Twist” was one of rock and roll’s most important songs: it swept the nation (and reached into Europe, pictured here), and everyone, young, old, black, and white all did the dance with ease. Photo Credit: Time & Life Pictures/Getty Images

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John Jackson is the author of American Bandstand: Dick Clark and the Making of a Rock ’n’ Roll Empire, which received the Ralph J. Gleason Music Book Award and the ARSC Award for excellence in research. Photo Credit: Bettmann/CORBIS

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One of the most important groups in American folk was the Weavers: (from left) Pete Seeger, Lee Hayes, Fred Halterman, and Ronnie Gilbert. Folk was characterized by its focus on social issues, musical and instrumental simplicity, and appeal to a college (and decidedly non-teen) audience. After many hits, the Weavers’ career was cut short when they were blacklisted for reportedly being in sympathy with the Communist Party. Photo Credit: Bettmann/CORBIS

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The Kingston Trio—(from left) Bob Shane, Nick Reynolds, and Dave Guard—at a recording session. The group was the most popular one in the “folk revival” of the late ’50s and early ’60s. Their first album, The Kingston Trio (1958), stayed on the pop album charts for 195 weeks. Photo Credit: Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images

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Peter, Paul, and Mary— (from left) Mary Travers, Paul Stookey, and Peter Yarrow—were constructed not for the small coffeehouses that had been the traditional home of folk, but for the larger concert halls of rock. Though their music was decidedly more polished than many folk artists’, even die-hard folkniks embraced Peter, Paul, and Mary—mostly because of their passionate involvement in the civil rights movement. Photo Credit: Bettmann/CORBIS

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Mike Stoller (left) and Jerry Leiber (right) helped to define the important role producers would play in the music of the early 1960s. Their songs were characterized by strong rhythm and blues influences and complex arrangements, often recounting mini-dramas (called “playlets”), as in “Smokey Joe’s Cafe” and “Down in Mexico.” Photo Credit: Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images

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The Coasters were important collaborators with Leiber and Stoller. This team produced a number of hits, including the playlets “Smokey Joe’s Cafe” (when the Coasters were still the Robins) and “Down in Mexico.” Photo Credit: Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images

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The Brill Building approach to music-making involved strong, long-lasting songwriting teams including Gerry Goffin (left) and Carole King (right). Strongly influenced by Leiber and Stoller, King and Goffin exerted a lot of control over the production of their songs. Photo Credit: Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images

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Phil Spector defined the role of the dominant producer. He ferociously controlled his music—the songwriting and production. Spector was also an innovator in recording techniques. His “Wall of Sound” was built by packing many instruments into a small room and recording them as they all played together. Notice the four guitarists at this recording session. Photo Credit: Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images

Slide 23

Sam Cooke at a recording session. Like many artists, including Ray Charles, Cooke was strongly influenced by gospel. Cooke combined this sensibility with a sweet soul style to make a sound all his own. After a string of hits, including “You Send Me,” Cooke’s career came to a tragic end when he was shot at a motel in 1964. Photo Credit: Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images

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The Everly Brothers used lush harmonies, combining them with elements of country to create a sweet, seemingly simple vocal sound. Their hits include the uptempo “Bye Bye Love” and the smoother ballad “All I Have to Do Is Dream.” Photo Credit: Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images

Slide 28

Roy Orbison in concert. While usually associated with rockabilly, Orbison’s music spans a range of influences and styles: country and western (“Ooby Dooby” and “Rockhouse”), doo-wop (in Orbison’s trademark use of falsetto), pure pop ballads (“Runnin’ Scared” and “Crying”), and rhythm and blues (“Candy Man” and “Mean Woman Blues”). Photo Credit: David Redferns/ Redferns

Slide 31

The Beach Boys—(from left) Al Jardine, Carl Wilson, Dennis Wilson, Brian Wilson, and Mike Love—performing on television. While the Beach Boys’ music seems like simple, catchy pop, their harmonies and arrangements were very complex. Influenced by Phil Spector, Brian Wilson wrote and produced many of the Beach Boys’ songs, and like Spector, Wilson was an innovator of recording techniques. Photo Credit: Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images

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The quintessential “splatter platter”: Jan and Dean’s “Dead Man’s Curve.” “Splatter platters” or “death disks” told the stories of teenagers meeting gruesome deaths, usually at the hands of a car or motorcycle crash. These records reveal the strong storytelling style of Leiber and Stoller productions. Photo Credit: Capitol/EMI

Slide 1

The Demise of Rock and the Promise of Soul chapter 3

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Splitting up the Market Brill Building Teen pop music Both place and stylistic label Aldon Publishing Brill Building approach Artist was not at the center of the process Return to the way business had been done pre-rock

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Splitting up the Market Teen idols Cast as potential boyfriends Frankie Avalon Bobby Rydell Bobby Darin v. Neil Sedaka

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Splitting up the Market American Bandstand Familiar radio show adapted to television Best-known host was Dick Clark Lip-synched performances Facilitated interest in dancing

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Chubby Checker

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American Bandstand

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Splitting up the Market Folk music College-age listeners Music that seemed more real that commercial pop Populist characters Untutored quality of folksingers Break with the norms of middle-class life Almost anyone could play it Brief fascination with Caribbean music Importance of album sales

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The Weavers

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Splitting up the Market Folk music Two sides of the folk revival Those who explored rich literature of documented folk music Bob Dylan Joan Baez Commercial, pop-based imitators Kingston Trio Highwaymen New Christy Minstrels Peter, Paul, and Mary Comparison of “Blowin’ in the Wind”

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The Kingston Trio

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Peter, Paul, and Mary

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The Rise of the Producer What is a producer? A&R, matching artists and repertoire Hiring musicians Had crucial decision-making authority Development of ambitious attitudes toward pop Musical sophistication Trademark “sound” Record is more than a recorded live performance

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The Rise of the Producer Leiber and Stoller Music for Elvis “Hound Dog” “Jailhouse Rock” “Don’t” Early 50s rhythm and blues Spark records Atlantic Records Maintained independence

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Mike Stoller and Jerry Leiber

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The Rise of the Producer Leiber and Stoller Coasters Playlets “Smokey Joe’s Café” “Little Egypt”

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The Coasters

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The Rise of the Producer Social issues “Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow?”

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The Rise of the Producer Girl groups Songwriting teams Sedaka/Greenfield King/Goffin Weil/Mann Berry/Greenwich Mostly black female groups Solo female singers Controlled by industry Producers and songwriters had creative control over music

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Gerry Goffin and Carole King

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The Rise of the Producer Phil Spector Worked under Leiber and Stoller Ambitious producer Girl-group pop Signature “wall of sound” “Da Doo Ron Ron,” Crystals “Then He Kissed Me” Crystals “Be My Baby,” Ronettes “You’ve Lost that Lovin’ Feelin’,” Righteous Brothers

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Phil Spector

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Sweet Soul Blending of rhythm and blues with strings Nat King Cole Johnny Mathis Sam Cooke Sang with gospel Soul Stirrers “You Send Me”

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Sam Cooke

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Sweet Soul Ray Charles Controversy of switching from gospel to pop Drifters Clyde McPhatter, featured singer Ben E. King, featured singer Later solo career Dionne Warwick

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Rockabilly Pop Brill Building influence in country music Everly Brothers Cadence Records Warner Brothers Both brothers wrote songs Clear country, rhythm and blues influences Distinctive duet singing

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The Everly Brothers

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Rockabilly Pop Roy Orbison Sun Records RCA Monument Wrote most of his own material Distinctive falsetto voice

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Roy Orbison

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Surf Music Ricky Nelson Child radio and television star, playing himself Early music tied into television show Did not write his own music

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Surf Music Beach Boys Capital Distinctive backing vocals Doo-wop Girl group Glee club Compositionally innovative Writing and production of Brian Wilson

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The Beach Boys

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Surf Music Jan and Dean Instrumental surf music Dick Dale Duane Eddy

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Baby, Baby Songs “There Goes My Baby” “Be My Baby” “Don’t Worry Baby”

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The Splatter Platter Songs dramatically portraying teenage death “Leader of the Pack” “Dead Man’s Curve”

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Splatter Platter

Summary: Popular Music 1959-1964

Tags: soul bubblegum girl groups teen idols