The Music of the Beatles
The Music of the Beatles will track the musical development of the band, starting from the earliest days in Liverpool and Hamburg, moving through the excitement of Beatlemania, the rush of psychedelia, and the maturity of Abbey Road.
While the focus will be on the music, we will also consider how recording techniques, the music business, the music of other artists, and the culture of the 1960s affected John, Paul, George, and Ringo as they created the Beatles repertory.
There is probably no band or artist that has had more written about their music than the Beatles. There are many good books on the band’s biography, several insider accounts offering glimpses behind the scenes, books that interpret the meaning of the songs, and even books that catalogue dates and people regarding the band.
This course will try to synthesize much of that information into an account of the Beatles’ development as musicians and songwriters.
The History of Rock
This course, part 1 of a 2-course sequence, examines the history of rock, primarily as it unfolded in the United States, from the days before rock (pre-1955) to the end of the 1960s. This course covers the music of Elvis Presley, Chuck Berry, Phil Spector, Bob Dylan, the Beatles, the Rolling Stones, Jimi Hendrix, Cream, and many more artists, with an emphasis both on cultural context and on the music itself. We will also explore how developments in the music business and in technology helped shape the ways in which styles developed.
Rock emerged in the mid 1950s as a blending of mainstream pop, rhythm and blues, and country and western–styles that previously had remained relatively separate. This new style became the music of the emerging youth culture and was often associated with teen rebellion. We will follow the story of how this rowdy first wave of rock and roll (1955-59) was tamed in the early 60s but came roaring back with the Beatles and the Rolling Stones and then went psychedelic by the end of the decade.