Garage bands of the mid-sixties Garage bands of the mid-sixties




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TitleGarage bands of the mid-sixties Garage bands of the mid-sixties
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Garage bands of the mid-sixties

  • Garage bands of the mid-sixties

  • Anger at America as expressed by Beat poets and writers, Allen Ginsberg, Jack Kerouac, William Burroughs, and others

  • The Velvet Underground’s songs about drug addiction, sadomasochism, and other problems in street life in New York

  • Lou Reed, singer, songwriter, guitarist, keyboard player

  • John Cale, piano, viola, and bass

  • Sterling Morrison, guitarist

  • Maureen Tucker, drummer



“Heroin” by the Velvet Underground (1966)

  • “Heroin” by the Velvet Underground (1966)

  • Tempo: Beginning and ending, 72 beats per minute, 4 beats per bar

  • Gradual speeding up to 96 beats per minute, then A sections that speed up again to 144 beats per minute

  • The introduction opens with a pulse on the half-beats (eighth notes)

  • Form: Three 30-bar A sections, then a final A extended to over double that length and includes chaotic sound effects created by electric guitars and electric viola

  • Features: Even beat subdivisions

  • No backbeat

  • The bass drum is hit on beat four of each bar in the introduction, then at irregular intervals and on half-beats to support the intensity of the faster sections

  • The rhythm guitar enters on the first beat of the second bar of the introduction, then plays on the first beat of every bar, alternating between two chords

  • Lyrics: The song portrays the effect heroin has on the addict, sung from the addict’s point of view. Increases in tempo express exhilaration as the drug enters his body. The addict knows the drug has caused his alienation from society, and knows it will kill him, but he cannot do without it.



MC5 (the Motor City Five) formed in 1965

  • MC5 (the Motor City Five) formed in 1965

  • Fast throbbing pulse of the guitar and/or bass and much distortion

  • Shouted vocals expressing anger

  • Played to those who rioted at the 1968 Democratic Convention in Chicago

  • First album, Kick Out the Jams (1969), criticized and refused airplay for obscene lyrics

  • Iggy and the Stooges, formed in 1967

  • Iggy Pop acted out disgust with society by hitting and cutting himself, sometimes called the Godfather of Punk



The New York Dolls, formed in 1971

  • The New York Dolls, formed in 1971

  • Combined loud, raw, rebellious, pounding sound of MC5 and Stooges with Rolling Stones-like rhythm and blues and added makeup and dress of glitter movement

  • Songs about “bad” girls, drugs, and New York street life, but with less serious attitude than the MC5 or Iggy Pop

  • CBGB’s night club

  • Television

  • Richard Hell

  • Patti Smith

  • The Ramones



“Personality Crisis” by the New York Dolls (1973)

  • “Personality Crisis” by the New York Dolls (1973)

  • Tempo: 155 beats per minute, 4 beats per bar

  • Form: 16-bar instrumental introduction

  • Honky-tonk style piano at bar 4

  • AABA, with 8-bar periods, the B sections repeat lyrics about the frustrations of having a “personality crisis.”

  • A short break (silence) occurs between the second and third of the AABA sections

  • Features: Evenly subdivided beats throb a pulse at double the speed of the basic beat

  • The fast pulse is created by the guitar, chords on the piano, and the drummer on cymbals

  • Backbeat on the bass drum

  • Vocals are shouted almost in a monotone

  • Lyrics: A person who plays a role dictated by society during the day, goes wild at night in an effort to shake off the day’s frustrations



Mid-seventies economic problems in Britain

  • Mid-seventies economic problems in Britain

  • Without jobs or money to spend, young people could not relate to grandiose rock acts by progressive or glitter bands

  • Attitude of anger, frustration, violence, against government, monarchy, society, and fashion

  • Raw, pounding music of the New York Dolls and the Ramones represented the music young people wanted

  • 1976 - Malcolm McLaren formed the Sex Pistols to meet the need

  • Sex Pistols

  • Johnny Rotten (John Lydon), vocals

  • Steve Jones, guitar

  • Glen Matlock, bass – replaced by Sid Vicious (John Ritchie), bass

  • Paul Cook, drums

  • Highly emotional anger in music and lyrics



“God Save the Queen” by the Sex Pistols (1977)

  • “God Save the Queen” by the Sex Pistols (1977)

  • Tempo: 145 beats per minute, 4 beats per bar, with each beat subdivided into two equal parts creating a constant, throbbing pulse

  • Form: Begins with a 4-bar vamp followed by an 8-bar instrumental introduction

  • 8-bar periods in AABA song form with added C sections

  • A sections begin with the song’s title

  • C periods based on repetitions of words from earlier B periods

  • Features: The fast pulse is kept by guitar, drums, and loud, repeated bass notes

  • Backbeat in drums

  • Guitar heavily distorted creating a mood of anarchy and disorder

  • Most vocals shouted in monotone by Johnny Rotten, with groups joining in at C sections

  • Lyrics: Depressed view of Britain’s economy, social system, and government, emphasizing that there is no hope for anything positive in the future

  • Charts: British hits, #2



The Damned, formed by McLaren in 1976

  • The Damned, formed by McLaren in 1976

  • The Clash

  • Joe Strummer, vocals and guitar

  • Mick Jones, guitar

  • Paul Simonon, bass

  • Tory Crimes (Terry Chimes), drums

  • Songs zeroed in on central causes of punk rebellion:

  • Youth unemployment

  • Anti-immigrant racism

  • Police Brutality

  • Billy Idol with Generation X

  • X-Ray Spex

  • The Buzzcocks



Punk in California inspired by tour of the Sex Pistols and the Damned

  • Punk in California inspired by tour of the Sex Pistols and the Damned

  • Attitudes of California punks different from British because the economies were different

  • California bands expressed anger about:

  • Ex-hippie parents’ worn-out or sold out values

  • U.S. government’s involvement in politics of Asian and South American countries

  • U.S. government’s support of oppressive regime in South Africa

  • The Dead Kennedys formed in San Francisco in 1978

  • Lead singer, Eric Boucher, named himself Jello Biafra when he heard that the U.S. government had sent Jell-O to starving people of Biafra, Africa, calling it foreign aid

  • Punk bands from L.A.:

  • Black Flag

  • X

  • The Germs

  • Catholic Disciplines



“Kill the Poor” by the Dead Kennedys (1980)

  • “Kill the Poor” by the Dead Kennedys (1980)

  • Tempo: 96 beats per minute in introduction, then sudden jump to 208 beats per minute, 4 beats per bar

  • Form: Slow introduction with vocals intoned by Biafra is one 8-bar period, then one 7-bar period

  • A 4-bar instrumental vamp establishes a faster tempo

  • Series of A and B periods separated by instrumental vamps, the B periods feature constant repetition of “kill the poor”

  • Features: Even beat subdivisions

  • Repeated bass note pulse in fast section

  • More complex harmonies than in much other punk

  • Lyrics: Satirical praise for the U.S. government’s development of a bomb that can kill people while leaving property undamaged, with the suggestion that money wasted on welfare could be saved by using the bomb to kill poor people



Punk too violent and anti-establishment to appeal to a mass audience, but punk’s energy was welcome

  • Punk too violent and anti-establishment to appeal to a mass audience, but punk’s energy was welcome

  • Punk’s more commercial alternative called New Wave and often included:

  • Throbbing half-beat pulse

  • Monotone vocals

  • Emotional alienation from problems

  • Devo formed in 1975 with name that represented “de-evolution” of mankind in the modern world

  • Other New Wave bands of late seventies:

  • Talking Heads

  • Blondie

  • The Cars

  • The B-52’s



“Jocko Homo” by Devo (1976)

  • “Jocko Homo” by Devo (1976)

  • Tempo: First section, 240 beats per minute, 7 beats per bar

  • Second section, 120 beats per minute, 4 beats per bar

  • Form and Features:

  • An electronic introduction has 4 bars of 7 beats accented as 4+3, then 4 bars of 7 beats accented as 3+4, establishing a feeling of instability

  • Even beat subdivisions

  • No backbeat accented

  • Monotone vocals with group exchange declaring that members of Devo are not human

  • Parts of the introduction are repeated between the second and third vocal periods

  • Some repetition of instrumental introduction at different pitch levels, each one higher than the previous one

  • Pulsating repeated notes in bass in slower 4-beat meter

  • The fast 7-bar pattern returns at the end

  • Lyrics: The coldness of the modern world has had a dehumanizing effect on mankind



Pub Rock an early seventies English back-to-the-roots of rock movement

  • Pub Rock an early seventies English back-to-the-roots of rock movement

  • Pubs are small and forced return to intimate performances when progressive and glitter ones had become large, theatrical extravaganzas

  • Pub Rock performers became the basis of British New Wave style:

  • Elvis Costello

  • Brinsley Schwarz

  • Ducks Deluxe

  • Rockpile

  • Rumour

  • Nick Lowe



“Radio Radio” by Elvis Costello and the Attractions (1978)

  • “Radio Radio” by Elvis Costello and the Attractions (1978)

  • Tempo: 144 beats per minute, 4 beats per bar

  • Form: 8-bar instrumental introduction made up of a 2-bar pattern played four times

  • AABCAAB, A’s are 8 bars, B’s are 16 bars, C is 8 bars

  • Features: Bass uses repeated notes to establish a fast (eighth-note) pulse

  • Strong backbeat in drums during A sections, no back beat in B sections

  • Contrasting C section in a minor key, at a higher pitch, with a lighter vocal tone quality and organ in background

  • Lyrics: Dependence of some teens on the radio for entertainment and advice and a bitterness toward people who control radio

  • Charts: British hits, #29



Punk is angry music, and it is the most effective when the anger is directed at some particular issue, person, or practice. Could a positive message, a religious one, for example, be delivered in a punk style and be taken seriously?

  • Punk is angry music, and it is the most effective when the anger is directed at some particular issue, person, or practice. Could a positive message, a religious one, for example, be delivered in a punk style and be taken seriously?

  • What about new wave, which is generally fairly alienated from emotion? Could it express a positive message effectively?



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