Teen-Styled Rock Music Chapter 5

Chapter 5
Rock Music
Most of the Teen Idols in the late 1950’s and early 1960’s were
successful more for their visual appeal and in-group identification than for
their music talents! However, their natural, though untrained, voices
captured the youthful enthusiasm that the style required. Some
examples follow:
Chapter 5 – Teen-Styled Rock
“Phil Spector, he was everything. There
was nothing to compare. He was it.
The biggest inspiration in my whole
life” Brian Wilson
• Late 1950s/early 60s performers whose careers
were ended (temporarily, or permanently)
• Deaths: Buddy Holly, the big Bopper, Ritchie
Valens, Eddie Cochran
• Serious injuries: Carl Perkins, Gene Vincent
• Career quitting/banning: Little Richard, Jerry Lee
• Army service: Elvis Presley
• Trials and prison in early 60s: Chuck Berry
• Some performers changed style to fit pop trend
The Payola Scandal
Song writers paid for their work by:
• Sheet music sales
• Money for recordings of songs
• Public performance fees collected from venues by
American Society of Composers, Authors, and
Publishers (ASCAP) and Broadcast Music
Incorporated (BMI), paid to songwriter
• A Special Committee on Legislative Oversight asked by
ASCAP to investigate payola practices
• Result, many small record companies and some disc
jockeys out of business
Notable Figures
Alan Freed (1921-1965), disc jockey, concert promoter
• Fought racism by playing R&B on radio and TV
• Found guilty of payola, lost TV show, career, and died
Dick Clark (born in 1929), American Bandstand TV show host
• Investigated for payola, but attorneys showed that
promotions included recordings with no financial
interest for Clark
• Sold interests in recordings and continued TV show for
Teen Idol Pop
• Teen idol singers were chosen for wholesome
visual appeal more than voices, often lip-synced
to recordings for performances in movies or on
• Songs about love and temporarily broken hearts
Pat Boone (b. 1934)
Pat Boone (born in
1934), pop singer who
covered some blues
and r&b songs to
appeal to large, multiracial audiences
Listening Guide
“Tutti-Frutti” by Little Richard (1955)
Tempo: 172 beats per minute, 4 beats per bar
Form: 12-bar blues
Features: Little Richard introduces rough vocal style with
introduction of nonsense syllables
Rhythm section includes piano using even beat subdivisions
to offset uneven divisions of basic beat, jazz-style walking
bass, and rhythmic punctuation by saxophones
Drummer plays strong backbeat
Lyrics: Little Richard brags about sex with Sue and Daisy
Charts: Pop, #17, R&B, #2 for six weeks, British hits, #29
Listening Guide
“Tutti-Frutti” by Pat Boone (1956)
Tempo: 176 beats per minute, 4 beats per bar
Form: 12-bar blues
Features: Boone tries to imitate Little Richard’s voice, but in a
smoother, less rhythmic way
Rhythm section includes piano and a backup vocal group
singing “ahs”
Uneven beat subdivisions
Backbeat present, but less obvious than in Little Richard’s
Lyrics: Obvious sex (term “rocking”) avoided. Singer’s
girlfriend is Sue, but he likes Daisy
Charts: Pop, #12
Other Teen Idols
Frankie Avalon (b.. 1940) recorded “Venus” in 1959
Bobby Rydell (b. 1942) recorded “Swingin School” in 1960
Fabian (b. 1943)
Paul Anka (b. 1941) recorded “Puppy Love” in 1960
Connie Francis (b.1938) recorded “Where The Boys Are” in 1960.
Brenda Lee (b. 1944)
Ricky Nelson (1940 - 1985)
Important to Rock music
for his Rockabilly
recordings. He also
starred on his parents
TV show entitled:
“The Adventures of
Ozzie and Harriet”
which rocketed him to
teen idol status!
Frankie Avalon
Frankie Avalon (b.1940)
Teamed frequently with
Annette Funicello, Avalon
starred in a number of popular
“beach” comedy movies
during the 1960’s. In 1959,
“Venus” was #1 for 5 weeks
and “Why” (which followed
Venus) was the last # 1 hit of
the 1950’s
Listening Guide
“Venus” by Frankie Avalon (1959)
Tempo: 114 beats per minute, 4 beats per bar
Form: 8 bar periods
Features: Full sounding orchestra and chorus
with drums
Gentle mood sung with sense of sincerity
Lyrics: Singer desperate for romance prays to the
Roman goddess for love
Charts: Pop, #1 for five weeks, British hits, #16
Brill Building Pop
Brill Building on Broadway in New York
• Center for songwriting and production of teen idol pop style
• Girl group sound popular
• Writing teams:
Greenfield/Neil Sedaka
Goffin/Carole King
Brill Building Pop
Because pop performers (including teen idols) have seldom been songwriters, the
burst of popularity of the pop style created a need for musicians who specialized in
songwriting. Many of the pop hits from 1959 to 1963 were written and published in
the Brill Building located at 1619 Broadway Avenue in New York City. Many of the
songwriters worked in teams, the most famous of which were: Howard Greenfield
and Neil Sedaka, Barry Mann and Cynthia Weil, Doc Pomus and Mort Shuman,
Gerry Goffin and Carole King, Jerry Lieber and Mike Stoller, and Jeff Berry and
Ellie Greenwich. Sedaka, Mann, and King doubled as performers and sang on the
recordings of some of their own hits. Carole King and Neil Sedaka also went on to
become famous performers in their own right.
Listening Guide
“Will You Love Me tomorrow?” by the Shirelles (1960)
Tempo: 138 beats per minute, 4 beats per bar
Form: 4-bar introduction, 16-bar periods in AABAA form
Features: Even beat subdivisions
Shirley Alston’s solo backed by Shirelles
Backbeat stressed in drums
Orchestral string section plays phrase-ending fills and an
instrumental section
Lyrics: The singer is unsure if sex will lead to a lasting relationship
Charts: Pop, #1 for two weeks, #2 for four weeks, British hits, #4
Phil Spector
Phil Spector (1940 ) was famous for his so called “WALL OF SOUND” which
he produced by using so many instruments by overdubbing them and then mixing
them so thoroughly that the result was a massive fortification of instrumental
timbres and colors behind the vocals. His productions were generally “thick and
full.” He worked in both New York and Los Angeles and produced albums for a
number of artists on into the 1970’s and beyond. He was asked in 1970 to sift
through hours of recordings by the soon to be disbanded Beatles, resulting in
their last album which was released in 1970 and produced by Spector: the album
was titled “Let It Be” George Harrison had him produce his solo “All Things Must
Pass” album in 1970 and the “Concert for Bangladesh” album in 1972. John
Lennon also asked him to produce his “Imagine” album in 1971.
Phil Spector’s Wall of Sound
Phil Spector was a songwriter, producer, record company owner
“Wall” created by:
• overdubbing
• a large number of instruments including colorful
percussion such as chimes and castanets
• monaural recording to avoid separation of sounds
Spector produced many teen idol hits, and produced Beatles’ Let it
Be and other albums by Harrison and Lennon
He was sentenced to 19 years to life in prison in 2009 for the death of
Lana Clarkson
Listening Guide
“Be My Baby” by the Ronettes (1963)
Tempo: 132 beats per minute, 4 beats per bar
Form: 4-bar introduction, then 8 and 16 bar sections
Features: Lead singer backed by the Ronettes
Wall of sound background
Low strings play melody in instrumental
A short break is punctuated by percussion
Lyrics: Singer promises her undying love and affection
Charts: Pop, #2, R&B, #4, British hits, #4
Influences on the Surf Sound
Duane Eddy (born in 1938) singer, guitarist
Style known as “twangy guitar,” used vibrato
and nasel-sounding attack on bass
The Ventures (first recorded in 1960)
Instrumental group influenced surf guitar and
drum sounds, adopted surf image
The Surf Sound
Dick Dale (born in 1937)
• Known as the King of Surf Guitar
• Used tremolo (fast repeated notes) to create effect of speed
The Beach Boys
Main writer and producer, Brian Wilson (born in 1942)
Group vocals influenced by Jazz group the Four Freshmen
Guitarist, Carl Wilson (1946-1996), influenced by Chuck Berry
Productions on Pet Sounds (1966) influenced by Phil Spector’s
Wall of Sound
The Beach Boys
Listening Guide
“Sweet Little Sixteen” by Chuck Berry (1958)
Tempo: 176 beats per minute, 4 beats per bar
Form: 2-bar introduction, then 16-bar periods each of which has an
antecedent and a consequent phrase.
The first period begins with “Boston” and ends with “sweet little
Features: Uneven beat subdivisions
Drums keep a strong backbeat
Instruments sometimes break for vocal solos
Berry’s guitar maintains a riff pattern
Boogie-woogie piano in fifth period
Lyrics: Sixteen year old girl wants to go our and “rock and roll”
Charts: Pop, #2 for three weeks, R&B, #1 for three weeks, British hits, #16
Listening Guide
“Surfin’ U.S.A.” by the Beach Boys (1963)
Tempo: 164 beats per minute, 4 beats per bar
Form: Introduction and periods match those in Berry’s recording,
but there are fewer verses
The first period begins on “ocean” and ends with “surfin’
Features: Even beat subdivisions used most of the time
Drums accent strong backbeat
The rhythm of Berry’s guitar riff is imitated
Lyrics: The singer wishes that everyone could have fun surfing.
The beaches named parallel the cities in Berry’s song
Charts: Pop, #3, R&B, #20, British hits, #35
Listening Guide
“Good Vibrations” by the Beach Boys (1966)
Tempo: 152 beats per minute beginning and ending, but 138 beats per
minute in D section
4-beats per bar
Form: 8-bar phrases, with some extensions
ABAB with “good vibrations” in B sections
Instrumental C section
D section sustained organ chords
Features: Uneven beat subdivisions
Background thickly overdubbed
Monaural recording
Drums in A sections, tambourine on backbeats in B sections
Electro-theremin used during B sections
Lyrics: Singer is excited about a woman
Charts: Pop, #1, British hits, #1
Chubby Checker (b. 1941)
Chubby Checker (born
Ernest Evans in 1941),
covered a song by Hank
Ballard called The Twist
started a dance craze
called the “Twist” in
1960 after the song
which continued for the
next several years, and
continues in some ways
even today!
Discussion Questions
What performers today are more pop than rock,
but are advertised as rock artists?
Are any of them (Britney Spears or Madonna,
for example) as far from being rock musicians
as Pat Boone was in the late fifties and early