Overview: These brief readings (excerpts from larger works) and YouTube playlist raise questions about the role of music as a means of cultural transmission “across the boundaries of race” (Starr, Waterman, 2007) and as a force of social change.
Reading questions to discuss in class – written responses NOT REQUIRED
- How to assess industry “popular” music in terms of the interests of youth and democracy?
- What filters shape the lyrical narrative, i.e. the story, the message?
- How is music a means of cross-cultural communication?
- What is the role of music in youth socialization?
- How is music a force for social change (or not)?
- What songs — present/past — would you add to the playlist below?
- Allen Lowe. (2001) That Devlin’ Tune: A Jazz History 1900-1950. pp. 8-11.
- Larry Starr, Christopher Waterman.(2007). American Popular Music. pp. 14-15, 31-34.
- Brian Ward. What’s That Sound? Teaching the 1960s through Popular Music, read up through Aretha Franklin, “Respect.”(1967)
NOTE: PLEASE VIEW SONG’S LYRICS WHEN “lyrics” LINK APPEARS AT END OF SINGER-TITLE INFO
4. Billie Holiday. Strange Fruit (1939) lyrics
- Peter, Paul & Mary. If I Had A Hammer (Live in Newport, 1965)
- Aretha Franklin . Respect (1967) lyrics
- Arlo Guthrie. Coming Into Los Angeles (live Woodstock 1969)
- Jimi Hendrix. National Anthem, USA. (Live Woodstock, 1969)
- Joni Mitchell. Big Yellow Taxi (1970) lyrics
- Curtis Mayfield. People Get Ready (1971)
- Marvin Gaye. What’s Going On (1971) lyrics
The album is told from the point of view of a Vietnam War veteran returning to the country he had been fighting for, and seeing nothing but injustice, suffering and hatred. Wikipedia
- Stevie Wonder. Living For The City (1973; live 1974) lyrics
- Teddy Pendergrass with Harold Melvin and The Blue Notes. Wake Up Everybody, (live on Soul Train, November 22, 1975) lyrics