This chapter's lessons will look hard at the question of what Britain meant to Stateside audiences. The strength of the British Invasion would have been much diminished if the audiences in the United States were not eager for what was being delivered. What was the context of the Invasion? What needs did it answer? This chapter will explore it all.
In this lesson, students will analyze a series of songs articulating a connection to nature and the environment a longing to "get ourselves back to the garden" and examine the ways in which they reflect a growing attention to environmental issues in American culture.
By the early 1970s, many young, middle-class women who were born during the Baby Boom, nurtured in the economic growth of the post-World War II era, and came of age during the tumultuous decade of the 1960s increasingly sought liberation from the traditional roles women were expected to play in American society. These women increasingly wanted a greater voice both within and outside the home. They sought entrance into decidedly male-dominated professions and advocated for greater control of their own bodies.
In this lesson, students explore how Dylan's early musical experiences reflect an artist with an uncanny ability to create something new out of what had come before, and how he sowed the seeds of a Folk/Rock and Roll hybrid that would have enormous influence on American popular music.
In this lesson, students will investigate Dylan as poet by comparing the literary structure of "Subterranean Homesick Blues" and Allen Ginsberg's poem "Howl." They will investigate the differences between poetry and song and examine the similarities between the two in terms of textual structure and style, using their analyses to write original extensions of the poem or song.
The Swedish Academy awarded Bob Dylan the Nobel Prize in Literature for "having created new poetic expressions within the great American song tradition." In this lesson, students consider the role Dylan has played in both literature and the American song tradition, and debate whether his work indeed constitutes "new poetic expressions" worthy of the prestigious award.
This lesson introduces the Folk Rock phenomenon with a look at the genre's roots in American Folk music traditions. Students will read a brief but colorful description of Folk music from the vantage point of American master Woody Guthrie and also view footage of Guthrie's protege, Pete Seeger, singing and talking about Folk music. Students will hear a later version of one of Pete Seeger's most famous songs (co-written with Lee Hays), "If I Had A Hammer," and assess the extent to which the "transitional" version of the song, performed by Peter, Paul and Mary, was true to the original spirit of Seeger's version. Finally, a more fully formed version of the Folk Rock sound will be considered by way of a further comparison between Seeger's "Turn, Turn, Turn" and a cover of the song by the Byrds, which went to No. 1 on the Billboard singles chart in 1965.
This lesson will consider the manner in which Hard Rock pushed overdriven, distorted guitar to the front. It will contrast an R&B style, often driven by keyboards and horn sections, with Hendrix's "Purple Haze," where the guitar takes center stage, with only drums and bass as accompaniment. The lesson will also explore the way Hendrix was received not as a journeyman from the world of R&B, but as a phenomenon that seemed to arrive as if from nowhere.
In this lesson, students will learn about behind-the-scenes operations at Motown Records and a few of the company's most important contributors through a "cafe conversation."
In this lesson, students will examine the different aspects of the San Francisco scene that made it such an important gathering place for the burgeoning hippie movement. Through a series of documents and videos, they will learn about the anti-capitalist movement of the Diggers, the central role of popular music, the lure of psychedelic art, and the psychology of mass gatherings such as the "Human Be-In" and the Monterey Pop Festival.
This lesson focuses on McCarthyism, the Red Scare, and how artists were targeted by HUAC during the Cold War. Students will view several government-produced "educational" films and television interviews from the 1950s, and will participate in a group reading of HUAC's interrogations of Seeger and Hays, discussing how activist artists championed the civil liberties of American citizens.
In this lesson, students will examine the history and popularity of "We Shall Overcome" and investigate six additional songs from different musical genres that reveal the impact of the Civil Rights movement. These are: Billie Holiday's "Strange Fruit," a poignant Blues song depicting the horrors of lynching; Bob Dylan's "Oxford Town," a Folk song about protests after the integration of the University of Mississippi; John Coltrane's "Alabama," an instrumental Jazz recording made in response to the September 1963 church bombing in Birmingham, Alabama, that killed four African-American girls; Nina Simone's "Mississippi Goddam," a response to the same church bombing as well as the murder of civil rights activist Medgar Evers in Mississippi; Sam Cooke's "A Change is Gonna Come," a Soul song written after Cooke's arrest for attempting to check in to a whites-only motel in Shreveport, Louisiana; and Odetta's "Oh Freedom," a spiritual that Odetta performed at the 1963 March on Washington.
Prior to the antiwar demonstrations on and around college campuses, the Civil Rights movement in particular had increased student activism. As American involvement in Vietnam deepened, many in that age group faced the disconcerting reality of conscription. Even before they shipped out, those who were drafted had begun to see the horrors of the war, most notably on television. The growing presence of television in nearly every American household thus exacerbated divisions over the conflict and helped fuel the antiwar movement. What Americans watched on television each night shaped their perceptions of the Vietnam War, which came to be known as the "living room war." For some young Americans, called on to fight but unable to vote until the age of 21, the situation was unacceptable.
In this lesson, students will investigate ways in which artists including George Harrison, Bob Geldof, and others drew on the experiences of the 1960s to harness the inherent power of musical performance to promote awareness and encourage activism. Students will look at the messages, methodologies, and historical contexts of both the Concert for Bangladesh and Live Aid and will refer to these events to develop a proposal for a benefit performance of their own.
The documents for this activity are drawn from those that might be typically found on an advanced placement history test, supplemented by materials featured in Teachrock lessons. As such, this activity may be used as a means to prepare students for an advanced placement test, or as an assessment tool at the end of a Vietnam War unit. A variety of approaches are provided that allow teachers to use the documents to engage their students in the classroom.
This lesson looks to some of the early cross-pollination between Country and Rock and Roll. Taking Chuck Berry's "Maybellene" as an example drawn from early Rock and Roll, students will have the chance to see and hear Bob Wills and his Texas Playboys perform "Ida Red," the song Berry said provided source material for "Maybellene." In addition, students will watch two clips of Johnny Cash performing, engaging in a discussion of why it was that Bob Dylan might have felt a kinship with Cash, enough so that he asked Cash to record a duet of "Girl from the North Country," the track that would open Dylan's Nashville Skyline.
Accompanying the musical and political changes in Soul music that took place as the 1960s moved forward into the 1970s was a profound shift in African-American identity. Whereas Motown artists had been groomed for mass consumption by white audiences in the mid-1960s, Soul artists increasingly embraced a style much more in sync with their African roots (and in many cases reflecting a more militant political view). These developments paralleled musical changes in which melody was to varying degrees made secondary to an emphasis on rhythm and groove, as it often was in traditional African musical forms. Together, these shifts were emblematic of the growing Black Pride movement, with its characteristic slogan, "black is beautiful." This lesson looks at these social and musical changes, with a focus on James Brown and his seminal proclamation of black pride, "Say It Loud, I'm Black and I'm Proud."
In this lesson, students will examine photographs, live recordings, video interviews, and a government report in order to learn about the historical and cultural context of the Soul music recorded in the 1970s.
This lesson looks at that juncture in Soul's history, when popular music and the Civil Rights movement seemed almost to be working in support of one another. Aretha Franklin, Otis Redding, Sam and Dave, the Motown acts; so much was happening, and so much was "crossing over," getting to a wide, appreciative white audience. But the focal point here is not what was happening at the front of the stage. Rather, this lesson goes behind the scenes, to see where young white musicians and writers were working with African-American performers to create something that was truly born of a dialogue.