December has always been a busy month. Besides the usual things dealing with Christmas, gifts and parties, I have my final exam on Thursday for my class in Rock Music and Culture, a subject I’ve mentioned before. It’s one of the best college courses I’ve ever taken, and I’ll miss it. The course covers the music and history of the period from the Jazz age in the 1930’s to the beginning of Rock and Roll and continues through the 1980’s. Those last two decades are my absolute favorites.
We have to be able to identify these styles from recordings: Country Blues, Chicago Blues, Rhythm and Blues, Rockabilly, Doo Wop, Surf, Soul (Motown), The Beatles, Acid Rock, Punk, Metal and Grunge. During the class we’ve heard them all, along with information about the prominent artists and ways to identify them.
The history part covered the British invasion which started around the time the Beatles came to
their appearance on the Ed Sullivan Show on February 7, 1964. The Beatles
contributions are phenomenal. Their music became so complex, created in a
studio, to the point where they couldn’t do it in live productions anymore. America
The history part continued through the wars, assassinations, the Counterculture and the Civil Rights Movement. We also learned how lyrics changed from the simple to the more complex thanks to Bob Dylan. The troubled legacies of many artists included drugs, murder and jail time. Brian Wilson, from the Beach Boys, was involved with Charles Manson and was threatened by him. Phil Specter, creator of the “Wall of Sound,” is still in jail for killing his girlfriend. There’s the “27 Club” which tells of so many artists, including Jimi Hendrix, Janis Joplin, Kurt Cobain and Jim Morrison, who died at that age. What would they have accomplished if not for their untimely deaths?
Music has become something I truly treasure and so do the characters in my latest manuscripts. Each story has its own music I play while writing where my characters interact and develop. Double pleasure for me.