2010 Rock and Roll Night School

Season Six

Wednesday January 27, 7 p.m.,  Rock and Roll and the Civil Rights Movement

Join us for a special Rock and Roll Night School class on the music that framed the American civil rights movement.  This class, presented in partnership with Facing History and Ourselves' initiative Choosing to Participate, will examine the 10 years following the Montgomery Bus Boycott and leading to the Voting Rights Act of 1965, a decade in which music spoke to and for a nation aching for change. 

Wednesday February 24, 7 p.m., The Story of Philadelphia International Records

In conjunction with the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame’s Black History Month celebration of Philadelphia Soul, this month's Rock and Roll Night School focused on the legendary label, Philadelphia International Records.

Wednesday March 24, 7 p.m., Inductee Spotlight - Ellie Greenwich and Cynthia Weil

As part of the 2010 Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony, the Ahmet Ertegun Award was presented to an extraordinary group of songwriters who wrote some of the most classic, lasting songs of the 20th century.  This year’s honorees included husband and wife songwriting team BARRY MANN and CYNTHIA WEIL and songwriting couple JEFF BARRY and ELLIE GREENWICH, writers whose countless number of classics helped defined the “Brill Building sound” in the 1960s.  In conjunction with Women's History Month, this edition of Rock and Roll Night School will examine some of the biggest hits for Mann and Weil (“You’ve Lost That Lovin’ Feeling,” “On Broadway,” “We Gotta Get Out of this Place” and “Walking in the Rain”) as well as Barry and Greenwich (“Da Doo Ron Ron,” “Then He Kissed Me,” “Be My Baby” and “River Deep, Mountain High”).  We’ll also explore Ellie Greenwich’s work as a session vocalist and producer, as well as her songwriting career after her breakup with Jeff Barry.

Wednesday April 23, 7 p.m., “From Soft Machine to Genesis: The Birth of British Progressive Rock”

During the mid to late 1960s the musicians of the British Canterbury scene mixed the experimental philosophy of avant-grade music with jazz and rock to create a fusion sound that was part of the psychedelic underground.  This program will explore the music of the first four Soft Machine albums and the influence they had on the particularly British sound of groups such as King Crimson and the 2010 Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Inductees Genesis.  This class is presented in partnership with the Tri-C Jazz Fest 2010.

Wednesday, May 26, 7 P.M.  Rock and Roll and the Vietnam War

This month’s Rock and Roll Night School focused on how rock and roll reflected changing attitudes on the Vietnam War, from The Shirelles “Soldier Boy” to Marvin Gaye’s “What’s Goin’ On.” We discussed how music was used at home by protestors and supporters of the war, as well as how soldiers used music in country. We drew many selections from the upcoming Bear Family Records box set, …Next Stop Vietnam: The War on Record 1961-2008, a 13-cd set of music about the war.

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Wednesday, July 28, 7 p.m. "Hitsville U.S.A." - The Story of Motown 1964-1967

Founded in 1959 by Berry Gordy, Motown Records quickly became known as the “Sound of Young America” during the mid to late-1960s.  The key to Motown’s success was the creative team of singers, songwriters, producers, arrangers and studio musicians assembled by label founder Berry Gordy at a two-story headquarters in Detroit that he dubbed “Hitsville U.S.A.” The independent label perfected what came to be known as the “Motown Sound” - a carefully refined blend of upbeat melodic hooks, the soulful groove of rhythm & blues, and the intensity of gospel music.

This month’s Rock and Roll Night School examined the rising chart dominance of Motown’s hit factory during the mid-1960s.  Special attention was paid to songs by Hall of Fame Inductees the Temptations, the Four Tops, Smokey Robinson, Stevie Wonder, Marvin Gaye, Martha and the Vandellas, and the Supremes, while we also uncovered some of the lost treasures of Motown’s deep catalog.

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