From January to March, Rock and Roll Night School will be held at Harkness Chapel on the Case Western Reserve University campus. These classes will examine the “Roots of Rock” by looking at artists who have been inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in the Early Influence category.
This month’s class will look at the history and formation of the Blues and how it has shaped many aspects of Rock and Roll. We will listen to and discuss the music of such Blues greats as Robert Johnson, Bessie Smith, Ma Rainey, T-Bone Walker, and Muddy Waters, and Rock artists Cream and The Rolling Stones.
The Rock and Roll Night School returns to the Rock Hall in style with a class looking at the life and music of one of the greatest rock and roll bands of all time, The Who. This Class will explore The Who’s early singles career until 1969 (when they released the Rock Opera Tommy) and their role in the British invasion. Rising out of the British “Mod” culture in 1965 their early “maximum R&B” sound yielded such hit singles as “My Generation” and “Can’t Explain.” In 1967 they turned their attention to a more psychedelic sound in the hit “I Can See for Miles.”
The Rock and Roll Night School continues its exploration of The Who by looking at their pop music innovation, the Rock Opera. With the release of Tommy in 1969, and Quadrophenia in 1973, The Who developed the idea of a concept album into a full stage show in which each song played an integral part. This class will examine the genre of the Rock Opera by focusing on Tommy and looking at the new Rock and Roll Hall of Fame exhibit The Who’s Tommy: The Amazing Journey.
This class will look at the history and formation of rhythm and blues and how it has shaped many aspects of Rock and Roll. We will listen to and discuss the music of such rhythm and blues greats as Louis Jordan, Dinah Washington, Professor Longhair, Jimmy Yancey, and Big Joe Turner, and rock artists Elvis Presley and Jerry Lee Lewis.
This class will look at the history and formation of doo-wop. This vocal based music drew from Tin Pan Ally song structures, gospel vocal stylings, and rhythm and blues grooves. We will listen to and discuss the music of artists such as the Ink Spots, the Mills Brothers, the Orioles, the Chords, the Penguins, the Islanders, and Five Satins.
This month’s Rock and Roll Night School explores the life and music of the 2005 American Music Master honoree, Sam Cooke. Sam Cooke was one of the most influential performers in the history of American popular music. His work cut across genres of gospel, R&B and pop, and Cooke is credited as being one of soul music’s primary architects. We will listen to and discuss music from his early career with the gospel group The Soul Stirrers up to the recordings made just before his death in 1964.