The following are brief summaries of lectures presented on musical acts from the 60s.

THE SIXTIES: THE BRITISH INVASION

The Sixties: The British Invasion 
(Expanded three part program also available)

This lecture will focus on the phenomenon rise of the British pop and rock acts that invaded our shores in the 60’s.  From pop groups (The Beatles, The Dave Clark 5, The Animals, The Kinks) to the psychedelic and progressive bands (The Who, Pink Floyd, Cream, Traffic).  We will explore highlights from landmark recordings that clearly defined this British pop renaissance era. Our journey will also include aspects of British popular culture (cinema, fashion, TV and UK underground) whose influence added to the impact of this remarkable decade.  

The Sixties:  The British Invasion: Backstage with Producers, Session Men and Others

With our backstage pass we will open the doors into London’s pop music scene seeking out the managers, producers and session men who were instrumental in helping to create many recordings that defined the British Invasion era.  We will visit with the star makers - Brian Epstein (the Beatles, Gerry & The Pacemakers) along with record producers - Mickie Most (Herman’s Hermits) and Shel Talmy (The Kinks) and studio session men including guitarist Vic Flick (“The James Bond Theme”) and drummer Bobby Graham (“Glad All Over”).  Additional artists we will explore include Donovan, Petula Clark, Peter & Gordon, The Rolling Stones, Tom Jones, Dusty Springfield and The Who.

The Sixties: The Who

Our story on The Who will start from their early days and follow them as they explode onto the rock scene by incorporating pop art, power chords and guitar smashing performances.  From teenage anthems (My Generation) to rock operas (Tommy and Quadrophenia) they became one of rock’s most innovative and powerful bands.  We will discuss the bands unique working relationship and the amazing songs of Pete Townshend.  Additionally, we will focus on their 60’s and 70’s catalog and offer highlights of their subsequent output.

The Sixties: The Who: The Making of Tommy  (1968)

The Who’s first rock opera “Tommy," released in 1969, managed to catapult the band from provincial pop heroes to international stardom.  We will travel with Pete Townshend (its primary composer) as he constructs a lengthy conceptual narrative that opened the door and brought new possibilities to rock music.  We will discuss the genesis of how the songs were written and recorded, its cover art, and how Townshend’s musical, personal and spiritual experiences clearly influenced the tragic story of “Tommy."  

Rolling Stone ranks ‘Tommy” as their # 3 album in The Who’s catalog.

The Sixties: The Making of The Who's Next  (1971)

Considered by many critics to be The Who’s best album and one of the greatest albums of all time.  The use of synthesizers and modified keyboard effects become an integral part of the innovative sound of the album.  From the teenage wasteland opening track entitled “Baba O’Riley,” to the introspective “Behind Blue Eyes,” the powerful screaming vocal finale of “Won’t Get Fooled Again,” the album leaves the listener breathless.  The Who was inducted into the Rock n’ Roll Hall of Fame in 1990.

The Sixties:  Who Are You:  Pete Townshend

Gibson Guitar and Rolling Stone have both ranked Pete Townshend # 10 on their list of top guitarist of all time. He is the leader, guitarist, multi-instrumentalist and primary songwriter for The Who, one of the most influential rock bands of the 60s and 70s.  We will travel with Pete from his early power pop recordings to his golden period (1966 - 1973) as a musician and composer, including his ground-breaking rock operas. 

As a member of The Who he was inducted into the Rock n’ Roll Hall of Fame in 1990.

The Sixties: Cream

Cream was formed in 1966 and is widely regarded as rock’s first supergroup.  We will journey with the band through their early days as members of John Mayall’s Bluesbreakers, The Graham Bond Organization, Manfred Mann, and others.  Cream’s music spanned many genres including blues rock (“Crossroads”), psychedelic rock (“White Room”), and hard rock (“Sunshine of Your Love”).  We will explore their recordings including “Wheels of Fire”, which became the first platinum-selling double rock album in history.  Our journey will also include the infamous Cream concerts that featured some songs that stretched twenty minutes, We’ll follow through from notorious and well known internal band conflicts, to their farewell concert and to the trio’s widely anticipated reunion tour in 2005.

Cream was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1993.

The Sixties: Eric Clapton & Friends

We will travel with Eric Clapton as he navigates thru the 60’s setting the rock world on fire with his extraordinary guitar solos.  We will journey with him starting with The Yardbirds, into his role as a studio session man, to the making of his masterwork “Layla” to his solo career. We will explore the many collaborations including The Beatle and Duane Allman as well as his enduring musical partnership and personal relationship with George Harrison.  Clapton is a three-time inductee into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and he is considered one of the most important and influential guitarist of all time.

The Sixties: The Bee Gees

We will travel with the most successful male pop trio in rock as they navigate through two distinct periods of exceptional achievements: as a pop group of the late sixties to the biggest disco band in the world in the seventies.   We will journey with the band from their early days in Australia into their pop standards to the bands disco flavored “Saturday Night Fever”.  Their songwriting, recordings and their three-part tight harmonies are unique and instantly recognizable.  They have been inducted to Songwriters Hall of Fame, Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Vocal Group Hall of Fame.

The Sixties:  The Dave Clark Five

In early 1964 the biggest challenge and threat to The Beatles phenomenon was The Dave Clark Five.  They were the first of the British Invasion bands to break it big in the USA after The Beatles.  They reached the Top 40 17 times from 1964 to 1967.  We will travel with the DC5 and sample many of their larger-than-life productions, loud stomping drum sound and leathery vocals.  The DC5 were inducted into the Rock n’ Roll Hall of Fame in 2008.

 

The Sixties: The Zombies:  The Making of Odessey and Oracle (1968)

We will explore the making of “Odessey and Oracle” by the Zombies.  The album was received indifferently upon its initial release and through the years has achieved fame and has since become one of the most acclaimed albums of the 1960’s.  This baroque chamber pop/ psychedelic work was recorded in 1967 at Abbey Road and Olympic Studios in London.  We will examine the genesis of how the 12 songs were written, recorded and produced. 

“The music rocked with touches of genuine jazz and R&B, gorgeous two and three part vocal harmonies, amazing drum and bass arrangements - it was a masterpiece of the highest order.  Think “Sgt. Peppers’, “Pet Sounds.” -Tom Petty

The Sixties:  God Save The Kinks

We will travel with The Kinks from their early days in Muswell Hill, London to becoming one of the most influential rock bands of the 60’s. Their music was influenced by a wide range of genres from the power chords of “You Really Got Me” to the transgender woman “Lola” to the  British music hall “Come Dancing”.  Their songs reflect English culture and lifestyle fueled by the extraordinary writings of Ray Davies. 

“In British rock, Ray Davies is our only true and natural genius” – Pete Townshend

The Sixties:  God Save Ray Davies

Ray Davies is often referred to as “the godfather of Britpop.” He was the lead singer, rhythm guitarist and main songwriter for the Kinks.  We will follow in his footsteps from his early power chord anthem “You Really Got Me” to his baroque musical arrangement of “Waterloo Sunset.” His songs explored the frustrations of common working class people and the psychological effects of the British class system as well as celebrations of traditional English culture and life.

As a member of The Kinks, Ray Davies has been inducted into the Rock n’ Roll Hall of Fame in 1990.

The Sixties: Donovan: Sunshine Superman Revisited

Donovan was the quintessential rock troubadour of the 60s. He developed an eclectic and distinctive style that blended elements of folk, jazz, blues, psychedelia, and Eastern music into transcendental soundscapes.  We will journey with Donovan from his early days under the influence of Woody Guthrie, Jack Kerouac and Bob Dylan, to his most creative phase as a songwriter and recording artist and his relationship with The Beatles, continuing through his sojourn in India and on to international stardom. Donovan was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2012 and the Songwriters Hall of Fame in 2014.

 

The Sixties: The Hollies Bus Stop

The Hollies are regarded as one of the leading British beat groups of the 60’s and early 70’s. Throughout their career they have been responsible for a remarkably varied and consistently intriguing catalogue of music.  The Hollies have remained consistent with their impeccable three-part vocal harmonies, powerhouse instrumental work and quality songwriting.   We will travel with them from their early days as a cover band, to their international success selling over 30 million records and occupying the singles charts for 230 weeks during the period from 1964 to 1975.  The Hollies were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2010.

The Moody Blues

We will travel with The Moody Blues from their early days as a rhythm and blues band to their fusion of rock with classical music, which established them as pioneers in the development of art and progressive rock.  From their first international hit (“Go Now”), to the landmark concept album (“Days of Future Passed”), to the band’s symphonic works including “Ride My See-Saw”, “Question”, and “Your Wildest Dreams,” The Moody Blues has been a major practitioner of baroque pop.  The Moody Blues has sold 70 million albums worldwide and were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2018.

The 60s - The British Girls

The British Invasion exploded on the scene in the mid-60s bringing the music of English pop divas and the sounds of Swinging London to our shores.  We will travel with these artists and explore their music from the extraordinary catalog of Petula Clark, (often called “The First Lady of the British Invasion”), to blue eyed pop of Dusty Springfield, to the iconic James Bond movie themes sung by Shirley Bassey and others. The British Invasion would not have been complete without the touch of magic these British Girls!

THE SIXTIES: AMERICAN POP

The Sixties: The American Pop Era   
(Expanded three part program also available)

This lecture explores the rise of many innovative artists that created new sounds that captivated a generation, and whose influence endures five decades later.  From the remarkable Brill Building songwriters (Burt Bacharach, Carol King …) to the art of Bob Dylan, from Phil Spector’s Wall of Sound, to the California magic of Brian Wilson (Beach Boys).  Our journey will examine folk rock, R&B, pop/soul and the infamous rock festivals that defined an era.

The Sixties: Jimi Hendrix Experience

The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame describes Jimi Hendrix as “arguably the greatest instrumentalist in the history of rock music”.  Hendrix expanded the range and vocabulary of the electric guitar into areas no musician had ever ventured before.  We will travel with Jimi as he embarks on the road to superstardom beginning with his early days as a band member on the Chiltin' Circuit into the launching of the Jimi Hendrix Experience in London, to his electrifying performances at Monterey Pop Festival and Woodstock, to the inception of Band of Gypsys and his final recordings at Electric Lady Studio.

The Sixties:  Jimi Hendrix Experience:  The Making of Are You Experienced  (1967)

We will explore the making of “Are You Experienced” by the English-American rock band the Jimi Hendrix Experience.  Released in 1967 it was an immediate critical and commercial success, and is widely regarded as one of the greatest debuts in the history of rock music.  The album features Jimi Hendrix innovative approach to songwriting and electric guitar playing which soon established a new direction in psychedelic and hard rock music. We will examine the genesis of how the songs were written, recorded and produced.  Rolling Stone ranks “Are You Experienced” 15th on its list of the 500 Greatest Albums of All Time.

The Four Seasons Story

We will travel with the original four Jersey Boys from their early days as members in various New Jersey vocal groups to their incredible explosion onto the pop charts in the 1960s and 70s.  From their first number one record “Sherry” (1962), to their last “December, 1963 (Oh What a Night)” (1975) they became one of the best-selling musical groups of all time, selling an estimated 100 million records worldwide. The Four Seasons original line-up of was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1990 and joined the Vocal Group Hall of Fame in 1999.

The Sixties: The Beach Boys' Story

The Beach Boys are one of the most influential bands of the rock era. We will follow in the footsteps of Brian Wilson and The Beach Boys from their early days in California as they create their unique sound that often incorporated classical and jazz elements into their music. From surf music to hot rod classics to their baroque pop masterpiece "Pet Sounds," we will travel with The Beach Boys as they help to define the Sixties. The Beach Boys were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1988.

The Sixties: The Beach Boys: The Making of Pet Sounds  (1966)

This lecture will follow in the footsteps of Brian Wilson and the Beach Boys as they  create one of the most original and influential albums in pop music history.  We will discuss the genesis of how the songs were written, production techniques, innovative sound effects, symphonic arrangements, and their layered vocal harmonies.  Pet Sounds incorporates elements of pop, jazz, classical and the avant-garde and elevated itself to the level of art rock.

Rolling Stone ranks “Pet Sounds” as the #2 album of all time!

The Sixties: The Wall of Sound: The Rise & Fall of Phil Spector
(Expanded 2-Part Program also available)

Phil Spector is acknowledged as one of the most influential record producers in pop music history.  Through his infamous “wall of sound” Spector created an orchestral aesthetic that augmented the sound of his extraordinary productions.  We will follow in Spector’s footsteps from his early days as a member of The Teddy Bears to his “little symphonies” (“Be My Baby”, “You’ve Got That Lovin’ Feeling”), his working with The Wrecking Crew to his later work with Leonard Cohen, Dion, The Ramones, The Beatles and the solo work of John Lennon and George Harrison.  Additionally, we will discuss his personal downfall that resulted in the highly publicized murder trail conviction in 2009.

Phil Spector is one of a handful of producers to have number one records in three consecutive decades (1950’s, 1960’s, 1970’s).

The Sixties: The Motown Story

Motown, established by Berry Gordy in 1960, has been described as the greatest pop music hit factory in recording history.  We will explore how the “Motown Sound” was created and how it has become a worldwide phenomenon beloved by millions to this day.  From the “hit machine” songwriting teams to the in-house studio band to the extraordinary roster of recording artists including Smokey Robinson & the Miracles, The Supremes, Four Tops, The Temptations, Stevie Wonder, Marvin Gaye and countless others.  The influence of the house that Gordy built is still standing with 201 No. 1 worldwide hits and counting.

The Sixties - The Supremes

The Supremes were the most commercially successful of Motown’s acts and the most all-time successful American vocal group. During the years 1964 - 1969, the Supremes landed 12 number one singles on the Billboard charts from “Baby Love” (1964), to “You Keep Me Hanging On” (1966), to ”Someday We’ll Be Together” (1969).   They rivaled The Beatles in worldwide popularity, and their breakthrough made it possible for future African- American R & B and soul artists to find mainstream success. The Supremes were inducted by Little Richard into the Rock n’ Roll Hall of Fame in 1988.

The Temptations

We will explore Motown’s quintessential male vocal group that pioneered psychedelic soul, and was significant in the evolution of R & B and soul music.  We will travel with the group from their “Classic Five” era (“My Girl”), to their psychedelic soul music (“Cloud Nine”), to the funk years (“Papa Was A Rollin’ Stone”).  Their story is now a jukebox musical (“Ain’t Too Proud”) which continues its 3-plus year run on Broadway.  The Temptations were inducted into the Rock n’ Roll Hall of Fame in 1989.

The Sixties: The Motown Sound and The Beatles

The Beatles borrowed the Motown sound by incorporating the upbeat, pop-influenced style of rhythm and blues with danceable arrangements.  This style became part of many of their early recordings such as “It Won’t Be Long” and “Tell Me Why.” As The Beatles expanded their musical palette to include ballads, orchestral arrangements and raga rock, they in turn, influenced Motown.  We will explore The Beatles and the Solo Beatles covering Motown and Motown covering The Beatles and the Solo Beatles.  To quote John Lennon: “A splendid time is guaranteed for all!”

The Seventies: The Making of Stevie Wonder

We will survey five Stevie Wonder albums as recorded during his classic period starting in 1972 until 1976.   From “Music of the Mind” to “Songs in The Key of Life,” we will explore the fusion of innovative recording techniques and the weaving of lyrically full artistic statements of social, political, and romantic themes into his work.  Stevie Wonder is the only artist in Grammy history to win 15 awards in a decade - the 70s.  He was inducted into the Rock n’ Roll Hall of Fame in 1989.

The Sixties: Soulsville U.S,A.

Atlantic Records in collaboration with the Stax-Volt label is regarded as one of the most important record company partnerships in history.  They specialized in the development of soul music and their roster of artists included Ray Charles (Hit the Road Jack), Wilson Pickett (Mustang Sally), Aretha Franklin (I Never Loved a Man the Way That I Love You), and countless others.  Many of these artists infamous recording sessions were held at FAME and Muscle Shoals Sound Studios both located in Alabama, where in-house session musicians helped to create timeless “soul classics” that we still enjoy six decades later!

The Sixties: Simon & Garfunkel

We will travel with the most successful folk/rock duo as they craft hit singles and albums while establishing themselves as counterculture icons of the 60’s.   Our journey will start with their early recordings in high school to their folk/rock anthem “Sound of Silence” through their love/hate relationship dealing with personal and artistic issues to their classic “Bridge over Troubled Water”.   We will also offer highlights of the solo careers of Paul Simon and Art Garfunkel.

The Sixties: The Making of Bridge Over Troubled Water  (1970)

We will explore the making of Simon & Garfunkel’s final studio album released in 1970.  From the gospel piano sound of “Bridge over Troubled Water,” to the orchestral Peruvian musical piece “El Condor Pasa,” to the strings and horns arrangement of the folk ballad “The Boxer.” The album won six Grammy Awards and topped the charts in 12 countries.  Simon & Garfunkel were inducted into the Rock n’ Roll Hall of Fame in 1990.

The Sixties: The Byrds

The Byrds are considered by critics as one of the most influential American bands of the 1960’s.  They pioneered the musical genres of folk, psychedelic and raga rock as well as playing a major role in the development of country rock.  We will travel with the band from their jingle jangle sound of “Mr. Tambourine Man” to their jazz fused ground breaking psychedelic classic “Eight Miles High” to their groundbreaking country rock album “Sweetheart of The Rodeo”.  In addition, we will also examine the highlights of the post-Byrds careers of its former members.

The Sixties: The Monterey Pop Festival (1967)

The Monterey Pop Festival was a three-day concert event held June 16 to June 18, 1967 at the Monterey County Fairgrounds in California where 32 acts performed outdoors.  Monterey embodied the “Summer of Love”, introduced first major appearances from Jimi Hendrix Experience, The Who, Janis Joplin, Ravi Shankar, and became the template for all future rock music festivals.  We will discuss the planning process, the performing artists the film and soundtrack album.  In addition, we will canvas the artists who declined invitation to perform or missed connections and were unable to appear.

The Sixties: The Woodstock Festival (1969)

The Woodstock music festival was held on a sometimes rainy weekend where 32 acts performed outdoors.  The festival is widely regarded as a pivotal moment in popular music history and as the definitive nexus for the larger counterculture generation.  We will discuss the festivals planning process, the performing artists, and the aftermath of the festival including the film, album and museum.  In addition, we will canvas the many artists who declined invitations to perform and missed connections and were unable to appear.

The Sixties: The Wrecking Crew

The Wrecking Crew is considered one of the most successful and prolific session recording units in popular music history.  Working with singers, groups, arrangers and producers they helped create the soundtrack of the 60’s by playing on several hundred Top 40 hits.   Their input included recordings by The Beach Boys (“Good Vibrations”), The Byrds “(Mr. Tambourine Man”), Frank Sinatra (“Strangers in The Night”) and countless others.  We will explore the musical contributions of many of its members including Hal Blaine, Carol Kaye and Tommy Tedesco.

“When I joined the Wrecking Crew I got to play with the big guys” - Glen Campbell

The Sixties:  (Here We Come) The Monkees

The Monkees'  “very cool” story starts in 1965 from an idea, inspired by The Beatles movies, from Columbia/Screen Gems to create a television situation comedy series about an imaginary rock band.  We will journey with the four actor/musicians (Michael Nesmith, Davy Jones, Peter Tork and Micky Dolenz) through ‘The Monkees’ two seasons (1966-1968) into their unexpected recording career.  They worked with members of The Wrecking Crew and Brill Building songwriters which enabled them to produce a series of international hits (“Last Train To Clarksville” to “Pleasant Valley Sunday”) making them one of the most successful acts of the 60’s.

The Sixties:  One Hit Wonders

The phrase “One-Hit Wonders” refers to any singer or group that placed a song on the National Top 40 record charts (Billboard, Cash Box) only once in their career.  We will survey 25 American artists who were part of the 60’s pop era music explosion, whose one-hit recordings are still beloved by a generation, and continue to be streamed on the radio six decades later.  Our songs will include the anti-war anthem “For What It’s Worth” by the Buffalo Springfield, to the pop poetry of “Elusive Butterfly” by Bob Lind to the psychedelic blues rock of “Summertime Blues” by Blue Cheer.

The Sixties:  The Doors

The Doors were among the most controversial and influential rock acts of the 1960s and are widely regarded as an important part of the era’s counterculture.  We will travel with the band from their early days performing in Los Angeles clubs, to crafting their unique brand of music and songs and performances, to their exploding onto the rock scene with classic tracks from “Light My Fire” to “Riders on the Storm”.  Our journey will include Jim Morrison’s run-ins with the law and his untimely death in 1971. The Doors were the first American band to accumulate eight consecutive gold albums. 

The Doors were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1993.

The Making of The Doors (Album)  (1967)

The Doors is often regarded as one of the greatest debut albums of all time, by both critics and publishers.  The album features the long version of the breakthrough single “Light My Fire” and the lengthy song “The End” with its Oedipal spoken word section.  In 2015, the album was selected for inclusion in the National Registry based on its cultural, artistic and historic significance.  The Doors were inducted into the Rock n Roll Hall of Fame in 1993.

THE SIXTIES: BAROQUE POP & RAGA ROCK

The Sixties: The Baroque Pop/Rock Era

Baroque pop fuses elements of rock with classical music, often incorporating layered harmonies, string sections, harpsichords, woodwinds and brass instruments.  We will travel with The Beatles from their piano inspired baroque harpsichord “In My Life” solo to the first recognizable baroque pop single ‘Walk Away Renee” (Left Banke), to the symphonic pop of The Moody Blues, Procol Harum, The Bee Gees, Donovan, and numerous other artists.  Additionally, we will explore the classic baroque pop/rock albums “Pet Sounds” (The Beach Boys), “Odessey & Oracle (The Zombies), and the orchestral pop of Burt Bacharach.

The Sixties: Raga Rock

Raga Rock is defined as pop music that embraces the sounds of Indian classical music. This musical genre focuses on Indian musical instruments such as the sitar and tabla, and their integration into rock songs.  We will travel with the pop/rock pioneers that created this unique musical blend though many of their classic recordings that defined an era.   Our journey will include The Beatles (“Norwegian Wood”), The Yardbirds (“Heart Full of Soul”), The Rolling Stones (“Paint it Black”), Donovan (“The Trip”) and many others.  Raga Rock became the capstone to the musical landscape of the infamous 60s Summer of Love!

The Beatles: The Baroque Pop Recordings (1965-1969)

Baroque pop fuses elements of rock with classical music, often incorporating layered harmonies, string sections, harpsichords, woodwinds and brass instruments.  We will travel with The Beatles as they invent baroque pop from their first piano inspired baroque harpsichord solo on “In My Life” to the many compositions where they incorporated the numerous elements of baroque music.  We will discuss how their songs were conceived, written and recorded. Songs include “Yesterday” (string quartet), “Penny Lane” (piccolo trumpet), “Eleanor Rigby” (violin), “Fool on the Hill” (flute) and many others. 

To quote John Lennon, “A splendid time is guaranteed for all!”

 

Burt Bacharach

Burt Bacharach was a major force in the development of the musical genre known as “chamber pop”.   His use of unusual chord progressions, enabled him to create melody and texture with the intricate use of strings, horns, piano, and vocal harmonies.  He arranged, conducted, and produced much of his recorded output.  We will survey artists that recorded many of his orchestral triumphs including Dionne Warwick, Dusty Springfield, The Walker Brothers, The Carpenters, Elvis Costello and many others.  He received numerous awards during his career including the Library of Congress Gershwin Prize for Popular Song (2012).

THE SIXTIES: PSYCHEDELIC ROCK

The Sixties: The Psychedelic Rock Era (1965- 1967)

This presentation will explore the counter-culture psychedelic rock era from the British pop-psychedelic sounds to their American West Coast acid rock counterparts.  We travel from London with The Beatles, Pink Floyd and others to the many American bands including Jefferson Airplane and The Byrds.  We will discuss how experimental studio techniques, such as feedback and backward tapes, combined with surreal and literary inspired lyrics infused by hallucinogens created psychedelic rock.

“Turn off your mind relax and float downstream” – John Lennon

The Sixties: The Beach Boys: The Making of Pet Sounds  (1966)

This lecture will follow in the footsteps of Brian Wilson and the Beach Boys starting with their early days as they invent surf music genre to creating one of the most original and influential albums in pop music history.  We will discuss the genesis of how the songs were written, production techniques, innovative sound effects, symphonic arrangements, and their layered vocal harmonies.  Pet Sounds incorporates elements of pop, jazz, classical and the avant-garde and elevated itself to the level of art rock.

Rolling Stone ranks “Pet Sounds” as the #2 album of all time!

The Beatles: The Making of Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band  (1967)

This lecture will follow in the footsteps of the Beatles as they embark on the creation of their 8th studio album – “Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band."  We will explore the genesis of how the songs were written, their influences, recording and production techniques and the iconic cover art.  In addition, we will discuss its legacy that not only defined the counterculture of a generation but whose musical landscape continues to influence contemporary society.  “A splendid time is guaranteed for all!”

Rolling Stone ranks Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band as the #1 album of all time!

The Beatles: The Making of Revolver  (1966)

This lecture will follow in the footsteps of The Beatles as they redefine contemporary music, breaking boundaries by expanding the scope of pop and rock sounds, as they create their timeless masterpiece - “Revolver."  We will discuss the genesis of how the songs were conceived and written, their musical influences, recording and experimental studio techniques and the creation of their legendary artwork cover sleeve.  “Revolver” is recognized as inspiring diverse subgenres of music including electronica, baroque rock, and world music among others. 

Rolling Stone ranks “Revolver” as the #3 album of all time!

The Sixties:  Jimi Hendrix Experience:  The Making of Are You Experienced  (1967)

We will explore the making of “Are You Experienced” by the English-American rock band the Jimi Hendrix Experience.  Released in 1967 it was an immediate critical and commercial success, and is widely regarded as one of the greatest debuts in the history of rock music.  The album features Jimi Hendrix innovative approach to songwriting and electric guitar playing which soon established a new direction in psychedelic and hard rock music. We will examine the genesis of how the songs were written, recorded and produced.  Rolling Stone ranks “Are You Experienced” 15th on its list of the 500 Greatest Albums of All Time.

The Sixties: The Zombies:  The Making of Odessey and Oracle  (1968)

We will explore the making of “Odessey and Oracle” by the Zombies.  The album was received indifferently upon its initial release and through the years has achieved fame and has since become one of the most acclaimed albums of the 1960’s.  This baroque chamber pop/ psychedelic work was recorded in 1967 at Abbey Road and Olympic Studios in London.  We will examine the genesis of how the 12 songs were written, recorded and produced. 

“The music rocked with touches of genuine jazz and R&B, gorgeous two and three part vocal harmonies, amazing drum and bass arrangements - it was a masterpiece of the highest order.  Think “Sgt. Peppers’, “Pet Sounds.” -Tom Petty

The Sixties: The Monterey Pop Festival (1967)

The Monterey Pop Festival was a three-day concert event held June 16 to June 18, 1967 at the Monterey County Fairgrounds in California where 32 acts performed outdoors.  Monterey embodied the “Summer of Love”, introduced first major appearances from Jimi Hendrix Experience, The Who, Janis Joplin, Ravi Shankar, and became the template for all future rock music festivals.  We will discuss the planning process, the performing artists the film and soundtrack album.  In addition, we will canvas the artists who declined invitation to perform or missed connections and were unable to appear.

THE SIXTIES: MANAGERS, PRODUCERS, SESSION MEN, IMPRESARIOS, RADIO DJ'S & ROCK MUSIC CRITICS 

 

The Brian Epstein Story

From his discovery of The Beatles at a Liverpool cellar club, to phenomenal success on the world stage, Brian Epstein enabled the group to produce an extraordinary body of work that clearly defined a generation and changed the path and evolution of popular music forever.  We will travel with Brian from his early days as the proprietor of NEMS music store to his role as impresario, manager and promoter of many performers, including Billy J. Kramer & The Dakotas, Cilla Black, and Gerry & The Pacemakers.  In paying homage to Brian for the honor of The Beatles receiving the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire (MBE) from Queen Elizabeth, George Harrison said that “the award clearly spells out and was meant for Mr. Brian Epstein!”

 

Allen Klein

Allen Klein was an accountant, music publisher, record label executive and business manager and became one of the most powerful individuals in the music industry during the 60s era.  Klein was known for his tough persona and aggressive negotiation tactics.  He founded ABKCO where he increased profits for his musician clients which including Sam Cooke, Herman’s Hermits, Donovan, The Kinks and The Animals, which eventually led to his becoming the business manager for The Rolling Stones and soon thereafter, The Beatles.  Through the years Klein was vilified in the press for many shady business dealings and secret agreements were said to have been set up to benefit himself at the expense of many of his clients.

 

Produced by George Martin

Sir George Martin’s career as a record producer, arranger, composer, conductor, audio engineer and musician spanned more than six decades of work in music.  Paul McCartney has said that “If anyone earned the title of the fifth Beatle, it was George”.  We will journey with him from his early production work with classical and Baroque music, to comedy and novelty records (Peter Sellers, Dudley Moore), from The Beatles to many of their contemporaries, including Gerry & The Pacemakers and Jeff Beck, to film scores and original orchestral music.  Among his many prestigious awards and innovative musical achievements, Sir George Martin was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1999.

 

The Rise & Fall of Phil Spector

Phil Spector is acknowledged as one of the most influential record producers in pop music history.  Through his infamous “wall of sound” Spector created an orchestral aesthetic that augmented the sound of his extraordinary productions.  We will follow in Spector’s footsteps from his early days as a member of The Teddy Bears to his “little symphonies” (“Be My Baby”, “You’ve Got That Lovin’ Feeling”), his working with The Wrecking Crew to his later work with Leonard Cohen, Dion, The Ramones, The Beatles and the solo work of John Lennon and George Harrison.  Additionally, we will discuss his personal downfall that resulted in the highly publicized murder trail conviction in 2009.

Phil Spector is one of a handful of producers to have number one records in three consecutive decades (1950’s, 1960’s, 1970’s).

Backstage with Ed Sullivan

Ed Sullivan was the ultimate American television impresario whose television show became the most successful and longest-running variety show in U.S broadcast history.  We will journey with Ed from his early days as a sports and entertainment reporter and syndicated columnist, to his becoming the quintessential star maker of the 50’s and the 60’s.  The Ed Sullivan Show included every type of entertainer: classical musicians, opera singers, comedians, ballet dancers, popular recording artists, songwriters and dramatic actors.  Sunday nights were incomplete without watching The Ed Sullivan Show.  Television critic, David Hinckley, has been quoted as saying “The Ed Sullivan Show was by any means the last great TV show."

 

Bill Graham Presents

Bill Graham was an impresario and rock concert promoter who produced hundreds of shows attracting many elements of Americas now legendary 1960’s counterculture including the Fugs, Allen Ginsberg, the Grateful Dead and countless others.  He managed the Jefferson Airplane and established the Fillmore East & West venues that featured some of the biggest acts in rock music of the era.  As a master showman, he organized and promoted large stadium-sized events including the largest outdoor concert of its time for an audience of 600,000.  Bill Graham was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1992 in the “Non-Performer” category and was inducted into the Rock Radio Hall of Fame in the “Without Whom” category in 2014.

 

60s Radio: On the Air

The sixties was the decade of pop music, the transistor radio and those radio DJs that played the records that created a timeless soundtrack for an entire generation.   The DJ had enormous power over the charts with respect to making or breaking a new record.  We will survey the many radio personalities whose shows dominated the airwaves from the hip master of ceremonies Wolfman Jack, to the low gravelly voice of Scott Muni, and from the Top 40 AM singles format, to the progressive album FM formula.  No matter where we lived in the country during the 60s we were being connected to each other by the radio and through our favorite local DJ playing the songs that  continue to endure for all of us in that special place within our psyche forever.

 

60s Rock Writers, Editors & Publishers

Rock criticism appears to have developed more slowly in the U.S. than in England.  Music writers only started treating pop and rock music seriously in 1964 after the breakthrough of The Beatles.  We will explore the emergence of the serious rock critic from Robert Shelton (New York Times), to Richard Goldstein (The Village Voice), and various publications from Crawdaddy Magazine to Rolling Stone.  In both classical and rock music, critics have not always been respected by their subjects.  John Lennon once responded to critics in general when he quipped “If you don’t like what I’m doing come into the studio and let me see if you can do it better."

The Wrecking Crew

The Wrecking Crew is considered one of the most successful and prolific session recording units in popular music history.  Working with singers, groups, arrangers and producers they helped create the soundtrack of the 60’s by playing on several hundred Top 40 hits.   Their input included recordings by The Beach Boys (“Good Vibrations”), The Byrds “(Mr. Tambourine Man”), Frank Sinatra (“Strangers in The Night”) and countless others.  We will explore the musical contributions of many of its members including Hal Blaine, Carol Kaye and Tommy Tedesco.

“When I joined the Wrecking Crew I got to play with the big guys” - Glen Campbell

Backstage with Producers, Session Men and Others

With our backstage pass we will open the doors into London’s pop music scene seeking out the managers, producers and session men who were instrumental in helping to create many recordings that defined the British Invasion era.  We will visit with the star makers - Brian Epstein (the Beatles, Gerry & The Pacemakers) along with record producers - Mickie Most (Herman’s Hermits) and Shel Talmy (The Kinks) and studio session men including guitarist Vic Flick (“The James Bond Theme”) and drummer Bobby Graham (“Glad All Over”).  Additional artists we will explore include Donovan, Petula Clark, Peter & Gordon, The Rolling Stones, Tom Jones, Dusty Springfield and The Who.

THE SIXTIES: ROCK AND ROLL GIRLS

 

The 60s - The British Girls

The British Invasion exploded on the scene in the mid-60s bringing the music of English pop divas and the sounds of Swinging London to our shores.  We will travel with these artists and explore their music from the extraordinary catalog of Petula Clark, (often called “The First Lady of the British Invasion”), to blue eyed pop of Dusty Springfield, to the iconic James Bond movie themes sung by Shirley Bassey and others. The British Invasion would not have been complete without the touch of magic these British Girls!

 

The 60s - The American Girls

The 60s American music scene captivated the world’s stage, creating a body of work that endures to the present day.  We will explore the era focusing on the contribution of American female singers that left their mark on the pop charts during the decade.  From the teenage pop of Lesley Gore (“It’s My Party”), to the Bacharach/David songs of Dionne Warwick “Do You Know the Way to San Jose”), to the iconic Queen of Soul recordings of Aretha Franklin (“You Make Me Feel Like a Natural Woman”) and others. 

 

The 60s - The American Girl Groups

The 60s American record charts would not have been complete without the addition of the extraordinary music and harmonies of the girl groups.  We will journey through the golden age of girl groups inside Phil Spector’s Wall of Sound with The Ronettes (“Be My Baby”), to the Motown Sounds of The Supremes (“Stop In The Name of Love”), to the teen tragedies and melodramas of The Shangri-Las (“Leader of the Pack”) and others.  Some one-hit wonders will also be included.

 

The 60s - The Supremes

The Supremes were the most commercially successful of Motown’s acts and the most all-time successful American vocal group. During the years 1964 - 1969, the Supremes landed 12 number one singles on the Billboard charts from “Baby Love” (1964), to “You Keep Me Hanging On” (1966), to ”Someday We’ll Be Together” (1969).   They rivaled The Beatles in worldwide popularity, and their breakthrough made it possible for future African- American R & B and soul artists to find mainstream success. The Supremes were inducted by Little Richard into the Rock n’ Roll Hall of Fame in 1988.

 

The 60s - The Female Backing Singers

This program will survey the incredible female singers whose backing vocals complimented the singer and enhanced the songs that became hits.  We will explore the in-studio session groups including The Andantes (Motown), The Blossoms (Wall of Sound), and from the UK - The Breakaways.  Stand-alone singers will include:  Darlene Love, Merry Clayton and Claudia Linear.  We will listen to recordings by The Rolling Stones, Petula Clark, Jimi Hendrix Experience, The Four Tops, The Crystals and others.  

 

The 60s - American Female Singer/Songwriters

This program will survey both the singer/songwriter and the stand-alone performer.   From the infamous Brill Building we will explore work from Carole King, to the folk, jazz, rock poetry of Joni Mitchell, and the blues inspired recordings of Nina Simone.  These 60s artists have opened the door and paved the way to the current roster of extraordinary women singer/songwriters we now enjoy in the 21st century.