The following are brief summaries of lectures presented on musical acts from the 70s.
THE SEVENTIES: UNDER THE INFLUENCE OF THE SIXTIES
The Fantastic Voyage of David Bowie
David Bowie is considered to be one of the most influential music innovators of the 20th century. Bowie’s career was marked by reinvention and visual presentation, with his music and stagecraft having a significant impact on popular music. We will focus on his groundbreaking work of the 1970’s and travel with him from his early days in London to the creation of his alter ego Ziggy Stardust (glam rock) to becoming the White Duke (plastic soul) to his sojourn in Berlin (electronic). In addition, we will canvas his subsequent work from his new romantic pop era period including “Let’s Dance” (1983) to his final experimental recordings. Bowie was inducted into the Rock n’ Roll Hall of Fame in 1996.
Elton John: Your Songs (The Golden Years 1970 -1976)
Elton John in collaboration with lyricist Bernie Taupin has written approximately 500 songs and sold more than 300 million records making him one of the best-selling music artists of all time. We will travel with Elton from his early days in London as a songwriter and session man through his international fame as a solo performer. We will focus on his golden years (1970 -1976) where he dominated worldwide record charts with 15 hit singles ranging from the ballad “Your Song” to the rocker “Saturday Night’s Alright (For Fighting)”. In addition, we will survey his numerous and wide-ranging accomplishments including soundtracks, films and collaboration albums. Elton John was inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame (1992) and The Rock n’ Roll Hall of Fame (1994).
Jimmy Page: From Session Man to Led Zeppelin
Jimmy Page is considered to be one of the greatest most influential guitarists of all time. We will journey with Page from his early days in London as an in-demand studio session musician through his tenure as a member of The Yardbirds to his international success as the guitarist, founder, songwriter and producer for Led Zeppelin. Rolling Stone has described him as “the pontiff of power riffing” and ranked him #3 of the “100 Greatest Guitarists of All Time, behind Jimi Hendrix and Eric Clapton. He was inducted into the Rock n’ Roll Hall of Fame on two occasions, once as a member of The Yardbirds (1992) and again as a member of Led Zeppelin (1995).
Crosby, Stills, & Nash (CSN)
CSN was a folk rock group composed of singer-songwriters David Crosby, Steven Stills and Graham Nash - later adding a fourth member (Neil Young), thus creating the quartet Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young (CSNY). We will journey with them through their early days as members of various rock bands (The Byrds, The Buffalo Springfield, The Hollies) to their coming together as a group and discovering how the power of their songs, enhanced by their intricate vocal harmonies, influenced a generation. CSN was inducted into the Rock n’ Roll Hall of Fame and all three members of the group were inducted individually for their work in their original bands. Neil Young was inducted as a solo performer and as a member of Buffalo Springfield.
Queen was formed in 1970 and became hugely successful incorporating various genres into their work, including progressive art rock, hard rock, heavy metal, vaudevillian music hall and pop rock. We will journey with Freddie Mercury and the band through their early days in London to international stardom - from their anthem “We Are the Champions” to the complex harmonies of “Somebody to Love” to the pseudo-classical arrangement of “Bohemian Rhapsody.” Queen has sold over 200 million records making the band one of the world’s best-selling artists. Queen was inducted into the Rock n’ Roll Hall of Fame in 2001.
The Beatles Next: The Solo Years
The lecture will continue in the footsteps of The Beatles story and focus on the highlights of the “solo” post-Beatles careers of John, Paul, George and Ringo. We will explore the aftermath of The Beatles legacy and how they established themselves as solo artists. Our journey will also discuss their musical collaborations with each other on many of their solo projects. Coming full circle, we will explore their last collaborative project “The Beatles Anthology” released in the late 90’s.
The 70’s: Progressive Art Rock
Progressive art rock can be defined as a fusion of jazz, classical and folk elements combined with psychedelic and avant-garde music. In addition, art rock includes conceptual literary themes incorporated within an album format. We will explore a brief history and selected work of five bands from the seventies that exemplified the genre - Pink Floyd, Yes, King Crimson, Emerson, Lake, & Palmer (ELP) and Electric Light Orchestra (ELO).
The 70’s: Power Pop
The term “power pop” was originally coined by The Who’s Pete Townshend to describe his band’s style of music. However, the term became more widely identified with subsequent artists from the seventies who sought to revive Beatles-like pop music. The genre typically incorporates melodic hooks, vocal harmonies and energetic performances. We will explore a brief history of power pop along with tunes from six major power pop artists including Badfinger, Todd Rundgren, The Raspberries, Elvis Costello, Nick Lowe and Dave Edmunds.
The 70’s: Mixed Bag - From Pop Rock to Punk
We will survey five artists who pioneered different musical styles that originated in the seventies. Performers include: Fleetwood Mac (blues/pop rock), Rod Stewart (glam rock), The Eagles (country rock), Bruce Springsteen (heartland rock) and Patti Smith (punk/art rock). We will explore a brief history of each of the artists and discuss their landmark albums found within their 70’s catalogs. Each artist has been inducted into the Rock n’ Roll Hall of Fame.
The 70’s: The Return of 60’s Rock Icons
The Sixties revolutionized popular music and presented us with the quintessential rock icon. We will travel with five 60’s superstars into the seventies and explore each artist’s seminal work of the decade. Rock icons include: Bob Dylan (poet/songwriter), The Rolling Stones (bad boys of rock n’ roll), Eric Clapton (guitar virtuoso), The Who (power chord ensemble) and The Bee Gees (disco kings). Each artist has been inducted into the Rock n’ Roll Hall of Fame. Eric Clapton is the only triple inductee, first as a member of The Yardbirds, then as a member of Cream and finally as a solo artist.