The following are brief summaries of the lectures presented. These lectures are on a variety of musical acts, spanning from the 50s to the 70s.

THE SIXTIES: THE BRITISH INVASION

The Sixties: The British Invasion

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

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: 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

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 (and Ray Davies)

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: 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 SIXTIES: AMERICAN POP

The Sixties: The American Pop Era

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

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 Beach Boys: The Making of Pet Sounds

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 Sixties: The Wall of Sound: 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).

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: 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 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: 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

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

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

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

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

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.

Literature & Music in the 60s Psychedelic Era

This presentation will focus on literary forms that influenced the  60’s psychedelic music rock era.  We will explore different genres of literature including fantasy (Lewis Carroll) science fiction (Robert Heinlein) philosophical new age (Timothy Leary) and spiritual poetry (Kahlil Gibran) and how these forms manifested within the music of the counter-culture era and influenced the recordings of numerous rock artists including The Beatles, Jefferson Airplane, Jimi Hendrix and The Byrds.

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.

 

60’s  New York 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 Murray the K  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 60s Rock n’ Roll TV Guide

Radio stations introduced 60s music to their listeners on record singles and albums. TV variety shows presented popular rock n roll acts to the general public though “live” on-stage performances.  With this TV Guide we will journey through a typical 1960’s TV week switching channels from CBS to NBC to ABC and in-between local stations. We’ll start the week with the nationally syndicated Ed Sullivan Show which aired on Sundays, move to the daily afternoon series “Where the Action Is,” and end the week with The Hollywood Palace on Saturday evening.  As the TV week ended we anticipated what next week’s programming would bring to our living rooms!    In this journey we will explore some memorable TV moments including performances by The Beatles, The Doors, The Who and many others.

THE SIXTIES: UNDER THE INFLUENCE OF THE FIFTIES:

 

Chuck Berry:  Hail Hail Rock n’ Roll

Without Chuck Berry we would not have rock n roll as we know it - he was the greatest rock writer, one of the greatest guitarist and one of its greatest performers of all time.  Elvis was the spark for that fueled rock n roll but Chuck Berry became its heartbeat.  We will travel with Chuck from his early days in St. Louis to his extraordinary recordings at Chess Records to his off-stage exploits with the law and finally to his induction into the Rock n Roll Hall of Fame.

John Lennon said it best “If you were going to give rock n’ roll another name, you might call it Chuck Berry.”

 

Another Date with The Everly Brothers

The Everly Brothers were one of the most important early rock and roll stars and are among the most influential rockers of any era.  They stand alone as the greatest two-part harmony rock group that combined the best elements of country and pop music.  We will journey with Phil and Don from their early days on their family radio show to their classic hits In the 50’s and 60’s into the touring years to their breakup and to their subsequent celebrated reunion.  The Everly Brothers were among the first 10 artists inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1986.

Rick Nelson: Teenage Idol

Rick Nelson was one of the very biggest of the 50’s teen idols, he was a rockabilly pioneer and crafted some of finest pop/rock recordings of his era.  Being featured on America’s favorite family situation comedies on a weekly basis enable Rick to sing his songs and reach out and introduce rock n’ roll to mainstream America.  We will journey with Rick from his top ten hits to the formation of one of the earliest country-rock groups, the Stone Canyon Band.  Nelson was inducted into the Rock n’ Roll Hall of Fame in 1987.

The Sun Records Story

This is where rock n’ roll was born - the independent record company founded by  producer Sam Phillips that launched the careers of  Elvis Presley, Jerry Lee Lewis, Johnny Cash, Roy Orbison and Carl Perkins.  We will travel with Phillips through his early days with his Memphis Recording Service recording African-American musicians including B. B. King, Howlin’ Wolf and Ike Turner.  From “Good Rockin’ Tonight” (Elvis) to “Whole Lotta Shakin’ Goin’ On” (Jerry Lee Lewis), the music created at Sun Studio helped lay part of the foundation of the late 20th century rock and roll and influenced many musicians including The Beatles.

Who is the Greatest: Elvis or The Beatles?

This lecture will survey the extraordinary careers of Elvis and The Beatles and how they influenced each other and changed popular music forever.  We will journey with Elvis from his early Sun Record singles to his domination of the music charts into his successful film career to his comeback TV special and finally to his Las Vegas performances.  With The Beatles we will travel with them from Liverpool to Hamburg as a cover band, into the excitement of Beatlemania, through their ground breaking recordings and into their solo careers.  We will discuss how these musical titans conquered the world and leave you to decide who is the greatest; Elvis or The Beatles?

 The Brill Building

The Brill Building is located at 1619 Broadway in New York City along with other neighborhood buildings that housed many composers and publishers in the late 50’s and 60’s and whose recordings have become known as the Brill Building Sound.  We will explore the many songwriters (including Burt Bacharach, Carole King, Neil Sedaka) who are responsible for creating the extraordinary soundtrack not only defined an era but whose influence endures five decades later. 

 

The Blues

This lecture will survey the beginning of “electric blues” starting with the early guitar pioneers T-Bone Walker, John Lee Hooker, and Muddy Waters to the 60’s guitar heroes Eric Clapton, Jimi Hendrix, and Jimmy Page.  In addition, we will explore the regional styles from Chicago to Memphis to London and the inception of the British Blues counterpart establishing blues rock (i.e. The Rolling Stones) thus widening the appeal of the blues to white American audiences.

“Red, white, black, brown or yellow, rich or poor, we all have the blues!” - B. B. King

Rock and Roll Pioneers

This lecture will survey the artists that laid down the foundation that established the roots of rock n’ roll.  From early guitar heroes (Les Paul, Duane Eddy) to the rhythm and blues piano giants (Little Richard, Ray Charles) to soul music singer/composers (James Brown, Sam Cooke) and the early rockers (Buddy Holly and Gene Vincent).  Their influence on the 60’s was enormous and included The Beatles, The Rolling Stones, The Who, Jeff Beck and many others.

50s Beat Generation Literature and the 60s Music

This presentation will focus on the historical, social and political culture of the 50s and 60s as defined through literature and music.  The period represents an era of creativity and experimentation that manifested in new literary and musical forms.  We will explore the inter-relationships of Beat writers (Jack Kerouac, Allen Ginsberg and William Burroughs) and 60s rock icons (ie. Bob Dylan, The Beatles, The Doors) and their impact and influence on the counter-culture movement of the sixties. 

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

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.

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