The following are brief summaries of the lectures presented.
The Beatles: From Liverpool to Abbey Road
This lecture will follow in the footsteps of The Beatles as they embark on their historic journey starting from their early days as a cover band in Liverpool and Hamburg, into the excitement of Beatlemania, including concert performances, and films, thru their creative ground breaking studio albums (Rubber Soul, Revolver, Sgt. Peppers) to the formation of Apple Corps and finally to their remarkable final recordings at Abbey Road Studios. Coming full circle, we will explore the highlights of each individual’s post Beatles work.
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 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 Beatles: The Making of Rubber Soul
Follow in the footsteps of The Beatles as they establish themselves as a creative force in the studio with the release of their 6th album -- “Rubber Soul”. The album has been recognized as a major step forward in pop music, in terms of lyrical content and musical scope, incorporating a mix of pop, soul and folk genres. We will discuss the genesis of how the songs were written, musical influences, and recording production. “Rubber Soul” introduced the “rock as art” album that influenced many of their peers including Brian Wilson, Ray Davies, and Mick Jagger. Rubber Soul remains the precursor to the development of psychedelia and progressive rock.
Rolling Stone ranks “Rubber Soul” as the #5 album of all time!
The Beatles: The Making of the White Album
This lecture will follow in the footsteps of The Beatles and they journey through their turbulent year of 1968 as they embark on the creation of group’s ninth studio album - The Beatles (aka ‘The White Album’). We will explore the genesis of how many of the songs were written while they were engaged in studying transcendental meditation in India. Additionally, we will discover that even though their recording sessions were filled with personal and creative differences their studio output during 1968 far exceeded their annual work from previous years.
Rolling Stone ranks The Beatles "White Album" as the #10 album of all time.
The Beatles: The Making of Abbey Road
This lecture will follow in the footsteps of The Beatles as they record their final classic work -- Abbey Road. We will explore the genesis of how the songs were written, recorded and produced. After their turbulent year while recording The White Album, the Beatles regroup and create their enduring swan song. Abbey Road stands as The Beatles rock album that incorporates genres such as blues, pop and progressive rock. Their Abbey Road crossing photograph cover art has become one of the most famous imitated in recording history -- “and in the end the love you take is equal to the love you make.”
The Beatles: The Making of A Hard Day’s Night (Film and Music)
This lecture follow in the footsteps of The Beatles as they embark on filming and recording their classic movie “A Hard Day’s Night." We will discuss and analyze the creative process including the development of the plot, writing of the screenplay, production techniques, and casting. In addition, we will explore the genesis of how the songs that make up the soundtrack were written and recorded. Film critic Roger Ebert described the film as “one of the great life-affirming landmarks of the movies”, and added it to his list of The Great Movies.
“A Hard Day’s Night” was nominated for two Academy Awards: for Best Screenplay (Alun Owen) and Best Score (Adaption) (George Martin)
“A Hard Day’s Night” album and single achieved #1 posiiton in both in UK and US in 1964
Rolling Stone top 500 singles and albums of all time ranks the soundtrack at # 154 (single) and # 307 (album).
The Beatles: The Making of Help (Film and Music)
This lecture will follow in the footsteps of The Beatles as they embark on filming their second movie and record their 5th studio album. We will discuss the film's synopsis, inspiration, cast and production techniques. The film has been considered a forerunner to music videos and the influence on the creation of The Monkees TV series. We will explore the genesis of how the songs that make up both the UK and US alternate soundtrack albums were written and recorded.
The Beatles: The Making of Magical Mystery Tour (Film and Music)
This lecture will travel as they take as embark on a mystery trip to various locations in England and France as they improvise and take advantage of the various encounters they had while on the road. We will explore that the films songs as well as additional material was written and recorded as well as the differences between the UK and US album releases.
The Beatles: The Making of Yellow Submarine (Film and Music)
This lecture will explore the full-length animated psychedelic film where the music-loving inhabitants of Pepperland are under siege by the Blue Meanies, a nasty group of music hating creature. The Lord Mayor dispatches sailor Old Fred to Liverpool, England to recruit The Beatles. The Beatles embark on the Yellow Submarine to save Pepperland from the Blue Meanies. We will discuss how the songs used in the soundtrack were written and recorded.
The Beatles: The Making of Let It Be (Film and Music)
This lecture will follow in the footsteps of The Beatles as they embark on their originally planned Get Back working-rehearsal documentary and travel with them as they record and complete their 12th and final (released) album “Let It Be." We will discover that personal and creative differences continue to plague the band during this period in Beatles history during both the filming and recording sessions. In addition, we will explore the album's songs and the various configurations of the “Let it Be” album.
The Beatles: Under the Influence
This lecture will follow in the footsteps of The Beatles as they travel under the influence of some of their rock n roll heroes (Elvis, Chuck Berry and Carl Perkins) whose songs and stage performances highly influenced their early repertoire and recordings. We continue the journey as they experiment in the studio by incorporating imprints from classical baroque (Vivaldi), film soundtracks (Bernard Hermann), classical Indian music (Ravi Shankar) and the avant garde (Stockhausen, Cage). In addition, we will discuss the various literary bookmarks --- contemporary literature, philosophical writings and journalistic stories that influenced some of their songs and elevating their music to the level of art rock.
The Beatles and Apple
This lecture will examine a fascinating chapter in The Beatles story as we travel with them through the rise and closure of their Apple organization. Founded in 1967 as a multimedia company (including Publishing, Films, and Electronics) whose major division was Apple Records. Apple signed many diverse artists during its tenure such as James Taylor, Badfinger, Billy Preston and Ravi Shankar. We will journey with The Beatles through a turbulent period consisting of personal disagreements and business entanglements. We will discuss their roles as songwriters, producers and musicians with respect to their Apple roster of artists. Additionally, we will investigate the many legal disputes with their business manager Allen Klein, Apple Computer, EMI and Nike.
The Beatles: The Songs They Wrote For Others
This lecture will explore the songs that John Paul, George and Ringo wrote while in The Beatles and as solo composers that they never officially recorded for their catalog, giving them away to other artists. We will canvas the 75 songs as well as discuss the various performers that recorded the material and how they fit into the Beatles story. From the early days of the British Invasion of the 1960’s to those artists who were affiliated with The Beatles Apple Record Label to the present, including such diverse artists as Peter & Gordon, The Rolling Stones, Badfinger ,Johnny Cash, David Bowie, Elvis Costello and Kanye West. The presentation is enhanced by visual backgrounds and selected audio clips.
The Beatles: The Songs They Recorded Written by Others
Early in The Beatles career they recorded songs originally written and performed by many of their rock and roll and popular musical heroes. We will explore 70 songs that they covered as well as the various artists that influenced and helped the group to create and shape their early sound. The Beatles versions enabled them to place their stamp on these songs adding the tracks to their catalog thus making the tunes their own. We will examine songs from Elvis to the rockabilly of Carl Perkins to the country pop of The Everly Brothers to the popular jazz of Peggy Lee along with many others.
The Beatles and the BBC
This lecture will examine the unique relationship The Beatles had with BBC Radio from 1962 to 1965. Early in their career The Beatles performed approximately 300 songs “live” on the BBC while touring extensively, recording 5 albums and singles and making two films. From the BBC archive we will focus on 35 cover songs that were originally recorded by 20 various artists and not released by the band at the time. We will explore those early heroes responsible for the original versions of the songs including Elvis, Chuck Berry, Carl Perkins, Arthur Alexander, Buddy Holly and even Ann Margaret. These Beatles covers helped that set the foundation that influenced the early sound of the group as well as many of the other British Invasion bands that followed in their footsteps.
Meet the Fifth Beatles
The 5th Beatle is an informal title given to people who were at one point a member of The Beatles either on stage or assisting the group in the recording studio. We will explore those who could have been considered a candidate for that position within the band. From the early days of The Quarry Men to The Silver Beetles to The Beatles we will travel with them as they enter the revolving door of being a band member as well as exploring the countless session musicians that enabled The Beatles to create their timeless classics.
John Lennon: You Should Have Been There
This lecture explores the life and music of John Lennon starting from his childhood in Liverpool, into the excitement of The Beatles and their ground breaking recordings, to his “solo” post-Beatles career and his political activism. Our journey will examine and discuss both his artistic achievements and controversies that made John Lennon into a cultural icon of the 20th century.
George Harrison: The Making of All Things Must Pass
This lecture will follow in the footsteps of George Harrison as he creates his magnum opus, his first triple album”All Things Must Pass”. We will discuss the genesis of how the songs were conceived, written and recorded, his musical influences, guest musicians, studio production, and its cover artwork. Many critics hail the album as being the best solo Beatles album ever made. “All Things Must Pass” has been described as epic, an extravaganza of piety, sacrifice and joy, and spiritually profound and profoundly beautiful!
“All Things Must Pass” was inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame in January 2014.
George Harrison: While My Guitar Gently Weeps
This lecture presents a portrait of the incredible life and spiritual journey of George Harrison. From his work with The Beatles through his “solo” career to the Traveling Wilburys. We will explore the many talents and skills that made George a unique artist as a singer/songwriter, guitarist, session musician, producer, and film executive. We will also examine his enduring relationship with Ravi Shankar and his everlasting love for all things India.
Paul McCartney: The Songs We Were Singing (1960-1980)
This lecture is a snapshot on the extraordinary career of Sir Paul McCartney. We will travel with Paul down the long and winding road through his remarkable creative ground breaking recordings with The Beatles, and continue the journey as he embarks on his subsequent post-Beatles work with his band Wings. From his early days in Liverpool and Hamburg to the most covered song of all time, “Yesterday”, to his triple platinum “Band on the Run” album we will explore the many talents of pop’s Renaissance man -- singer/songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, composer, producer, arranger and painter.
Paul McCartney: The Making of Band on the Run
We will travel with Paul McCartney as he creates his most successful and celebrated post-Beatles album. The album showcases all aspects of his musical sensibilities from his sophisticated melodies to his multi-part pop suite of the title track to its various hooks and irrepressible tunes. We will examine how the songs were written and recorded. McCartney’s decision to record in a remote studio prompted two band members to quit thus having McCartney respond by playing most of the instruments himself on the album. The album and title song hit #1 along with two additional top ten singles.
The Making of Solo Beatles Albums: "Imagine" and "Ram"
We will examine John Lennon and Paul McCartney’s second solo albums both recorded in 1971. With the breakup of The Beatles both Lennon and McCartney look to establish themselves as solo artists. During the final days of The Beatles, their personal and professional relationship became strained and revealed itself in their music. We will explore how these albums manage to both interlock and influence each other. From “Imagine” to “Uncle Albert/Admiral Halsey” we will discuss how the songs were written and recorded.
Rolling Stone ranks “Imagine” by John Lennon as the #3 song of all time. The album “Ram" is ranked #2 album in the McCartney catalog.
Bob Dylan Revisited
This lecture will travel on the road with Bob Dylan as he navigates through the turbulent decade of 1960’s. From his childhood in Minnesota, to folk troubadour of Greenwich Village, to his ground breaking trilogy (“Bringing It Back Home” “Highway 61”, “Blonde on Blonde”) to becoming the rock/poet enigma of his time. Highlights from the post-60’s work (including “Blood on the Tracks” to the American Songbook Trilogy) will also be briefly explored. We will discuss his extraordinary artistic achievements as a songwriter, poet and cultural icon of the 20th century.
Rolling Stone ranks Bob Dylan’s "Like A Rolling Stone” as the best song of all time.
The Making of “Bringing It Back Home”
Bob Dylan’s “Bringing It Back Home” was recorded in 1965 is divided into an electric and an acoustic side. The album became the catalyst for Dylan to reinvent himself by fusing the Chuck Berry beat with traditional folk music thus creating a new form of rock & roll. We will analyze the 13 tracks on the album from Dylan’s pied-piper anthem “Mr. Tambourine Man” to the anti-establishment politics of “Subterranean Homesick Blues” to one of his most ambitious compositions “It’s Alright Ma (I’m Only Bleeding)” with apocalyptic images and whose line “he not busy being born is busy dying” by President Jimmy Carter during his presidential nomination speech. The album is the first of one of the most unique trilogies in rock and roll history.
The Making of “Highway 61 Revisited”
“Highway 61 Revisited” is the quintessential Bob Dylan ‘electric’ album recorded in 1965. We witness his transformation from a folk singer to a blues-based inspired rock and roll maverick. This revolutionary album fuses electric guitar licks, organ fills, siren whistles and the imagery of poetry into a stunning masterwork. From the kick-off snare drum of the opening track “Like A Rolling Stone” to the closing 11-minute epic “Desolation Row” with its parade of real and Fellini-esque characters we experience one of the rocks most innovative albums of all time!
Rolling Stone ranks “Highway 61 Revisited” as the #4 album of all time and “Like A Rolling Stone” as the #1 song of all time!
The Making of “Blonde On Blonde”
The double album “Blonde on Blonde” is the final installment of the extraordinary trilogy of Bob Dylan’s mid-60’s rock albums. Dylan once described the recording as “that wild mercury sound that’s metallic and bright gold. It’s the sound that I’ve been looking for.” The album is a unique rock cycle mixing eccentric blues revisionism, with visionary and the colloquial thus creating an epic masterwork. We will explore how the 15 songs were written and recorded in the studio as well as five unreleased tracks from the same recording sessions.
Rolling Stone ranks “Blonde on Blonde” as the # 9 album of all time.
The Making of "The Basement Tapes"
Bob Dylan recorded “The Basement Tapes” during a four month hiatus in 1967 with The Band in Woodstock New York. These informal sessions produced over 100 recordings including traditional songs, standards, blues, country ballads as well as new material. The recordings have a down-to-earth sound recorded on a basic tape recording system. We will canvas some of the original basement tapes along with studio produced versions of songs recorded by many of Dylan’s contemporaries. The original tapes were never planned to be released to the general public.
The Making of “Blood On The Tracks”
Bob Dylan’s “Blood on The Tracks” is considered by many to be his masterpiece. Written and recorded in 1974 during the deterioration of his first marriage, this autobiographical work has been called “the greatest break-up record of all time.” Looking to rediscover his roots Dylan rejected having an electric band backing to using stripped-down acoustic arrangements for the songs. We will perform a track-by-track analysis of the album and follow Dylan during the complex making and remaking of this timeless classic.
The Making of “Desire"
In the wake of his commercial and critical success of “Blood On The Tracks” comes his follow up album and comeback solidified by his Rolling Thunder Revue tours of 1975/76. This album has an unexpected collaboration with playwright Jacques Levy on seven tracks including two songs based on controversial real-life characters: New York gangster Joe “Crazy Joe” Gallo and boxer Rubin “Hurricane” Carter. The album was hugely successful reaching #1 in both the US and UK.
Bob Dylan by Others
Bob Dylan songs have been covered by over 600 artists. This lecture will place into the spotlight 30 Bob Dylan songs as interpreted by various artists from the 1960’s to today. We will discuss the genesis of how the songs were written and where they first appeared within the Dylan catalog. From a historical perspective we explore these cover versions as well as the influence Dylan has had on the artists -- performers include: Joan Baez, The Band, The Byrds, Jimi Hendrix and others.
The Rolling Stones Story
This lecture is the story of rock’s original “bad boys” as we journey with them thru their formative years as a cover band devoted to American blues, into their early shows which dictated violence and chaos, thru their notorious drug busts, personal and songwriting conflicts, and management and legal issues while earning the reputation as the greatest rock n roll band with classics from “Satisfaction” to “Brown Sugar." For our encore we will highlight some of their post 60’s work.
The Making of Beggars Banquet
Beggars Banquet is the Rolling Stones 7th British studio album which begins the start of the bands most critically acclaimed period referred to as the “golden years." The album marks a change in direction from psychedelic pop to a return to blues rock infusing both Latin beats and African influenced rhythms into their music. We will explore the genesis of how the songs were written, recorded and produced. Beggars Banquet is considered one of the top blues-based rock records of all time.
The Making of Let it Bleed
The Rolling Stones 8th album extends the blues feel of its predecessor Beggars Banquet into a slightly harder-rocking sound. The album was released shortly after the start of their 1969 American Tour. We will explore the genesis of how the songs were written, recorded and produced. While no highly-charting singles were released the album, many of the songs became staples of their live shows and on rock radio stations for decades to come. Two tracks “Gimme Shelter” and “You Can’t Always Get What You Want,” both are ranked highly on ‘best ever’ song lists.
The Making of Sticky Fingers
Sticky Fingers is the Rolling Stones 9th studio album released on their new Rolling Stones Records. The album offers a mixture of decadence (interracial sex, lost virginity, drug addiction) and roots music and outright malevolence. From it’s opening “Brown Sugar” to the closer “Moonlight Mile" we will discuss the genesis of how the songs were written, recorded and produced. Sticky Fingers is considered one of the Rolling Stones best albums - achieving triple platinum certification in the U.S.
The Making of Exile on Main Street
Exile on Main Street is the first and last double album released by the Rolling Stones - greeted with mixed reviews upon its release it has become generally regarded as the bands finest album. A very rich and masterful album encompassing rock and roll, blues, soul, gospel and country. It expanded on hedonistic themes that the band had explored on their previous albums. We will explore the genesis of how the songs were conceived, recorded and produced. Rolling Stone has ranked the album as #7 on their list of the 500 greatest albums of all time!
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 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: 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.
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.
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