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History of Rock and Roll Rhythm & Blues 1 History of Rock and Roll Rhythm & Blues 1

Rhythm and Blues Shares the following characteristics with Blues: n n n Melodic language Rhythm and Blues Shares the following characteristics with Blues: n n n Melodic language – basic blues scales, “blue” notes Harmonic language -- chord structures Musical structures and forms (such as the 12 -bar blues) Differs from Blues in the following ways: n Rhythm -- R&B features dance rhythms n Instrumentation – more like jazz (more use of wind and brass instruments, etc) n The use of “arrangements” n Bigger variety of vocal styles - a mixture borrowed from pop, jazz, and gospel as well as blues

Musical influences on Rhythm & Blues Popular Song – “Tin Pan Alley” n Musical influences on Rhythm & Blues Popular Song – “Tin Pan Alley” n "Tin Pan Alley" - a term that refers to the music theater and publishing districts in New York City n It became a general term for “pop” tunes in the 1920 s, 30 s, and 40 s n Many of these “pre-swing” pop songs came from musical theater; many jazz “standards” began as show tunes

Examples of Tin Pan Alley songwriter / composers Irving Berlin Rodgers and Hart George Examples of Tin Pan Alley songwriter / composers Irving Berlin Rodgers and Hart George Gershwin Rodgers & Hammerstein Hoagy Carnichael Jerome Kern

Musical influences on Rhythm & Blues Boogie Woogie 1) 2) 3) 4) Origins in Musical influences on Rhythm & Blues Boogie Woogie 1) 2) 3) 4) Origins in Texas, Louisiana, but first recorded in Chicago Popularized by series of Carnegie Hall concerts, 1938 -39 Strong piano rhythms and characteristic piano “bass” patterns Emphasis on beat and rhythm rather than text

Boogie-Woogie Jimmy Yancey Clarence “Pinetop” Smith “Big Joe” Turner (singer) Pete Johnson Albert Ammons Boogie-Woogie Jimmy Yancey Clarence “Pinetop” Smith “Big Joe” Turner (singer) Pete Johnson Albert Ammons Meade Lux Lewis Otis Spann

Joe Turner & Pete Johnson n Roll ‘em, Pete (1938) Johnson (piano) was a Joe Turner & Pete Johnson n Roll ‘em, Pete (1938) Johnson (piano) was a big influence on Jerry Lee Lewis & Little Richard. n Turner (singing) had a crossover hit with Shake, Rattle, & Roll a few years later (subsequently covered by Bill Haley & the Comets). n

Musical influences on Rhythm & Blues Jazz, Big-band Swing n Characteristics: 1) dance-oriented music Musical influences on Rhythm & Blues Jazz, Big-band Swing n Characteristics: 1) dance-oriented music 2) Strong emphasis on brass (trumpet-trombone); reeds (sax, clarinet); rhythm section (piano, guitar, bass, drums) 3) Use of “walking bass” as heard in boogie-woogie 4) Tight “arrangements” with solo intervals n n Swing big bands were some of the first large groups to be racially integrated; in addition, white audiences “adopted” big band swing music Big band singers became very popular with a wide audience

Examples of popular Big Band singers Billie Holiday Ella Fitzgerald Ethel Waters Sarah Vaughan Examples of popular Big Band singers Billie Holiday Ella Fitzgerald Ethel Waters Sarah Vaughan Frank Sinatra Nat “King” Cole

Development of Rhythm and Blues: big bands vs. smaller combos After WW 2 big Development of Rhythm and Blues: big bands vs. smaller combos After WW 2 big bands experienced a period of decline: n Gas rationing had made it hard to tour n Entertainment taxes put financial hardship on music clubs n The musician’s union issued a recording ban in 1942 and 1943 to combat jukeboxes and radio broadcasts The result of this was an increase in the success of smaller musical combos, some more oriented toward listening (bebop jazz), and some oriented toward dance music, such as an early variety of rhythm & blues known as “jump blues. ”

King of Jump Blues: Louis Jordan Jump Blues n Dance music n Instrumentation: rhythm King of Jump Blues: Louis Jordan Jump Blues n Dance music n Instrumentation: rhythm section, 1 or 2 saxes, trumpet n blues chord progressions n shuffle or boogie bass n n n strong “backbeat” (rhythmic emphasis on “ 2 & 4”) n n 1938, with the "Tympani Five" Uptempo music, humor Huge crossover appeal (black and white audiences) Strong influence on early rockers such as Bill Haley

Wynonie Harris Good Rockin’ Tonight (1947) § § Wynonie was a talented songwriter who Wynonie Harris Good Rockin’ Tonight (1947) § § Wynonie was a talented songwriter who also worked with legendary blues guitarist T-Bone Walker. This song was later covered (famously) by Elvis Presley.

T-Bone Walker: Stormy Monday Released in 1947 n Born Aaron Thibeaux Walker in 1910, T-Bone Walker: Stormy Monday Released in 1947 n Born Aaron Thibeaux Walker in 1910, T-Bone was a friend of legendary jazz guitarist Charlie Christian. n Walker was born in Linden, TX n His guitar style is considered one of the most influential of early ‘modern’ blues styles. n BB King has said this song inspired him to pick up the guitar. n

Los Angeles R & B R&B in Los Angeles had its own “west coast” Los Angeles R & B R&B in Los Angeles had its own “west coast” sound n Softer form of R & B, often referred to as “club blues” n Listening example: Nat King Cole, “Route 66”

Johnny Otis Rhythm and Blues Pioneer n n n n Musician Bandleader Songwriter Producer Johnny Otis Rhythm and Blues Pioneer n n n n Musician Bandleader Songwriter Producer Talent scout Radio Visual artist n n B. 1921 Greek-American, grew up in black neighborhood in Berkeley 1948: opened the first exclusively R&B nightclub (the Barrelhouse) Toured with California Rhythm and Blues Caravan – extremely popular with African American audiences

Hound Dog On the previous slide, we heard the original version of the song Hound Dog On the previous slide, we heard the original version of the song Hound Dog, co-written by Johnny Otis, Jerry Leiber, & Mike Stoller. n Willie Mae “Big Mama” Thornton recorded it in 1953. n In the late fifties, Elvis Presley re-recorded it, this is it. n n The 2 biggest hits of 1953 were “Hound Dog” & “How much is that Doggie”

Rhythm and Blues – Publishing Rights n What are “publishing rights companies? ” n Rhythm and Blues – Publishing Rights n What are “publishing rights companies? ” n Even into the late 1930 s, ASCAP, the American Society of Composers and Publishers, did not license blues, rhythm and blues, or country music n In response, in 1939 BMI was founded (Broadcast Music Incorporated)

Rhythm and Blues – Record Labels n By the 1940 s, major labels (Decca, Rhythm and Blues – Record Labels n By the 1940 s, major labels (Decca, Capitol, etc) still reached the white audience market best. n After the Depression (1039 s), they had stopped carrying a lot of black artists n In response, Many small independent labels started to spring up n These label were instrumental in providing record label options to African-American artists

Rhythm and Blues – Record Labels Important Independent Labels for R&B: n Savoy n Rhythm and Blues – Record Labels Important Independent Labels for R&B: n Savoy n Chess n Jubilee n Atlantic n Deluxe n Sun n Duke n King n Vee. Jay

“Rocket 88” – first rock and roll song? n n n Other contenders for “Rocket 88” – first rock and roll song? n n n Other contenders for “first rock and roll song: ” That’s All Right Mama (Elvis) Rock Around the Clock (Bill Haley) Jackie Brenston & Ike Turner Recorded in Sam Phillips’ Sun Studio in Memphis Released by Chess in Chicago “Jump blues” style Distorted guitar sound an “accident”the guitar amp fell off the car on the way to the session

Atlantic Records n One of the most successful and long-lived rhythm and blues labels Atlantic Records n One of the most successful and long-lived rhythm and blues labels n Founded by Ahmet Ertegun and Herb Abramson in 1947 n Eventually became a major label

Ruth Brown n Early Atlantic artist, pioneer of rhythm and blues Sometimes called the Ruth Brown n Early Atlantic artist, pioneer of rhythm and blues Sometimes called the “first female rhythm and blues singer” So successful, Atlantic was dubbed “the House that Ruth Built”

B. B. King: Three O’Clock Blues Released in 1951. n Born Riley B. King B. B. King: Three O’Clock Blues Released in 1951. n Born Riley B. King in 1925, King is among the most influential guitarists & singers in blues, rock, and rhythm & blues music. n Listen for King’s trademark vibrato (sounds like a quivering, or shaking, note). n King has been naming his guitars “Lucille” since the 1950’s to remind him not to run into burning buildings! n