Class Discussion!

This week’s class was fun and interesting. I recognized many of the artists and songs we listened to and learned a lot of new things I didn’t know. I didn’t know these popular dance songs I liked were Motown songs. Motown’s musical style is blended with R&B and pop with many girl groups and ballads such as the Marvellettes, the Miracles, Martha and the Vandellas, the Temptations, and the Supremes. As I was listening to many of these artists, I just get the feeling of wanting to dance even if it’s a slow song. So many aspects come together to make it great music…the instruments, the group working together, their passion, the beat. They are catchy and upbeat songs and other songs are soft and laid back. Also looking and listening to these songs it just makes you realize how different music is today and it is nothing close to this (for the most part). They dressed nicely and focused on the music. Now, the more outrageous and eccentric, “the better.”

In class we also talked about Bob Dylan. I thought the two videos we watched about him were interesting. The first video he was on a plain stage. It wasn’t well put together and people were all around him. He stood in one spot and played acoustic guitar and a harmonica. The second video the background looked more concert like. It was dark with lights on him. He was playing electric guitar and moved around the stage. It was an interesting transition from acoustic to electric.

Lastly, I just wanted to mention James Brown. The video we watched was him performing his song “Please please please” As I was listening to it, I didn’t expect him to scream. Then as it kept going, he kept doing it over and over again. I was kind of surprised people liked that. The crowd went crazy over him though! I think maybe the reason I thought that people wouldn’t like it that much is because I listen to a lot of rock, heavy rock, metal, and I know a lot of people don’t like when they scream or yell. I do think his video was entertaining to watch and he had a good voice. I also thought it was hilarious when you imitated him. Aaaaaaahhhh!

Chapter 22

This week we talked about a lot of familiar artists…Elvis Presley, Little Richard, Ray Charles, Chuck Berry, and Buddy Holly. I was most excited to talk about Elvis. I have a few all-time favorite singers and he is definitely one of them. Elvis is one of the artists I wish I could of seen live in concert. I first heard Elvis when I was very young. I lived with my grandparents and we had an old record player that we would play his records on. I think Elvis has a one of a kind voice and when I listen to him I just kind of get in a trance or something. He could sing soft and sweetly in songs such as “Can’t Help Falling In Love” and “Love Me Tender” or sing raspy, upbeat, and powerful in “Hound Dog”, and “Jailhouse Rock” and it would just make you want to get up and dance. I know that he is well known for his “handsome/good looks”, his dance moves (Elvis with the pelvis), being “The King of Rock and Roll”, and his unique musical style. He also has a daughter named Lisa Marie Presley. She is also a singer and has three albums: “To Whom It May Concern”, “Now What”, and “Storm & Grace”. Elvis recorded many songs and had many hits, he served in the Army, appeared in movies such as Blue Hawaii, and appeared on television shows such as The Ed Sullivan Show.

Elvis made a huge impact on music. He was the most successful artist of the mid-1950s, when rock and roll was flourishing. He started out young (19) and unfortunately died at 42. I thought it was interesting in the reader when Phillips said in his interview about how Elvis was introverted. He didn’t play with bands and he thought he just played inside his home but not even on the porch. It just makes you think about what he thought about all his success and people going crazy over him.

Elvis was and I think, still is a huge hit. In stores I see things you can buy that has his face or name on it (especially around Christmas), a channel on television that only plays Elvis’ music, and his music is often played on the radio today. I didn’t realize that some of Elvis’ songs were country style such as “That’s All Right, Mama”. It’s impressive that he could swoop his voice almost two octaves at times.

Other interesting facts about Elvis Presley:

In New York City’s Hard Rock Café there is a piece there that belonged to Elvis that is preserved in a glass case. (I forget if it was a shirt or a guitar but I know I took a picture of it!)

When I visited Hawaii, there was a huge billboard of him right beside our hotel. I tried looking it up online but could not find it anywhere.

I actually listened to Elvis songs the entire time I wrote this.:)

Chapter 9

This week in class we talked about rhythm and blues. A chapter that really caught my attention was the chapter about T-Bone Walker! The book explains about how inspirational he was. People wanted to be like him and the girls went crazy over him. He could play any guitar or amp and still get the same sound! He could also play different than anyone else. T-Bone was one of the first who brought electric guitar to the blues. I know I’ve heard of his name before but that is about it. The past couple of days I took the time to look him up on YouTube. I was blown away by his passion for performing and playing guitar. When you watch his videos you can just see the joy on his face. Being a previous guitar player (and hopefully continuing again soon), I’ve spent much time looking at guitar covers and into famous guitar players. I’m interested in all aspects of guitars/guitar playing and I tried to learn as much as I could. I can honestly say I’ve never heard or seen anyone like T-Bone Walker. I was impressed how uniquely he holds his guitar flat and still plays without missing a note. Now I know exactly what they meant in the reading by, “they haven’t seen anyone like him”, “no one can touch him in the blues on guitar”, and that “he was a master showman.” T-Bone has such a strong, powerful, smooth voice. Every time I watched one of his videos I started smiling immediately because I could tell he loved what he was doing. I really like his songs “Goin’ to Chicago”, “Don’t Throw Your Love On Me So Strong”, and “Mean Old World”. I could listen to T-Bone for hours.