The Golden Age of Rock ’n’ Roll Harvard Institute for Learning in Retirement; Spring 2018 Study Group Leaders: B Ruml and Joe Chafets
  Catalog Course Description  

The ten years from 1955 to 1964 saw a remarkable synthesis of existing popular music styles into the new genre of Rock ’n’ Roll, made popular by that newly distinct subculture of teenagers. For the first time, black artists and groups were hailed by large integrated audiences. Mainstream reactions were not favorable. We will pay attention to the context within which RnR developed, but mostly we’ll listen to the music (150+ songs) and talk about the artists while tracing the development of the major trends. SGL Joe, a published songwriter, will explain what makes a popular song great and provide a musical framework for our work. Listening assignments of forty minutes each week (fifteen songs) and reading averaging sixty minutes.

“B” Ruml was thirteen when Elvis appeared on Ed Sullivan (perfect timing). He has led six previous study groups.

Joe Chafets has composed both popular and show music, holds numerous copyrights, and has a record collection the size of which causes considerable dismay for his wife.

  Class Reading and Listening Assignments  

To reach individual reading assignments, open the Assignment PDF and click on the URL below the title.

Week 1: Popular Music Before Rock 'n' Roll