This month’s Rock and Roll Night School explores the origins of Motown Records. Founded in 1959 by Berry Gordy, Motown Records quickly became known as the “Sound of Young America” during the mid to late-1960s. This class will focus on the early years of Motown Records, and some of its subsidiaries such as Tamla, Miracle, and Divinity. We will listen to the first singles released by Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Inductees Stevie Wonder, Smokey Robinson, the Supremes, Marvin Gaye, and the Temptations, but we will also dig deeper into the forgotten early singles by groups like the Satintones (Motown’s “first” group), Popcorn & the Mohawks, and Nick & the Jaguars.
In conjunction with the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame’s Black History Month celebration of Stax Records, this month’s Rock and Roll Night School will focus on the legendary recordings on Stax Records, looking at Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Inductees like Wilson Pickett, Otis Redding, Sam and Dave, Booker T. & the MGs, and Isaac Hayes.
By 1964, many American teenagers had drifted from the raw sound of 1950s rock and roll and were instead listening to the “bubblegum” pop of teen idols and girl groups. The revitalization of rock music in the United States came from an unlikely source - England. In England, early rock and roll had been mixed with British folk music, jazz, and the blues. Between 1964 and 1968 this mixture would produce some of the most legendary rock bands ever, such as the Rolling Stones, the Beatles, the Who, and the Kinks. This month’s Rock and Roll Night School will explore the impact of the British Invasion, specifically in 1964. We will discuss classic albums by Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Inductees such as Dusty Springfield, the Beatles, Dave Clark Five, the Rolling Stones, and the Animals.
In addition to their six Top 40 songs, the Yardbirds will be remembered most as the launching pad for the careers of three of the biggest blues-based guitarists of the ‘60s: Eric Clapton, Jeff Beck and Jimmy Page. Clapton was on board when the group recorded their early songs but he left shortly after recording their first U.S. hit, “For Your Love.” This month’s Rock and Roll Night School explores the music of the Yardbirds during Eric Clapton’s brief, yet productive, tenure with the group including their classic early albums Five Live Yardbirds, For Your Love, and Having a Rave Up.
The impact of the Beatles upon popular music cannot be overstated; they revolutionized the music industry and touched the lives of all who heard them in deep and fundamental ways. Landing on these shores on February 7, 1964, they literally stood the world of pop culture on its head, setting the musical agenda for the remainder of the decade. This month’s Rock and Roll Night School will explore the Beatles’ first two films - A Hard Day’s Night (July 1964) and Help! (July 1965). The evening will feature excerpts from both films and, in addition, will feature in-depth discussions of several songs from the revolutionary soundtracks.
In conjunction with the exhibit Mike McCartney’s Liverpool Life, Rock and Roll Night School hosted a lecture with Mike McCartney which featured incredible black-and-white photographs documenting the origins of the British Invasion.
This month’s Rock and Roll Night School explored examples of “Blue-Eyed Soul” music that was popular between 1965 and 1968 during the height of the Civil Rights Movement. The term “blue-eyed soul” was first used in the 1960s to describe white singers whose style was heavily influenced by soul and rhythm and blues that grew from African-American culture. The evening will feature in-depth discussion of Inductees such as the Righteous Brothers (“You’ve Lost That Lovin’ Feeling”) and the Rascals (“Good Lovin’”), as well as other performers including the Box Tops, Tom Jones, and Mitch Ryder.
Formed in 1962, the Rolling Stones are the longest-lived continuously active group in rock and roll history. Throughout five decades of shifting tastes in the arena of popular music, the Stones have kept rolling, adapting to the latest sounds and styles without straying too far from their origins as a blues-based rock and roll band. This month’s Rock and Roll Night School will explore the origins of “the World’s Greatest Rock and Roll Band” - from their time as the house band of the famous Crawdaddy Club to their first international number one hit in 1965, “(I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction.”
The sweet vocal harmonies of Paul Simon and Art Garfunkel remain one of the more cherished sounds of the Sixties. The music made by the New York natives was fueled by a mutual love of early rock and roll and a search for inspiration beyond the conventional borders of folk and pop. This month’s Rock and Roll Night School will explore the short, but extremely productive, career of Simon and Garfunkel - from their first top 40 hit “Hey, Schoolgirl” (recorded using the alias Tom and Jerry) to their magnum opus, Bridge Over Troubled Water, in 1970. The evening will feature in-depth discussions of classic songs like “The Sounds of Silence,” “Mrs. Robinson” and many others.
In conjunction with the Rock Hall’s newest exhibit, Cleveland Rocks: The Birthplace of Rock and Roll, please join us for this special evening with renowned rock and roll photographer George Shuba and esteemed curator Jon Jicha. As a part of the Museum’s ongoing Rock and Roll Night School series, Shuba and Jicha will discuss Shuba’s photographs. A book signing will follow this event.