Friday, February 09, 2007

A Journey Through American Music

I am finishing my third year of teaching English to a particularly motivated group of students, and in between business vocabulary and preparing the TOEIC, I've been sharing some American music with them.

It started out with just one song, but they seemed interested so I decided to go back over a 50-year period (yep, rock is that old, I know we all hate to believe it!) and present the singer or group that I feel was the most influential over several different time periods. My focus has been more on rock/folk/pop than soul or rhythm and blues, mainly because of my own tastes and knowledge.

It has been an interesting exercise -- especially for me, and I hope for them.
My criteria have been influence, innovation, and a certain longevity. The five periods I have set are:

The 50s-60s
The 60s-70s
The 70s-80s
The 80s-90s
The 90s-present

I felt these "double decade" categories better reflect what really went on in in American popular music; for example, punk started in 1977 (yep, punk is celebrating its 30-year anniversary, I know we all hate to believe that too!) but it continued to have a heavy influence in the early 80s.
The project has led me to pore over my CD collection , buy new ones, and do research on All Music , which has benefited from quite the facelift since I last visited it.
Of course I'm not going to reveal my choices yet -- that would be too easy! What do you think?
Remember, we're talking about American music here. I'm a big fan of British pop, rock and punk too but have felt like going back to my native country's roots....


Jann said...

punk has really been around for 30 years? Oh my goodness-where have I been......

Alison said...

The first thing that pops into my mind for the 90s-present is Nirvana. You know, the genesis of grunge, the Seattle scene, and their influence on other bands.

For the rest, I'm going to have to think on it.

And isn't All Music fascinating?

wheresmymind said...

I can't wait to see the list...I've got so many dang songs in my collection, it'd be fun to see if we overlap :)

wheresmymind said...

Artists I think represent the eras well:

The 50s-60s
Chuck Berry

The 60s-70s
Jimi Hendrix (cannot omit the best guitar player of all time)
Velvet Underground

The 70s-80s
The Ramones
Husker Du
The Misfits

The 80s-90s
Red Hot Chili Peppers
Mighty Mighty Bosstones
Public Enemy

The 90s-present
Nirvana (fav. band of all time)
Pixies (yep..they are touring again)

...just some thoughts...far from a complete list

Betty C. said...

Very interesting, this is the type of comment I'm hoping to get but I think I'll have to hype my post hither and thither to get more feedback.

I can already say that "wheresmymind" has a great list and I considered about 2/3 of the artists on it for my list, but none made the final cut...the suspense thickens...

Anonymous said...

driver 8? rem?

Betty C. said...

Gee, someone is out there! I think anonymous was responding to my following post, though...