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Chapter 10 – Psychedelic Rock

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1 Chapter 10 – Psychedelic Rock
“LSD is Western yoga. The aim of all Eastern religion, like the aim of LSD, is basically to get high; that is, to expand your consciousness and find ecstasy and revelation within.” Dr. Timothy Leary McGraw-Hill/Irwin Copyright © 2011 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc. All rights reserved.

2 Psychedelic Rock Late sixties experimentation and innovation influenced by Beat writings by Allen Ginsberg, Jack Kerouac, Gregory Corso, and others Claims that America is not the “land of the free,” but rather a hypocritical, oppressive society that despised and legislated against those who rejected conventional morality and chose nontraditional lifestyles Cool jazz by Miles Davis, Gerry Mulligan, Chico Hamilton and others supported the Beat writers’ readings of their work Beat movement strong in New York and San Francisco San Francisco favored for some Beats and musicians because of lax enforcement of drug laws and good, cheap, California wine 10-2

3 The San Francisco Sound
Hippie culture for peace, free love, and nonmaterialism Use of LSD common Musicians tried to recreate the effects of LSD through long instrumental improvisations Existentialism and Beat writings influenced a sense of alienation from society Many refused to enter the military to fight in Vietnam, required jail or leaving the country 1967 in San Francisco declared the Summer of Love by those who attended outdoor concerts and “love ins” San Francisco based bands associated with this thinking: The Grateful Dead Big Brother and the Holding company (with Janis Joplin) The Jefferson Airplane 10-3

4 Listening Guide “Dark Star” by the Grateful Dead (1970) Tempo: Begins at 88 beats per minute, four beats per bar, but tempo varies as improvisation progresses Form: Through-composed, no regular sections, but a continuous spinning out of improvised music Features: Begins silent with volume gradually being turned up after group has been playing Instruments enter gradually, bass and guitar, then drums, rhythm guitar, organ, maracas Some harmonized vocals near the end Recording lasts over 23 minutes Lyrics: Short vocal phrases suggest visual effects when one watches a “dark star” crash… Reflections and diamonds are parts of the images. 10-4

5 Listening Guide “Uncle John’s Band“ by the Grateful Dead (1970) Tempo: 132 beats per minute, 4 beats per bar for most of the recording, but some 3-beat bars Form: 8-bar instrumental introduction, followed by sections of varying lengths: AABCCAACBDCB Last C section is preceded by silence and sung a cappella (without instruments) Features: Even beat subdivisions Backbeat played softly on wood block Instruments include strummed acoustic guitars, electric bass, and Latin percussion instruments the guiro, maracas, claves, and conga drums The harmonized group vocals include two voices above the main melody, a country influence Lyrics: The lyrics stress virtuous living and ask the listener to go with the singers to visit “Uncle John’s Band” by the riverside, a suggestion of Christian baptism Charts: Pop, #69 10-5

6 Listening Guide “White Rabbit” by Jefferson Airplane (1967) Tempo: 104 beats per minute, 4 beats per bar Form: Five 12-bar sections, the first instrumental, the last with an extension Features: Opening with soft, regular beat on bass Drums enter at 3rd bar, guitar at 5th bar Recording gradually gets louder to Grace Slick’s almost screaming repetitions of “Feed your head” at the end Spanish flavor is added by a bolero rhythm and use of Phrygian mode, often used in flamenco music Lyrics: Imagery drawn from Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland and Through the Looking Glass creating a general sensory disorientation of space and time as a connection to drug use Charts: Pop, #8 10-6

7 Psychedelic Rock beyond San Francisco
The Doors (centered in Venice Beach, L.A.) Jim Morrison ( ), singer, songwriter, poet Ray Manzarek (born in 1939), keyboard player Robby Krieger (born in 1946), guitarist, songwriter John Densmore (born in 1944), drums Morrison’s problems touring, drug and alcohol abuse Arrest in Miami (1969) Death in Paris Current group, Doors of the 21st Century includes Manzarek and Krieger of the original Doors In England, Pink Floyd was both progressive and psychedelic 10-7

8 Listening Guide “Light My Fire“ by the Doors (1967) Tempo: 126 beats per minute, 4 beats per bar Form: 5-bar introduction, then ABAB with 8-bar A’s and 7-bar B’s, improvised instrumental section 145 bars long, then repeat of ABAB and an extension The long instrumental section features organ for 70 bars, then guitar with organ next 70 bars, then a repeat of the 5-bar introduction B sections function as a refrain with the same lyrics each time Features: Even beat subdivisions Backbeat played by drums, stronger in the B sections than the A ones Bass lines are played on the organ Lyrics: The singer asks a girl to help him get as high as possible, both sex and drugs are hinted at as part of the trip Charts: Pop, #1 for three weeks, British hits, #49 10-8

9 Jimi Hendrix ( ), guitarist, singer, songwriter Formed the Jimi Hendrix Experience in London, debuted in U.S. at Monterey Pop Festival (1967) Broke up Experience in 1969, moved back to U.S. and worked with a variety of musicians, including Experience drummer Mitch Mitchell Famous playing of “Star Spangled Banner” highlight of Woodstock Festival in 1969 Drug-related death in 1970 Continuing influence on guitarists to follow 10-9

10 Listening Guide All Along the Watchtower” by Bob Dylan (1968) Tempo: 126 beats per minute, 4 beats per bar Form: 8-bar sections, 2-bar chord progression with descending bass line repeats throughout Features: Even beat subdivisons 8-bar instrumental section includes strummed acoustic guitar, harmonica, electric bass, and drums No backbeat is accented Dylan plays the harmonica during instrumental sections and between vocal phrases Lyrics: Various Biblical references indicate that outside forces are coming to challenge the “city” 10-10

11 Listening Guide “All Along the Watchtower“ by Jimi Hendrix (1968) Tempo: 116 beats per minute, 4 beats per bar Form: The form of Dylan’s recording has been followed, except Hendrix extends the instrumental section to 32 bars and adds a final extension Features: Even beat subdivisions, but vocals sometimes uneven Instruments include a thick texture played by rhythm guitar, keyboard instruments, electric bass, two drums, and congas Drums and tambourine play a very strong backbeat Instrumental sections and fills feature Jimi Hendrix’s distinctive and colorful guitar style Lyrics: Dylan’s lyrics are kept the same and even amplified through repetitions of bits of phrases at the end of the recording Charts: Pop, #20, British hits, #5 10-11

12 Discussion Questions Psychedelic drugs were used, at least in part, during the sixties to help the user “drop out” of a society that she or he disapproved of. What do young adults do today when they disapprove of the government or society in general? Is music used to express that disapproval? 10-12

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