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C O U R S E 
History of Rock, 1970-Present
John Covach, University of Rochester
C O U R S E   L E C T U R E 
1970s: Hippie Aesthetic, Corporate Rock, Disco, and Punk
Notes taken on November 8, 2014 by Edward Tanguay
the 60s and 70s
many music historians make a break at 1969 with Woodstock and Altamont
the end of psychedelic era with something new happening in the 70s
but in many ways the late sixties and the 70s can be seen as a continuous piece music history
overview of the 1970s
the rise of musically ambitious groups
most groups playing music in the 70s were:
concerned with being taken serious as professionals
had a certain standard level of professional ability
even the visceral rather than cerebral type players
although punk and disco music comes along at the end of the 70s and challenges this notion
what's different about the 70s
while many genres of music were being mixed together in the psychedelia of the late 1960s including rock, world music, jazz, country and few people were concerned with these as being specialized areas of music
in the 70s these get divided up into separate styles such as country rock and progressive rock and jazz rock
you can think of it in terms of the cover of Pink Floyd's Dark Side of the Moon with 1960's psychedelia as the white light coming into the pyramid containing all kinds of stylistic elements
then on the way out of the pyramid into the 70s you get a break down into all of these different kinds of specialized styles
black rock was still quite separate
not many white people listening to rock radio who knew about black music extensively
general movements in 70s music
rise of ambitious bands
taken more as professional musicians
the punk reaction to that
the disco phenomenon
parallel track of black pop
rock is becoming a bigger and bigger business
second half of 70s, bands selling many more records
corporate rock
rock music that uses large arena venues, particularly sports venues, for concerts or series of concerts linked in tours
mega albums
people started selling albums at a volume that no one thought would ever be possible
brought multinational corporations into the business
music began to play a safer game
became less ambitious, homogenized and listener friendly
rock business grows incredibly over the course of the 70s
albums and singles become separate markets
already happening in 1967 and 1968
albums are what go to the FM radio band
singles, which had been the commodity throughout the beginning years of rock and roll
relegated mostly to the AM band
AM was hit song radio, singles
FM radio becomes bands that are mostly selling albums
in the early 1970s, if you really cared about the band, you bought the albums
people who bought singles were:
superficial listeners
seen as people who had not matured to the level of buying albums
AM was often dismissed as being sell-out, commercial, teenie-bopper
FM was were the real action was
stylistic spectrum expanded in the 1970s
the Hippie Aesthetic
a rock musician thinks of himself as an artist who has a responsibility to create sophisticated music
not just playing what you are asked to play
not constructing songs for a teen or hip market
you are writing and performing your own music
at the highest level of technical perfection that you can
proud of your musicianship
using the best technology to create the cleanest possible recordings
you don't want to be seen as someone who keeps doing the same things over and over
you want your new material to go places you haven't gone before
began in the 1960s
The Beatles, the Beach Boys, and Bob Dillon pushing the idea rock musician artist
continues into the 70s and becomes the standard model of rock music in the 70s
this is going to be the friction with disco, and to a certain degree, punk, at the end of the decade