History of Music

Originally researched and posted by AnneS




To understand the Flapper age, we need to understand the history that made it what it was: Age of Prohibition; Women’s Rights/Independence/ Speak Easys; the KKK; Gangsters….etc.

It was the era where women came out from under the thumb of their men. It was the age of the automobile……which was an expression of freedom. This became the age of rebellion by young people against their parents…..they wanted something new. It was the age of raccoon coats and swallowing live goldfish. This was the birth of jazz….

Fashion and Music of the 1920’s…Age of the Flappers…Roarin’ 20s

“What a shame.” We ain’t about to stuff the Twenties into some musty dresser next to old Aunt Mildred’s bloomers (sorry Auntie).

Roaring Twenties’ fashion and music is alive – it continues to inspire the world’s most elegant fashions and brilliant music.

Following in the footsteps of the Roaring Twenties’ style icons we will explore the huge influence of 20s flapper fashions and hairstyles.

The impact of movies and Broadway shows on fashion and music, the rise of the gangster and his role in mens fashion, and tease out the influence of jazz on the landscape of modern music.

A product of the modern age, mass popular music has become entrenched in our social world—soundtracks for life going back beyond frisky break-dancers parading streets, adeptly and skillfully footing it on urban and suburban sidewalks, ghetto blasters making shoulders robust.

I was drawn deeper into my reverie by a Janice Ian tune reminding me of time when the world was younger than today. Still, I am thinking farther back into history—before Ian’s time—back into the jazz age when the radical action of that era’s youth unsettled norms that their parents had thought were firmly etched and confirmed.

The youth of the jazz age grew up during the decade that followed the First World War, a time when the modern world would lose its innocence. The dreadfulness of that war settled like ashes at the feet of that generation and it was amidst the knowledge of those horrors that they displayed an unsettled existence. In all their actions they seemed intent to understand and recapture some of the essence of what had been lost on battlefields in foreign lands.

In the time between 1918 and 1930 the United States of America experienced tremendous changes in the social dynamic of society, influenced by an economic confidence that permeated culture as never before. Some called them the spawning of a social hysteria. Those transformations were so significant that they are credited for having defined the era—a revolution of sorts.

In the midst of change were the youth, led by the pied pipers of culture with names including Charlie Chaplin, Ernest Hemingway, Claude Mckay, Langston Hughes, Duke Ellington, and F. Scott Fitzgerald.

There was also a man named Louis Armstrong and he associated himself with another—lesser known today but significant all the same—named Joseph ‘King’ Oliver who came with his Creole Jazz Band. They brought jazz to the American north and ultimately to the world, spreading it thick over society like peanut butter on the novelty of hot, chunky slices of American bread. Jazz music was a rich, relevant, rebellious mantra for the day.

In their quest for understanding the young generation sought new truths on which they could rely as they unlearned the ones their parents had laid out. Fittingly, jazz music became the anthem for this time, or the first mass popularization of music as a vehicle in social change. Jazz was said to be the music of the outcast and for a society whose youth shirked tradition, outcast was a most appropriate term and Jazz music a most appropriate anthem.

Jazz has a long tradition as a freedom fighter’s rhythm, hailing back in American history to Louisiana and New Orleans. During the period following the American Civil War (1861-1865), Jim Crow laws penetrated Louisiana, the final frontier of free blacks in American society, and nearly half a million “Freedmen of Colour” in and around New Orleans saw their Fourteenth Amendment Rights taken away.

Finally—all equal rights and liberties were washed away as though with the deluge of blood that had flowed from the wounded and the dead of that war, and a once free people found themselves with nowhere to turn and nothing on which to rely for self-expression. However, that did not last for long.

They still had music, and so those that could, bought the musical instruments of the defeated army. Many of these once free people came from a tradition of self taught learning, and had a great deal of practice with teaching their young ones. So they combined the music they and their children had absorbed in better times during their travels abroad capturing music from countries like France, and Italy, ballads from England and Scotland, work songs from riverfronts around the world, and most importantly, Negro spirituals drawn from African lyricism. Jazz music was born, every strand echoing rhythms from here, there, and every place. It was a fusion of the world’s music and it became the means of protest against the injustices that were born out of the American Civil War.

It was not music of the defeated though, nor was it a swan song to lost freedoms; instead, Jazz music became an avenue of free, self-expression. In its origin, it was characterized by a free, loose, wildness, ignoring written composition and opting instead for improvisation. It did not balk at written traditions it merely added a new element to musicality itself. As though it was the intent of the creators, it stimulated a physical freedom that was sometimes characterized by free and untamed movements in dance.

Out of this historical tradition of free self expression, Jazz music became the anthem of the Flapper age, and cities all over America became little countries in which they flew their flags of freedom. When the Flapper persona made her debut she not only defined the era in every way, she redefined it for all time, ushering in a new age in social relations not just for young men but for young women also. They began to view certain traditions as constraining. For instance, females cut their traditional long hair into a bob that was boyish and saucily finger waved it to make it modern. Layers of clothing were removed in favor of lighter, looser attire. For the first time since it was introduced the corset was eliminated from the female wardrobe—solidifying a terrific shift in convention.

They began to wear dresses that were often sleeveless and if they chose they would opt to raise the hemline above their knees. The Flappers’ beau also changed his convention and came in all sorts: there was the so-called Joe College, sweater swank-ily tied about his shoulder; and there were young men who wore belted jackets, new Van Heusen soft collars, and trousers with wide flapping legs. These men shared the Flapper’s good times and in a rapidly changing America were like loyal subjects of their own new land.

Make no mistake, conservative America did not die, it was just forced to co-exist with new liberal norms that youth did not care to hide and were in the midst of embracing, fully. They were called the lost generation; and they were search of something; and in their display they appeared to want it all.

They thought themselves blameless for craving openly what their parents did not even allow themselves to imagine. The war was to blame. Their parents caused the war, so why should they accept any responsibility for any repercussions that their parents did not foresee and were now desperately trying to avoid? How could they be expected to balance the traditional values from times past within an era that was rapidly changing?

For example, under challenge were social events. In that not so distant past many of these had been based around the church as an arbiter of social norms and a facilitator of social gatherings. However, in this emerging age youth courtships and outings once restricted and chaperoned by the so-called responsible adult met with defiance. Little pecks on the cheeks, on the front porch, illuminated by the lantern under the watchful glare of overly protective guardians were no longer the only option. To be sure, these norms did not die. However, a new norm came to be as lovers’ lane joined the list of possibilities for curious, frisky, frivolities.

The Flapper had access to birth control by 1923, the year that Holland Rantos invented the rubber diaphragm, though this she kept between her and her beau. The act in itself was revolutionary enough. She attracted a modern sort of male, drawn to her flamboyance and modern appeal. They were the generation that was introduced to cars and at first a fortunate few could be seen in Howard Marmon’s more expensive luxury Marmon V-model vehicles. However, Henry Ford aided the masses by raising his minimum wage and making the car universally affordable offering up his rattletrap Ford Model T Tin Lizzie Flivver—produced between 1908 and 1927. New moral values and a new piece of equipment collided with old morals as young lovers cast off the conservative notions of physical exploration held in high esteem in their parents’ time and before long found themselves in back seat of the car. Lovers’ Lanes sprang up all over America as these adventurous youths parked their cars in the shadow of cities and country roads, sat back and enjoyed the pleasures of their flesh with new precautions against repercussions.

It was a new start in American popular culture characterized by a physical movement and a dance that by 1924 found itself a name; the Charleston. On and on they went, these young men and young women, arms extended, heads bent forward, females wearing risqué drop-waisted-skirts, and males with loosened shirts, stepping in a frenzied mania one step an attempt to outdo the last. Recall Daisy Buchanan and her bunch making merry until dawn on Jay Gatsby’s front lawn in author F. Scott Fitzgerald`s novel for that time The Great Gatsby.

There was an intellectual movement in change as young thinkers put a new spin on literature and movies that coincided with the new progress in music and dance. For instance authors such as Ernest Hemingway and F. Scott Fitzgerald chronicled changes even as they were occurring and at times even defined though changes. Hemingway wrote about a trend where the ultra privileged or the superbly lucky traveled across the Atlantic, soaking up a sort of European culture that seemed to be influenced only by Americans. Meanwhile as he took in the scene Fitzgerald fittingly summed up the times describing it as the Jazz Age.

They drew influence from the movies, copying trends, and were the first to see the talkies, offered to them by cultural revolutionaries such as Charlie Chaplin or Cecil B. De Mill, acted in by the likes of Rudolph Valentino, Clara Bow, Joan Crawford, and Betty Blythe, names now obscure. However, it is these names that made way for those we know today, names like Al Pacino, Kate Winslet, Jack Nicholson, Tom Hanks, Elvis Presley, Aretha Franklin, Dave Mathews, Bruce Springstein, Eric Clapton, Neil Young, Ron Sexsmith and so many others that today are more familiar.

When the youth of the jazz age embraced jazz music conservative America suffered a blow that did not end with the music. Lines of race and social distinctions were crossed as bands led by young white musician the likes of Leon “Bix” Beiderbecke joined existing groups of black musicians and helped alter the ever transformable music of jazz, forming a brotherhood of sorts.

The youth of the Jazz age defied traditions—that had almost seemed etched into the social fibre for all time—by doing what we today call clubbing. They danced the nights away—venturing into roadhouses, places that were classified as the wrong side of the track. Before that time if good, respectable boys and girls were to enjoy the pleasures of the dance hall, they did so discretely, without the knowledge of parents and more conservative friends. Before this time such activities were forbidden and were only restrictively offered up to those who were daring enough to risk gaining a certain unsavory reputation. But then things changed. With jazz music the Flappers made a most indelible mark, by crossing the track, and tampering with previously drawn lines in the sand.

To imagine such social limitations today is difficult. Think of the freedom of going to a music festival on a summer’s evening, from Vancouver to Montreal and all points between and beyond. Imagine having to take in the meaty sounds of bands like Billy Dixon’s Soul Train Express, or the sultry lyricism of Diana Krall under the suspicious scrutiny of a chaperone. Worse yet, imagine being told that this kind of music was forbidden. I once sat on a grassy bank on Vancouver’s Granville Island and watched a group of young women, no chaperones in sight, dance with hula hoops to the sounds of a Dixie band called the Johnny Doheny Project, and I observed that they whirled with a joy that was pure and sweet. It is difficult to imagine a time when such a thing would have been faux pas.

As I walk down another street, this time in Vancouver, I am drawn from another reverie by the last strains of Nick Drake’s Pink Moon. Lost in thought I had missed a favorite song, but I resisted the urge to hit the replay button on my Mp3 device. With each song competing for attention I instead embraced an instrumental sound from Vancouver’s Laila Biali, soothed by the sweet musicality and lulled into anticipating the next. I knew it would be a tune by the British Katie Melua, a phenomenal lyrical and instrumental masterpiece mixing sounds of the Orient, an accompaniment to her song Nine Million Bicycles in Beijing.

If you influenced the Jazzers the world has already bid you a fond farewell. If you were a Jazzer, we are in the process of saying good-bye, and even if you are a child of a Jazzer, you will soon be gone from us, to one and all, this is an Ode to you from the stages of festivals everywhere.

The speakeasy. The flapper. Al Capone. Boosterism. Prohibition. Cars and consumer culture. The roaring twenties. Through these popular images, the colorful decade of the 1920s still resonates among generations that never experienced it. Yet the popular stereotype of this crucial decade largely obscures its greater cultural and historical significance. From a cultural and historical perspective, the 1910s and 1920s were marked by a deep clash of cultures.

During the previous half century, the United States had undergone probably the most dramatic metamorphosis of its short history. It had transformed itself from a fragmented, regional agrarian economy into one of the most powerful industrial and urban economies of the world. The prospect of economic opportunity drew millions of immigrants from abroad into its factories and cities. The farmer, who had occupied a favored place in American mythology since the time of Thomas Jefferson, rapidly gave way to the industrialist, the capitalist, and the entrepreneur. The town, the cultural center of preindustrial America, rapidly gave way to the city. The Victorian value system that prioritized restraint and had dominated mainstream American life in the nineteenth century gave way (over a half-century of struggle) to the more relaxed morals of the twentieth century. In an increasingly consumer-based society, leisure and pleasure were now prized over hard work and self-denial.


The automobile was a principal symbol of the new era.
The economic, political, and social changes of the past half-century manifested themselves in a widespread clash of cultures. As twentieth century modernity increasingly challenged Victorian traditions, this provoked a defense of older values. The watershed years for this fundamental transition in American culture were the 1910s and 1920s. Although the various sides in the cultural debate cannot easily be defined, historians have noted a general division between those who embraced the new changes and looked with hope to the future and those who idealized the past and resisted cultural change. At the same time, the values of the new industrial economy as well as the lingering traditions from Victorian America suffused all sides in this cultural debate and blurred the lines between the various parties.

One such area of conflict centered on Prohibition.

The temperance movement, the effort to limit and/or ban alcohol consumption, began in the early nineteenth century, but it was not until the eve of the 1920s that reformers succeeded in passing a constitutional amendment that forbade the manufacture, sale, and transportation of alcoholic beverages. This passage of national Prohibition precipitated a major cultural clash in the 1920s between those who favored Prohibition and those who wished to repeal it. Ironically, industrialization influenced both movements. Those in favor of Prohibition believed that alcohol consumption limited one’s ability to participate productively in the new industrial society. Those who opposed the amendment believed that an outdated moralism was responsible for Prohibition and argued that the changes of the past several decades, which they deemed to be progressive and objective, had rendered the morality of preindustrial America obsolete.

Another area of conflict was the changing role of women in American society. The transformation from an agrarian economy to an industrial one created new opportunities for women, particularly single young women. Now enjoying the freedom that comes from having an independent source of income, many women created a new culture for themselves that centered on consumer culture and mass entertainment. Many, however, considered the new woman to be a threat to social morality and opposed the flapper, the icon of the new woman in the 1920s, and what she represented.

The 1920s were also marked by a high degree of racial and ethnic conflict. One of the least-remembered facts regarding the 1920s is that it was the golden age of the Ku Klux Klan. While the KKK purported to represent “old-fashioned values,” it unabashedly adopted the new methodologies of the industrial economy. Although the Klan continued to target African Americans, it focused much of its attention on the rising immigrant population of the cities. Indeed, the clash between immigrants and those who opposed virtually all immigration to the United States, particularly from southern and eastern Europe, was very prominent in the 1920s. Yet, at the same time, the workforce that the new immigrants represented was crucial to the health of the industrial economy, which greatly complicated this cultural debate.

One of the most prominent episodes of the 1920s, the Scopes trial, epitomizes the complexity of this cultural clash. The trial of John T. Scopes, a high school biology teacher accused of teaching evolution in the classroom, took on a life of its own when prominent politician William Jennings Bryan agreed to serve as prosecutor while famed lawyer Clarence Darrow came to Scopes’ defense. The trial soon became an international spectacle. Although caricatured in such films/plays as Inherit the Wind as a clash between ignorant, backwoods fundamentalists and enlightened moderns, the reality of the Scopes trial was far more complex.

The people of Dayton were not nearly so backward as they were portrayed in the media. Taking advantage of the national media, so-called Dayton boosters engineered the trial to attract tourism and economic opportunity to their town. Nonetheless, the trial took on a life of its own and, to many, brought into sharp focus some of the issues at stake in the great cultural debates of the decade; however, a close look at the positions of each side demonstrates that they were much more complex than most people view them today.

Just as the icons of the 1920s, such as the speakeasy and the flapper, are still with us today, so too are the legacies of these cultural clashes. The issues at stake were never fully resolved. The debate over prohibition continues today in the debate over cigarettes and the legalization of marijuana and other controlled substances. The place of women in American society continues to be a subject of much discussion. Many recent events show that race continues to be a compelling issue in American politics and society. Indeed, even the issues at stake in the Scopes trial continue to be debated on public school boards around the country, most recently in Kansas. A look at the cultural clash of the 1920s provides an important historical backdrop to issues that continue to resonate in American culture.

Sources: http://ehistory.osu.edu/osu/mmh/clash/Introduction/Intro.htm




1950′ The beginnings of Rock and Roll


Article from Education Department, Saatchi Gallery Contemporary Art in London.

It is hard to believe, but there was once a time when there was no rock music. Most historians trace the beginning rock back to the year 1954, when a new type of music, then called Rock and Roll, appeared and revolutionized musical tastes, at least among young people, and pretty much changed the world.

This new music, of course did not develop in a vacuum, but resulted from the convergence of two musical styles, Rhythm and Blues and Country, as well as a series of technological developments that created a new market for music.

Like Jazz, Rhythm and Blues developed from the music called the Blues. The Blues, to review what you have already learned in the Jazz unit, “grew out of African spirituals and work songs sung by African-Americans in the South. Many of these people had been brought to the United States as slaves, and before the Civil war they labored in difficult situations on the Southern plantations. ‘Call and response’ was often used as a means of communication by the workers in the fields, who fooled the plantation owners into thinking that their music was the ‘happy’ music of hard working slaves.”

Rhythm and Blues developed from the Blues, and Rock and Roll developed from Rhythm and Blues (R&B). Little Richard, one of the great innovators in 1950’s rock music, has often said that “Rhythm and Blues had a baby and somebody named it rock and roll.” He, of course is absolutely right, and a number of important R&B artists were part of the beginning of Rock and Roll. Among them were Muddy Waters, Willie Mae Thornton, Joe Turner and Ray Charles.

While music was developing, technology was also changing. In the late 1940’s and early 1950’s, phonograph records were large and heavy and easily damaged. These records played at 78 rpm’s (78 revolutions per minute) and were played on rather awkward record players that were usually part of a large piece of furniture (console), which often was located in the living room. Stereo had not yet been invented. In many homes, the entire family would sit around the living room listening to bands like Glen Miller, Tommy Dorsey and Benny Goodman, and soloists like Frank Sinatra, Patti Paige, Doris Day, and Eddie Fisher. Record companies marketed music to adults and radio stations played music that would appeal to the entire family.

In the 1950’s, records began to change with the development of new technology that led to both the 33 rpm record and the 45 rpm record. The advantage of the new technology was that more musical information could be put on a record, and it was of higher technical quality. Thus, the 33 became popular because more music could be put on a 33 than several 78’s and it sounded much better. The 45’s were much smaller in size and contained one song on each side. These, as you might guess, were called singles. Not only were 45’s much cheaper to buy than the old 78’s and the larger 33’s, but they could be played on a small record player that could be purchased inexpensively by a teenager and kept in his or her room.

This meant that there were now two markets for music, one for adults who bought mostly 33 rpm records and continued to play them on console phonographs and the other for young people, who bought mostly 45’s and played them on small phonos in their rooms.

Also during this period, the “transistor radio” was invented and became popular. This meant that radios became much smaller and much less expensive, and like the small phonographs soon found their way to young people’s rooms. Car radios were also becoming more popular, and more people were listening to the radio while driving. For a long time, the radio was an expensive option in a car. It is hard to imagine a car without a radio today, just as sometime in the not to distant future, it will be hard to imagine a car without a telephone. But in the 1950’s radios were just beginning to become standard equipment in cars.
Radio stations began to program their music to fit the demographics of a new audience. The audience, which until the early 1950’s was a pretty homogeneous audience, now was divided into segments with different interests and people listened to music in a number of places, including their cars. This all meant that some radio stations played music for adults and some stations played music for the teens.

Not surprisingly, young people were tired of the music their parents listened to and they started to look for something new. The white teens of the major metropolitan areas such as New York, Chicago, Detroit and Los Angeles began to turn to the stations that played music they had never heard before. It turned out that the music being played on the “black” radio stations in those cities was Rhythm and Blues (R&B). This music, was of course, familiar to the black population in America, but was brand new for many whites. Since the white audience was so much larger than the black audience, radio stations and record companies released that a major shift in listening patterns was about to occur, and in order to keep the white audience, as well as to appeal to the black audience, they needed to broadcast and promote R&B, or something like R&B.

Big Joe Turner’s song “Shake, Rattle and Roll” began to be played on the white stations. The white record companies started looking for white acts (in the foolish belief, soon to be proved wrong, that white kids wouldn’t buy records by black performers) that played something resembling R&B. Groups like Bill Haley and His Comets (originally a country band called the Saddlemen) and soloists like Elvis Presley brought a strong country background to the music, and this combination of R&B and Country became Rock and Roll.

45 rpm vinils could be purchased inexpensively by a teenagers . Music became a consuption good for tue hew generation available for listening at their rooms or take to parties.

These influences combined in a simple, blues-based song structure that was fast, sexy, catchy and could be danced to easily and with excitement. These qualities, along with the fact that it horrified adults in general and parents in particular, caused Rock and Roll to become immensely popular with teenagers, who then, for the first time had their own music.

Among the important bands and soloists in 1950’s Rock and Roll were Willie Mae Thornton, Big Joe Turner, Bill Haley and His Comets, Chuck Berry, Elvis Presley, Little Richard, Jerry Lee Lewis, Buddy Holly and the Crickets, Fats Domino, Bo Diddley, Gene Vincent, the Everly Brothers, and Carl Perkins. Unfortunately, we can’t cover all of them in this course, but we try to give you a representative group.

These influences combined in a simple, blues-based song structure that was fast, sexy, catchy and could be danced to easily and with excitement. These qualities, along with the fact that it horrified adults in general and parents in particular, caused Rock and Roll to become immensely popular with teenagers, who then, for the first time had their own music.

Among the important bands and soloists in 1950’s Rock and Roll were Willie Mae Thornton, Big Joe Turner, Bill Haley and His Comets, Chuck Berry, Elvis Presley, Little Richard, Jerry Lee Lewis, Buddy Holly and the Crickets, Fats Domino, Bo Diddley, Gene Vincent, the Everly Brothers, and Carl Perkins. Unfortunately, we can’t cover all of them in this course, but we try to give you a representative group.



Old School Rap Hip-Hop Timeline…..1970-1989

Compiled by AnneS


The Last Poets release their eponymous debut album. It’s combination of spare funk and aggressive, socially-conscious spoken word will be an early brick in the foundation of what would come to be hip-hop.James Brown releases ‘The Big Payback’, an early funk gem that emphasizes the groove rather than melody over his aggressively spoken vocals.A young immigrant from Kingston, Jamaica named Clive Campbell begins deejaying at local parties. As DJ Kool Herc, he invents a new technique of deejaying that would cut two of the same records and extend the middle instrumental, or ‘break,’ of the popular funk and disco songs of the day.1972
DJ Hollywood, a club DJ from Manhattan; begins rhyming over popular disco hits at his trendy night spots. It is alleged that Hollywood coins the term ‘hip-hop’ though some say his partner, Lovebug Starski, came up with the term.1974
A former gang member-turned-DJ named Afrika Bambaataa meets a young grafitti artist named Fab 5 Freddy; a regular on the burgeoning hip-hop scene. Soon after, Bambaataa forms the Zulu Nation and catagorizes what he calls the ‘Four Elements’ of hip-hop: DJing, Breaking, Graf Artists and MCing1975
DJ Kool Herc coins the term break-boy to describe dancers that would dance during his extended breaks in the music. Soon, the term is shortened to b-boy and the style is called ‘breakdancing.’ Herc also takes an up-and-coming DJ named Grandmaster Flash under his wings.

Grandmaster Flash begins working on a new, revolutionary technique of DJing: In addition to extending the break of a song, he begins mixing bits of two different songs together. Using headphones, he’s able to get the songs to overlap and connect. His new ‘mixing’ technique would be adopted by every hip-hop DJ to follow.

Flash’s partner, Mean Gene, has a thirteen-year-old-brother named Theodore that is also beginning to DJ at local parties. After accidently sliding the record under the needle; a young Grand Wizard Theodore takes DJing a step forward by pushing the record back and forth lightly under the needle during breaks. He calls his new technique ‘scratching.’

A group of party promoters called the Force stumble across a young DJ named Kool DJ Kurt. One particularly bold and aggressive member of the Force is a young man named Russell Simmons.

The legendary Rock Steady Crew of breakdancers is founded in the Bronx.

The Crash Crew, one of the first recorded MC crews, forms in Harlem.

Russell “Rush” Simmons moves the Force to Queens and convinces Kool DJ Kurt to begin rapping. Simmons decides to change Kurt’s name to Kurtis Blow and enlists his kid brother, Joey, to be Kurt’s DJ. Joey changes his name to ‘DJ Run.’

DJing, up to this point the primary force in hip-hop, begins to take a backseat to MCing.

The Cold Crush Brothers form after Almight KG meets DJ Charlie Chase.

Wendy Clark aka ‘Lady B’ begins spinning hip-hop records on WHAT 1340 AM in Philadelphia;furthering hip-hop’s expansion outside of New York. Later that year, she also becomes one of hip-hop’s first female artists when she releases “To the Beat Y’all.”

The Funky Four One is forms with one of hip-hop’s first female MCs, Sha Rock.

The funk band Fatback releases ‘King Tim III (Personality Jock).’ Though it doesn’t gain much attention, it is the first mainstream rap single.

Under manager Russell Simmons, Kurtis Blow becomes the first rapper to sign a record deal with a major label.

Sylvia Robinson founds Sugarhill Records and, after hearing a bootleg of The Cold Crush Brothers, decides to put together a rap group called ‘The Sugarhill Gang.’

The Sugarhill Gang releases ‘Rapper’s Delight.’ Built on a sample of Chic’s disco hit ‘Good Times’ and written by Grandmaster Caz of the Cold Crush Brothers, it goes on to become hip-hop’s first hit and mainstream America’s first exposure to rap music.

In order to capitalize on the growth of MCing in hip-hop, Grandmaster Flash recruits three of his friends, Keith “Cowboy” Wiggins, Melvin “Melle Mel” and Nathaniel “Kid Creole” Glover, who perform as The 3 MCs. Soon, they add Guy “Raheim” Williams and Eddie “Scorpio” Morris and change their name to Grandmaster Flash and the Furious Five.

The new wave band Blondie releases the single ‘Rapture’. It features a rapping vocal by lead singer Debbie Harry and mentions Fab 5 Freddy and Grandmaster Flash, furthering hip-hop’s push into the mainstream.

With “Rapper’s Delight” still riding the charts, Kurtis Blow releases his first single, “Christmas Rappin'”. Blow’s second single, “The Breaks,” is a hit; and becomes hip-hop’s first gold single. In his shows, Blow now sometimes allows DJ Run to rhyme with him.

At a DJ battle in Two-Fifths Park in Hollis, Queens; DJ Run and his friend, Darryl “Easy Dee” McDaniels, meet a young DJ named Jason “Jazzy Jase” Mizell.

Treacherous Three release “The New Rap Language” as a single. It incorporates a new style of rapping, dubbed “speed-rapping.”

Grandmaster Flash releases “The Adventures of Grandmaster Flash On the Wheels of Steel”, the first record to only showcase turntablism.

Russell Simmons helps his little brother, Run, record a song called “Street Kid.” It goes nowhere, but Run still wants to record. After hearing Run’s friend, Darryl (now calling himself “D”), Russell begrudgingly makes Run and D a duo.

Whodini becomes the first rap group to shoot an official video for their song “Magic’s Wand.”

The film “Wild Style” is released. Showcasing DJs, graf artists, breakdancing and MC battles, it is Hollywood’s first foray into hip-hop culture and begins a small “rapsploitation” period on film.

After Run and D graduate from high school, they enlist Jazzy Jase, their DJ friend from Hollis; who now calls himself ‘Jam Master Jay’. Russell Simmons decides to change the group’s name to Run DMC and begins work on a single. Simmons also lands the group a deal with Profile Records.

Grandmaster Flash and the Furious Five release ‘The Message.’ Moving away from hip-hop’s party-oriented singles and focusing on the realities of inner-city poverty; it is a landmark moment for hip-hop.

Run-D.M.C. release their first single, “Sucker MCs/It’s Like That.” With it’s spare beats and hard, aggressive rhymes, it signals the beginning of the end for “Old School” hip-hop artists.

A New York post-punk band called the Beastie Boys decides to switch their sound from punk to rap after attending a party thrown by Fab 5 Freddy.

Run DMC release their eponymous debut on Profile Records. It becomes a hit and introduces the ‘new school’ approach to hip-hop music: Hardcore, aggressive street rhymes over spare, funky beats with a heavy metal twist. Run DMC also become the first rap group to get consistent airplay on MTV and Top 40 rock radio.

The film “Breakin” is released; with “Beat Street” coming soon after; continuing the hip-hop push into Hollywood.” Beat Street” also showcases a young performer named Doug E. Fresh, who has the uncanny ability to ‘beatbox’ – mimic musical effects using only his mouth.

Russell Simmons meets a young college kid named Rick Rubin, an avid fan of rap music. Together, Simmons and Rubin found a small record label and run it out of Rubin’s college dormroom at NYU. They name their new label Def Jam.

U.T.F.O.; (formerly the backup dancers for Whodini), release “Roxanne, Roxanne.” It goes on to become one of the most popular rap songs of all-time and spawns more than two dozen ‘response’ songs, including “Roxanne, You’re Through,” “The Real Roxanne,” “Roxanne’s Mother,” and most notably, “Roxanne’s Revenge” by 13-year-old Roxanne Shante.

After hearing an underground single called “Public Enemy #1″ by a college radio DJ named Chuck D.; Rick Rubin tries to recruit the reluctant rapper for his new label.

Def Jam issues it’s first single, “It’s Yours,” by T La Rock and Jazzy Jay.

A young former delinquint-turned-rap-hopeful named Kris Parker meets social worker-and-sometimes-DJ Scott Sterling (aka Scott La Rock) at a Bronx homeless shelter. The two decide to form a rap group called Boogie Down Productions.

Doug E. Fresh records his classic single, “The Show,” with the Get Fresh Crew and his new partner, MC Ricky D (aka Slick Rick.)

Run DMC release their second album, ‘King of Rock.’ Like their debut, it is a hit; and furthers the combination of rap and hard rock.

A 16-year-old LL Cool J releases his debut album, “Radio.” It is the first album to be released by up-and-coming rap label, Def Jam.

Def Jam finances and releases it’s own rap movie, “Krush Groove”. Based on Russell Simmons life and starring Blair Underwood (as Russell), Run DMC, Kurtis Blow, the Fat Boys and the newly-signed Beastie Boys; the film becomes a hit.

Queens native MC Shan and his superproducer cousin, Marley Marl, release the single ‘The Bridge.’ Though virtually unnoticed by the mainstream press, the song is an instant classic in hip-hop circles. Featuring steller ‘new-school’ production from Marl and clever lyrics in which Shan arrogantly announts his home, the Queensbridge Projects, hip-hop’s new homebase; the song raised the ire of the newly-formed, South Bronx-based Boogie Down Productions. BDP’s KRS-One disses Shan, Marl and Queens equally in the hard-hitting single, ‘The Bridge Is Over;’ igniting hip-hop’s first major rivalry and leaving fans eagerly awaiting Boogie Down Production’s first full-length album.

Run DMC release their third album, “Raising Hell.” Sparked by the Aerosmith collaboration, “Walk This Way,” it is an instant hit. It is a cultural milestone for hip-hop, spawning four hit singles and becoming the first multi-platinum rap album. “Raising Hell” cements Run-D.M.C.’s place as the kings of the rap world, and kick-starts hip-hop’s ‘Golden Age,’ bringing the final curtain down on the ‘Old School.’

Hip-hop’s first White rap group, the Beastie Boys, release their debut album, “Licensed to Ill,” on Def Jam Records. It goes on to become the best-selling rap album of the decade.

LL Cool J’s debut, “Radio,” becomes certified platinum as Def Jam Records becomes the premiere label in hip-hop.

A new hip-hop duo named Eric B. & Rakim release their first single, “Eric B. Is President.” It is another benchmark moment in hip-hop; as Rakim’s clever wordplay and complex rhyme schemes usher in a new era of MCing as an artform.

Run-D.M.C. becomes the first rap group nominated for a Grammy; for best “R&B Vocal Performance.”

Salt-N-Pepa; a new female rap group; release their debut album, “Hot, Cool & Vicious.” It becomes a moderate hit.

Rick Rubin signs Chuck D. and his newly-formed group, Public Enemy, to Def Jam.

Boogie Down Productions releases their debut album, “Criminal Minded.” Building on Run-D.M.C.’s hardcore, minimalist approach and focusing more on the harsh realities of ghetto life; it becomes an instant classic among hip-hop fans. Lead MC, KRS-One; becomes an especially respected rapper among culture aficionados.

Public Enemy release their debut album, “Yo! Bum Rush the Show,” on Def Jam. While it is praised by critics, it fails to make an impression on the charts.

Cameron Paul, a San Francisco DJ; remixes ‘Push It,’ a tune from Salt-N-Pepa’s (year-old) album, “Hot, Cool & Vicious.” The single is released nationally and becomes a hit; hitting number 19 on the pop charts and is nominated for a Grammy.

A former L.A. drug dealer named Eazy-E (born Eric Wright) uses his money to finance a small indie rap label called Ruthless Records. He signs a local group called H.B.O. as his first act. He also recruits Andre ‘Dr. Dre’ Young– a DJ/Producer from the R&B group World Class Wreckin’ Cru; and Oshea Jackson, an up-and-coming MC who calls himself Ice Cube.

Eric B. & Rakim release their debut album, “Paid In Full,” kick-starting hip-hop’s love affair with James Brown samples. The emergence of Rakim, in particular, heralds the dawn of the modern MC.

L.A. rapper, Ice-T, releases his debut album, “Rhyme Pays,” and becomes one of the first West Coast MCs to garner national attention. His single, ‘Six In the Morning,” is groundbreaking in it’s harsh and explicit depiction of street hustling and the criminal lifestyle.

Philadelphia duo DJ Jazzy Jeff & the Fresh Prince debut with “Rock the House.” With their fun, good-natured rhymes and humorous videos; the twosome become a favorite on MTV and the album goes gold.

After H.B.O. fails to make an impression on the L.A. rap scene; Eazy-E, Dr. Dre, Ice Cube, and DJ Yella, (also from the World Class Wreckin’ Cru), form a new group called N.W.A (Niggaz With Attitudes). They rush-release an EP for fledgling Ruthless Records called “N.W.A. and the Posse.” It goes nowhere. Eazy then recruits Lorenzo ‘M.C. Ren’ Wright, a young rapper from South Central, to join them as they go back into the studio to revamp their sound.

MC Hammer, an Oakland-based dancer-turned-rapper releases his debut album, “Let’s Get It Started.” It generates a few moderate hits, and Hammer gains attention for his exuberant dance moves and simple party raps.

After their show in Los Angeles ends in violence, Run-D.M.C. is blamed in the press for inciting the riot. The group calls a press conference to defend itself, and hip-hop is immediately thrust under a microscope by moral watchdogs and right-wing politicians.

Erick Sermon and Parish Smith, collectively known as EPMD, release their debut album, “Strictly Business.” The pair become one of the most celebrated duos in the hip-hop underground and shun the spotlight in the wake of rap music’s exploding popularity.

As Boogie Down Productions begins production on their second album; DJ Scott La Rock is gunned down following an altercation. Stunned by the sudden death of his partner, KRS-One soldiers on, and as ‘The Teacha,’ promotes a more educated and socially aware approach to hardcore hip-hop.

MC Lyte; a brash, young ‘female’ MC, becomes the first female hardcore rapper signed to a major label and releases her debut album, “Lyte As A Rock.”

Public Enemy release their second album, “It Takes A Nation of Millions to Hold Us Back.” With it’s use of dense, layered sampling, hard funk, and politically incendiary rhymes; it is hailed by rap and rock critics alike as a landmark recording. Public Enemy skyrockets toward the forefront of popular music.

Ice-T’s second album, “Power,” becomes the first rap album to carry a Parental Advisory warning label.

Afrika Bambaataa froms the Native Tongues crew and, (after hearing an underground single called ‘Wrath of My Madness’); recruits a young female MC from New Jersey named Queen Latifah.

N.W.A. releases their first full-fledged album, “Straight Outta Compton.” Taking the hardcore sonic attack of Public Enemy and merging it with brutally explicit tales of the crime-ridden streets of South Central Los Angeles; it becomes a watershed moment for ‘gangsta rap’ and fully opens the door for West Coast rappers to gain national attention.

Run D.M.C. finally release their follow-up to ‘Raising Hell;’ called ‘Tougher Than Leather,’ and star in a movie of the same name. The movie bombs at the box office and though the album goes platinum and is praised by critics; it is considered a commercial disappointment for the group.

DJ Jazzy Jeff & the Fresh Prince release their second album, a double-set called “He’s the DJ, I’m the Rapper.” Boosted by the immensely popular single, ‘Parents Just Don’t Understand;’ the album is a smash–selling 2.5 million copies.

N.W.A.’s song, ‘Fuck the Police,’ incites controversy for it’s lyrics and leads the F.B.I. to issue a formal warning to the group, Ruthless Records, and it’s parent-label, Priority. This starts a long-standing battle between the powers-that-be and gangsta rap.

A trio of friends from Harlem NY, the Jungle Brothers, release their debut album, ‘Straight Out The Jungle’ on the small Idler label. Though the album doesn’t gain much attention, it does provide a new slant on hip-hop that is neither ‘gangsta’ nor overtly political. Joining up with Afrika Bambaataa’s “Native Tongues’ crew, and incorporating elements of jazz and house music and using Afrocentric themes, the Jungles Brothers introduce a new subgenre that would later be dubbed ‘alternative’ rap.

Public Enemy release their much-anticipated third album, “Fear of A Black Planet” to strong sales and reviews despite controversy over anti-Semitic remarks made by group member Professor Griff in an interview. Chuck D formally dismisses Griff from group.

The Grammy committee announces that rap will be given it’s own official Grammy catagory. The news is bittersweet, however, after it is announced that the presentation will not be televised. As a result, many of the most prominent rappers, (including Salt-N-Pepa, Public Enemy, DJ Jazzy Jeff & the Fresh Prince, Ice-T and more), host a Boycott-The-Grammys Party on MTV the night of the broadcast. DJ Jazzy Jeff & the Fresh Prince go on to win the award.

After a year of buzz surrounding her underground singles, Queen Latifah releases her debut album, “All Hail the Queen.” It is praised immensely by the hip-hop community for it’s positive outlook and strong feminist overtones.

In an effort to quell the surge of Black-On-Black crime in New York (and as tribute to Scott La Rock); KRS-One organizes the Stop the Violence movement with several New York rappers. Soon, the Movement goes national as West Coast MCs get involved as well. The result is two public-service singles denouncing violence, ‘Self Destruction’ in New York, and ‘We’re All In the Same Gang’ in Los Angeles.

Doug E. Fresh’s former partner, MC Ricky D–now calling himself ‘Slick Rick releases his solo debut, “The Great Adventures of Slick Rick” on Def Jam Records. With a gift for clever, laid-back rhymes and vivid storytelling, Rick is immediately elevated to the top-tier of MCs.

After a controversial tour promoting ‘Straight Outta Compton’ with N.W.A, Ice Cube announces he’s leaving the group after a financial dispute with Eazy-E and manager, Jerry Heller.

De La Soul, a young rap group from Long Island, New York (and also affiliated with the Native Tongues collective), release their debut, “3 Feet High & Rising” on Tommy Boy Records. Building on quirky samples from rock, funk, folk, country and soul and using wordplay that ranged from psychadelic musings to outright jibberish, the group is immediately hailed as the ‘future of hip-hop music.’

MC Hammer releases his sophomore effort, “Please Hammer, Don’t Hurt ‘Em.” The album is bashed by critics and scoffed at by hip-hop purists, but becomes a mammoth hit. Spurred by the wildly popular single, ‘U Can’t Touch This,’ and heavy video rotation on MTV, the album sells ten million copies- and with his flashy dancing and trademark baggy pants, MC Hammer becomes an international superstar.

The Beastie Boys, after a long and bitter exit from Def Jam Records, finally release their second album, “Paul’s Boutique.” Trading the frat-boy humor of their debut in favor of dense samples, sprawling sound collages and abstract lyrical themes, the album flops as most fans and critics don’t know what to make of the record.

2 Live Crew, a Florida-based party-rap group, releases their third album, “As Nasty As They Wanna Be.” It is an extremely explicit and sexually provocative–(with the lyrics reaching near-pornographic proportions), and is banned from sale in the state of Florida. The group themselves are arrested for lewdness after performing a concert in Miami. After going to court for the right to perform and write music as they want to, the group is found not guilty in what becomes a heated debate over decency and the First Amendment.

Rick Rubin leaves Def Jam and forms a new label, dubbed Def American.

Yo! MTV Raps makes it’s debut, with host Fab 5 Freddy. For the first time, the entire country has a platform to watch the latest music videos by all of the top rap artists.


Metal Music History:
Compiled by AnneS

Metal music is a worldwide form of music that has held the attention of younger generations for over 50 years. Metal music has branched off into different sub genres, but one thing is the main motivator for the survival of metal music through all the generations. That is a need for younger generations to rebel against the status quo, to express themselves and their frustration of an outdated way of life.

Black Sabbath were the first real metal band, and become the inspiration for the sub genre Doom Metal. Metal went on through Judas Priest and Iron Maiden, while other bands such as Motorhead, Iron Maiden Metallica belonged to the sub genre, infused punk.

Metal bands began to look further from the blues scale that Black Sabbath used and went on to use diatonic modes. This sparked a new phenomenon that spread through nearly all of the sub genres of metal.

In the 80s, the sub genre of thrash metal evolved into death metal. Some of the prominent death metal bands of that time were Possessed and Death. Traditional metal also began in the 80s and bands like Fates Warning and Queensrysce were accepted into the mainstream of music.

More sub genres of metal surfaced quickly in the 90s, including Stoner Metal and Sludge Metal.

Sub Genres Of Metal Music:
Metal, much like rock, is made up of many sub-genres. Metal genres can at times be difficult to differentiate as they seem similar but have small changes in overall structural, temperamental, instrumental and vocal changes. This is made even more difficult to differentiate, as often sub genres are similar to each other in other genres.

Black Metal:

Black metal evolved from thrash metal. Black metal is not as cold and brutal as thrash, although it is still considered to be an extreme genre. The sound is a combination of tremolo bass and vocals are usually screamed or yelled by performers. Themes of Black metal are usually supernatural or occult in nature.

Death Metal:

Death metal is closely related to thrash metal. It tends to be more brutal in nature, with odd chord progressions and mixed up time changes. Like many genres of metal, the words of the songs include themes that relate to the occult and the darker side of human nature.

Doom Metal:

Doom metal emphasizes emotion, melancholy and depression. Tempos are usually slower with somber harmonies. Doom metal has the same type of vocals as death and black metal. Classical instruments are also used a lot in Doom metal to enhance the mood of the music.

Folk Metal:

Folk metal started out as a fusion of folk rock, power metal and black metal. Now it is a term given to folk-themed bands that use folk based lyrics and themes, including instruments.

Glam Metal:

Glam metal was popular in the 80s and was also known as hair metal. Many of the band members used makeup, similar to the 70s glam rock bands and Idols such as Alice Cooper.

Gothic Metal:

Goth Metal had the same style as doom, black and death metal, but used heavy keyboard sounds with romantic story like words. Goth metal often used two vocalists.


Grindcore is like thrash metal with tones of hardcore and punk. Vocals are a lot like death metal and the songs tended to be very short. Grindcore today is mostly influenced by death metal.

Heavy Metal:

Heavy metal is the origin of the genres and where metal music got its name. Loud rasping vocals and long solos with the guitar characterize heavy metal. The words of the songs are often unfocused on any particular theme.

Industrial Metal:

Industrial metal uses Distortion of guitar sounds, synthesizers and drum machines. Industrial is heavily influenced by techno and industrial music.


Metal core bands use the vocals and beat of American Hardcore metal with the instruments, such as guitars that are used in European thrash metal.

Neo-classical Metal:

Neo-Classical uses parts of classical music in normal metal music.

Nu Metal:

Nu Metal has very little to do with heavy metal and is largely influenced by Hip Hop.

Power Metal:

Power metal is more upbeat and uses clear vocals. Power metal uses science fiction or fantasy themes and is inspiring to the listener.

Progressive Metal:

Progressive metal is sophisticated and complex. Vocals are clean and often lean towards philosophy or politics. Progressive metal is very much like progressive rock.

Thrash Metal:

Thrash Metal is heavy metal combined with hardcore punk. Thrash is usually complex with many tempo add time changes. The words are usually yelled, although they remain in tune and melodic. Thrash was also the first metal genre



A story of heavy metal and my life!

Heavy Metal is more than just a style of music, its a way of life. It has been a large part of my life as far back as I can remember. In this page I am going to attempt to give a short history of metal as well as tell you a little bit about myself. I was born in Trenton, NJ in March of 1967. I started listening to hard rock and what became known as metal as early as 5 years old because of a neighbors who turned me on to Aerosmith. Being born in NJ and living close to Philadelphia and New York City, I was in the heart of the NY metal movement in the 80’s, but I am getting ahead of myself. Lets start from the beginning…

(Please note that this is not a complete history, it is only the history as I saw it and as it happened in my life.)

Heavy metal derived from the loud blues-rock and psychedelia of the late ’60s. For the most part, metal lost most of the blues influences and leaving the powerful, loud, guitar riffs. In the late 60’s and early ’70s, heavy metal began establishing itself as one of the most commercially successful forms of aggressive rock & roll. Guitarists like Jimi Hendrix and bands like Cream, The Who, Steppenwolf, Hawkwind, Alice Cooper, and Led Zeppelin fused heavy guitars with blues based rock ‘n roll and began to put on outrageous live performances. These bands also began to gain dedicated and loyal followers, as opposed to most of the “here to today, gone tomorrow” pop stars that would attract instant popularity, only to lose it all within a few months.
Robert Plant (Led Zeppelin)

By the mid-70’s, the leaders of the new heavy metal movement were being established and beginning to influence a whole new school of metal fans. Bands like Black Sabbath, Deep Purple, Thin Lizzy, Aerosmith, AC/DC, Uriah Heep, Nazareth, Angel, and Judas Priest were beginning to gain large audiences. Of course KISS would be one of the biggest bands to emerge from the 70’s. Their impact on the 80’s metal explosion would be enormous; not just the music but also the gigantic, bigger than life, stage persona and show

KISS (1976)

Below are some incredible albums that are usually credited with being the true beginning of HEAVY METAL!

Led Zeppelin (’69)

Deep Purple-Machine Head (’72)

Black Sabbath (’70)

While these albums are usually credited with being the start of metal, they were not for the start for me. It was actually the second wave of bands that caught my attention, mostly because this was about the time that I was old enough to start listening to music. I can remember listening to Aerosmith’s “Toy in the Attic” for the first time when I was in grade school. I was mesmerized and from then until today have been a huge Aerosmith fan, as well as a big metal fanatic. (Since then, I have bought every Aerosmith album the day it was released. I actually hitch hiked to the mall to buy Aerosmith’s “Done With Mirrors” when I was in college.)

Aerosmith (1976)

Even in grade school I would brag to friends that I had the new Aerosmith record. I even got into a playground fight because someone said that Led Zeppelin was a better band than Aerosmith. I can remember being mocked for listening to Rush, Ted Nugent, Queen, Mahogany Rush etc. when the “cool” bands were Bay City Rollers, the Jackson 5 and KC & the Sunshine Band. (GAK!!!) Disco was in; Donna Summer, the Bee Gees, Saturday Night Fever were all the rage-but I was a metal addict. KISS was probably my biggest addiction of the time, as their posters and magazine photos took up every inch of wall space I had in my bedroom. While KISS did disappoint through the late 70’s/early 80’s, I remained a KISS fan and still am one to this very day. Aerosmith and KISS were actually the first two albums that I bought. (ok, actually my parents bought them for me.) Aerosmith “Toys in the Attic” and KISS “Destroyer”

Two records that changed my life in the mid 70’s

Aerosmith-Toys in the Attic (’76)

Kiss-Destroyer (’76)

The late 70’s disco was all but dead and albums like Thin Lizzy’s “Live & Dangerous” and Boston’s “Don’t Look Back” were gracing my turntable. (and of course Aerosmith’s “Night in the Ruts”) This is also about the time I discovered, what is now refered to as “true metal” or “classic heavy metal”

Through the next decades, metal adapted itself to the times and it would never completely disappeared from the charts. Trends came and went, as did the trendy followers, but metal fans were devoted. In the early 80s, heavy metal exploded in popularity. Judas Priest, although they had been touring and recording albums since the early 70’s, experienced a major popularity surge in ’82 with the release of “Screaming for Vengeance.” It was actually this band that pulled me deeper into the metal culture. Upon hearing the classic “Stained Class” I was convinced that Judas Priest was the ultimate heavy band. This is about the time I discovered bands like Iron Maiden, who had just released “Number of the Beast,” Accept “Restless & Wild,” Motorhead’s classic “Ace of Spades,” Raven “Rock til You Drop,” Saxon “Wheels of Steel,” Scorpions “Lonesome Crow” and “Fly to the Rainbow.” Yup, I had discovered the incredible NWOBHM (New Wave of British Heavy Metal.) This movement never did gain as much popularity in the States, but was an incredible influence on some of the early American Metal bands as well as some of today’s popular bands.

Judas Priest (1991)

In high school I bought, as new releases by then unknown bands, Motley Crue’s “Too Fast for Love” on Leather Records, Slayer’s “Hell Awaits,” Venom’s “Black Metal,” Metallica’s “Kill ’em All,” and Queensryche’s debut EP. A few “local bands” were beginning to gain some popularity as well. Anthrax, from NY released a 45 single called “Soldiers of Metal”; from Long Island Twisted Sister were filling up the clubs and had finally signed a decent record contract; Heathen’s Rage were filling local halls and opening for some major acts. We all know what happened with Anthrax and Twisted Sister, both went on to be huge successes. Heathen’s Rage released a vinyl EP with a killer track called “City of Hell” and finally a four song demo in 1987 before disappearing off the face of the earth.

Below are some of the albums I discovered in the mid 80’s:
Metallica – Kill ‘Em All (’83)

Slayer – Show No Mercy (’83)

Iron Maiden – Killers (’81)

From the glam-hair bands like Stryper, Ratt, and Cinderella, to the intense thrash bands like Megadeth, Overkill, Metallica, Anthrax, Slayer, and Celtic Frost, to the more traditional bands like Iron Maiden, Helloween and Armored Saint to the hardrockers like Frehley’s Comet to the incredible comeback of bands like Kiss, Deep Purple, and especially Aerosmith, the 80’s were definitely a strong time for metal lovers. What was really great about this time was that there was a unity among metalheads. The same metalhead that liked Motley Crue and Accept also liked Slayer and Motorhead.

Kiss in the 80’s

Frehley’s Comet in the mid-80’s

The 80’s for me was a time of many concerts. Some of the better remembered and highly cherished from that time were:

Black Sabbath with Ian Gillan, which was an awesome experience. Quiet Riot opened that show. Black Sabbath was being chastized for doing “Smoke on the Water” live, which I thought was GREAT! ELO’s drummer was filling in for the ailing Bill Ward. Many thought they would do a cover of ELO’s “Evil Woman” but they did not.

Aerosmith on the “Rock in a Hard Place” tour and the incredible “Back in the Saddle” show with the return of Joe Perry and Brad Whitford, both at the Spectrum in Philadelphia. Pat Travers opened up the “R.I.A.H.P.” show. He was on his “Black Pearl” tour and Ted Nugent co-headlined the “Back in the Saddle” show.

Dio and Twisted Sister at a small theatre in downtown Philly. The very next year they both returned together and sold out the Spectrum. The year after that Dio did a live video with us Philly maniacs.

Anthrax on the “Spread It” Tour with Heathen’s Rage at City Gardens in Trenton, NJ. I was also privileged to see Anthrax at the infamous LaMore Club in NYC.

Judas Priest “Defenders” tour two times in one month-Spectrum, PA and the Meadowlands, NJ

Yngwie Malmsteen’s Rising Force at a little club in PA. I still have the t-shirt from that show.

Queensryche and headliners KISS in Philadelphia, PA and in Rochester, NY. The metal guard rail in front of the stage broke in Philly and we were able to sit on the edge of the stage for the entire KISS show. I got my picture in FACES Magazine. I have seen KISS several other times since then. The reunion and farwell tours have blown me away!

David Lee Roth with Steve Via and Billy Sheehan on the “Eat ‘Em And Smile” tour at the War Memorial in Rochester.

TT Quick and Helstar at a little club in Rochester. After Helstar played, almost everyone left, so we watched TT Quick with about 20 other people, then they hung out with us and drank some beers and played pool. Cool show! Of course, later some of the TT Quick guys went on to be with Nuclear Assault.

Ted Nugent and Alcatrazz (with Yngwie Malmsteen) at Six Flags Great Adventure. Killer show, although my girlfiiend (now my wife) got violently sick from some laced alcohol she drank.! Also saw Petra, Molly Hatchet (on their reuion tour with Danny Joe Brown), and Charlie Daniels at Six Flags. Not a bad seat in the place.

In the mid-’80s thru the early 90’s, speed metal and thrash became the most popular form of heavy metal in the American underground. Crossing the new wave of British heavy metal with hardcore punk, speed metal was extremely fast and more technically demanding. Tthe bands played fast, but their attack was precise and clean. In that sense, speed metal remained true to its metal roots. But what it borrowed from hardcore; the insanely fast tempos and a defiant, do-it-yourself attitude was just as important, and sometimes it was even more important. It gave the band not only a unique musical approach but also an attractive “anti-image” for legions fans, including myslef. Of course, Metallica became the leaders of the genre until their recent style changes. Other key bands were Megadeth, Dark Angel, Exodus, Nuclear Assault, Testament, Slayer and Anthrax. Of course, this is only a small list of some of the better known.

There were actually hundreds of bands of this style- Vengeance Rising, Powermad, Laaz Rockit, Flotsom & Jetsam, Hallow’s Eve, Deliverance, Sepultura, Heathen, Kreator, Coroner, Destruction, Believer, Forbidden, Forced Entry, Mortification, Annihilator are some others that were riding the thrash wave while it was hot. This raw style stood in direct conflict to the chart topping, more commercial, and glammy bands of the 80’s and early 90’s (Guns n Roses, Ratt, Poison, Stryper, Kix, Dokken, and Motley Crue, among others), Many of the bands developed a dedicated cult following that would eventually allow them to go gold and for some, like Megadeth, Anthrax, Guns n Roses and especially Metallica, platinum . What was so amazing about this was they they had little, if any, radio support.

Unfortunately, this great art form began to fall apart and fracture into what is now either hardcore, grindcore, or black metal. In the 1990’s, the few bands who do exist have changed styles. Metallica has gone for a more “alternative” radio friendly sound, while Megadeth have gone for a more melodic radio friendly sound. Anthrax parted ways with vocalist Joey Belladonna and their lead guitarist Dan Spitz and have stayed pretty true to their roots, although I prefer their older music to the newer releases. (Belladonna reunited with Anthrax in April 2005). Testament and Slayer are still together, albeit with some new faces, but are still pounding out some aggressive thrash that sometimes borders early death metal.

Metallica (1991)

Megadeth (1990)

Another form of metal that came out of the 80’s is Progressive Metal. Bands like Fates Warning and Savatage, that started out as more traditional heavy metal bands, as well as Queensryche have lead the way for others. Watchtower, Dream Theatre, Veni Domine, Stratovarious, Angra, Viper, and hosts of others took the heaviness of metal and combined it with the progressive tendencies of Rush, Marillion, Pink Floyd, Yes, and early Genesis and even mixed in some classical elements.

Fates Warning (1999)

Savatage (1993)

There was one thing for sure, heavy metal was more than just a passing trend. Some critics, even today, continue to dismiss metal as over simplistic, primal pounding, with annoying screams. Certainly, there is some heavy metal that is nothing but three-chord riffing, but most metal bands place major importance on technical skill. Even those who play the simplistic forms of metal like AC/DC, do so with such skill and attitude, that it cannot be ignored. Metal guitarists have always been innovators in technique, speed, and skill. In every subgenre of heavy metal, the guitar is the center of the music. The songs are assembled around the riff, with the guitar solo taking prominence.

The 90’s also ushered in a big change in my life. While I had always been somewhat “religious” it was during this time that I met some friends at a Motorhead/Raven concert in Rochester, NY that changed my life. These guys were in a metal band called Holy Saint and they were a Christian metal band. Through this band I became a Christian. I can honestly say the knowing Jesus really changed my life. While some of the story you are about to read has some regrets, I have never regretted my relationship with Him. Fortunately these guys also opened up a whole new world of Christian heavy metal to me.
From L to R:

Myself (1984), Holy Saint vocalist Chris Books
and bassist Micheal Amico

Dig the poofy hair I was sporting and the blonde streak, inspired by Joe Perry and Gregg Giuffria.

Unfortunately, after graduating from college, I got involved in a church that condemned metal. I got deeply involved along with my new wife of only a few months. We conviced ourselves that “secular metal” was all evil and so we got rid of the, literally, thousands of albums, tapes and the beginnings of my CD collection. (I know, I often cry myself.)

Thank God for Stryper! I would have been without any music I liked if not for them

Stryper (1990)

I began to discover that there was hundreds of Christian metal bands, ranging in style from thrash to classic rock. I bought up bands like Deliverance, Vengeance Rising, Trouble, Sacred Warrior, Believer, Seventh Angel, Sardonyx, Whitecross, Bride, Haven, Bloodgood, Rez, Barren Cross. These bands got me through some tough times.

me (white shirt) on stage with Sardonyx 1992.

Below are some of the classic Christian thrash discs that still frequent my CD player:

Vengeance Rising
Human Sacrifice


Weapons of Our Warfare

Extraction from

Eventually, we figured out that Christianity was not about having your life lived for you. We left the church we were in and got involved in a well balanced church. I discovered that a relationship with Jesus was what was important, not a list of man-made do’s and dont’s. In 1993 I joined a Christian heavy metal band myself, becoming the vocalist for Ultimatum.

A picture of a sweaty me singing for Ultimatum.

Eventually I began collecting some of my old favorites again. Once again, it was Aerosmith that brought me around. I was in my car, flipping through radio station, when I heard a block of songs off “Rocks,” perhaps the greatest Aerosmith disc ever. It was a lunch hour album side and they played five songs off that disc. Man, it was like seeing an old friend again. I knew then, after enjoying those five songs, like having a cold Pepsi on a hot day, it was not the music I needed to change, it was me!

In the mid 90’s, with the popularity of grunge, metal took a big dive in popularity. Some even went so far as to say metal was dead. This was, of course, untrue as it still had a huge underground following. While the magazine that we all grew to love began to cover trendy garbage, the metalheads began to put out their own zines. The 90’s seemed to be a time of short lived trends. Grunge, Industrial, Alternative, Pop-Punk, Techno, Emo, and now Ska, Rapcore and Goth. Death Metal had its time in the spot light too, although never to the extent of grunge or alternative. I, honestly, am not a big death metal fan, as I feel the vocals all pretty much sound the same. That being said, there are some death bands I really enjoy that play their music with a skill not hear before. Amorphis, Children of Bodom, Extol, Metanoia, Death and a few other all mix elements of classic metal with death metal and in turn create some beautiful music.

Despite the trends, metal continued to stay strong. New blood began to emerge, as well as the reformation of such greats as Exodus, Death Angel, Nuclear Assault, Anthrax, Judas Priest and Iron Maiden. I was even blessed with the opportunity to join the guys from the original Vengeance Rising as the new vocalist for their new project called Once Dead. The 90’s came and went and despite the changes in music, there a host of new, killer bands: Nevermore, Iced Earth, Mortification, Hammerfall, Destiny’s End, Narnia, Extol, New Eden, Teramaze, Place of Skulls, and the list goes on and on. As you can see from my CD list, I have once again attained a large collection of my favorites. For a more condensed list of favorites, see my favorites list.

Heavy Metal Marches On! Let the Onslaught Continue!

researched and posted by AnneS
Electronic Music: A Timeline
Researched and posted by AnneS

Since the dawn of human history, music has been a source of much more than just fun and entertainment. For millennia, it has stoked myriad emotions, provided spiritual sustenance, built community and offered a chance to explore the world of sound. For a vast majority of that time, acoustic instruments were employed exclusively. But, as the 20th century unfolded, electricity was harnessed and breathed life into new musical instruments to stunning effect, giving birth to previously unimagined sounds. Since the history of popular music is well-documented elsewhere, the following timeline focuses more on the avant-garde end of the electronic music spectrum.

Late 1800s

The advent of recorded music, via the phonograph, wax cyclinders and the first crude discs.


Thaddeus Cahill invents the Telharmonium, a crude forerunner to the synthesizer.


Leon Theremin invents the Theremin.


Maurice Martenot invents the Ondes Martenot, an electronic keyboard for the orchestra.


Edgard Varèse dreams of using electronic sounds in his music, but must wait two decades for the tape recorder to be invented. The advent of the 78 rpm record.


The advent of the Hammond organ.


John Cage composes “Imaginary Landscape #1” for turntables, cymbals and piano.


Pierre Schaeffer invents musique concrète with turntables and a disc lathe. The advent of the long-playing (LP) record.


The advent of the magnetic tape recorder.


John Cage composes “Williams Mix” for magnetic tape. The first public concert for magnetic tape is performed by Vladimir Ussachevsky and Otto Luening.


Iannis Xenakis uses a computer to compose the instrumental piece “Metastasis.”


Edgard Varèse composes “Deserts” for magnetic tape and orchestra.


Louis and Bebe Barron compose the Forbidden Planet film soundtrack using electronic sounds exclusively.


Iannis Xenakis composes his groundbreaking electro-acoustic pieces “Bohor,” “Orient-Occident,” Concret P-H” and “Diamorphoses.” Raymond Scott composes minimal, rhythmic electronic music that predates Kraftwerk and techno by decades.


Edgard Varèse composes “Poéme Èlectronique” for the Philips Pavilion at the Brussels World Fair.


Pierre Schaeffer, Luc Ferrari, et al open the Groupe Recherches Musicales in Paris. Vladimir Ussachevsky and Otto Luening open the Columbia-Princeton Electronic Music Center in New York.
1960 John Cage and David Tudor pioneer the use of electronic music in live performance with “Cartridge Music.” Karlheinz Stockhausen composes “Kontakte” for electronic sounds, piano and percussion.
Early 1960s Lejaren Hiller, Max Matthews and James Tenney compose early computer music. Raymond Scott composes Soothing Sounds For Baby, which is early ambient music. Terry Riley composes minimal trance pieces featuring tape loops.


Steve Reich composes the classic tape loop pieces “It’s Gonna Rain” and “Come Out.” AMM includes electronics with instruments to perform their groundbreaking free-improvisation, followed by Musica Elettronica Viva (MEV). Robert Moog invents the Moog voltage-controlled synthesizer. The Beach Boys use a Moog-Theremin on “Good Vibrations.”

Late 1960s

La Monte Young begins to use sine wave drones with instruments and vocals. Psychedelic rock groups begin to use tape manipulation, feedback and other electronic effects that avant-garde composers pioneered 15 years earlier.


Several pavillions at the Osaka World Expo feature the electronic music of Arne Nordheim, Karlheinz Stockhausen, Iannis Xenakis, etc.

Early 1970s

Kraftwerk pioneers electronic pop music, which paves the way for techno.

Mid 1970s

Throbbing Gristle pioneers industrial noise music. The compact disc is invented by Philips and Sony, but is not marketed until 1983.


The Fairlight CMI, an early digital synthesizer sampler, appears.

Early 1980s

The advent of the desktop computer.

Mid-late 1980s

Derrick May, Juan Atkins and Kevin Saunderson usher in techno. The advent of house and acid house.

Early 1990s

Dance music branches out into endless variations like deep house, hardcore, garage, gabba, ambient dub, trance techno, breakbeat, jungle, goa trance, trip-hop,
ambient, illbient, trillbient, not to mention happy hardcore.

Mid-late 1990s

The dance madness continues with drum ’n’ bass, drill ’n’ bass, techstep, turntablism, minimal acid techno, etc. The advent of Powerbook laptopcore: Oval, Pita, Fennesz and Farmer’s Manual form very interesting sound-blankets from digital glitches. The advent of the World Wide Web, mp3 files and digital downloading.


The DJ Dubble R hooks a speaker array to a metal kite and flies it in a thunder and lightning storm. He dies for the cause.




What is Indie Rock


(Simple Definition: INDIE = INDEPENDENT)

Indie rock is a genre of rock music that originated in the United States and the United Kingdom in the 1980s. The term is often used to describe the means of production and distribution of independent underground music, as well as the style of music that was first associated with this means of production. Indie rock artists are known for placing a premium on maintaining complete control of their music and careers, releasing albums on independent record labels (sometimes self-owned and operated) and relying on touring, word-of-mouth, airplay on independent or college radio stations, and in recent years, the Internet for promotion.

Musicians classified as indie rock are typically signed to independent record labels, rather than major record labels, although there are many examples of indie musicians switching to major labels mid-career. This practice blurs the lines between indie and mainstream music and is often the subject of debate amongst fans. Indeed, some bands that have spent most of their careers on major labels are still occasionally referred to by the press as indie rock because of their sound or aesthetic, such as Radiohead.

A variety of musical genres and subgenres with varying degrees of overlap are associated with indie rock. Some of these include lo-fi, post-rock, sadcore, C86, math rock, shoegaze/dream pop, indie pop, noise rock, noise pop, riot grrrl, post-hardcore, twee pop, alt-country, post-punk revival, garage rock revival, dance-punk, indie folk, baroque pop, new prog, and indietronica.

researched and posted by AnneS
Alternative Rock & the Grunge Explosion

Alternative rock (also called alternative music, alt rock or simply alternative) is a genre of rock music that emerged in the 1980s and became popular in the 1990s. Alternative rock consists of various subgenres that have emerged from the independent music scene since the 1980s, such as grunge, Britpop, gothic rock, indie pop, and indie rock. These genres are unified by their collective debt to the style or ethos of punk rock, which laid the groundwork for alternative music in the 1970s. At times, alternative rock has been used as a catch-all phrase for rock music from underground artists and all music descended from punk rock (including punk itself, New Wave, and post-punk).Some examples of alternative rock bands that have achieved commercial success and mainstream critical recognition are Red Hot Chili Peppers, R.E.M., The Smiths, The Black Keys, Alice in Chains, Pearl Jam, Liz Phair, The Strokes, Yeah Yeah Yeahs, Nirvana, Foo Fighters, The Smashing Pumpkins, Green Day, Oasis, Weezer, Radiohead, The White Stripes, Linkin Park and Muse. However, many alternative rock artists are cult acts that have recorded with independent labels and have received the majority of their exposure through college radio airplay and word-of-mouth.The grunge explosionEddie Vedder of Pearl Jam
Other grunge bands subsequently replicated Nirvana’s success. Pearl Jam had released its debut album Ten a month before Nevermind in 1991, but album sales only picked up a year later. By the second half of 1992 Ten became a breakthrough success, being certified gold and reaching number two on the Billboard 200 album chart.[54] Soundgarden’s album Badmotorfinger and Alice in Chains’ Dirt, along with the Temple of the Dog album collaboration featuring members of Pearl Jam and Soundgarden, were also among the 100 top selling albums of 1992. Soundgarden was influenced by 1970s blues rock and heavy metal, punk and the 1980s American Underground. Their album Superunknown debuted at number 1 in 1994 and earned two Grammy Awards. The popular breakthrough of these grunge bands prompted Rolling Stone to nickname Seattle “the new Liverpool.” Major record labels signed most of the prominent grunge bands in Seattle, while a second influx of bands moved to the city in hopes of success.

At the same time, critics asserted that advertising was co-opting elements of grunge and turning it into a fad. Entertainment Weekly commented in a 1993 article, “There hasn’t been this kind of exploitation of a subculture since the media discovered hippies in the ’60s.” The New York Times compared the “grunging of America” to the mass-marketing of punk rock, disco, and hip hop in previous years. As a result of the genre’s popularity, a backlash against grunge developed in Seattle. Nirvana’s follow-up album In Utero (1993) was an intentionally abrasive album that Nirvana bassist Krist Novoselic described as a “wild aggressive sound, a true alternative record.”Nevertheless, upon its release in September 1993 In Utero topped the Billboard charts. Pearl Jam also continued to perform well commercially with its second album, Vs. (1993), which topped the Billboard charts by selling a record 950,378 copies in its first week of release.


Liam and Noel Gallagher of Oasis
With the decline of the Madchester scene and the unglamorousness of shoegazing, the tide of grunge from America dominated the British alternative scene and music press in the early 1990s. As a reaction, a flurry of defiantly British bands emerged that wished to “get rid of grunge” and “declare war on America”, taking the public and native music press by storm. Dubbed “Britpop” by the media, this movement represented by Blur, Oasis, Suede, and Pulp was the British equivalent of the grunge explosion, in that the artists propelled alternative rock to the top of the charts in their home country. Britpop bands were influenced by and displayed reverence for British guitar music of the past, particularly movements and genres such as the British Invasion, glam rock, and punk rock. In 1995 the Britpop phenomenon culminated in a rivalry between its two chief groups, Oasis and Blur, symbolized by their release of competing singles on the same day. Blur won “The Battle of Britpop”, but Oasis soon eclipsed the other band in popularity with its second album, (What’s the Story) Morning Glory? (1995),which went on to become the third best-selling album in Britain’s history.

Other trends
Long synonymous with alternative rock as a whole, indie rock became a distinct form following the popular breakthrough of Nirvana. Indie rock was formulated as a rejection of alternative’s absorption into the mainstream by artists who could not or refused to cross over. While indie rock artists share the punk rock distrust of commercialized music, the genre does not entirely define itself against that, as “the general assumption is that it’s virtually impossible to make indie rock’s varying musical approaches compatible with mainstream tastes in the first place”. Labels such as Matador Records, Merge Records, and Dischord, and indie rockers like Pavement, Superchunk, Fugazi, and Sleater-Kinney dominated the American indie scene for most of the 1990s. One of the main indie rock movements of the 1990s was lo-fi. The movement, which focused on the recording and distribution of music on low-quality cassette tapes, initially emerged in the 1980s. By 1992, Pavement, Guided By Voices and Sebadoh became popular lo-fi cult acts in the United States, while subsequently artists like Liz Phair and Beck brought the aesthetic to mainstream audiences.The period also saw alternative confessional female singer-songwriters. Besides the previously mentioned Liz Phair, PJ Harvey and the massively successful Alanis Morissette fit into this sub group.


During the latter half of the 1990s, grunge was supplanted by post-grunge. Post-grunge bands such as Candlebox and Bush emerged soon after grunge’s breakthrough. These artists lacked the underground roots of grunge and were largely influenced by what grunge had become, namely “a wildly popular form of inward-looking, serious-minded hard rock.” Post-grunge was a more commercially viable genre that tempered the distorted guitars of grunge with polished, radio-ready production.

Post-rock was established by Talk Talk’s Laughing Stock and Slint’s Spiderland albums, both released in 1991. Post-rock draws influence from a number of genres, including Krautrock, progressive rock, and jazz. The genre subverts or rejects rock conventions, and often incorporates electronic music. While the name of the genre was coined by music journalist Simon Reynolds in 1994, the sound of the genre was solidified by the release of Millions Now Living Will Never Die (1996) by the Chicago group Tortoise. Post-rock became the dominant form of experimental rock music in the 1990s and bands from the genre centered around the Thrill Jockey, Kranky, Drag City, and Too Pure record labels. A related genre, math rock, peaked in the mid-1990s. In comparison to post-rock, math rock is more “rockist” and relies on complex time signatures and intertwining phrases. While by the end of the decade a backlash had emerged against post-rock due to its “dispassionate intellectuality” and its perceived increasing predictability, a new wave of post-rock bands such as Godspeed You! Black Emperor and Sigur Rós emerged who further expanded the genre.

After almost a decade in the underground, ska acts became popular in the United States in 1996 with Mighty Mighty Bosstones, No Doubt, Goldfinger, Reel Big Fish, Less Than Jake and Save Ferris charting or getting radio exposure.

Alternative rock in the 21st century

Alex Kapranos of post-punk revival group Franz Ferdinand
During the late 1990s and early 2000s, several alternative rock bands emerged, including The Strokes, Franz Ferdinand, Interpol, and The Rapture that drew primary inspiration from post-punk and New Wave, establishing the post-punk revival movement.Preceded by the success of The Strokes and The White Stripes earlier in the decade, an influx of new alternative rock bands, including several post-punk revival artists and others such as Modest Mouse, The Killers, and Yeah Yeah Yeahs, found commercial success in the early 2000s. Due to the success of these bands, Entertainment Weekly declared in 2004, “After almost a decade of domination by rap-rock and nu-metal bands, mainstream alt-rock is finally good again.”


researched and posted by AnneS


History of Rap Music

Rap was the result of frustration in African-American people in the 1970s. This musical genre was born in the crime-ridden neighborhoods of West Bronx, which later spread to South Bronx and all over the world. People have different perceptions about the origin of rap music, but whatever the origin; rap is, at present, ruling the charts.

50 Cent raps in a new hit single, “Hate it or love it, the underdog’s on top”. Whether you hate or love rap, it doesn’t really matter because since 1970s, rap has had tremendous success. There is a large population which loves rap. Rap and hip-hop are two similar terms; people often interchange the two terms while referring to rap music. According to one of the most famous sayings, rap is something we do, and hip-hop is something we live. All rap is considered to be hip-hop but the vice versa isn’t true.

Difference between Rap and Hip-hop


Rap is a kind of music in the hip-hop culture. Hip-hop and rap differ in three main features; musical attributes, culture and community message. Rap is a mix of poetry or poetic lyric, beats and their rhyming. The subject of rap can vary from relationships to commercialism. Rappers like to make references to love, sex, violence, socio-political issues, crime, race and anything that depicts their street life.


Hip-hop is a lifestyle that includes rap, graffiti art, break dancing and DJing. An important technique in Hip-hop is beatboxing, a form of vocal percussion, which involves the art of producing drum beats and musical sounds with mouth, tongue and lips. Singers synthesize the lyrics to fast-paced music, that is often used as a background to dance routines. Hip-hop is about soulful singing. An influential form of hip-hop was Jamaican dub music. In 1967, a Jamaican immigrant, DJ Kool Herc introduced dub in New York.

The Yesteryears

Rap music has its roots in Africa. Even before hip-hop or rap, the griots of West Africa narrated stories in a rhythmic way with drum beats. Rap came to America from the Caribbean islands (which has large African population). Their musical culture has constantly influenced the changes in American music.

Slang in Rap was commonly used by the DJs of African-American origin. They would shout loud on the microphones, “Clap ya hands” or “Are ya ready to party?”. People loved to respond to these questions and hence, slowly and steadily these slangs became popular.

The rap music culture did not start with the Sugarhill Gang. In fact, even before their arrival, bands like, The Last Poets were making rap music, but were not popular. The first big rap single that took America by storm was “Rapper’s Delight”, by Sugarhill Gang in 1979. This song revolutionized the rap music. The single was a great commercial success and producers were finally ready to produce rap records. Many new rap bands like, Run-DMC came up and found numerous fans. There were also people like, Kool Herc who would shout, “Yo this is Kool Herc in the joint-ski saying my mellow-ski Marky D is in the house.” People loved his style. Rap had caught attention very quickly.

The Myth

During the seventies and eighties, there was a myth among people that, rap music was for the blacks. Bob Dylan’s, ‘Subterranean Homesick Blues’ (1965) was a try on rap too. In 1981, a new-wave white band, Blondie tried rap in the song called, ‘Rapture’. In 1982, Afrika Bambaataa released ‘Planet Rock’, which was a huge success. He was the first Black Muslim making rap music. In 1986, rap reached top of the charts with singles like, ‘Fight for your right’ by Beastie Boys and ‘Walk this way’ by Run-DMC. Soon, Run-DMC became the the first rap band to feature regularly on MTV (Music Television). In mid 1980s, the first female band Salt-n-Pepa released their single, “The Show Stoppa”, which was a success and henceforth, there was no looking back for this band.

Present Years

During the 1990s, the rap style in the East coast was fashioned by Wu-tang Clan and Notorius B.I.G., which was loud and brash, while in the West coast the style was smoother. The main rappers were Snoop Dogg, Dr. Dre and Tupac. Female artists like, Missy Elliott and Lil’ Kim have entered the rap scene in a big way and are well-known all over.

The most influential rap star today is Eminem, alias Matthew Mathers, who won an Oscar in 2003 for his song, ‘Lose yourself’, from the movie 8 mile. Another new artist who has taken the rap industry by storm is 50 Cents. His singles have broken all the records.

Rap music is getting popular day by day, with many young artists releasing their singles. These young artists bring innovations which are appreciated by rap lovers. In parts of Europe and Asia, rap is yet to find a foothold. But, seeing their stupendous success in the last two decades, it will not be a surprise to find rap ruling the charts all over the world.

By Sourabh Gupta

researched and posted by AnneS




Rap Definition and Origins:


Rap is music that consists of topical rhyme verses recited over a recorded or live instrumental background. Developed by urban American blacks, its format originally consisted of a disk jockey (D.J.) alternating and mixing small excerpts of recorded music and adding rhythmical scratching sounds, while a “rapper” sings or recites rhymed lyrics, that were often similar to poems. Rap first appeared in the mid-1970s. Rap musicians sample a wide range of street sounds, historical music, and spoken-word recordings in a very powerful, musical format.

The first rap came into existence in the Bronx, a ghetto of NYC. African-American poets had started using drum beats and instrumental music as a background for their lyrics. Later, a guy named J. Saddler developed a more accurate way of mixing music from two turntables and also had the idea of adding scratching to the three components of rap. The rap music we know today was born. Rap music soon became a subject of criticism and controversy because of sexually explicit lyrics and texts that glorified violence or promoted controversial political views. The music was also used to express feelings and criticize the government, life standards and society. Gangs in the ghettos of big American cities stopped fighting with weapons and started fighting with rhymes.


Rap evolved from African people in general and black people born in the U.S. in particular. Its origins can be traced to West Africa where tribesmen worshipped “men of words”. Later when slaves were brought to America, they mixed American music with the beats they remembered from Africa. Another origin of rap is a form of Jamaican folk stories called “toasts.” These are narrative poems that tell stories in rhyme. Over a hundred years later, rapping was a street art. Rap began in inner-city schoolyards and street corners in the 1970’s. Early raps were put-downs directed at other rappers. This became known as the “battle style”. Rap was slowly growing in popularity among black teens in New York City, Washington, D.C., and Philadelphia.

But it wasn’t until the commercial success of “Rapper’s Delight” by the Sugar Hill Gang in 1979 that major record labels took notice of this new sound.
But the musical style is not without its critics. In the 80’s many raps were comments on ghetto life, warnings about drugs and about teenage love or lust. Those topics led some parents to fear that rap encouraged youths to turn to violence and drug abuse. The performers don’t deny that rap music speaks openly about harsh and controversial topics. But they argue that audiences should be able distinguish between fantasy and reality, right and wrong. As an answer to this argument, many rappers have brought out songs that clearly define those borders.
Today, there are many rappers who aren’t black. Because of artists like Kid Rock and Eminem, African-Americans are not the only ones listening to rap anymore. Also, the female audience has grown steadily with ladies behind the microphone like Salt-n-Pepa, Queen Latifah, and Li’l Kim. Rap is nowadays wide-spread and still popular. It is also one of the most important kinds of African-American music.

Types of Rap:

Old School (1979-1984):

The first defined period in the history of rap became known as Old School. The most important artists of this time were also the ones who shaped the rap music to what it is today. These were among others: KOOL DJ HERC, GRANDMASTER FLASH & THE FURIOUS FIVE, AFRIKA BAMBAATAA, JAZZY FIVE, SOUL SONIC FORCE, THE TREACHEROUS THREE, SPOONIE G., KURTIS BLOW, GRANDMIXER DST, COLD CRUSH BROTHERS, FAB FIVE FREDDY, GRANDMASTER CAZ, BEASY BEE, KOOL MOE D., DJ RED ALERT, JAZZY JEFF, LIL RODNEY CEE, SHA ROCK, FANTASTIC FREAKS. In the years of 1983/84, rap had its first stylistic crisis; lots of the published songs that were very similar as they worked all with the same limited beat boxes. The selling numbers sank and it looked like rap would stop being popular. This was the reason why the artists searched for other styles. The new style they came up with was the New School.

New School (since 1984/85)

In the beginnings of the 80’s the digital samplers got cheap enough for everybody to use. Now it was possible to sample complex drum loops and old funk records without having to use syntactic beats. Rap music sounded now more natural and got more musical complexity. It was during this time, that rap music got its wide range that reached from the apocalyptic tracks by Public Enemy all the way to love songs by LL COOl J. New School also came into life on the east coast, and was, like Old School, mainly a phenomenon of New York.

West Coast (since 1980)

The rap on the west coast took a completely different road of evolution. Its centre was LA. The history of west coast rap started in 1980, when the SUGAR HILL GANG had a major brake through with their song “Rapper’s Delight”. In most of the text from the west coast, the brutal life of blacks that live in ghettos is described and that was what made this kind of rap popular, but it also cast the light of criticism on the texts. The songs were always compared to the rapper. One who talks about brutality, so people thought, must also be brutal.
Today, the west coast rap is probably even more wide-spread than the old, or new school style. It is richer and the rappers have made themselves a name: ICE T, DR DRE, WARREN G., ICE CUBE, HOUSE OF PAIN, CYPRESS HILL, DIGITAL UNDERGROUND YOUNG MC and many more.


researched and posted by AnneS


“Scotch bagpipes and Ole time fiddling..its blues and jazz and it has a high lonesome sound….its played from my heart to your heart and it will touch you”~~Bill Monroe


Bluegrass Music: The Roots

The various types of music brought with the people who began migrating to America in the early 1600s are considered to be the roots of bluegrass music—including dance music and ballads from Ireland, Scotland and England, as well as African American gospel music and blues. (In fact, slaves from Africa brought the design idea for the banjo–an instrument now integral to the bluegrass sound.)

As the early Jamestown settlers began to spread out into the Carolinas, Tennessee, Kentucky and the Virginias, they composed new songs about day-to-day life experiences in the new land. Since most of these people lived in rural areas, the songs reflected life on the farm or in the hills and this type of music was called “mountain music” or “country music.” The invention of the phonograph and the onset of the radio in the early 1900s brought this old-time music out of the rural Southern mountains to people all over the United States.

Good singing became a more important part of country music.
Singing stars like Jimmie Rodgers, family bands like the Carter family from Virginia and duet teams like the Monroe Brothers from Kentucky contributed greatly to the advancement of traditional country music.

“Bill Monroe and the Blue Grass Boys” first appeared on the Grand Ole Opry in 1939 and soon became one of the most popular touring bands out of Nashville’s WSM studios. Bill’s new band was different from other traditional country music bands of the time because of its hard driving and powerful sound, utilizing traditional acoustic instruments and featuring highly distinctive vocal harmonies. This music incorporated songs and rhythms from string band, gospel (black and white), work songs and “shouts” of black laborers, country and blues music repertoires. Vocal selections included duet, trio and quartet harmony singing in addition to Bill’s powerful “high lonesome” solo lead singing. After experimenting with various instrumental combinations, Bill settled on mandolin, banjo, fiddle, guitar and bass as the format for his band. The guitar originally came from Spain. The mandolin, as well as the fiddle and acoustic bass (both from the violin family), originally came from Italy.

While many fans of bluegrass music date the genre back to 1939, when Monroe formed his first Blue Grass Boys band, most believe that the classic bluegrass sound jelled in 1945, shortly after Earl Scruggs, a 21 year old banjo player from North Carolina, joined the band. Scruggs played an innovative three-finger picking style on the banjo that energized enthusiastic audiences, and has since come to be called simply, “Scruggs style” banjo.
Equally influential in the classic 1945 line-up of the Blue Grass Boys were Lester Flatt, from Sparta, Tenn. on guitar and lead vocals against Monroe’s tenor; Chubby Wise, from Florida, on fiddle; and Howard Watts, also known by his comedian name, “Cedric Rainwater,” on acoustic bass.

When first Earl Scruggs, and then Lester Flatt left Monroe’s band and eventually formed their own group, The Foggy Mountain Boys, they decided to include the resophonic guitar, or Dobro into their band format. The Dobro is often included in bluegrass band formats today as a result. Burkett H. “Uncle Josh” Graves, from Tellico Plains, Tenn., heard Scruggs’ three-finger style of picking in 1949 and adapted it to the then, almost obscure slide bar instrument.

With Flatt & Scruggs from 1955-1969, Graves introduced his widely emulated, driving, bluesy style on the Dobro. The Dobro was invented in the United States by the Dopyera Brothers, immigrant musicians/inventors originally from the Slovak Republic. The brand name, “Dobro,” comes from DOpyera BROthers.

From 1948-1969, Flatt & Scruggs were a major force in introducing bluegrass music to America through national television, at major universities and coliseums, and at schoolhouse appearances in numerous towns. Scruggs wrote and recorded one of bluegrass music’s most famous instrumentals, “Foggy Mountain Breakdown,” which was used in the soundtrack for the film, Bonnie & Clyde. In 1969 he established an innovative solo career with his three sons as “The Earl Scruggs Revue.” Scruggs still records and performs selected dates in groups that usually include his sons, Randy on guitar and Gary on bass.

After parting with Scruggs in 1969, Lester Flatt continued successfully with his own group, “The Nashville Grass,” performing steadily until shortly before his death in 1979.

By the 1950s, people began referring to this style of music as “bluegrass music.” Bluegrass bands began forming all over the country and Bill Monroe became the acknowledged “Father of Bluegrass Music.

In the 1960s, the concept of the “bluegrass festival” was first introuced, featuring bands that had seemed to be in competition with each other for a relatively limited audience on the same bill at weekend festivals across the country. Carlton Haney, from Reidsville, N.C., is credited with envisioning and producing the first weekend-long bluegrass music festival, held at Fincastle, Va. in 1965.

The increased availability of traditional music recordings, nationwide indoor and outdoor bluegrass festivals and movie, television and commercial soundtracks featuring bluegrass music have aided in bringing this music out of modern day obscurity. Lester Flatt and Earl Scruggs & the Foggy Mountain Boys achieved national prominence with tour sponsorship by Martha White Flour and for playing the soundtrack for the previously mentioned film, Bonnie and Clyde, as well as on a television show called The Beverly Hillbillies.
The Deliverance movie soundtrack also featured bluegrass music-in particular, “Dueling Banjos’,” performed by Eric Weissberg on banjo and Steve Mandel on guitar. The Nitty Gritty Dirt Band’s Will the Circle Be Unbroken triple LP set, released in 1972, introduced artists like Earl Scruggs, Doc Watson, Jimmy Martin, Maybelle Carter, Roy Acuff and more to pop music fans–bringing the authentic sounds of bluegrass and traditional country music to new audiences. In 2001, the triple platinum selling soundtrack for the Coen Brothers movie, O Brother, Where Art Thou? again attracting wider audiences for bluegrass.

Bill Monroe passed away on September 9, 1996, four days before his 85th birthday.

In May 1997, Bill Monroe was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame because of the profound influence of his music on the popular music of this country. He is also a member of the Country Music Hall of Fame and the Bluegrass Music Hall of Honor.

Bluegrass music is now performed and enjoyed around the world. The IBMA alone claims members in all 50 states and 30 countries. In addition to the classic style born in 1945 that is still performed widely, bluegrass bands today reflect influences from a variety of sources including traditional and fusion jazz, contemporary country music, Celtic music, rock & roll (“newgrass” or progressive bluegrass), old–time music and Southern gospel music–in addition to lyrics translated to various languages.

From the files of
Origins and History of Bluegrass Music
America is called a melting-pot for good reasons. One of those is bluegrass music. This combination of styles came with immigrants from England, Ireland, Wales, and Scotland as well as West African slaves. All these groups joined in Appalachia and their music with jazz and blues. Traditional bluegrass centers around acoustic instruments comprised of guitar, mandolin, banjo, fiddle, upright bass and sometimes resonator guitar, alone or with vocals.The Southern Appalachian Mountains, mostly in the States of Virginia, West Virginia, North Carolina, Kentucky and Tennessee, were, in the early years of the 20th Century, the Land that Time Forgot. Settlers from the British Isles, mostly protestant “Scots Irish”, had begun arriving in the mid 18th C, had pushed up through the Cumberland Gap into the hills, cleared their patches of ground to build farms, and stayed put. The Civil War came and went, the Yankees up north industrialised and got rich, while the folk up in the mountains kept themselves to themselves, and stayed poor.What kind of music was around in the depression years in the South? Old time fiddle music was still going strong Whether in the kitchen, the farm or the schoolhouse, local fiddlers would play for dancing and for their own enjoyment. String bands were very popular, with the fiddle often joined by guitar, mandolin and banjo. The music was songs, both ancient and modern, and instrumentals- dance tunes inherited from the early settlers, modified or newly written. Competitive Fiddlers Conventions abounded and the standard of playing at the top levels was high.Even since before emancipation, black musicians had a strong influence in the South.
They had brought the banjo- originally known as the “banjer”– over from Africa, and its bright, plinky sound and hot rhythm found a natural home in the hands of white string band musicians. The guitar was the primary instrument for the Blues, a musical form which grew out of a mixture of work songs, field hollers and negro spirituals. Simple in form, the blues, quite apart from the depth of feeling in the songs, had one magic ingredient- a pentatonic scale where the third was neither major nor minor but both at the same time, allowing for every shade of joy and anguish within a single note. Whilst there was little genuine integration between the races, nevertheless black music was certainly there to be heard by the white farming community.

In their own way, the people of the Appalachians were deeply religious, mostly followers of fundamentalist Protestantism. This was religion not just confined to the chapel on Sunday, but seen as central to the very way of life of the people. Hymns would have been sung in the fields as readily as the latest Country hits, and the rich harmonies of gospel choirs came naturally. Many children attended singing schools during the school holidays, sponsored by the church or bible companies, at which they would be taught hymn singing, and to read “shape notes”.

part of the “New Deal”, to restart the economy during the depression, electricity was being brought to many more homes, and by the 30’s even up in the mountains most people would have access to a phonogram or at least a battery radio. Quite apart from the music being made all around them, people could hear professional singers and musicians, hillbilly singers like The Carter Family and Jimmy Rogers, performing for live broadcasts at local or regional radio stations. They could also buy could buy 78-rpm records, whether it was blues (“race records”), country or spiritual music.

Bill Monroe, one of the first bluegrass players was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, as well as the Country Music Hall of Fame and the Bluegrass Music Hall of Honor. Now bluegrass is both performed and enjoyed worldwide. The International Bluegrass Music Association has members in all 50 states and more than 30 countries.

Current bluegrass music reflects influences from jazz, country music, Celtic music and rock and roll. The lyrics are often translated into various languages to bring “newgrass” a worldwide audience. Bluegrass music has a loyal and diverse following. It’s simple music that tells a story, played from one heart to another. It is music that matters; it touches you. This is the reason America has so thoroughly embraced bluegrass in all its variations.


compiled by AnneS


What Makes Bluegrass Music What It Is

Bluegrass music is a sub-genre of country music. It has mixed roots in Scottish, English, Welsh and Irish traditional music. Bluegrass was inspired by the music of immigrants from the United Kingdom and Ireland (particularly the Scotch-Irish immigrants in Appalachia) and was influenced by the music of African-Americans through incorporation of elements of jazz.

In bluegrass, as in some forms of jazz, one or more instruments each takes its turn playing the melody and improvising around it, while the others perform accompaniment; this is especially typified in tunes called breakdowns. This is in contrast to old-time music, in which all instruments play the melody together or one instrument carries the lead throughout while the others provide accompaniment. Breakdowns are often characterized by rapid tempos, and unusual instrumental dexterity and sometimes complex chord changes.

Bluegrass music has attracted a diverse and loyal following worldwide.

Unlike mainstream country music, bluegrass is traditionally played on acoustic stringed instruments. The fiddle, five-string banjo, guitar, mandolin, and string bass (double bass) are often joined by the resonator guitar (also referred to as a Dobro®) and harmonica. This instrumentation originated in rural dance bands and is the basis on which the earliest bluegrass bands were formed.
The guitar is now most commonly played with a style referred to as flatpicking, unlike the style of seminal bluegrass guitarist Lester Flatt, who used a thumb and finger pick. Banjo players often use the three-finger picking style made popular by Earl Scruggs. Fiddlers will frequently play in thirds and fifths, producing a sound that is characteristic to the bluegrass style. The bassist will almost always play pizzicato, occasionally adopting the “slap-style” to accentuate the beat. A bluegrass bass line is generally a rhythmic alternation between the tonic and dominant of each chord, with occasional walking bass excursions.
Instrumentation has been an ongoing topic of debate. Traditional bluegrass performers believe the “correct” instrumentation is that used by Bill Monroe’s band, the Blue Grass Boys (mandolin, played by Monroe, fiddle, guitar, banjo and bass). Departures from the traditional instrumentation have included accordion, harmonica, piano, autoharp, drums, electric guitar, and electric versions of other common bluegrass instruments, resulting in what has been referred to as “newgrass.

Aside from specific instrumentation, a distinguishing characteristic of bluegrass is vocal harmony featuring two, three, or four parts, often with a dissonant or modal sound in the highest voice (see modal frame), a style described as the “high, lonesome sound.”[3] Commonly, the ordering and layering of vocal harmony is called the ‘stack’. A standard stack has a baritone voice at the bottom, the lead in the middle (singing the main melody) and a tenor at the top; although stacks can be altered, especially where a female voice is included. Alison Krauss and Union Station provide a good example of a different harmony stack with a baritone and tenor with a high lead, an octave above the standard melody line, sung by the female vocalist.

Bluegrass tunes can largely be described as narratives on the everyday lives of the people from whence the music came. Aside from laments about loves lost, interpersonal tensions and unwanted changes to the region (e.g., the visible effects of mountaintop coal mining), bluegrass vocals frequently reference the hard-scrabble existence of living in Appalachia and other rural areas with modest financial resources. Some protest music has been composed in the bluegrass style, especially concerning the vicissitudes of the Appalachian coal mining industry. Railroading has also been a popular theme, with ballads such as “Wreck of the Old 97″ and “Nine Pound Hammer” (from the legend of John Henry) being exemplary.
Bluegrass music if often about the feeling of longing or loneliness, whether it be for heaven or a loved one.

Bluegrass is not and never was folk music under a strict definition, although there are clear derivatives—the topical and narrative themes of many bluegrass songs are highly reminiscent of folk music. In fact, many songs that are widely considered to be bluegrass are in reality older works legitimately classified as folk or old-time music that are performed in the bluegrass style. Hence the interplay between bluegrass and folk forms has been academically studied. Folklorist Dr. Neil Rosenberg, for example, shows that most devoted bluegrass fans and musicians are familiar with traditional folk songs and old-time music, and that these songs are often played at shows, festivals and jams.

fromthe files of AnneS
researched and posted by AnneS

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