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A quick history of contemporary music, from the 50's to today
Class Video #1: You, me & this course
Class Video #2: first musical assignment!
Dozens of top artists PLUS links to many songs & videos below!
Understanding music of the times provides a unique mirror of current events, trends and movements in the USA.
Beginning with this article, I'll be pointing you to some of the most successful and popular musical acts of all time. In future articles, I'll point out the musical characteristics and performance styles of various artists, and you will get plenty of opportunities to identify and compare the artists to their peers and among artists from various styles and eras, including...
pop, rock, R&B, country, alternative, dance/disco, jazz, soul, and hiphop music.
In the left column below, you'll find just some of the most successful artists in their genres throughout the past fifty years, some of those artists have clickable links to let you view a specific song or video from that artist.
In the right column below, you'll find my two class videos providing course orientation. Further below are video links to even more of the artists from various genres and eras.
As you browse through the list and the videos, make a note of any artists you may already be somewhat familiar with...those may be the ones you'll use in the assignment.
CLASS VIDEO #1 on this page contains important class information. It's only 10 minutes.
CLASS VIDEO #2 on this page contains the actual assignment due next week. That's also just 10 minutes.
PS: for those not in my class who may have just stumbled upon this HubPage article or found my video on YouTube, you're welcome to listen to these lecture videos too. If you'd like to learn more about popular music, stick around.
MAKE SURE your computer can display the videos on this page, and that you can hear the audio through your speakers or a headset. Being able to see video and listen to audio are required parts of this course. If the videos seems choppy or broken up, or if the audio sounds distorted, slow or choppy, you will need to find another computer.
Remember, don't start watching & listening to these songs & videos until you find out your assignment, which you'll know after watching the first two class videos above!
Pop / 1958 - Bill Haley and The Comets
Pop / 1968 to 1972 - The Jackson 5 "I Want You Back"
POP ARTISTS from the 1950s
Dion & The Belmonts
POP ARTISTS from the 1960s
The Fifth Dimension
Strawberry Alarm Clock
POP ARTISTS from the 1970s
POP ARTISTS from the 1980s
Hall & Oates
POP ARTISTS from the 1990s
Janet Jackson: "Again" music video
POP ARTISTS from the 2000s
Kelly Clarkson: "Walk Away" video
Rihanna: "Don't Stop The Music" video
Rock / 1969 - The Rolling Stones "Honky Tonk Women"
Rock / 1977 - Heart "Barracuda" (Ann & Nancy Wilson)
ROCK ARTISTS from the 1950s
Bill Haley & The Comets
ROCK ARTISTS from the 1960s
Crosby, Stills & Nash
ROCK ARTISTS from the 1970s
Led Zeppelin: "Black Dog" original audio
Eric Clapton or Cream
ROCK ARTISTS from the 1980s
Tears for Fears
ROCK ARTISTS from the 1990s
R. E. M.
ROCK ARTISTS from the 2000s
Fall Out Boy
Red Hot Chili Peppers
"Ain't Too Proud To Beg" (1969) - The Temptations
"Ain't No Mountain High Enough" (1967) - Marvin Gaye & Tammi Terrell
R&B / SOUL music
SOUL AND R&B ARTISTS from the 1950s
Jerry Lee Lewis
SOUL AND R&B ARTISTS from the 1960s
B. B. King
SOUL AND R&B ARTISTS from the 1970s
Earth, Wind & Fire
SOUL AND R&B ARTISTS from the 1980s
SOUL AND R&B ARTISTS from the 1990s
C+C Music Factory
SOUL AND R&B ARTISTS from the 2000s
Country / 1983 - Kenny Rogers and Dolly Parton
Country / 1987 - Alabama "Mountain Music"
COUNTRY ARTISTS from the 1950s
COUNTRY ARTISTS from the 1960s
COUNTRY ARTISTS from the 1970s
COUNTRY ARTISTS from the 1980s
COUNTRY ARTISTS from the 1990s
COUNTRY ARTISTS from the 2000s
Taylor Swift: "Our Song" music video
Alternative / 1990 - Nirvana "Smells Like Teen Spirit"
ALTERNATIVE ARTISTS from the 1980s
A Flock Of Seagulls
ALTERNATIVE ARTISTS from the 1990s
Stone Temple Pilots
Guns N' Roses
ALTERNATIVE ARTISTS from the 2000s
The Killers: "Mr. Brightside" live in concert
Dance - Disco / 1979 - Donna Summer "Last Dance"
DANCE / DISCO artists
DANCE / DISCO from the 1970s
DANCE / DISCO from the 1980s
Paula Abdul: "Straight Up" music video
DANCE / CLUB music from the 1990s
DANCE / CLUB music from the 2000s
Kanye West: "Love Lockdown" music video
Jazz / 2002 - Diana Krall "Fly Me To The Moon"
JAZZ ARTISTS from the 1950s
JAZZ ARTISTS from the 1960s
JAZZ ARTISTS from the 1970s
JAZZ ARTISTS from the 1980s
JAZZ ARTISTS from the 1990s
JAZZ ARTISTS from the 2000s
Hiphop / 1979 - Sugarhill Gang
HIPHOP / RAP artists
HIPHOP / RAP ARTISTS from the 1970s
HIPHOP / RAP ARTISTS from the 1980s
HIPHOP / RAP ARTISTS from the 1990s
Puff Daddy, Faith Evans and 112: "I'll Be Missing You" music video
HIPHOP / RAP ARTISTS from the 2000s
Your first musical assignment!
1. email me the info requested in Class Video #2 above (send to me at either TomZ@Jetcast.com or ZareckiT@Briarwood.edu) including your email and phone number, and a bit about your musical knowledge & background, including the specific questions I asked in the video.
2. Pick ANY TWO artists from this page and tell me why you like them or what you find interesting about their style, in your own words. Just one paragraph (4 or 5 sentences) on each one will be fine. You do not have to compare the two artists.
If you can't find two artists you already know, just pick two at random where I provide links to the song or the video, or browse for some of their music on YouTube (www.YouTube.com). Use the two you picked to tell me what you find good or interesting about their music using your own words and feelings about each artist.
Not required: If you want to learn more about any of the artists on this page for your own knowledge, go to Wikipedia (www.Wikipedia.com) and type the artist's name in their search box. They have detailed info on the success stories of thousands of popular performers.
NOTE: Remember, the library on campus has additional computers with headsets (but I recommend you bring your own headset or ear buds) you can use for these assignments, if your computer is too slow or if you'd rather listen to these in the library.
That's it. If you have any problems watching the video on this page or hearing the audio, let me know immediately. Each week will be very different in terms of what types of music we're talking about and what you will be learning.
Thanks, and enjoy the semester!
Tom Z (Tom Zarecki)