Title

Music at a Crossroads: Blues music’s relationship with Rock and Roll

Faculty Mentor(s)

Chris Barnes

Campus

Oconee

Proposal Type

Presentation - completed/ongoing

Subject Area

English/Communications

Location

SRC 522

Start Date

2-4-2015 2:00 PM

Description/Abstract

Blues music originated in the late 19th century, growing out of the tradition of folk songs and spirituals of the American slave culture. By the 1950s, blues music was a major force in American music, and had become deeply influential. White artists had also picked up on blues styles and by the late 1950s, a new type of music called rock and roll was born. By the 1960s, a new group of British musicians had come of age who had honed their skills by listening to American blues performers. These British rock and rollers idolized men such as Muddy Waters, Howlin’ Wolf, John Lee Hooker, and Robert Johnson. The music of groups such as The Rolling Stones and Led Zeppelin is deeply rooted in blues music, and these groups became among the most influential in all of rock and roll. By the early 1970s, there were very few rock guitarists who weren’t steeped in blues music. Led Zeppelin was a group who created an almost entirely new style of music by playing the blues louder and heavier than ever before. Its leaders, Robert Plant and Jimmy Page, transcribed the language of the blues into heavy rock. I wish to examine the overlap between these two seemingly unrelated cultures and investigate why and how musical common ground was found between Mississippi and Britain. How did an early 20th century African American musical form prove to be versatile enough to speak to a multicultural audience of musicians and listeners?

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Apr 2nd, 2:00 PM

Music at a Crossroads: Blues music’s relationship with Rock and Roll

SRC 522

Blues music originated in the late 19th century, growing out of the tradition of folk songs and spirituals of the American slave culture. By the 1950s, blues music was a major force in American music, and had become deeply influential. White artists had also picked up on blues styles and by the late 1950s, a new type of music called rock and roll was born. By the 1960s, a new group of British musicians had come of age who had honed their skills by listening to American blues performers. These British rock and rollers idolized men such as Muddy Waters, Howlin’ Wolf, John Lee Hooker, and Robert Johnson. The music of groups such as The Rolling Stones and Led Zeppelin is deeply rooted in blues music, and these groups became among the most influential in all of rock and roll. By the early 1970s, there were very few rock guitarists who weren’t steeped in blues music. Led Zeppelin was a group who created an almost entirely new style of music by playing the blues louder and heavier than ever before. Its leaders, Robert Plant and Jimmy Page, transcribed the language of the blues into heavy rock. I wish to examine the overlap between these two seemingly unrelated cultures and investigate why and how musical common ground was found between Mississippi and Britain. How did an early 20th century African American musical form prove to be versatile enough to speak to a multicultural audience of musicians and listeners?