Sixties Music – The Two Icebergs Collide by Sixties Course, Mel Rosenberg - Illustrated by Miki Peled - Ourboox.com
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Sixties Music – The Two Icebergs Collide

by

Artwork: Miki Peled

This is the account of the music of the sixties course "Evolution of the Revolution" that we give every semester Read More
  • Joined Jun 2016
  • Published Books 24

If I were to pick a date on which sixties music started, it wouldn’t be January first, 1960. There was some great music during 1960-1962 but for the most part pop music sounded something like this.

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Mark Dinning, Teen Angel, 1960

Lyrics

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or this….

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I would pick November 22nd, 1963. 

It is a day that the world remembers.

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I believe that the music of the sixties involved a collision between two icebergs:

-the folk/protest movement, a la Bob Dylan.

-early rock music, a la Beatles

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These two ‘icebergs’ were on a collision course in late 1963. About to meet physically in mid 1964:

On Friday 28 August 1964, in a room in the Delmonico hotel … in New York City… the Beatles encountered Bob Dylan for the first time.” Read this article for the course, it also talks about serendipitous meetings of other musicians.

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The Beatles meet Dylan

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Back to November 22nd, 1963. The Beatles, who are already getting big in the UK, are featured on a short TV segment in the morning.

The very same afternoon: John Kennedy is assassinated (you can watch it here), less than three years after he becomes President.

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The very next evening, Bob Dylan performs a song (in waltz 3/4 tempo) that he had just written. It calls out to American youth to rebel, to ignore their parents and the politicians. A song of revolution. The Times they are A Changin’. Learn the song well for the course.

lyrics here 

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Peter, Paul and Mary. A favorite of mine.

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Dylan has his own summary of the sixties, recently released:

“Murder Most Foul” It was a dark day in Dallas, November ’63 A day that will live on in infamy President Kennedy was a-ridin’ high Good day to be livin’ and a good day to die Being led to the slaughter like a sacrificial lamb He said, “Wait a minute, boys, you know who I am?” “Of course we do, we know who you are!” Then they blew off his head while he was still in the car……

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Bob Dylan has moved to New York, is gaining a big reputation as a songwriter and starting to become well known as a performer. Bob Dylan’s agent is Albert Grossman. He also manages Peter, Paul and Mary. They make Dylan famous.  Perhaps that’s why Grossman put them together. In late 1963 they are huge. Dylan will be soon. In the meantime, he is their prime songwriter.

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Blowin’ in the Wind

Please pay close attention to the close vocal harmony!!!

Lyrics

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So where did Dylan come from? He grew up as Robert Zimmerman, a Jewish kid in a small town in Minnesota. Dylan borrowed his name from someone else.

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Who was Dylan Thomas?

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He borrowed his musical persona from someone else, too – Woody Guthrie.

Early Dylan borrowed lyrics and music from other artists and cultures and created famous songs. Was he a cheat? Or was he just doing what folk musicians did?

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Was Dylan a song thief?

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Read more about what made Dylan Dylan.

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My dialogue with Bob Dylan

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Woody Guthrie, Dylan’s hero, was a more authentic folk/protest singer. Have a look  his famous song “This Land is Your Land” (see here on Wikipedia as well). What’s missing? In the Weaver’s popular recording, only the first three verses are sung. The subsequent ones are the disruptive ones (we’re talking about a song written in 1944, recorded in 1944). Learn the disruptive verses for the course.

Scroll down for lyrics:

G                          C                             G
This land is your land, this land is my land 
         D                      G
From California to the New York Island
G7               C                         G 
From the Redwood Forest to the Gulf Stream waters
D7                             G 
This land was made for you and me.

Verse 1: 
G         C                      G
As I went walking that ribbon of highway
      D                     G
I saw above me that endless skyway
G7    C                    G  
I saw below me that golden valley
D7                             G 
This land was made for you and me.

Repeat Chorus
 
Verse 2:

G              C                         G
I roamed and I rambled and I followed my footsteps
                 D                    G 
To the sparkling sands of her diamond deserts
G7        C                     G 
While all around me a voice was sounding
D7                             G 
This land was made for you and me.

Repeat Chorus

Verse 3:

G                 C                  G
When the sun came shining, and I was strolling
                     D                          G 
And the wheat fields waving and the dust clouds rolling
G7          C                        G 
A voice was chanting, As the fog was lifting,
D7                             G 
This land was made for you and me.

Repeat Chorus

Verse 4:

G         C                    G
As I went walking I saw a sign there
                   D            G 
And on the sign it said "No Trespassing."
G7         C                        G 
But on the other side it didn't say nothing,
D7                             G 
That side was made for you and me.

Repeat Chorus

Verse 5:

G                     C                        G
In the squares of the city, In the shadow of a steeple;
              D                   G 
By the relief office, I'd seen my people.
G7                  C                     G 
As they stood there hungry, I stood there asking,
D7                            G 
Is this land made for you and me?

Repeat Chorus

Verse 6:

G      C                    G
Nobody living can ever stop me,
        D                    G 
As I go walking that freedom highway;
G7     C          G
Nobody living can make me turn back
D7                             G 
This land was made for you and me.

Repeat Chorus 2x

 

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Woody Guthrie singing “This land is your land”

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Woody Guthrie is one of the leaders of the folk/protest movement. Others include Pete Seeger, Joan Baez, Tom Paxton, Buffy Ste. Marie. The music has:

Simple lyrics and melodies (sometimes ‘borrowed’).

A strong message, which can border on self-righteousness.

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Here is Donovan‘s version of (Canadian!!) Buffy Ste. Marie‘s song, The Universal Soldier. It is a classic. Do you agree with it? Learn it for the course.

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with lyrics

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Here is Pete Seeger singing Tom Paxton’s song “What did you learn in school today“.

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Here is the local version.

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Joan Baez singing “Donna Donna” – do you know where the song came from?

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In February, 1964, the Beatles appear on the Ed Sullivan show with 70 million viewers (me among them) and take the US by storm. Their Merseyside 2-4 rock ‘beat music’ is as  infectious than the Corona virus and will soon pervade folk and protest music.

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So I think (and I am not alone) that Sixties (rock) music was born out of the collision between folk/protest and early rock. Here’s a prime example indicating what happened:

In early 1964 Dylan writes “Hey Mr. Tambourine Man“. He records it with the producer Tom Wilson. It has an acoustic folk feel. Pure genius.

Scroll down for lyrics:

Hey, Mr. Tambourine Man, play a song for me
I’m not sleepy and there is no place I’m going to
Hey, Mr. Tambourine Man, play a song for me
In the jingle jangle morning I’ll come following you
Though I know that evening’s empire has returned into sand
Vanished from my hand
Left me blindly here to stand, but still not sleeping
My weariness amazes me, I’m branded on my feet
I have no one to meet
And the ancient empty street’s too dead for dreaming
Hey, Mr. Tambourine Man, play a song for me
I’m not sleepy and there is no place I’m going to
Hey, Mr. Tambourine Man, play a song for me
In the jingle jangle morning I’ll come following you
Take me on a trip upon your magic swirling ship
My senses have been stripped
My hands can’t feel to grip
My toes too numb to step
Wait only for my boot heels to be wandering
I’m ready to go anywhere, I’m ready for to fade
Into my own parade
Cast your dancing spell my way, I promise to go under it
Hey, Mr. Tambourine Man, play a song for me
I’m not sleepy and there is no place I’m going to
Hey, Mr. Tambourine Man, play a song for me
In the jingle jangle morning I’ll come following you
Though you might hear laughing, spinning, swinging madly across the sun
It’s not aimed at anyone
It’s just escaping on the run
And but for the sky there are no fences facing
And if you hear vague traces of skipping reels of rhyme
To your tambourine in time
It’s just a ragged clown behind
I wouldn’t pay it any mind
It’s just a shadow you’re seeing that he’s chasing
Hey, Mr. Tambourine Man, play a song for me
I’m not sleepy and there is no place I’m going to
Hey, Mr. Tambourine Man, play a song for me
In the jingle jangle morning I’ll come following you
And take me disappearing through the smoke rings of my mind
Down the foggy ruins of time
Far past the frozen leaves
The haunted frightened trees
Out to the windy beach
Far from the twisted reach of crazy sorrow
Yes, to dance beneath the diamond sky
With one hand waving free
Silhouetted by the sea
Circled by the circus sands
With all memory and fate
Driven deep beneath the waves
Let me forget about today until tomorrow
Hey, Mr. Tambourine Man, play a song for me
I’m not sleepy and there is no place I’m going to
Hey, Mr. Tambourine Man, play a song for me
In the jingle jangle morning I’ll come following you
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Scroll down for lyrics:

Hey, Mr. Tambourine Man, play a song for me
I’m not sleepy and there is no place I’m going to
Hey, Mr. Tambourine Man, play a song for me
In the jingle jangle morning I’ll come following you
Though I know that evening’s empire has returned into sand
Vanished from my hand
Left me blindly here to stand, but still not sleeping
My weariness amazes me, I’m branded on my feet
I have no one to meet
And the ancient empty street’s too dead for dreaming
Hey, Mr. Tambourine Man, play a song for me
I’m not sleepy and there is no place I’m going to
Hey, Mr. Tambourine Man, play a song for me
In the jingle jangle morning I’ll come following you
Take me on a trip upon your magic swirling ship
My senses have been stripped
My hands can’t feel to grip
My toes too numb to step
Wait only for my boot heels to be wandering
I’m ready to go anywhere, I’m ready for to fade
Into my own parade
Cast your dancing spell my way, I promise to go under it
Hey, Mr. Tambourine Man, play a song for me
I’m not sleepy and there is no place I’m going to
Hey, Mr. Tambourine Man, play a song for me
In the jingle jangle morning I’ll come following you
Though you might hear laughing, spinning, swinging madly across the sun
It’s not aimed at anyone
It’s just escaping on the run
And but for the sky there are no fences facing
And if you hear vague traces of skipping reels of rhyme
To your tambourine in time
It’s just a ragged clown behind
I wouldn’t pay it any mind
It’s just a shadow you’re seeing that he’s chasing
Hey, Mr. Tambourine Man, play a song for me
I’m not sleepy and there is no place I’m going to
Hey, Mr. Tambourine Man, play a song for me
In the jingle jangle morning I’ll come following you
And take me disappearing through the smoke rings of my mind
Down the foggy ruins of time
Far past the frozen leaves
The haunted frightened trees
Out to the windy beach
Far from the twisted reach of crazy sorrow
Yes, to dance beneath the diamond sky
With one hand waving free
Silhouetted by the sea
Circled by the circus sands
With all memory and fate
Driven deep beneath the waves
Let me forget about today until tomorrow
Hey, Mr. Tambourine Man, play a song for me
I’m not sleepy and there is no place I’m going to
Hey, Mr. Tambourine Man, play a song for me
In the jingle jangle morning I’ll come following you
33

Dylan singing Hey Mr. Tambourine Man at Newport Folk Festival in 1964

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But when the Byrds got hold of it…. “In an attempt to make it sound more like The Beatles, the band … elected to give the song a full, electric rock band treatment, effectively creating the musical subgenre of folk rock. Dylan was impressed, enthusiastically commenting, “Wow, you can dance to that!”

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So by the mid-sixties, with the Beatles everywhere, if you didn’t rock, you didn’t exist.

Another great example of a band that ‘succumbed’ to the British invasion is Simon and Garfunkel. They also have the same producer Tom Wilson  to thank (or not). Here’s the story, in the next book of the course.

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Beatles and Dylan had collided. At first through the music, then in person. They rubbed off on one another. The Beatles would go on to write more introspective music. John would sing with a somewhat Dylanesque voice and approach. Dylan, for his own part went electric in 1965. Popular music would never be the same.

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A little extra something: Here is an amazing recording of a very young Donovan performing a very young song in front of the slightly older Dylan, who (at Donovan’s own request?) shows him up. A very telling video. Someone commented that if Phil Ochs were there he would have shown them both up. Enjoy!

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A little extra something: Here is an amazing recording of a very young Donovan performing a very young song in front of the slightly older Dylan, who (at Donovan’s own request?) shows him up. A very telling video. Someone commented that if Phil Ochs were there he would have shown them both up. Enjoy!

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