Music of the 1960’s and 70’s

      Comments Off on Music of the 1960’s and 70’s

This month GROM Audio has assembled a music playlist that features American sounds from the 60’s and 70’s.

Music 60s and 70s
The British Invasion phenomenal occurred in the 1960th, when the rock and pop music from United Kingdom, as well as the other aspects of culture, became extremely popular in the United States. Pop and rock groups such as the Beatles, the Animals, and the Rolling Stones, were at the forefront of the invasion.

The roots of the British rock and pop come from American Rock & Roll and Blues musicians. Young British groups started to combine various British and American styles, that became extremely popular in US and around the world, and in 1962 reached Hot 100 summit.

The music of this era features maturing of Rock & Roll as musicians dig deep into its Blues heritage. Layered with this key musical influenced, many artists began reflecting blues themes and musical structures. From The Rolling Stones to The Animals, blues was reinvented in the Rock world.

The Rolling Stones started in the early 1960’s covering Blues and Rock songs. With covers of Chuck Berry hidden diamonds like “Around and Around” and “Carol,” The Stones picked up Berry’s signature guitar riffs and began to incorporate them as key elements of their sound. The Stones were also able to create original renditions of blues songs like Willie Dixon’s “Little Red Rooster” or Jimmy Reed’s “Honest, I Do,” with a dark and moody tone that defined The Rolling Stones’ music.

rolling stones

The Rolling Stones are an English rock band formed in London in 1962. This image shows some of their vinyl record covers from the sixties (image credit to iStockphoto).

The Animals were another group that embraced the deep and dark sounds of Blues music. They began their career with the breakout song “House of the Rising Sun” from their self-titled, first album. This single was itself a cover of a traditional American folk ballad. Dark and apocalyptic, the song was taken to another level of haunting grace with The Animal’s featuring a spiraling arrangement of organ in the recording. The Animals would define their earlier sound through the organ, which would set them apart from The Rolling Stones who used guitars as the centerpiece of their songs. The Animals shaped major hits with songs like “We Gotta Get out of This Place” and “Don’t Let Me Be Misunderstood,” which both feature amazing organ performance in place guitar riffs.

Meanwhile, Soul and R&B music began to emerge and many of the important artists of these genres were breaking into the popular consciousness. Aretha Franklin and Diana Ross were taking ideas born out of Gospel music and adding elements of popular music.

Aretha Franklin, who started out singing gospel for her father, Minister C. L. Franklin, as a child, was both an inspired and well trained singer. Franklin used her voice’s power to evoke a woman who is asserting her honor in a rendition of Otis Redding’s “Respect,” and in another recording was able to recreate a sense of fulfillment both physically and emotionally in Carole King and Gerry Goffin’s song “You Make Me Feel Like a Natural Woman.”

Diana Ross was a key star in Motown’s success story. As lead singer and one of the founding members of the Supremes, she was able to help create a music group that was able to revival the Beatles in popularity. They made hit singles like “Where Did Our Love Go” and “Stop! In the Name of Love” that both became iconic songs for the 1960s. Later, as a single artist, she was able to continue achieving a number of hit singles. Among them were a series of duets that would be landmark songs of the 1970s, among them were ” My Mistake (Was to Love You)” sung with Marvin Gaye and “Endless Love” sung with Lionel Richie.

Lighter pop music inventions were also becoming dominant in music. The Beatles and The Beach Boys, who focused on simple melodic solos and harmonies, were able to attain 10-top dominance in the US Billboard charts. Meet the Beatles! is the second Beatles album released in the United States. It was the first US Beatles album to be issued by Capitol Records, on 20 January 1964. It topped the popular album chart on 15 February 1964 and remained at number one for eleven weeks before being replaced by The Beatles’ Second Album.

The beatles

The front and back cover of the Beatles’ second album, ‘Meet The Beatles!’, released in January 1964 by Capitol records. (image credit to iStockphoto)

Wanting to take their music to the next level, both groups were able to step beyond the initial success and fame they were able to attain and take their music in wild and creative directions. The Beatles created “Sergeant Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band” and their eponymous record nicknamed the “The White Album.” The Beach Boys created “Pet Sounds,” which inspired The Beatle’s “Sergeant Pepper,” and Beach Boys unfinished album “Smile,” which was finished and released decades later by The Beach Boys former lead singer Brian Wilson.

In our playlist we included “Let it be” by the Beatles, from their final album with the same name “Let it be”. It was released on 8 May 1970, almost a month after the group’s break-up, and became number one album in US, UK and other countries.

On the flip side of this emergence, artist like James Brown and Earth, Wind, and Fire were creating sounds that were focused on bold bass lines and tight rhythm sections. They were able to create songs filled passion and attitude.

James Brown started his career as a gospel singer in Georgia but would end up becoming one of the founding fathers of a sub-genre of R&B called “Funk.” Also known as “The God Father of Soul,” Brown made dance songs featuring fast tempo guitar playing, deep bass lines, and loud horns. Songs like “Papa’s Got a Brand New Bag” and “Sex Machine,” indulged and celebrated male attitude and sexual potency. Meanwhile tracks like “I Got You (I Feel Good),” became stellar hits with energy and enthusiasm for life and love that defined Brown’s music.

Earth, Wind, and Fire ran the gambit of sounds in the 1970’s. This huge group mixed jazz, funk, disco, pop, Latin, African and many other influence to help their audience dance. Hit singles “Boogie Wonderland” and “After the Love is Gone” were some of the most iconic songs of the 70’s. With a funky, jazzy arrangement that included beats you could dance to, this group brought a new dimension to popular music that made them stand out from many of their counterparts.

Please check out our latest playlist and let know what you think. What would you include in a playlist of these eras?

Enjoy the 1960s $70s playlist at