Maricopa Community Colleges  MHL153   19996-99999 

Official Course Description:  MCCCD Approval: 4-27-1999

MHL153  1999 Fall – 2001 Summer II

LEC  3.0 Credit(s)  3.0 Period(s)  3.0 Load  Acad

Rock Music and Culture

History of Rock music and how cultural, social, political, and economic conditions have shaped its evolution.

Prerequisites: None.


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MCCCD Official Course Competencies:


MHL153  1999 Fall – 2001 Summer II

Rock Music and Culture



Describe and interrelate the origins and elements of Rock music and culture, including musical components and comparisons with other popular musical forms. (I)


Explain why white youth in the mid-1950's adopted Black rhythm and blues as the music of their generation, and identify the appropriate musical structures and nuances. (II)


Identify and describe the psychological stages of personal development in Rock 'n' Roll in the mid-to-late 1950's, through the recordings and personalities of the "Golden Age" of Rock. (III)


Describe the psychological and musical characteristics of the emerging Rock culture from the late 1950's to early 1960's. (IV)


Describe the conflicts and tensions between the Rock Generation and the Established society surrounding and controlling them in the early 1960's. (V)


Describe the various "escapist" maneuvers by mid-1960's youth as a means of dealing with the competitive crises of modern urban life, including appropriate artists and recordings. (VI)


Describe how class and generational conflicts in British society affected Rock music and culture in the mid-1960's. (VII)


Explain the growing radicalism and vulgarity of Rock culture in the mid-1960's, and identify American artists and recordings representative of those trends. (VIII)


Explicate the shift in the mid-1960's Rock culture towards arrogant relativism, political radicalism, and guilt free use of drugs, and identify musical and literary defenses for this subculture. (IX)


Compare and contrast the increasing hostility between the Rock and Establishment cultures in the mid-to-late 1960's, including musical and behavioral evidence of value conflict. (X)


Explain the extreme radicalism of Rock culture in the late 1960's to early 1970's in relationship to the climax of the Viet Nam War Period, including musical and political protests. (XI)


Depict the events which led to the "sell-out" Seventies and the making of the "Me Generation", through representative artists and recordings. (XII)


Describe what is meant by the pendulum of aesthetic and commercial protest in Rock music and culture in the mid-to-late 1970's, including musical and political examples. (XIII)


Explain the rise and fall of the Pub/Punk Rock protest movements in relation to the artistic, idealistic, and economic aspects of Rock music and culture in the late 1970's to early 1980's. (XIV)


Analyze the eclectic Eighties in Rock music, describe the growing critical concern over corruption in the culture of Rock 'n' Roll, and relate the various Establishment responses. (XV)


Project the trends of Rock 'n' Roll through the 1990's and review the impact of Rock music and culture on American civilization, including arguments pro and con. (XVI)

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MCCCD Official Course Outline:


MHL153  1999 Fall – 2001 Summer II

Rock Music and Culture


I. Origins and Elements

A. American Popular Culture and Western Civilization

B. Organizational Methods and Critical Principles

C. Basic Musicology

1. Horizontal component

2. Vertical component

D. The Psycho-Biology of Human Musical Responsivity

E. The Roots of Rock 'n' Roll

F. Differences Between Rock 'n' Roll and Jazz

G. Psycho-Historical Theories

1. Popular culture

2. Rock music and culture

H. Historical Recordings, Slides, and Musical Demonstrations

II. Mid-1950's (Begin)

A. Musical History of Black Blues

1. U.S. culture

2. Racial history

B. Emergence of the Golden Age of Rock 'n' Roll

1. Black R & B

2. Northern urban Black Electrified Blues

C. Rock Becomes the Music of the Baby Boomer Generation

D. Rock Music and Culture Commercially Exploited

E. White Culture Co-Opts Black Culture

F. Historical and Representative Recordings, Slides, and Musical Demonstrations

III. Mid-to-Late 1950's (Conclusion)

A. Psychological Stages of Development

1. Personal

2. Rock music and culture

B. "Why Elvis?" - Timing and Need in History

C. Early History of Rock 'n' Roll

D. Importance of American Historical Traditions to Rock

1. Black roots

2. White Pioneer

E. Historical and Representative Recordings, Slides, and Musical Demonstrations

IV. Late 1950's to Early 1960's (Begin)

A. Personality of Emerging Rock Culture

1. Psycho-sexual

2. Human developmental

3. Group (Narcissism and "Entitlement")

B. Conflicts Over Rock Music

1. Exemplified by Elvis Presley

2. Generational

3. Class

4. Stereotypical racial

C. Continuing Commercialization of Rock

1. Teen disposable income

2. Rock as big business

3. Dreamy adolescence exploited

D. Organized Crime and the Business of Rock

E. Further Dilution of Black Elements in Rock

1. White Rock entrepreneurs

2. Pallid Pop-Rock (M.O.R.)

F. Celebrity Craze Continues

G. Representative Recordings, Slides, and Musical Demonstrations

V. Early 1960's (Conclusion)

A. Rock Recovers from White Blanching

1. Rock generation growing older

2. More discriminating real Rock tastes

B. Conflicts

1. Rock as show biz for big bucks

2. Rock as the idealistic music of youth

C. The Crime Continues

1. Payola

2. Career tampering

D. Representative Recordings, Slides, and Musical Demonstrations

VI. Early Mid-1960's

A. Traditional "Escapist" Aspects

B. The Cult of Youth Emerges

C. Rock and Folk Rock As a Medium

1. Normal youth protest

2. Reaction to the "Rat Race"

D. Representative Recordings, Slides, and Musical Demonstrations

VII. Mid-1960's (British)

A. Social Unrest in British Society

1. The Bulge

2. Traditional class differences

B. Protests Among British Youth

1. Restrained upper class "Mods"

2. Aggressive lower class "Rockers"

C. The Beatles

1. Cleaned up by Brian Epstein

2. Total commercial packaging

D. Representative Recordings, Slides, and Musical Demonstrations

VIII. Mid-1960's (Continued)

A. Rock Culture Enters Late Adolescence

1. Adulthood deferred for narcissistic hedonism

2. Increasing radical social and political protest through Rock music and lyrics

B. Culture Becomes Intentionally Vulgar

1. Fixated adolescence

2. Entrepreneurs discover that sex and protest sell

C. Rock Culture is Now Self-Sustaining

D. Representative Recordings, Slides, and Musical Demonstrations

IX. Mid-1960's (Conclusion)

A. Passive Withdrawal from Competitive Rat Race

1. Whole Hippie/Beatnik syndrome

2. Drug culture

B. Moral Relativism Becomes Pervasive

C. Great Post WW II Education Boom Begins

1. Permissive philosophy and extended period of schooling

2. Beginning decline in educational and academic standards and achievements

D. Serious Drug Culture Begins

E. The New Psychedelic Drug Culture is Commercially Exploited

F. Representative Recordings, Slides, and Musical Demonstrations

X. Mid-to-Late 1960's

A. Rock Culture Firmly Rooted

1. Shared and sustained by Baby Boomers and Beatniks

2. Financially successful

3. Psychologically gratifying

4. Socially coherent

5. Political mechanism for protest

B. Emergence of Art Rock

1. Older, better Rock musicians bored

2. Extended forms, themes, and musicality

3. More sophisticated, older Rock audience

C. Two Cultures Conflict

1. Rock culture growing older but not really growing up

2. Increasingly rigid and hostile Establishment culture

D. Representative Recordings, Slides, and Musical Demonstrations

XI. Late 1960's to Early 1970's

A. Passive Resistance Becomes Active

1. Mostly white student radicals in academic setting

2. Ideal of quasi communalism proclaimed

B. Relativism Reaches Its Peak

1. "Participatory democracy" and curricular relevance run wild

2. Academic standards diluted if not disgraced

C. All Radical Movements Catalized by the Viet Nam War

D. Civil Rights Movements Erupts

E. Representative Recordings, Slides, and Musical Demonstrations

XII. Early to Mid-1970's

A. "Radical Sixties" Subside

1. Viet Nam War winds down

2. Protest movements peaked out

B. The "Me Generation" Emerges

1. Indifference towards protest

2. Concern for good jobs, security, and material prosperity

C. Rock Music Goes Big Time

1. As show business

2. Celebrities preempt artistic concerns of Rock culture

D. Women's Lib Movement Emerges

E. Baby Boomers Beginning to Age

1. Yuppies elite minority

2. Downward mobile majority

3. Rock culture pervasively sensate

F. Rock Music Struggles with and for Artistic Integrity

1. Fusion

2. The Pub/Punk Rock protest movements begin

G. Cult of Celebrity and Corruption of Art Continues

H. Representative Recordings, Slides, and Musical Demonstrations

XIII. Mid-to-Late 1970's

A. The Pendulum of Protest Swings Back Toward Anti-Establishment Activism

1. Anti-Rock establishment (Superstars)

2. Older established government and society

B. Passive Pub Protest Against Big Time Rock 'n' Roll

C. Gross Aggressive Punk Protest

D. Pub/Punk Protest Commercially Exploited

E. Rise and Displacement of Robotic Disco by Country and Western

F. Representative Recordings, Slides, and Musical Demonstrations

XIV. Late 1970's to Early 1980's

A. Serious Pub/Punk Protest Compromised

1. Artistic sell-out by big time Rock

2. Poor people and Rockers left behind

B. Eviscerated Punk Becomes Fashionable ("New Wave")

C. Beginning of Rock Altruism

1. Rock superstars become "good cause" activists

2. Numerous super charity concerts staged

3. Very little money reaches the poor and needy

D. Rock Videos Save the Rock Recording Industry

E. Representative Recordings, Slides, and Musical Demonstrations

XV. Mid-to-Late 1980's

A. "The Eclectic Eighties"

1. Mixture of a wide variety of styles

2. Amazing high technology

3. Nostalgia for the roots of Rock 'n' Roll (Black R & B)

B. Gathering Alarm about Increasing Vulgarity, Violence, and Psycho-Sexual Aberrations

1. Mounting counter counter-culture movement by Establishment academics and intellectuals, including censorship

2. Beginnings of an organized defense of Rock music and culture

C. Representative Recordings, Slides, and Musical Demonstrations

XVI. Late 1980's to the 21st Century

A. Impact of Rock Music and Culture on American Civilization

1. Rock as a cause for serious cultural change

2. Rock as a symptom of deeper causes of a crisis in Western civilization

B. Projections into the 1990's and beyond

C. Arguments For and Against Rock Music and Culture Reviewed and Balanced

1. Long range "lessons of history"

2. Unique aspects of American popular culture as exemplified by Rock 'n' Roll

3. Was--is--Rock a passing fad or a true force for cultural change?

D. Projective Recordings, Slides, and Musical Demonstrations


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