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America's Music: A Film History of Our Popular Music from Blues to Bluegrass to Broadway: Rock

Your Project Scholar

 Richard Mook, Ph.D.

Contact Info

Arizona State University
Herberger Institute
for Design and the Arts
School of Music

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Printable Essay: Rock

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Session 6


Wednesday, November 6, 7:30 p.m.

ASU Tempe, Hayden Library, Room C-6A

300 E. Orange Mall, Tempe, AZ 85281


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Featured Film

Moving between past and present to explore the birth of the blues out of the Mississippi Delta.
Film: The History of Rock n’ Roll: Episode 6, Plugging In
Susan Steinberg, 1995

Film Discussion Points

1. Why were those in the folk music revival of the 1960’s so invested in the concepts of musical purity and authenticity? How did they measure the authentic? Could electric rock and roll be authentic as well?

 2. Bob Dylan is often considered the defining artist of his generation. Do you agree? What lasting changes did his music, his lyrics and his attitude have on the history of rock? Can you think of any current musicians whose work is indebted to his?

 3. Why did rock and roll pose such a threat to middle class propriety in its first few decades? What were the greatest threats perceived by the opponents of rock and roll? Who defended the music or the musicians?

 4. Discuss the southern influence on American life as expressed in the national and then world wide acceptance of rock and roll.

 5. Some musicians have claimed that rock and roll did as much for civil rights as many politicians. Why would they make such a claim, and why would it be true?

 6. Rock and roll has often been dismissed as juvenile music, fit only for immature teens. What do you think about this comment? Did the music’s history ever disprove such charges?

 7. How would you assess the proposition that rock and roll’s most memorable innovation was not the music nor any given star, but the creation of a willing teen mass media audience?

 8. Do contemporary adult anxieties over hip hop, or other forms of popular culture, replay the conflicts of the rock and roll era?

Your Librarian

Christopher Mehrens's picture
Christopher Mehrens
Music Library



Printable Film Discussion Points: Rock

America's Music

“America’s Music: A Film History of Our Popular Music from Blues to Bluegrass to Broadway” is a project by the Tribeca Film Institute in collaboration with the American Library Association, Tribeca Flashpoint, and the Society for American Music.  “America’s Music” has been made possible by a major grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities: Exploring the Human Endeavor.

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