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Trimester 2, 2015


Foundations of Popular Contemporary Music

1970s: Funk, Disco and Early Hip Hop

Black music
A problematic term: supposed to mean 'funky' or
'soul', but in fact too many variables
Socially, a clearer cut, if more uncomfortable
Really refers to two facets: black performers and
black audiences
Easy to fall into stereotypes and racism

But all pop music derives from black innovators

Black music in the 70s

The 1970s was one of the strongest decades
for black music
Album oriented soul maintained its popularity
Funk evolved into two strands:
- Pop/soul/jazz fusion (Sly and the Family Stone)
- Psychedelic Funk (George Clinton and P-Funk)

Rise and decline of disco

Funk was born when musicians
blended Soul, Soul-Jazz and R&B into
a danceable music
De-emphasises melody and harmony
Emphasises groove between bass and guitar
Often an extended vamp
As opposed to Soul and R&B which emphasized
harmonic progression and melody

Typically consists of a complex
groove between rhythm instruments
Guitar, hammond organ, bass and
drums playing interlocking rhythms

Funk bands sometimes have horns

Trumpets, saxophones and trombones
Play rhythmic hits

Origins of Funk
With the changes in his bands
lineup, James Brown moved
Horn-based soul to
Rhythm section funk

Emphasis on chordal
Horns support
harmonic lines
Rhythm section

Emphasis on groove
Rhythm section
Horns support
harmonic lines

Later Motown
Marvin Gaye

Stevie Wonder
The Jackson 5
In 1975 Berry moves Motown to L.A.

Acts inspired by Psychedelia start to
George Clinton and what becomes PFunk
Sly and the Family Stone

Provocative, but unifying (white and

black members)
Theatrical (Clinton would have themed
An explosion of similar bands

Early funk

Other bands started playing funk

Dyke and the Blazers (Arizona)
The Meters (New Orleans)
The Isley Brothers (Ohio)

George Clinton

In the 1970s a new

group of musicians
developed the "funk
rock" approach
innovated by George
Parliament (1968
Funkadelic (1970-1981)

George Clinton

George Clinton was

to funk what
glam was to rock
- Reebee Garofalo
My mission is to rescue dance
music from the blahs
- George Clinton

Knee Deep (Part 1)

Fundadelic (1979)

George Clinton

Clinton and his groups produced a new

kind of funk sound heavily influenced by
jazz and psychedelic rock.
The two groups had members in common and
often are referred to collectively as
Gave rise to the term P-Funk, which
referred to the music by George Clinton's
bands, and defined a new subgenre

New York in the 1970s

The growth of the ghettos
The decay of nuclear family life: where have all the
male figures gone? Where are the mothers?
The ethnic mix
The career choices faced by young men...
Dealing drugs

Low paid unskilled work

The rise of disco

Gay and black crowds start gathering in nightclubs

Light shows inspired by funk shows and psychedelic shows

Dance music

Clubs start playing records: call themselves French


Soon formalises: softer funk, featuring strings, wah guitar and

solid 'four on the floor beat'

First major act: Gloria Gaynor

Donna Summer (produced by Giorgio Moroder)

The Village People (produced by Jacques Morales)

The Bee Gees (produced by Arif Mardin, and themselves)

Disco becomes smothering... Highly unpopular within 3 years...

Redevelops into EDM... More on that later

Hip Hop: A brief history

Hip Hop is made up of four components:
Rap, Dance, DJing and Graffiti
Hip hop appeared in New York in the
1970s, coming out of disco, soul and
Like Metal, (indeed like most pop musics)
hip hop comes from the lower classes

The music
Taking records and making long dance
tracks from it
Out of discos

The importance of street parties

The techniques of DJing: mixing;
scratching; mashing up

The DJs
The aim of the DJ is to keep the party
The issue of royalties; the issues of
composition and creativity....

Break Dancing
The most 'accessible' part of hip hop to outsiders.
Hip Hop dancing is now a valued 'art' choreography
with many choreographers incorporating hip-hop
styles into their work.
Started in Street parties. During the 'break', dancers
would dance.
Highly athletic, highly skilled.

Dance 'gangs' and their effect on NY crime.

Break Dancing's effect

on popular dance
Movies, dance shows

'So You Think You Can Dance'

Other 'art shows'

'Popping', 'Breaking', 'Robot'...

What is Rap?
Rap is the words of hip-hop.
Often spoken in a 16 line structure, rappers improvise
or compose lyrics to the beat
Rap can cover any topic, but tends to either be
hedonistic, egotistical, angry, funny, or political. Or all
of these at once.
Often intended to confuse, exclude and offend

When did Rap start?

The 1970s, but came of age in the 1980s
Certain older folk and blues songs have rap elements
(see Bo Diddley 'I'm a Man'; Bob Dylan 'Subterranean
Homesick Blues')
Early acts tended to be much less 'street' (though
they came from the street')
Early rap singles: 'Rapper's Delight', Sugarhill Gang;
'Rapture' Blondie

The early days continued

Afrika Bambaata brought a new and
confronting approach to hip-hop
Politics: tries to get young men to be proud of
black culture, and African Culture, and get out
of gang life.
Many rap artists used old soul and funk
records; Bambaata used the clinical sounds of
Kraftwerk (more later)

The Backlash
The rise of the Neo-Conservatives
The subduing of the counter culture: youth
culture; feminism; civil rights; black rights;
gay rights etc.
The rise of corporate commercialism.

Australian music in the 70s

The 1970s saw the advent of Double J
radio (later changed to JJJ) and
Countdown which both fundamentally
changed the political economy of
Australian popular music.

1970s Australian bands

The rise of the pub circuit bought a new
generation of tough, uncompromising, adultoriented rock bands such as:

Cold Chisel
Jon English
Jo Jo Zep & The Falcons
The Angels
Australian Crawl
Rose Tattoo
Ross Wilson's Mondo Rock

1970s Australian Punk and Disco

Punk/New Wave:
The Saints
Radio Birdman

John Paul Young
Renee Gayer
Marcia Hines

Constant and strong lineage of urban
black music from blues, gospel and
soul to funk and hip hop

Still deeply influential

Maybe now dominates