The Sixties in North America

Here is the listening for tomorrow’s class, drawing from examples in both of the readings. Considering that rock and soul music from mid-60s through the mid-70s is effectively the canon for histories of rock ‘n’ roll and popular music in general, it was exceedingly difficult to choose examples that can address the ways that the different counterpublics attempted to change the political status quo in the United States. I ended up choosing some lesser-known examples that I think exemplify some of the major trends in music protest from the decade that we haven’t already addressed in the class. As you prepare for tomorrow’s class, consider how Ward and Gitlin’s perspectives differ in how they address the same general period of music-making and the interrelationships between the ’60s counterculture and the rising black consciousness associated with soul music.

Also, I plan for discussion to at least partially address Brad Paisley’s “Accidental Racist.” If you have avoided stumbling into this media spectacle, here are some good places to start.

Stokely Carmichael



Tropicália and the 1960s

Next week we will be transitioning to our final unit. Appropriately enough, the music we’ll be covering from Brazil is some of the most engaged with N. American and British trends in Rock ‘n’ Roll of the ’60s. For Monday, we’ll be reading an article on Milton Nascimento by Martha Ulhôa (available here) and some excerpts from Caetano Veloso’s memoir Tropical Truth (available here). Unlike just about everything else we have read this semester, Veloso’s writing is autobiographical; he does not attempt the kind of scholarly objectivity and instead imbues his writing with the passion of an artist forced into exile for causing a disruption. For this reason, I would like you to focus more of your attention on Tropical Truth. Important things to know about Veloso: 1) he was arrested by the Brazilian military in 1969 and, along with fellow tropicalista musician Gilberto Gil, he lived in London for three years; 2) he is one of the most famous Brazilian musicians in the world. Those two facts should help you understand Veloso’s perspective and tone in the excerpt. He writes with a voice of self-importance.

On Thursday, we at long last will discuss the 1960s in the United States. The chapter by Todd Gitlin discusses the role of music for members of Students for a Democratic Society. Gitlin is now a sociology professor at Columbia University, but he was one of the leaders of the New Left and organized some of the first major protests against the U.S. involvement in Vietnam. Reading his perspective against Caetano Veloso’s makes for some interesting comparisons. Brian Ward is a professor of American History at University of Florida and specializes in the American South. His chapter analyzes the role of secularization in ’60s soul music. Since this is the second time that we are discussing the civil rights movement, I encourage you to consider how his perspective differs from Turino’s and consider the recent media spectacle surrounding Brad Paisley’s attempt to solve racism in the south.

Here is the music for Monday. I’ll post Thursday’s music after the weekend.