Understanding Rock: Essays in Musical Analysis

By John Covach; Graeme M. Boone | Go to book overview
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An earlier version of this chapter was delivered at the 1992 conference "Popular Music: The Primary Text," held at Thames Valley University, London, 3-5 July.

For the use of "classical rock," see David P. Szatmary, Rockin' in Time: A Social History of Rock and Roll, 2d ed. (Englewood Cliffs, N. J.: Prentice-Hall, 1991), 201-2. For "art rock," see Charles T. Brown, The Art of Rock and Roll, 2d ed. (Englewood Cliffs, N. J.: Prentice-Hall, 1987), 179-92; Katherine Charton, Rock Music Styles: A History, 2d ed. ( Madison, Wisc.: Brown & Benchmark, 1994), 192-206); David Joyner, American Popular Music ( Madison, Wisc.: Brown & Benchmark, 1993), 279-86; Allan F. Moore, Rock: The Primary Text ( Buckingham: Open University Press, 1993), 79-87; Joe Stuessy, Rock and Roll: Its History and Stylistic Development, 2d ed. (Englewood Cliffs, N. J.: Prentice-Hall, 1994), 274-300; and Ed Geoffrey Stokes Ward , and Ken Tucker, Rock of Ages: The Rolling Stone History of Rock and Roll (Englewood Cliffs, N. J.: Rolling Stone Press, 1986), 480-83. For "progressive rock," see Edward Macan, Rockin' the Classics: English Progressive Rock and the Counterculture ( New York: Oxford University Press, 1997), and Jon Pareles and Patricia Romanowski, The Rolling Stone Encyclopedia of Rock and Roll ( New York: Rolling Stone Press, 1983), 447-48. For "symphonic rock," see Dan Hedges, Yes: The Authorised Biography ( London: Sidgwick and Jackson, 1981), 62.

In this study I will use the term "progressive rock," principally because those involved in the recent resurgence of interest in this style (as discussed briefly in the text later) have adopted this term universally.

Macan provides a thorough account of the history of progressive rock during this period in his Rockin' the Classics.
See Wilfrid Mellers, Twilight of the Gods: The Music of the Beatles ( New York: Viking Press, 1973), 86. Mellers also states this position succinctly in the Beatles video documentary The Compleat Beatles ( Delilah Films, 1982).
The Beatles, Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band, Parlophone 7027/Capitol 2635 ( 1967). In his essay in this book, Dan Harrison explores the relationship between the Beatles and the Beach Boys in the period surrounding the release of the Beatles' Sgt. Pepper, the Beach Boys' "Good Vibrations," and the ill-fated Smile LP.
Peter and Gordon, "Lady Godiva," Capitol 5740 ( 1966); Herman's Hermits, "I'm Henry VIII, I Am," MGM 13367 ( 1965); the Beatles, "Eleanor Rigby," on Revolver, Parlophone 7009/ Capitol 2576 ( 1966); and the Rolling Stones, "Lady Jane," London 902 ( 1966). For a consideration of the use of classical-music instrumentation in late British-invasion and psychedelic music, see my "Stylistic Competencies, Musical Humor", and "This is Spinal Tap," in Concert Music, Rock, and Jazz since 1945: Essays and Analytical Studies, ed. Elizabeth West Marvin and Richard Hermann ( Rochester, N. Y.: University of Rochester Press, 1995), pp. 402-24.
The Beatles, "Norwegian Wood," on Rubber Soul, Parlophone 3075/Capitol 2442 ( 1965). David Pichaske ( A Generation in Motion: Popular Music and Culture in the Sixties [ New York: Schirmer, 1979], 96) considers the Maharishi Mahesh Yogi and his contact with the Beatles (among others) to be an important factor in directing the attention of late-'60s popular culture to Eastern religion and music. Later in his book Pichaske (171) quotes sitar virtuoso Ravi Shankar on the blending of Indian music and religion with hippie culture. According to Shankar, aspects of Indian culture were understood in a very superficial way, leading to gross distortions of these imported musical elements. For an interesting, if informal, discussion of the relationship between Eastern mysticism and psychedelic drugs in Beatles music, see Davin Seay with Mary Neely, Stairway to Heaven: The Spiritual Roots of Rock 'n' Roll ( New York: Ballantine Books, 1986), 123-55.
Procol Harum, "A Whiter Shade of Pale," Deram 7507 ( 1967). Richard Middleton


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