America's Music: Session 5 ~ Rock

Monday, June 17, 2013

6:00 PM-8:15 PM

Cost: Free and Open to the Public

Providence Public Library
150 Empire Street
Providence, RI 02903

Meeting Room (3rd Floor)

Mon, 2013-06-17 18:00 - 20:15

America's Music is a six-week series of public programs created by the Tribeca Film Institute® in partnership with the American Library Association and the National Endowment for the Humanities, and in consultation with the Society for American Music.

The programs feature documentary screenings and scholar-led discussions of 20th century American popular music. The six sessions focus on uniquely American musical genres: blues and gospel, Broadway, jazz, bluegrass and country, rock 'n' roll, and mambo and hip hop.


Overview: The birth of rock and roll in the 1950s is captured in the exuberant recordings of Bill Haley, Chuck Berry, Elvis Presley, Little Richard, Jerry Lee Lewis, and Buddy Holly, who sang songs about love, sex, identity crises, personal freedom, and other issues of particular interest to teenagers. By the early 1960s, the music industry was appealing to this lucrative new audience by creating and promoting teenage crooners like Pat Boone, Fabian, and Dion. Tin Pan Alley techniques—such as teaming lyricists with professional melody writers—were used profitably in the 1960s (for example, Berry Gordy’s string of Motown hit records). The rock music of the late 1960s helped fuel a protest movement against social injustice and the Vietnam War, spurred by the shift of singer/songwriter Bob Dylan from acoustic folk to electric rock. Mass music now incorporated new and timely subject matter. The late 1960s marked a period of corporate expansion in the American record industry, as the youth-oriented popular market branched into diverse styles—including psychedelic rock, hard rock, jazz rock, and folk rock.

A discussion of the film will take place after the screening led by Micah Salkind, a Providence Rhode Island-based writer, DJ and sound designer. As Director of Public Programs at The Providence Black Repertory Company between 2005 and 2008, he worked with representatives from Providence’s Department of Art, Culture and Tourism to establish Providence Sound Session, a flagship free/low-cost summer music festival for the City.

Salkind is pursuing a Ph.D in American Studies at Brown University. His scholarly work on Afro-Diasporic cultural production, which has recently included articles South African popular music and global House dance culture, complements his work towards establishing innovative models for sustaining community art institutions and art-makers with local and state funders.


The History of Rock ’n’ Roll: Episode 6, directed by Susan Steinberg (1995)

This episode from the award-winning ten-part series on rock and roll centers on the reinvention of rock in the mid-1960s, when most adults considered it mindless music. Emerging from the folk scene in Greenwich Village, singer/songwriter Bob Dylan transformed what rock communicated. Dylan’s fateful meeting with the Beatles in England moved the British group toward greater experimentation with lyrics and led him to “go electric” at the 1965 Newport Folk Festival. Susan Steinberg’s lively documentary combines thrilling performance footage with social and musical commentary from critics and musicians.

Link to Essay 

Additional Documentary Films



Online Resources

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