224 episodes

Andrew Hickey presents a history of rock music from 1938 to 1999, looking at five hundred songs that shaped the genre.

A History of Rock Music in 500 Songs Andrew Hickey

    • Music
    • 4.8 • 230 Ratings

Andrew Hickey presents a history of rock music from 1938 to 1999, looking at five hundred songs that shaped the genre.

    Song 174A: “I Heard it Through the Grapevine” Part One, “If At First You Don’t Succeed…”

    Song 174A: “I Heard it Through the Grapevine” Part One, “If At First You Don’t Succeed…”

    For those who haven’t heard the announcement I posted , songs from this point on will sometimes be split among multiple episodes, so this is the first part of a two-episode look at the song “I Heard it Through the Grapevine”. This week we take a short look at the song’s writers, Norman Whitfield and Barrett Strong, and the first released version by Gladys Knight and the Pips. In two weeks time we’ll take a longer look at the sixties career of the song’s most famous performer, Marvin Gaye. This episode is quite a light one. That one… won’t be.
    Click the full post to read liner notes, links to more information, and a transcript of the episode.
    Patreon backers also have a half-hour bonus episode, on “Bend Me Shape Me” by Amen Corner.
    Tilt Araiza has assisted invaluably by doing a first-pass edit, and will hopefully be doing so from now on. Check out Tilt’s irregular podcasts at http://www.podnose.com/jaffa-cakes-for-proust and http://sitcomclub.com/

    Resources
    Mixcloud will be up with the next episode.
    For Motown-related information in this and other Motown episodes, I’ve used the following resources:
    Where Did Our Love Go? The Rise and Fall of the Motown Sound by Nelson George is an excellent popular history of the various companies that became Motown.
    To Be Loved by Berry Gordy is Gordy’s own, understandably one-sided, but relatively well-written, autobiography.
    Women of Motown: An Oral History by Susan Whitall is a collection of interviews with women involved in Motown.
    I Hear a Symphony: Motown and Crossover R&B by J. Andrew Flory is an academic look at Motown.
    The Motown Encyclopaedia by Graham Betts is an exhaustive look at the people and records involved in Motown’s thirty-year history.
    Motown: The Golden Years is another Motown encyclopaedia.
    And Motown Junkies is an infrequently-updated blog looking at (so far) the first 693 tracks released on Motown singles.
    For information on Marvin Gaye, and his relationship with Norman Whitfield, I relied on Divided Soul: The Life of Marvin Gaye by David Ritz. I’ve also used information on Whitfield in  Ain’t Too Proud to Beg: The Troubled Lives and Enduring Soul of the Temptations by Mark Ribowsky,
    I’ve also referred to interviews with Whitfield and Strong archived at rocksbackpages.com , notably “The Norman Whitfield interview”, John Abbey, Blues & Soul, 1 February 1977
    For information about Gladys Knight, I’ve used her autobiography.
    The best collection of Gladys Knight and the Pips’ music is this 3-CD set, but the best way to hear Motown hits is in the context of other Motown hits. This five-CD box set contains the first five in the Motown Chartbusters series of British compilations. The Pips’ version of “I Heard it Through the Grapevine” is on disc 2, while Marvin Gaye’s is on disc 3, which is famously generally considered one of the best single-disc various artists compilations ever.
    Patreon
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    Transcript
    Before I start, a brief note — this episode contains some brief mentions of miscarriage and drug abuse.
    The history of modern music would be immeasurably different had it not been for one car breakdown.
    Norman Whitfield spent the first fifteen years of his life in New York, never leaving the city, until his grandmother died. She’d lived in LA, and that was where the funeral was held, and so the Whitfield family got into a car and drove right across the whole continent — two thousand five hundred miles — to attend the old lady’s funeral.
    And then after the funeral, they turned round and started to drive home again. But they only got as far as Detroit when the car, understandably, gave up the ghost.  Luckily, like many Black families, they had family in Detroit, and Norman’s aunt was not only willing to put the family up for a while, but h

    An Alert: Someone Plagiarising Me

    An Alert: Someone Plagiarising Me

    Transcript
    The next proper episode will be up in a couple of days – I’m recording it tonight – but I just wanted to make a brief announcement. It has recently been brought to my attention that the French language podcast Un dernier disque avant la fin du monde has, for nearly two years, been making French-language versions of my podcast without giving me credit (the episodes before that don’t seem to be ripped off from me), and has been monetising them on Patreon – including making his own French-language versions of some of my Patreon bonuses.
    This is not a case of someone just taking inspiration from my work. It’s not someone doing episodes on the same songs and possibly leaning a little too heavily on me as a source. That kind of thing is forgivable. This is someone who has been doing word-for-word translations, without my permission, and without crediting me or even notifying me, and posting them as his own work. As far as my schoolboy French indicates he’s not even lightly paraphrasing.
    He clearly listens to my podcast, so I am going to give him until Monday to take all those episodes down and post an apology before I contact a lawyer. I’m posting this publicly so that anyone who has been listening to his show and wondering about the similarity, or listening in the belief I authorised his work, knows that this is the work of a plagiarist, not something I’ve endorsed in any way.
    And if anyone *wants* to do translated versions of my work, they can contact me and make proper arrangements. I put too much time and effort into my job to have someone pass my work off as theirs without a fight.

    Song 173: “All Along the Watchtower” Part Two, The Hour is Getting Late

    Song 173: “All Along the Watchtower” Part Two, The Hour is Getting Late

    For those who haven’t heard the announcement I posted , songs from this point on will sometimes be split among multiple episodes, so this is the second part of a two-episode look at the song “All Along the Watchtower”. Part one was on the original version by Bob Dylan, while this part is on Jimi Hendrix’s cover version.
    Click the full post to read liner notes, links to more information, and a transcript of the episode.
    Patreon backers also have a half-hour bonus episode, on “Games People Play” by Joe South.
    Tilt Araiza has assisted invaluably by doing a first-pass edit, and will hopefully be doing so from now on. Check out Tilt’s irregular podcasts at http://www.podnose.com/jaffa-cakes-for-proust and http://sitcomclub.com/

    Errata: I mispronounce Ed Chalpin’s name as Halpin for most of the episode. And towards the end I say “January the 28th 1969” when I meant 1970
    (more…)

    Song 173: “All Along the Watchtower”, Part One: “He’s Not the Messiah”

    Song 173: “All Along the Watchtower”, Part One: “He’s Not the Messiah”

    For those who haven’t heard the announcement I posted , songs from this point on will sometimes be split among multiple episodes, so this is the first of a two-episode look at the song “All Along the Watchtower”. This one is on the original version by Bob Dylan, while part two will be on Jimi Hendrix’s cover version.
    Click the full post to read liner notes, links to more information, and a transcript of the episode.
    Patreon backers also have a half-hour bonus episode, on “Alice’s Restaurant Massacree” by Arlo Guthrie.
    Tilt Araiza has assisted invaluably by doing a first-pass edit, and will hopefully be doing so from now on. Check out Tilt’s irregular podcasts at http://www.podnose.com/jaffa-cakes-for-proust and http://sitcomclub.com/

    (more…)

    Song 172, Hickory Wind by the Byrds: Part 4, Hour of Darkness

    Song 172, Hickory Wind by the Byrds: Part 4, Hour of Darkness

    For those who haven’t heard the announcement I just posted , songs from this point on will sometimes be split among multiple episodes, so this is the fourth and final part of a four-episode look at the Byrds in 1966-69 and the birth of country rock, this time mostly focused on what Gram Parsons and Chris Hillman did after leaving the band.
    Click the full post to read liner notes, links to more information, and a transcript of the episode.
    Patreon backers also have a twenty-minute bonus episode, on “The Dark End of the Street” by James Carr.
    Tilt Araiza has assisted invaluably by doing a first-pass edit, and will hopefully be doing so from now on. Check out Tilt’s irregular podcasts at http://www.podnose.com/jaffa-cakes-for-proust and http://sitcomclub.com/

    (more…)

    Song 172, Hickory Wind by the Byrds: Part 3, The Parsons Tale

    Song 172, Hickory Wind by the Byrds: Part 3, The Parsons Tale

    For those who haven’t heard the announcement I just posted , songs from this point on will sometimes be split among multiple episodes, so this is the third part of a four-episode look at the Byrds in 1966-69 and the birth of country rock.
    Click the full post to read liner notes, links to more information, and a transcript of the episode.
    Patreon backers also have a half-hour bonus episode, on “Fire” by The Crazy World of Arthur Brown.
    Tilt Araiza has assisted invaluably by doing a first-pass edit, and will hopefully be doing so from now on. Check out Tilt’s irregular podcasts at http://www.podnose.com/jaffa-cakes-for-proust and http://sitcomclub.com/

    (more…)

Customer Reviews

4.8 out of 5
230 Ratings

230 Ratings

Lazynotcrazy ,

Music fans everywhere

I can’t describe my joy at finding a serious academic view of music history. Not joyless like others, but full of interest and things even I didn’t know about my favourite acts. I now listen to the episodes of acting don’t know to be educated and inspired.

Space_Is_Deep ,

Highly educational and thoroughly enjoyable!

I have to say that I am completely hooked on this wonderful podcast! Andrew’s absolute forensic detail on not only the song/album in question, but the events, characters and song lineage that brings the listener right to the point is quite frankly, amazing!

Hendo900 ,

Amazing

This show is extraordinary. The research and depth of detail and pace of insight make each episode gripping even if you don’t care much for the particular song being explored.

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