An episodic overview of the history of Rock Music. Think of it as a college level Rock N Roll 101 course...or if you prefer, a multi-part audio documentary. We take in the music, culture and technology of the second half of the 20th Century to prove how significant and how much impact this art movement had to the times, while still resonating today. It’s carefully researched, fully scripted and highly produced...a little bit academic in tone, because we do our homework. But we throw in a lot of fun too: music, storytelling, commentary and quotes, lots of sound design. The series is presented in chronological order, and we take our time making these, really trying to get the history right. Rock N Roll Archaeology is the world's first HD Podcast and a proud part of Pantheon - the podcast network for music lovers.
Episode 19: 1969 Part II
This episode is dedicated with love to the memory of our dear friend Dennis Gordon. Dennis was the big booming voice on our show “bumpers” that would begin and end each chapter of Rock N Roll Archaeology. Thank you Dennis, we miss you. May the Four Winds blow you safely home.
Welcome back to the second half of our big chapter telling the big story of a big year in Rock. If you haven’t done so already, we highly recommend you listen to Episode 18 before you delve into this one!
We tell the story of 1969 by telling the story of four concerts: The Beatles on the Roof, The Rolling Stones in Hyde Park was the first part. Part Two will take us to the peak, to the apotheosis of Woodstock...and to the abyss at Altamont. And we’ll go to some other places in between too.
1969 is the year Rock N Roll goes global, and we’ll get into that a little, and set up later discussions of great topics like Rock behind the Iron Curtain and the growing influence of Reggae and World Beat.
Then we’ll take you to Woodstock, and call off the roster, with lots of great music and commentary.
The first mythical Rock tour--the Rolling Stones ‘69 tour of America, is up next. That will take us to the final show of the tour, on a dark December night in California, where everything that can go wrong, will go wrong, and the consequences will be tragic.
We close out with some thoughts on the year and on the decade we’ve just completed, and on what comes next.
This show is part of Pantheon Podcasts.
Listen in HD only at www.rocknrollarchaeology.com
1969 Part I
We’re putting down a marker with this episode, and the follow-up: the highest highs and the lowest lows of the entire Rock Era occurred in 1969. It’s a year so big, we had to cut it in two, in order to serve it up properly.
We start in January, with The Beatles on The Roof, a 42-minute outdoor concert that definitely warmed up the neighborhood of Mayfair, London, England. Then we catch up with their friends and rivals, The Rolling Stones.
The Stones broke out HUGE in 68 and 69, the beginning of an incredible five-year run: from Beggars Banquet on through to Exile On Main Street. Peak Stones, the sweet spot for the World’s Greatest Rock N Roll Band.
Brian Jones is out, Mick Taylor is in. We talk about how that happened, and how it impacted the Stones’ sound and attitude. Another influence starts seeping in: American Country Music, thanks to Keith’s new best buddy, Gram Parsons.
Brian’s tragic--and still unexplained--demise changes the Hyde Park Concert from a coming-out party into a memorial service. Emotion and conviction carry the day, and Hyde Park sets a very high and hopeful bar; it’s an early example of How To Successfully Pull Off A Really Big Concert.
During that “Moon-Crazy Summer” of 1969, NASA pulls off something really big. It’s the single greatest feat--so far--of human exploration: The Apollo 11 mission to the moon and back. We look at the moon landing through the Rock N Roll lens; we’ll talk about space travel, science fiction, and fantasy...in books, film, television, and most of all, in Rock Music.
Then David Bowie, with his lifelong knack for being ahead of his time, said take your protein pills and put your helmet on.
And we did.
And in just a short time we got used to it, became a little jaded about it.
That comes later. Here and now in the summer of 1969; stardust, golden, billion year old carbon...got to get ourselves back to the garden.
We’ll open Part Two at Yasgur’s Farm in upstate New York, and we’ll light a candle in the rain.
Head over to Pantheon Podcasts for full show notes.
Chapter 17 of Rock N Roll Archaeology is bookended by a couple of Simon & Garfunkel albums: “Bookends” from the spring of 1968; and “Bridge Over Troubled Water” from January of 1970.
Our story takes place mostly in New York City: a city big enough to spawn two very different, very talented--and very influential--artists: Paul Simon and Lou Reed.
We skip work on a cold January afternoon to catch a movie: Mike Nichols’ “The Graduate.” It’s a generation milestone of a film, and Simon & Garfunkel’s music is a big part of that; what’s more, we argue, it’s a different kind of soundtrack, something new in film and popular culture.
We meet Tom Wilson, the first African-American staff producer at Columbia Records. Tom oversaw the first two Simon & Garfunkel albums. We follow him for a little while and he leads us to...Lou Reed and the Velvet Underground.
We get to know Lou and the Velvets, and the scene from which they sprang: Andy Warhol’s Factory. We meet a Factory hang-around, an angry young woman with good reasons to be angry, but she takes it way too far, with tragic consequences.
And we’ll meet the first Punk Rock band: The MC5, and the revolutionary political milieu they occupied. Wayne Kramer of the MC5 has some things to say about that, and about a fateful MC5 gig at the Fillmore East.
Finally, we’ll meet one of our favorite artists ever, who came from the same scene as the MC5: Iggy Pop. We say “Amen” to Iggy Pop.
We wrap it back around to Simon & Garfunkel, and their take on the anger and disappointment, on the turmoil of the late 1960s. An offer of comfort and healing is the first big Pop hit of the 1970s.
Listen to episodes 1-16 of Rock N Roll Archaeology and all our other podcasts at www.pantheonpodcasts.com
East of Eden
We start our tale of Paradise Lost in Buena Vista Park, San Francisco, in the fall of 1967. Hippie, the Devoted Son of Mass Media, is dead, and the San Francisco Diggers are conducting the funeral.
From the funky streets of the Haight we head east a couple miles to the Fillmore West, and meet a complicated man, concert promoter Bill Graham. It was during these early years in San Francisco that Bill created the rock concert experience.
Then a brief trip to Texas, where Janis Joplin cleans up and then heads back; to San Francisco to find her family. We get to know Janis a little better, and talk about her early work with Big Brother and the Holding Company--and what happened when Janis left Big Brother.
We’ll spend a little more time on the Big Picture. Politically, culturally, in pretty much every way, 1968 was a pivotal year, in America and around the world.
Then across the Bay, to the lands that lie East of Eden. We’ll meet two very different acts, that interestingly enough, have similar stories: Sly and the Family Stone, and Creedence Clearwater Revival.
We close it out with a short meditation on the aftermath of the Summer of Love. We still dream it and dance to it.
Slouching Towards Bethlehem: Five Summers in Los Angeles
An impressionistic look at the interplay of Rock N Roll and Culture in Los Angeles during the latter half of the 1960s. There are familiar elements: storytelling, critical discussion and commentary, and lots of Rock N Roll attitude. But this one is different from most of our previous RNRAP offerings.
I'd Love to Turn You On
We open in Manila, in the Republic of the Philippines, July 3rd, 1966. The second stop of the Far East leg of the Beatles’ 1966 tour starts out weird and ominous, and gets worse from there. By the time the tour sputters to a halt—late August in San Francisco—the boys are almighty sick of it.
Customer ReviewsSee All
Really enjoying this podcast...bringing back childhood memories of me playing my dad’s 45s...I’m hoping this show will extend into the 1970s birth of heavy metal, punk and disco. Then lead into fabulous 80s which contained so many genres like heavy metal, glam and Prog rock, pop, new wave, “old school” rap and freestyle
I listened to all the episodes through 1969 Part 1 and thought this is the best rock and roll history lesson. Then, I waited for Part 2. And waited and waited. Finally it dropped and it was definitely worth the wait.
Keep up the good work, just try not to keep us waiting so long! Great stuff.
Thank you !!!
My favorite Podcast by far. Such great story telling. Christian, I love your soothing voice and expertise. I know a lot of music history, but I always learn more listening to you. I love how you weave the issues in society and politics at the time in with the musicians . My only sadness is that there are only 19 or so episodes.