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Their Generation


My son showed me this, which is “Shelter Song” by Temples. The music and the video pretty obviously show that the band was trying to sound like a band from the late 1960s. They succeeded.

It’s interesting. When I was a kid, my parents’ music was Harry James and Frank Sinatra. We, of course, were all about Led Zeppelin and The Stones. The music of today, however, is similar enough to the music of 50 years ago that a band can do what in essence is a perfect recreation. I don’t remember The Rolling Stones doing “In the Mood.” (There are exceptions, of course.)

I think the emergence of rock and roll was a definite break point, a before and after in American music. It all happened pretty close to the end of World War II — ten years, more or less — so the roots of the changes can probably be traced back to the war.

Here is more on Temples.

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Reading Music

The stories of the great bands and musicians are fascinating. Musicians as a group are brilliant, but often troubled. The combination of creativity and drama makes for great reading.

Here are some books to check out.

Duke Ellington brought class, sophistication and style to jazz which, until that point, was proudly unpolished and raucous. His story is profound. The author, Terry Teachout, also wrote "Pops," the acclaimed bio of Louis Armstrong. Click here or on the image.


What else is there to say? Here is the story behind every song written by The Beatles. Click here or on the image.


The Grateful Dead don't get enough credit for the profound nature of its lyrics. Many of the band's songs are driven by a deep and literate Americana ("I'm Uncle Sam/That's who I am/Been hidin' out/In a rock and roll band" and "Majordomo Billy Bojangles/Sit down and have a drink with me/What's this about Alabama/Keeps comin' back to me?").

David Dodd's exhaustive study tells the story, song by song. Click here or on the image.