I bought this amazing book the other day: THIS IS YOUR BRAIN ON MUSIC: THE SCIENCE OF A HUMAN OBSESSION. It's one of those art-meets-science books that explores how the human mind interprets and finds pleasure in music. Really fascinating.
The author, Dr. Daniel J. Levitin began his career in the music business as a band member and record producer/engineer (Blue Oyster Cult, Chris Isaak, Santana, The Grateful Dead). He became intrigued with the science of music and acoustics and earned a Ph.D at Stanford.
While earning his doctorate at Stanford (in the 1990s), Levitin became a close friend with John R. Pierce, famous for supervising the building of the TRANSfer resISTOR ("transistor"), and for launching the first telecommunications satellite, TELSTAR. For many years, he headed the Bell Telephone/AT&T laboratories.
On one occasion at Stanford, Pierce--brilliant about science, but completely uneducated about rock music--asked Levitin to come to dinner and play six songs that capture all that was important to know about rock & roll music. Levitin's six choices for the evening were:
1. "Long Tall Sally," by Little Richard
2. "Roll Over Beethoven" by the Beatles
3. "All Along the Watchtower," by Jimi Hendrix
4. "Wonderful Tonight," by Eric Clapton
5. "Little Red Corvett" by Prince
6. "Anarchy in the U.K." by the Sex Pistols.
I have to confess, I didn't know a single one of these tunes! But if they were significant enough for someone in the know (like Levitin) to share with someone of John Pierce's magnitude, I figure I should become familiar with them myself. (Sorry...Once a music history teacher, always a music history teacher.) They really do capture much of the wide essence of what we know as Rock & Roll.
So I share these six foundational songs with you here . . . Enjoy.
Long Tall Sally - Little Richard
|Roll Over Beethoven - The Beatles|
All Along The Watchtower - Jimi Hendrix
Wonderful Tonight - Eric Clapton (obviously a remake of his 1976 classic!)
Little Red Corvette - Prince
Anarchy In The UK - The Sex Pistols (wow....this is wild!)