One such method of pressure were the frequent showing of “mental hygiene” films in schools. These 15 minute films (with titles such as, “Keep off the Grass”, “Are You Popular?” and “Safety or Slaughter”) attempted to steer – or frighten – young people away from drugs, sex, slouching, speeding, or anything that might render them socially unpopular. The consequences for teens that veered from the norm were severe: an unwed pregnant teen would quickly find herself a pariah; homosexuality could result in a jail sentence; an interracial relationship would practically guarantee ostracism from everyone, including your own family.
The fact that such music also had strong roots in the African-American blues and gospel traditions made it all the worse to white families. It was denounced by conservatives as “jungle music” or “Satan’s music” – which made the teenagers, in true teenage form, crave it all the more. Record producers were happy to oblige them. Teens flocked the record stores, dropped millions of dimes in the jukebox, and joyfully jitterbugged away in thousands of high school gyms across the nation. And as the song goes, rock ‘n roll was here to stay.
The ‘50s are often characterized as an age of ‘youthful innocence’, but black teenagers were all too aware of their vulnerability to the ugliness in the world. Fourteen year-old Emmett Till was brutally murdered and mutilated in Mississippi for whistling at a white woman. Nine courageous teenagers endured taunts, violent threats and gobs of spit, for daring to be the first blacks to integrate an all-white high school in Little Rock, Arkansas.
At age 10, Frankie was working as a pimp in Harlem. He was street savvy, but the music business was run by the mob, and as a young black teen he was often exploited for his moneymaking ability. Legend has it, Gee Records paid him with a hot dog they bought from a strteet vendor. This story may not be true but it show the exploitation of black artists.http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q96ylFiQK_I
Group of four teenage girls who were discovered by their teacher when they were singing together in their high school gym. They entered a talent show and were signed right away. When they went on tour, their chaperone’s were R&B stars Etta James and Ruth Brown.http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NIP6FSYx0LQ&feature=fvst
Teens and music
TEENS AND MUSICWhat role do teenagers play in the music industry?
BELLRINGER• What role do teens play in the music business?(Buying music, selling music, makingmusic, listening?)• 5 sentences
Teen-agerThe word “teenager” was created in the 1950‟s to referto a new group of consumers (or shoppers).Unlike the young people of the Great Depression (1930‟sand 40‟s) who had to work or fight in World War 2, youngpeople of the 1950‟s had less adult responsibilities, andmore time and money on their hands.Teens of the 1950‟s were a distinct group withinterests, fashion, musical tastes and spending powerof their own.
1950‟s Conservative Values• Teens spent most of their time in school, and were constantly pressured to conform to society‟s extremely conservative standards.• Schools would show movies that pressured students to stay away from drugs, sex, slouching, speeding, or anything else that didn‟t conform.• There were severe social consequences for teen pregnancy, homosexuality, and interracial relationships.
Teen Activities• Watching television• Listening to the Radio• Driving Cars• Going to the Movies• Dance parties
Teen RebellionAmerica‟s first teenagers clearly wanted more thanwholesome fun.And when rock „n rollers such as Chuck Berry, LittleRichard and Elvis Presley burst onto the scene, teens wereready. They latched onto rock „n roll‟s reckless, thrilling beatand refused to let go. With the advent of rock „n roll, and aspate of movies featuring disaffected teens, America got itsfirst taste of teenage rebellion.
Most parents were shocked. Rock „n roll, with itspowerful beat, gyrating singers, and sexuallysuggestive lyrics, was considered to be utterlyunsuitable for children. The fact that such music also had strong roots in theAfrican-American blues and gospel traditions made it all theworse to white families. It was denounced by conservativesas “jungle music” or “Satan‟s music” – which made theteenagers, in true teenage form, crave it all the more.
Black Teens and White Teens• The average black teen in Chicago, although painfully aware – and often brutally reminded – of the pervasive racism in America, had their own happy days.• Like their white counterparts, black teenagers of the „50s, laughed with their friends, wore saddle shoes, penny loafers and swing skirts, listened to 45s, and watched wholesome sitcoms with their families. They danced at parties, took “home economics” or “shop” in school, and a small percentage applied and went to college.
• Although white and black teens shared many similarities in pastimes, fashions and musical taste, the two situations were not “separate but equal.”• After WW2, American popular music had been strictly segregated.
What roles did teenagers play in theMusic Business in the 1950‟s?How has this set the standard for teens and music today?
Teen Consumers• Record producers marketed Rock and Roll and R&B to teens because they could make a large profit from them.• Teens flocked the record stores, dropped millions of dimes in the jukebox, and joyfully jitterbugged away in thousands of high school gyms across the nation. And as the song goes, rock „n roll was here to stay.
Teen TrendsettersTeens were deciding which musical artists would be mostsuccessful, and which things would be popular based onwhat they were buying.If teens were buying it, the record label was happy tosell it.
Teen Performers• Teen musicians were popping up left and right. The 1950‟s was the first time that there was a market for music made by teen for teens.• Teen songs were about dancing, teenage emotions like love or sadness, and things like cars, clothes and
Little Stevie Wonder• “the Twelve-Year-Old Genius” from Michigan, referencing Ray Charle‟s.• Stevie Wonder began playing harmonica, piano, and drums as a small child, and began performing for large audiences by age 10• Fingertips was his live album that made it to number 1
Frankie Lymon and the Teenagers• Frankie Lymon was 12 years old when he began singing in a vocal group called the Premiers. In 1955 they changed their name to The Teenagers, because that was the hip new buzzword.• Why Do Fools Fall In Love? –
Little Eva• The Locomotion was recorded when Eva was 16 years old• Eva was a babysitter for songwriter Carol King, who wrote her big hits.• The Locomotion is an example of a song and dance trend that was sparked by a teen singer.
The ShirellesThe Shirelles were one of the most successful teenacts of the 1950‟s/60‟s, making songs about teenageangst.Will you Still Love Me Tomorrow?Mama Said
Today‟s ActivityWrite a one-page response to these questions:P1: How are teens consumers of the music businesstoday?P2: Give an example of a teen trend that was set by acontemporary musician. (Fashion, dance moves, lifestyle)Explain it in 5+ complete sentences.P3: Describe a musical artist that you enjoy who is ateenager, or was a teenager when they began makingmusic. Do you relate to the music, or enjoy it more thanmusic made by older adults? Why or Why not?