Rock on Record

By Albin J. Zak

Subjects: Music - Textbook, Music
Paperback : 9781438487533, 378 pages, January 2022

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Table of contents


1. Fundamentals
1.1. Sound: Acoustic / Electric
1.2. From Sound to Song: Scales / Melody / Rhythm / Harmony / Form
1.3. Songs on Record: Arrangement / Stereo / Voice / Lyrics / Shaping the Mix

2. New Sounds: Mainstream Pop
2.1. "That Lucky Old Sun (Just Rolls around Heaven All Day)" (1949): Frankie Laine
2.2. "Lover" (1952): Peggy Lee
2.3. "Vaya con Dios" (1953): Les Paul and Mary Ford

3. Rhythm and Blues for the Kids: Doo Wop
3.1. "It's Too Soon to Know" (1948): The Orioles
3.2. "Why Do Fools Fall in Love" (1955): Frankie Lymon and the Teenagers
3.3. "In the Still of the Nite" (1956): The Five Satins

4. Rocking Country: Rockabilly
4.1. "Crazy Man, Crazy" (1953): Bill Haley and His Comets
4.2. "Blue Moon of Kentucky" (1954): Elvis Presley
4.3. "I Gotta Know" (1956): Wanda Jackson

5. Lo-Fi Rave-Up: Recasting the Blues, Reinventing Song
5.1. "Tutti Frutti" (1955): Little Richard
5.2. "Hound Dog" (1956): Elvis Presley
5.3. "Peggy Sue" (1957): Buddy Holly
5.4. "Rock and Roll Music" (1957): Chuck Berry

6. R&B with Strings: Sweet Soul
6.1. "Blueberry Hill" (1956): Fats Domino
6.2. "There Goes My Baby" (1959): The Drifters
6.3. "A Change Is Gonna Come" (1963): Sam Cooke

7. Easy Listening and Slow Dancing: Rockaballad
7.1. "Only You (And You Alone)" (1955): The Platters
7.2. "All I Have to Do Is Dream" (1958): The Everly Brothers
7.3. "Crying" (1961): Roy Orbison

8. Brill Building Pop: Girl Groups
8.1. "Will You Love Me Tomorrow" (1960): The Shirelles
8.2. "Be My Baby" (1963): The Ronettes
8.3. "Remember (Walking in the Sand)" (1964): The Shangri-Las

9. Affirming a New Pop Tradition: The Beatles
9.1. "A Hard Day's Night" (1964)
9.2. "Nowhere Man" (1965)
9.3. "Eleanor Rigby" (1966)
9.4. "While My Guitar Gently Weeps" (1968)
9.5. "Sun King"/"Mean Mr. Mustard"/"Polythene Pam"/"She Came In through the Bathroom Window" (1969)

10. London Blues: The Rolling Stones
10.1. "Paint It Black" (1966)
10.2. "Ruby Tuesday" (1967)
10.3. "Jumpin' Jack Flash" (1968)
10.4. "You Can't Always Get What You Want" (1969)
10.5. "Wild Horses" (1971)

11. The California Vibe: The Beach Boys
11.1. "I Get Around" (1964)
11.2. "God Only Knows" (1966)
11.3. "Good Vibrations" (1966)

12. Urban Folk: Folk Rock
12.1. "Like a Rolling Stone" (1965): Bob Dylan
12.2. "My Back Pages" (1967): The Byrds
12.3. "America" (1968): Simon and Garfunkel

13. Berry Gordy's Empire: Motown
13.1. "Stop! In the Name of Love" (1965): The Supremes
13.2. "The Tracks of My Tears" (1965): The Miracles
13.3. "I Heard It through the Grapevine" (1967): Marvin Gaye
13.4. "Superstition" (1972): Stevie Wonder

14. Rock's Gospel Strain: Southern Soul
14.1. "In the Midnight Hour" (1965): Wilson Pickett
14.2. "Chain of Fools" (1967): Aretha Franklin
14.3. "(Sittin' on) The Dock of the Bay" (1967): Otis Redding
14.4. "I Got the Feelin' " (1968): James Brown

15. Counterculture: Psychedelic Rock
15.1. "White Rabbit" (1966): Jefferson Airplane
15.2. "The End" (1966): The Doors
15.3. "Sunshine of Your Love" (1967): Cream
15.4. "Purple Haze" (1967): Jimi Hendrix

16. Back to the Roots: Country Rock
16.1. "Lay Lady Lay" (1969): Bob Dylan
16.2. "Chest Fever" (1968): The Band
16.3. "Fortunate Son" (1969): Creedence Clearwater Revival

17. Troubadours: The Singer-Songwriter
17.1. "Both Sides Now" (1969): Joni Mitchell
17.2. "Fire and Rain" (1969): James Taylor
17.3. "Heart of Gold" (1971): Neil Young

18. Grand Ambition: Progressive Rock
18.1. "The Court of the Crimson King" (1969): King Crimson
18.2. "Roundabout" (1972): Yes
18.3. "Money" (1973): Pink Floyd

19. Heavy Sounds: Hard Rock
19.1. "Black Dog" (1971): Led Zeppelin
19.2. "Sweet Emotion" (1975): Aerosmith
19.3. "Highway to Hell" (1979): AC/DC

20. Everybody Dance: Disco
20.1. "Bad Luck" (1975): Harold Melvin and the Blue Notes
20.2. "He's the Greatest Dancer" (1979): Sister Sledge
20.3. "I Feel Love" (1977): Donna Summer

21. Scuffing It Up: Punk and New Wave
21.1. "Sheena Is a Punk Rocker" (1977): Ramones
21.2. "Call Me" (1980): Blondie
21.3. "London Calling" (1979): The Clash

22. A Whole New Thing: Hip-Hop
22.1. "The Adventures of Grandmaster Flash on the Wheels of Steel" (1981): Grandmaster Flash
22.2. "Fight the Power" (1989): Public Enemy
22.3. "Let Me Ride" (1993): Dr. Dre

Song Index

Rock on Record shows students how to listen to and enjoy the rich repertory of rock records made between the 1950s and 1980s.


An introductory textbook for Rock Music Appreciation and History courses, Rock on Record traces the story of rock from the late 1940s through the pre-rock styles of the 1950s to rock in its heyday in the 1960s and, then follows its continued growth in the 1970s and early 1980s. Rock on Record puts listening first, teaching students how to listen to key recordings in the rock repertoire. The book opens with general guidance on how to listen to a recording as well as an overview of the song structures commonly used by rock songwriters. Then, in twenty-two chronological sections, Albin J. Zak provides historical context for each new genre or style, discussing its key recordings and performers and its impact on the artists who followed. Zak analyzes seventy-three recordings using easy-to-follow listening guides, giving students the tools they will need to enhance their enjoyment and understanding while also highlighting a wide range of examples that illustrate the richness of the rock repertory. Rock on Record examines how rock changed American culture and encourages students to explore further on their own.

Albin J. Zak is Professor Emeritus of Music at the University at Albany, State University of New York. Zak is the author of many books, including The Poetics of Rock: Cutting Tracks, Making Records and I Don't Sound Like Nobody: Remaking Music in 1950s America.