3 Important Things in 30 Seconds!
loader image

Ch. 1: New Wave

Chapter Progress
0% Complete

Much less anarchistic than the Sex Pistols, the Clash positioned themselves as rebels with a cause, willing to be a voice for idealistic righteousness with a left-wing bent. With musical influences from reggae, funk and rock, the Clash used their three-minute quasi-pop songs to lash out against the British government, cry out for Jamaican immigrants, protest the Sandinista regime, and campaign musically against racism everywhere. The Clash lasted from 1976 to late 1983, one of the longest runs for punk bands.

Several other bands began with punk roots and spun off into more commercially successful ventures. Blondie, fronted by Deborah Harry, left their trashy punk beginnings to gain more success with a melodic punk/techno sound. With her cool Marilyn Monroe sexuality, Harry and Blondie became early darlings of television video.

Other new wave bands built visual gimmicks for their commercial punk/techno sounds. Devo (short for De-evolution, the idea of a gradual breaking down of society) performed as futuristic automatons, dressed in glossy yellow nuclear-reactor jumpsuits and inverted flowerpots on their heads. With jerky robot like movements, the five geeky-looking band members built their mechanical sound around a synthesizer, a heavily digitized bass and drums. Their one break-through song “Whip It” (1980) more closely resembles a techno-funk sound than a Sex Pistols punk song.

Another new wave band that built on a visual just as bizarre and unique as Devo, was the B-52’s. The band, who dressed in go-go boots, miniskirts, bouffant (beehive) wigs and thrift store castoffs, originally formed as a joke and performed most of their early gigs to taped backup, since few of the five had any musical experience. Their classic retro look, together with lyrics filled with ‘50s and ‘60s trivia, made them the ultimate party band of the ‘80s and naturals for the exploding video market. After an early hit single “Rock Lobster” (1978) the band had Top 30 hits with “Legal Tender” in the mid-’80s and “Love Shack” in 1990 (#3 on pop charts).

The novelty act the Go-Go’s began as a comic lark; five musically inept girls performing a 1 ½  song set for friends, but after some replacements, the group had a #1 chart hit with “We Got the Beat” in 1981. Although they were barely more than a realized and expanded version of the bubble-gum cartoon group Josie and the Pussycats, the Go-Go’s showed that enthusiastic amateurs with a solid beat and a cheerleader attitude could have a hit in the ‘80s.  Belinda Carlisle, one of the original five, did extend her solo career beyond the group’s life with “Mad About You,” “Heaven Is A Place On Earth,” and “I Get Weak”; all of which were in the Top Three on the charts in 1986 and 1987.

The influx of new wave bands in the ‘80s merged the essence of punk (insistent rhythms, de-emphasis of musical skill and shock value) with a variety of other influences to evolve into a pop-oriented style. Instead of spiked orange hair and torn t-shirts, the new wave band aligned themselves with the anti-chic: plastic robots, retro-’60s and geeks. The visual aspect of the new wave band prepared western culture for the arrival of the revolutionary new media-monster: MTV.

Scroll to Top
Watch and Learn

Audio/Video Room

READ AND HEAR​

Study Units

An Overview

Ch. 1: Understanding Pitch

Ch. 2: Understanding Musical Pulse

Ch. 3: Understanding Volume

Ch. 4: Understanding Tone

Ch. 5: Understanding Melody

Ch. 6: Understanding Harmony

Ch. 7: Understanding Rhythm

Ch. 8: Understanding Bass

Ch. 9: Understanding Countermelody

Ch. 10: Understanding Structure

Ch. 11: Understanding Instrumentation

Ch. 12: Understanding Tempo

An Overview

Ch. 1: 19th Century: Pre-Foster

Ch. 2: Folk Music by the People

Ch. 3: Popular Music in its Infancy

Ch. 4: Stephen Foster – “Father of American Popular Music”

Ch. 5: The Importance of Stephen Foster

Ch. 6: Scott Joplin – “King of Ragtime”

Ch. 7: The Player Piano – Automated Music

Ch. 8: John Philip Sousa – “The March King”

Ch. 9: John Philip Sousa – Recording Artist and Activist

An Overview

Ch. 1: John Lomax – Recording American Roots Music

Ch. 2: Woody Guthrie – “Father of Modern American Folk Music”

Ch. 3: Leadbelly & Pete Seeger: End of the First Wave

Ch. 4: The Kingston Trio – Beginning of the Second Wave

Ch. 5: Joan Baez – “First Lady of Folk Music”

Ch. 6: Peter, Paul & Mary – Balancing the Message

Ch. 7: Robert Zimmerman – The Beginning of an American Icon

Ch. 8: Dylan in New York City

Ch. 9: Dylan after Newport

Ch. 10: The Importance of Dylan

Ch. 11: Folk Music in the 21st Century

An Overview

Ch. 1: The Roots of Country

Ch. 2: Bristol Beginnings

Ch. 3: The Grand Ole Opry

Ch. 4: Cowboys and the Movies

Ch. 5: Western Swing

Ch. 6: Bluegrass: Hillbilly on Caffeine

Ch. 7: Honky-tonk: Merging Two into One

Ch. 8: The Nashville Sound: Country-Pop

Ch. 9: Rockabilly – Country meets R&B

Ch. 10: Country Feminists Find Their Voice

Ch. 11: The Bakersfield Sound

Ch. 12: Austin “Outlaw” Country

Ch. 13: Neo-Traditionalists at the end of the 20th Century

Ch. 14: Mainstreaming Country in the ‘90s

Ch. 15: Redesigning Country in the 21st Century

An Overview

Ch. 1: What is Jazz?

Ch. 2: Before It Was Jazz

Ch. 3: Jazz is Born!

Ch. 4: Early Jazz Musicians

Ch. 5: Louis Armstrong

Ch. 6: Chicago and Harlem – Hub of 1920s Jazz

Ch. 7: Big Band – Jazz Swing!

Ch. 8: Big Band Musicians and Singers

Ch. 9: Jump Blues and Bop

Ch. 10: Cool Jazz

Ch. 11: Hard Bop

Ch. 12: Free Jazz – Breaking the Rules

Ch. 13: Fusion – The Jazz-Rock-Funk Experience

Ch. 14: Third Stream and World Jazz

Ch. 15: New Age & Smooth Jazz

Ch. 16: Summary – Jazz Lives!

An Overview

Ch. 1: Blues – The Granddaddy of American Popular Music

Ch. 2: Where Did the Blues Come From?

Ch. 3: What Are the Blues?

Ch. 4: How to Build the Blues

Ch. 5: Classic Blues – The Early Years

Ch. 6: Delta Blues – Authentic Beginnings

Ch. 7: Blues in the City – Migration and Power

Ch. 8: Blues in Britain – Redefining the Masters

Ch. 9: Contemporary Blues – Maturity and Respect

Ch. 10: The Relevancy of the Blues Today

Ch. 1: Timelines, Cultures & Technology

Ch. 2: Pre-Rock Influences

Ch. 3: Rock is Born!

Ch. 4: Rock is Named

Ch. 5: Doo-Wop

Ch. 6: Independent Record Labels

Ch. 7: Technology Shapes Rock ‘n’ Roll

Ch. 8: The Plan to Mainstream Rock ‘n’ Roll

Ch. 9: Payola – Rock ‘n’ Roll’s First Scandal

Ch. 1: Crafting Sound in the Studio/Producers and Hit Songs

Ch. 2: West Coast Sound: Beach, Surf, and Teens

Ch. 3: The British Invasion: Two Prongs – Pop & Blues

Ch. 4: Motown and the Development of a Black Pop-Rock Sound

Ch. 5: Soul Music: Gospel and R&B in the Deep South

Ch. 6: The Sounds of Bubble Gum Pop-Rock

Ch. 7: The Arrival of Folk-Rock

Ch. 8: Psychedelic Rock ‘n’ Roll

Ch. 9: Early Guitar Gods of Rock

Ch. 10: Rock Festivals: The Rise and Fall of Music, Peace, and Love

Ch. 11: Anti-Woodstock and Shock Rock Movements

Ch. 1: Technological Breakthroughs

Ch. 2: Electronic Dance Music

Ch. 3: Hip-Hop & Rap – An Introduction

Ch. 4: The Beginnings of Rap

Ch. 5: Old School Rap – Up From the Streets

Ch. 6: Rap’s Golden Age

Ch. 7: East Coast – Political Rap

Ch. 8: West Coast – Gangsta Rap

Ch. 9: The Fragmentation of Rap – Pop, Party & More

Ch. 10: Further Fragmentation – Different Directions

Ch. 11: The Importance of Rap

Ch. 1: Musical Stage Productions in America before the 1800s

Ch. 2: Minstrel Shows and Melodramas

Ch. 3: Stage Presentations in the Late 19th Century

Ch. 4: Early 20th Century: Revues and Operettas

Ch. 5: The Arrival of the Modern American Musical

Ch. 6: Great Partnerships in Book-Musicals

Ch. 7: Musical Theatre Composers in the mid-Century

Ch. 8: Fresh Voices on the Stage in the 1960s

Ch. 9: Two Dominant Forces at the End of the Century

Ch. 10: New Voices at the End of the Century

Ch. 11: New Voices, New Sounds in the New Century

Ch. 12: Musical Theatre Glossary

Ch. 13: Is it “Theatre” or “Theater”?

Study Units also have “Playdecks”which contain hundreds of chronologically organized audio examples of music in the study units, and “Study Q??s” for unit chapters.

Study and Test

Testing Library

Contact Form