by Christopher Doll
In narratives of American popular-music history, the song “Louie Louie” is usually depicted (to the extent it surfaces at all) as a minor, and ultimately ephemeral, controversy: a song that initially raised eyebrows and lowered standards but that was quickly forgotten in the wake of Bob Dylan, the Beatles, and other more substantive, “classic” sixties artists. My talk repositions “Louie Louie” as a major turning point in the history of Anglo-American popular-music style—a unique combination of past and contemporary practices, one that anticipated some significant formal aspects of the music that would follow. An abundance of musical examples illustrate this talk’s exploration of the relationship between sixties socio-political events and youth music, the impact of Latin music in the United States in the 1950s and 1960s, the history of melodic-accompanimental textures since the advent of jazz, and the eventual global ubiquity of songs built around short loops of music.
Timeline: The video is 1 hour, 22 minutes, 31 seconds long. Contents are as follows:
0:00: Andy Leach, Director of Library and Archives
0:25: Introduction: Jason Hanley, Director of Education
4:54: Christopher Doll's lecture
1:11:16: Q&A that followed the lecture
Christopher Doll is Assistant Professor of Composition and Theory at Rutgers University. He specializes in tonality and intertextuality in recent popular and art music.