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Rock N Roll Archaeology

Pantheon Media

99
Followers
171
Plays
Rock N Roll Archaeology

Rock N Roll Archaeology

Pantheon Media

99
Followers
171
Plays
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About Us

An episodic overview of the history of Rock Music. Think of it as a college level Rock N Roll 101 course...or if you prefer, a multi-part audio documentary. We take in the music, culture and technology of the second half of the 20th Century to prove how significant and how much impact this art movement had to the times, while still resonating today. It’s carefully researched, fully scripted and highly produced...a little bit academic in tone, because we do our homework. But we throw in a lot of fun too: music, storytelling, commentary and quotes, lots of sound design. The series is presented in chronological order, and we take our time making these, really trying to get the history right. Rock N Roll Archaeology is the world's first HD Podcast and a proud part of Pantheon - the podcast network for music lovers.

Latest Episodes

Episode 1: The Precursors

EThe show opens in New York City at the end of World War 2. We discuss social, technological, and economic forces that converge in the early postwar years: the Baby Boom generation and its impact, the rise of the American middle class, technological advances in radio and recording. In the early Fifties, “Race Records” (Rhythm & Blues records by African American musicians) start becoming popular with white American Teens. We assert this is in large part a response to the bland, conformist zeitgeist of popular culture. We meet an early adopter and champion of R&B music: the DJ and radio personality Alan Freed, who popularized the term “Rock n Roll.” We briefly discuss two other cultural phenomena that will become important later: Skiffle in the United Kingdom and the Beat Poets in urban America. We also meet two Rock n Roll pioneers: Ray Charles and Bill Haley. Two key social and political issues are examined in detail: racial segregation and anticommunist hysteria. In 1954, the Su...

53 MIN2015 OCT 27
Comments
Episode 1: The Precursors

Elvis and the Rise of Television

Archaeology is the study of human activity in the past, looking at lots of different things from lots of different angles. We take that approach with Rock N Roll. We recap episode one, and open in Memphis, 1954. Sun Records owner Sam Phillips has found his elusive crossover sound—and the artist who can deliver it. Elvis breaks out; in just a few months he’s on the cusp of national stardom. We get to know Sam Phillips better; we find he shares affinity and common ground with his young star. Sam will be showing up again as we go through our story. Elvis gets his first big break on the Louisiana Hayride radio show. Young Roy Orbison and Buddy Holly see him on his first big tour, opening for the country singer Hank Snow. Elvis and Col. Tom Parker meet for the first time. We move to a detailed discussion of the rise of American television in the 1950s: technical advances, the economic and social impacts, and how it affected and was affected by the rise of Rock N Roll. We bring it back ...

50 MIN2015 NOV 11
Comments
Elvis and the Rise of Television

The Day the Music Died

We describe Rock N Roll as an “enfant terrible,” then an unruly toddler, then a hyperactive kid. When Buddy Holly breaks out in late 1957, we see Rock N Roll has stepped out into the world as a confident young adult. Our story begins on a snowy two-lane highway in rural Iowa, on February 2nd, 1959: the fateful last day of the Winter Dance Party tour. The shows are going well, but the tour is a real grind. Cold, tired, and fed up, Buddy Holly decides to charter a small plane after the show that night in Clear Lake, Iowa. We meet the Big Bopper, Ritchie Valens, and Dion DiMucci. We discuss how Ritchie Valens was the first Latino crossover artist, and his 1957 release “La Bamba” is the first Spanish-language pop hit. We then devote a good chunk of the show to Buddy Holly’s life and musical career. We emphasize his giant influence on future Rock N Roll legends, and talk about The Crickets’ groundbreaking tour of the United Kingdom in early 1958. We meet “The Killer,” Jerry Lee L...

52 MIN2015 NOV 18
Comments
The Day the Music Died

The Change of the Guard

EThe Sixties are about to begin and we’re feeling the change of the guard. We briefly recap the first Golden Age of Rock N Roll: 1956 to 1959. A lot happened, and fast. Too fast to last. We skid perilously into a new decade. As we open the sixties, all the big players are offstage, and a lot of folks are saying Rock N Roll is dead. We open in a police station in St. Louis, and Chuck Berry is in big trouble with the law. We detail Chuck’s legal fight to its conclusion in early ’63. We also catch up with the disc jockey Alan Freed, who is going through some legal problems of his own—legal problems that are part of a larger story. We take a look at the state of mainstream popular music in 1960. It’s grim. But the R&B charts are looking good, lots of great songs and artists. Black America is reasserting itself musically. We will get to that…but first, Rock N Roll is about to become BIG Business. So we unpack that a little bit, and devote a big part of the show to an examination of ...

59 MIN2015 DEC 9
Comments
The Change of the Guard

The Ballad of Bob and J.R.

A quick prologue: we stop by the Country Music Hall of Fame in Nashville, where they opened up a very cool exhibit in March of 2015. Then we move on to Newport, Rhode Island, where Pete Seeger is about to introduce Johnny Cash, an established country star playing for the first time to a folk festival audience. After a rough beginning, the show goes very well. Afterwards, Johnny Cash and Bob Dylan—mutual fans—meet for the first time and begin a lifelong friendship. We then spend some time getting to know the Man in Black; we learn about the family tragedy that moved J.R. Cash to write and make music. We find out the real origins of “Folsom Prison Blues.” We leave Johnny Cash in Memphis for the meantime, and head north to Hibbing, Minnesota and check in on young Robert Allen Zimmerman. As a teen, Bobby is a leather-jacketed Rock N Roll rebel; but he takes on a new name and identity when he discovers folk music as a freshman at the University of Minnesota. He hears Woody Guthrie, d...

65 MIN2015 DEC 30
Comments
The Ballad of Bob and J.R.

Soul Sisters

We open in Manhattan, in the main room, the big studio at Columbia Records. It’s Fall of 1963. A big-time, high-stakes recording session for Aretha Franklin is about to get underway. Aretha is an astonishing, one-in-a-billion talent, but it’s just not clicking for her at Columbia. We spend a little time exploring why it isn’t clicking, and then we talk a little about the feminist perspective, and why we think it is called for. And we move on from Manhattan, to South Grand Avenue in Detroit; to Hitsville, USA—Motown Records. Early summer, 1964, and Berry Gordy and Smokey Robinson are worried. Motown has taken a tough hit, losing their top-selling artist, Mary Wells. These guys have no way of knowing it, but not to worry: Motown is just about to BLOW UP. And it’s the first female pop superstar, Diana Ross, who will touch off that explosion. We talk a bit about Berry, about the Motown Fun Factory, and about Diana. And we have to stop and wonder: why does a driven, ambitious man li...

56 MIN2016 JAN 27
Comments
Soul Sisters

Meet The Beatles Part 1

Arrival: we begin the show on February 7th, 1964, in the first-class cabin aboard Pan American Airlines Flight 101 from London to New York City. It’s a raucous, party atmosphere, but John Lennon, for a moment anyway, feels alone in a crowd. A door opens, pandemonium ensues, and a new era arrives. Some housekeeping, and we move on to the Soho District, West London, and lay some foundation for today’s story—and for future discussions. Then we pull back a bit, and look at some of the political,economic, and cultural forces at play in 1950s England. We then move on to Liverpool, late 1950s, and meet John Lennon and Paul McCartney, before they was fab. Then we pull back once again, and talk about alchemy and catalysts—and about a shared bond of shared loss. One catalyst comes in the form of a person: Paul’s school chum George Harrison, the baddest young guitar-slinger in Liverpool. John, Paul and George settle in together in the spring of 1958, and begin a four-year apprenticeship t...

56 MIN2016 FEB 24
Comments
Meet The Beatles Part 1

Meet The Beatles Part 2

The show opens December 27th, 1961, at the Cavern Club where Pete Best calls in sick, and the boys bring in Richard Starkey - Ringo Starr to the world - to sit in on drums, his first paid gig with the Beatles. It clicks musically; the band really swings with Ringo on drums.

62 MIN2016 MAR 9
Comments
Meet The Beatles Part 2

The Medium, The Message, The Music

Welcome back Diggers to Episode Nine: The Medium, The Message, The Music. This show will contain familiar elements — storytelling, commentary, and musicology — but it is also a bit of a departure. It takes place mostly in the mid-sixties, but we’re not following a timeline or building a story: it’s more of a mosaic, a think-piece. We think the influence of psychedelic drugs — especially LSD — on rock music is critically important and very much overlooked. It’s a vital part of the overall story. We hope to make that case with this show. We will meet some rockers and there will be lots of musical examples, because that’s how we roll. But we will also meet scholars, inventors, researchers and writers: Marshall McLuhan, Albert Hofmann, Timothy Leary, Ken Kesey…and more. We will spend some time on the advances in music technology — better instruments and amps, multi-tracking and effects — and show these advances in the musical media arrive at the same time as advances in the p...

69 MIN2016 MAY 6
Comments
The Medium, The Message, The Music

Roll Away The Stones

Episode Ten opens up with Christian narrating at the site of the Bricklayer’s Arms Public House, in Soho, West London, where Brian Jones met with two younger men, school chums, Mick Jagger and Keith Richards, in the fall of 1963. You might know them as The Rolling Stones.

66 MIN2016 AUG 12
Comments
Roll Away The Stones

Latest Episodes

Episode 1: The Precursors

EThe show opens in New York City at the end of World War 2. We discuss social, technological, and economic forces that converge in the early postwar years: the Baby Boom generation and its impact, the rise of the American middle class, technological advances in radio and recording. In the early Fifties, “Race Records” (Rhythm & Blues records by African American musicians) start becoming popular with white American Teens. We assert this is in large part a response to the bland, conformist zeitgeist of popular culture. We meet an early adopter and champion of R&B music: the DJ and radio personality Alan Freed, who popularized the term “Rock n Roll.” We briefly discuss two other cultural phenomena that will become important later: Skiffle in the United Kingdom and the Beat Poets in urban America. We also meet two Rock n Roll pioneers: Ray Charles and Bill Haley. Two key social and political issues are examined in detail: racial segregation and anticommunist hysteria. In 1954, the Su...

53 MIN2015 OCT 27
Comments
Episode 1: The Precursors

Elvis and the Rise of Television

Archaeology is the study of human activity in the past, looking at lots of different things from lots of different angles. We take that approach with Rock N Roll. We recap episode one, and open in Memphis, 1954. Sun Records owner Sam Phillips has found his elusive crossover sound—and the artist who can deliver it. Elvis breaks out; in just a few months he’s on the cusp of national stardom. We get to know Sam Phillips better; we find he shares affinity and common ground with his young star. Sam will be showing up again as we go through our story. Elvis gets his first big break on the Louisiana Hayride radio show. Young Roy Orbison and Buddy Holly see him on his first big tour, opening for the country singer Hank Snow. Elvis and Col. Tom Parker meet for the first time. We move to a detailed discussion of the rise of American television in the 1950s: technical advances, the economic and social impacts, and how it affected and was affected by the rise of Rock N Roll. We bring it back ...

50 MIN2015 NOV 11
Comments
Elvis and the Rise of Television

The Day the Music Died

We describe Rock N Roll as an “enfant terrible,” then an unruly toddler, then a hyperactive kid. When Buddy Holly breaks out in late 1957, we see Rock N Roll has stepped out into the world as a confident young adult. Our story begins on a snowy two-lane highway in rural Iowa, on February 2nd, 1959: the fateful last day of the Winter Dance Party tour. The shows are going well, but the tour is a real grind. Cold, tired, and fed up, Buddy Holly decides to charter a small plane after the show that night in Clear Lake, Iowa. We meet the Big Bopper, Ritchie Valens, and Dion DiMucci. We discuss how Ritchie Valens was the first Latino crossover artist, and his 1957 release “La Bamba” is the first Spanish-language pop hit. We then devote a good chunk of the show to Buddy Holly’s life and musical career. We emphasize his giant influence on future Rock N Roll legends, and talk about The Crickets’ groundbreaking tour of the United Kingdom in early 1958. We meet “The Killer,” Jerry Lee L...

52 MIN2015 NOV 18
Comments
The Day the Music Died

The Change of the Guard

EThe Sixties are about to begin and we’re feeling the change of the guard. We briefly recap the first Golden Age of Rock N Roll: 1956 to 1959. A lot happened, and fast. Too fast to last. We skid perilously into a new decade. As we open the sixties, all the big players are offstage, and a lot of folks are saying Rock N Roll is dead. We open in a police station in St. Louis, and Chuck Berry is in big trouble with the law. We detail Chuck’s legal fight to its conclusion in early ’63. We also catch up with the disc jockey Alan Freed, who is going through some legal problems of his own—legal problems that are part of a larger story. We take a look at the state of mainstream popular music in 1960. It’s grim. But the R&B charts are looking good, lots of great songs and artists. Black America is reasserting itself musically. We will get to that…but first, Rock N Roll is about to become BIG Business. So we unpack that a little bit, and devote a big part of the show to an examination of ...

59 MIN2015 DEC 9
Comments
The Change of the Guard

The Ballad of Bob and J.R.

A quick prologue: we stop by the Country Music Hall of Fame in Nashville, where they opened up a very cool exhibit in March of 2015. Then we move on to Newport, Rhode Island, where Pete Seeger is about to introduce Johnny Cash, an established country star playing for the first time to a folk festival audience. After a rough beginning, the show goes very well. Afterwards, Johnny Cash and Bob Dylan—mutual fans—meet for the first time and begin a lifelong friendship. We then spend some time getting to know the Man in Black; we learn about the family tragedy that moved J.R. Cash to write and make music. We find out the real origins of “Folsom Prison Blues.” We leave Johnny Cash in Memphis for the meantime, and head north to Hibbing, Minnesota and check in on young Robert Allen Zimmerman. As a teen, Bobby is a leather-jacketed Rock N Roll rebel; but he takes on a new name and identity when he discovers folk music as a freshman at the University of Minnesota. He hears Woody Guthrie, d...

65 MIN2015 DEC 30
Comments
The Ballad of Bob and J.R.

Soul Sisters

We open in Manhattan, in the main room, the big studio at Columbia Records. It’s Fall of 1963. A big-time, high-stakes recording session for Aretha Franklin is about to get underway. Aretha is an astonishing, one-in-a-billion talent, but it’s just not clicking for her at Columbia. We spend a little time exploring why it isn’t clicking, and then we talk a little about the feminist perspective, and why we think it is called for. And we move on from Manhattan, to South Grand Avenue in Detroit; to Hitsville, USA—Motown Records. Early summer, 1964, and Berry Gordy and Smokey Robinson are worried. Motown has taken a tough hit, losing their top-selling artist, Mary Wells. These guys have no way of knowing it, but not to worry: Motown is just about to BLOW UP. And it’s the first female pop superstar, Diana Ross, who will touch off that explosion. We talk a bit about Berry, about the Motown Fun Factory, and about Diana. And we have to stop and wonder: why does a driven, ambitious man li...

56 MIN2016 JAN 27
Comments
Soul Sisters

Meet The Beatles Part 1

Arrival: we begin the show on February 7th, 1964, in the first-class cabin aboard Pan American Airlines Flight 101 from London to New York City. It’s a raucous, party atmosphere, but John Lennon, for a moment anyway, feels alone in a crowd. A door opens, pandemonium ensues, and a new era arrives. Some housekeeping, and we move on to the Soho District, West London, and lay some foundation for today’s story—and for future discussions. Then we pull back a bit, and look at some of the political,economic, and cultural forces at play in 1950s England. We then move on to Liverpool, late 1950s, and meet John Lennon and Paul McCartney, before they was fab. Then we pull back once again, and talk about alchemy and catalysts—and about a shared bond of shared loss. One catalyst comes in the form of a person: Paul’s school chum George Harrison, the baddest young guitar-slinger in Liverpool. John, Paul and George settle in together in the spring of 1958, and begin a four-year apprenticeship t...

56 MIN2016 FEB 24
Comments
Meet The Beatles Part 1

Meet The Beatles Part 2

The show opens December 27th, 1961, at the Cavern Club where Pete Best calls in sick, and the boys bring in Richard Starkey - Ringo Starr to the world - to sit in on drums, his first paid gig with the Beatles. It clicks musically; the band really swings with Ringo on drums.

62 MIN2016 MAR 9
Comments
Meet The Beatles Part 2

The Medium, The Message, The Music

Welcome back Diggers to Episode Nine: The Medium, The Message, The Music. This show will contain familiar elements — storytelling, commentary, and musicology — but it is also a bit of a departure. It takes place mostly in the mid-sixties, but we’re not following a timeline or building a story: it’s more of a mosaic, a think-piece. We think the influence of psychedelic drugs — especially LSD — on rock music is critically important and very much overlooked. It’s a vital part of the overall story. We hope to make that case with this show. We will meet some rockers and there will be lots of musical examples, because that’s how we roll. But we will also meet scholars, inventors, researchers and writers: Marshall McLuhan, Albert Hofmann, Timothy Leary, Ken Kesey…and more. We will spend some time on the advances in music technology — better instruments and amps, multi-tracking and effects — and show these advances in the musical media arrive at the same time as advances in the p...

69 MIN2016 MAY 6
Comments
The Medium, The Message, The Music

Roll Away The Stones

Episode Ten opens up with Christian narrating at the site of the Bricklayer’s Arms Public House, in Soho, West London, where Brian Jones met with two younger men, school chums, Mick Jagger and Keith Richards, in the fall of 1963. You might know them as The Rolling Stones.

66 MIN2016 AUG 12
Comments
Roll Away The Stones
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