Night Fever: Music and Culture in the 1970s
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Division: The New School for Public Engagement
School: School of Undergraduate Studies
Course Number: NMUS 3760
Course Format: Lecture
Permission Required: No
Although the 1970s are often remembered as years of decadence and self-indulgence, numerous important and enduring musical styles emerged in this period. This class traces the musical and cultural milieu of the 1970s across genres. We consider Miles Davis' jazz-rock fusion movement, which drew accusations of selling out by jazz purists; disco fever (ABBA, Bee Gees); the roots of hip-hop (DJ Grandmaster Flash) in block parties in the Bronx; and the anti-authoritarian appeal of British punk rock (The Clash, Sex Pistols). Other forms, artists, and controversies of the 1970s are discussed along the way: German electronica (Kraftwerk), New Age (Brian Eno and Jean-Michel Jarre), World Music, rock opera (The Who and Broadway's Webber and Rice), the off-the-charts success of country (John Denver, Lynyrd Skynyrd), heavy metal (AC/DC), New York City art and music's uptown/downtown divide (Philip Glass), glam rock (David Bowie), and singer-songwriters (Joni Mitchell, Billy Joel). The ability to read music is not required.