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Rock 'n' roll: The best thing to bang your head to at FAU
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By TORI PERMENTER
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They said it was just a fad, something that would hit us hard and leave us fast, but now more than ever, rock 'n' roll still is drumming its way into our hearts. Florida Atlantic University understands and appreciates this most beloved passion, and has created a class that teaches the true history of rock 'n' roll."

Rock 'n' roll is a genre that applies to everyone from the Beach Boys and Elvis Presley to The Beatles and Buddy Holly. At FAU, students can learn its history through "Rock and Roll in American Society," often from Music Department adjunct David Rossow.

Rossow says that he “focuses this course on current mainstream popular music and how it came to existence.” In essence, the class is offers students an in-depth look into a style of music that evolved into what we hear today.

This course has been part of FAU’s curriculum since the early 1980s and was created by an adjunct instructor, Tom Webb. Each semester, this course is packed with students from all backgrounds and a variety of ages.

Joel Engles, a senior, says he “originally signed up for this class for easy elective credits, but since then I have come to truly like the subject matter.” Many other students expressed similar sentiments.

“There has been the perception that this course is pure fluff,” says music professor Kenneth Keaton. In fact, the College of Engineering at one time refused to accept the course as an elective, he said.

The course was altered in the early 1990s from a lower-division class to an upper-division one so that is can be offered on partner campuses.

The upgrade was something of a tool to help project the course into the serious side of academia.

“Whatever one thinks about rock 'n' roll rock as art, there is little argument of its massive effect on western society, financial, social, and psychological – you name it. This course existing here at FAU indicates that we are concerned with the effect of rock on society, rather than just a history of the music and performers,” Keaton said.

Within the newfound sound in today’s modern pop culture music, there are hints of the old styles from older days. "Tainted Love," "Imagine," and "Not Fade Away" are among those titles that have been recorded by other artists in later years.

The style of rock from the '50s, '60s and '70s still can be heard in its original format blaring from a teenager’s radio tuned to an oldies station. With great beats, guitar solos and drum lines, this trend of music is continuously rolling over into new audiences. The music, in a sense, has captured history and retells it to new generations.

Engles says that “the best part of the class is the audio. When talking about music, it is best to hear the music and that is what we do in class – listen to the music.”

Students learn about the forms of rock 'n' roll. It can be loud, it can be angry and it can even result in dangerous situations – like Charles Manson claiming that the devil spoke to him through the song "Helter Skelter" by The Beatles, and that led him to commit the Tate-LiBianca murders.

Rock 'n' roll, as well as any other styles of music, is more than a hobby – it’s a way of life, instructor Rossow says. And, he says, it's a unique way to reflect on history.

Think you know about rock 'n' roll? Try this trivia contest

1. What was the Big Bopper’s real name?

2. In 1957, which show only filmed Elvis Presley from the waist up because his dancing was considered too suggestive?

3. What name did Simon and Garfunkel go under for their first hit? What was the name of their first song?

4. What was the 1986 No. 1 hit by Robert Palmer?

5. What is Teresa Brewer real name?

6. Who is the all-time most nominated Grammy artist? How many nominees does he/she have?

7. What band sang the 1966 No. 1 hit, "I’m A Believer?"

8. What adjunct instructor at FAU was in the audience when The Beatles made their first American appearance on The Ed Sullivan show?

Answers: 1. Jiles Perry Richardson; 2. Ed Sullivan; 3. Tom and Jerry; Hey Schoolgirl; 4. "Addicted to Love"; 5. Teresa Brewer; 6. Quincy Jones, 77 nominations; 7. The Monkees; 8. journalism adjunct Glenn Singer

 

 
 

 
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