“…If you know your history
Then you would know where you coming from
Then you wouldn’t have to ask me
Who the heck do I think I am…” (Bob Marley, ‘Buffalo Soldier’)
Essays about the history of popular music
When we engage with history, regardless of the area of human existence we choose to look at, we are rewarded with a better understanding of the present.
For musicians knowledge of popular culture not only increases their understanding of their musical heritage, but also gives them the ability to understand their own musicality against the backdrop of world events. The study of history gives musicians the power of context in which to locate themselves.
During my course I had the chance to dive deeper into this history. The goal was to decode intersecting elements that lay behind the success of an artist’s or band’s music by analyzing the evolution of the music; how and why it was relevant in the context of social, economic and political circumstances of their time.
I have attached these works here. The essays are available to read in English only.
- Massive Attack’s first album was a “record of rebellion…” Massive Attack – Blue Lines – Benno Schlachter 2013
- Masters of War’ is one of the most direct political songs in the history of folk-song tradition… Bob Dylan – Masters of War – Benno Schlachter 2012
- The musical and spiritual legacies of John Coltrane… John Coltrane – A Love Supreme – Benno Schlachter 2012
There are a great number of qualitative and informative literatures regarding the history of popular history, but I would like to single out one which I highly recommend for study: 33 REVOLUTIONS PER MINUTE – A HISTORY OF PROTEST SONGS, Dorian Lynskey, 2010, Faber and Faber Ltd.