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Monday, January 14, 2013

Teaching Rock History Online

A longtime music critic is teaching the history of rock, from musicians like bluesman Robert Johnson back in the 1930s, to Amanda Palmer using Kickstarter and Twitter to reach fans. (Wikimedia Commons, Kickstarter screenshot)

A longtime music critic is teaching the history of rock, from bluesman Robert Johnson (left) back in the 1930s, to Amanda Palmer (right) using Kickstarter and Twitter to reach fans today. (Wikimedia Commons, Kickstarter screenshot)

How do you teach the history of rock, from its roots back in the 1930s with musicians like bluesman Robert Johnson, to today, where musicians like Amanda Palmer take to Kickstarter and Twitter to reach fans?

Steve Morse teaches "Rock History" at Berklee College of Music. (Robin Lubbock/WBUR)

Steve Morse teaches “Rock History” at Berklee College of Music. (Robin Lubbock/WBUR)

If you’re Steve Morse, you teach it online.

Morse was a longtime music critic for The Boston Globe and brings decades’ worth of experience to his online Berklee College of Music course “Rock History.”

The course taps Morse’s memories and research, video and music clips as well as exclusive interviews with musicians including the Grateful Dead’s Bob Weir, Aerosmith’s Joe Perry and Amanda Palmer of the Dresden Dolls.

Morse told Here & Now’s Robin Young that his course is about more than just the music.

“I make an effort to really look at the social history, and not just go a, b, c, one band to the other, but to show how they impacted the culture of the time,” Morse said.

Songs heard in this segment:

Robert Johnson, “Cross Road Blues”
Buddy Holly, “Oh Boy”
Fats Domino, “Ain’t That a Shame”
Wilson Pickett, “634-5789”
Little Richard, “Lucille”
Horace Silver, “Song for My Father”
Steely Dan, “Rikki Don’t Lose that Number”
The Clash, “London Calling”
Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young, “Ohio”
Amanda Palmer, “The Bed Song”
Nirvana, “Smells Like Teen Spirit”

Guest:

  • Steve Morse, teaches “Rock History” at Berklee College of Music.

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Robin Young and Jeremy Hobson host Here & Now, a live two-hour production of NPR and WBUR Boston.

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