This week, we talk about the music of Motown, Stax and James Brown in the context of the 1960s. Essentially, a kind of a history of black pop in the middle of the decade. There a few things though before we actually get into the consideration of Motown, Stax & James Brown that I want to talk to you about just so that we can identify some of the important issues that go into talking about this music. One of the first things, and maybe important things for us to discuss for a minute, is to talk about the issue of race. And how it plays into a lot of what we're talking about here. There's probably no issue, in American culture at least, that is more sensitive in a lot of kind of ways, than discussions of race. And so we have to be careful the kinds of things that we say that we don't give the wrong impression or send the wrong kinds of signals, especially a guy like me, obviously, a white guy talking about black music. There might be some who would say somebody like me could not really totally understand the black experience, and then maybe not really totally understand the music for what it's trying to say. Well that may or may not be true, and people can have their own views on it. But fortunately for us, we don't really have to worry so much about that because what we are really talking about is the history of black pop as it's seen through the lens of rock and roll. And it's probably fair to say that rock and roll is a style of music primarily directed at, at least initially at, white teens and primarily at a white audience. I mean if one of the failures of rock n' roll may be that by the time we get into the 70s, and we'll talk about this in part two of the class, rock n' roll has become very segregated from black pop and it's like black pop and rock n' roll exist in two very different worlds. So anyway, one of the things that we'll do this week, is talk about black pop in the 60s. But I make the admission or say right up from that we're talking about black pop as it's viewed from the history of rock. Now I have maintained for a long time, and I hope one of my scholarly friends or professors will take me up on this that what we really need is a textbook that deals with the history of black pop in its own context. Not the way that people like Motown and Stax and James Brown fit into the story we're telling about the history of rock, but one in which, so they're sort of on the side of the stories or of coming in where they seem to be interesting to us from a perspective centered on rock. But rather, a perspective that deals with black pop as being the central thing and maybe thinks of rock as peripheral, or jazz as peripheral, or country western as peripheral. But it really sort of takes black pop as the central thing. That would be a fantastic thing and probably, dealing with the 60s, a book like that might deal with this differently than I'm going to do in this week's set of lectures. When we talk about racial issues, being involved in this music and our discussions of it, we've already seen how this plays out in our discussion of music in the 1950s and before. The idea that there was a kind of a chart segregation, a kind of separate but not very equal distribution of resources. Where rhythm and blues, thought of as music for a primarily black audience, did not really have the same resources, the same attention, as mainstream pop. Music for primarily middle class white listeners audiences really had. So we've already seen a kind of a segregation and some of the kinds of sensitive issues that came up from there. When songs that were cover versions or crossovers came from the R&B chart onto the pop charts and some of these songs were covered by white artists when they original had been done by black artists, this caused a lot of resentment from black artists. And this was all sort of tied up in some of the racial issues that our country was dealing with and to a certain extent continues to deal with. When I say our country, I mean America for those of you taking the course outside of the United States. So let's talk about, having said that, let's talk about what some of the issues are to focus on this week. The new black pop that we're talking about that sort of parallels the rise of the British Invasion and the American response in the middle of the decade arises from true principal sources. There's Motown coming out of Detroit that's owned and founded by Berry Gordy, Jr.. And that's a label that's really interested in finding black pop that crosses over to white audiences. And all kinds of steps are taken to try and ensure that music crosses over to white audiences. Berry Gordy, Jr. wanting to get the largest possible audience, and so his strategy was go where the money is. And the money really was in the white community, and so he tried to make sure that his artists were able to capitalize on that. The problem with making an effort to crossover to white audiences is that a lot of critics have said about Motown that, in many ways, Berry Gordy Jr. and Motown sold out its blackness for a white audience. When people make that argument, a lot of times, they juxtapose Motown and its crossover tendencies with the music of southern soul. Often just referred to, as a shorthand, as Stax out of Memphis. And they talk about that music as being more unabashedly black, making no apologies for its blackness and its roots and maybe being more authentically black than the Motown music. Now, we'll tell the whole story about Stax and Memphis and how it was really sort of distributed by Atlantic. But the question really comes down to, is Stax music somehow, or the music on the Stax label somehow blacker than Motown? And you can see why I start this out with a discussion of race, because this is an important kind of consideration. And really, it's more of a kind of a critical reception thing. Do people perceive that somehow Stax music is black, or more sort of authentically true to the roots of black culture than Motown music is. It's an interesting issue, and one that's much debated in scholarly circles. Now at the same time, you've got James Brown, for whom nobody has, whatever you may say about James Brown, nobody has ever said about James Brown that he sold out his blackness. In fact, he, in many ways, is kind of an iconic figure in terms of black pride and black identity in the 1960s. So that's a bit of an overview of what we're going to talk about. Let's move to our first specific lecture now, and we'll talk about the music of Motown.