Forgotten Pop: American Popular Music 1945-1965

Instructor:  Neal Harkness

  • Thursday Morning
  • 9:30 – 11:30 AM

The history of American music in the twentieth century has been written almost exclusively by scholars of jazz and rock and roll. Consequently, the period between the end of the swing era and the rock era has been, to a large extent, overlooked. And yet, it was an era as rich in talent, diversity and innovation as those that preceded and followed it. It was the heyday of some of the greatest vocalists ever recorded, from Doris Day and Rosemary Clooney, to Nat King Cole and Bobby Darin. We will hear their voices, we will examine the role of Hollywood and Broadway in shaping popular taste, and we will discuss the controversial issue of appropriation from other cultures into the mainstream.

Neal Harkness, a native Detroiter, has been a Belfast resident since 2005. Growing up in “Motown,” he has been an avid follower of popular music from an early age. He has written for a number of music publications and hosted a long running rock music program on WERU-FM. He believes that there is still plenty of good music being made.