AMS / RRHOFM Lecture Series

Albin Zak, 5 October 2011

Albin J. Zak III, Professor of Music at the State University of New York, Albany, gave the inaugural lecture, "'A Thoroughly Bad Record': Elvis Presley’s 'Hound Dog' as Rock and Roll Manifesto."

Zak describes his lecture as follows: "The pop music upheavals of the 1950s were fraught with crosscurrents and paradoxes. As fundamental changes in musical sound and language accrued rapidly, their significance was masked by a veneer of trivia. It was impossible for anyone at the time to imagine the long-range implications of what was happening. In retrospect, however, we can recognize defining moments of crystallization. This talk examines the implications of the market success of Elvis Presley’s 'Hound Dog,' which claimed the number-one spot on the Pop, Country, and R&B charts in the summer of 1956. The record was widely scorned by music industry veterans and high-pop aficionados, yet in its rude enthusiasm it represents an emphatic assertion of aesthetic principle at the dawn of rock and roll."

Timeline: The video is 1 hour, 25 minutes, 40 seconds long. Contents are as follows:

0:00: Opening remarks: Terry Stewart, President and Chief Executive Officer of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum

2:39: Introduction to the RRHOFM Education Department: Jason Hanley, Director of Education

7:43: Introduction to the lecture: Rob Walser, Professor of musicology, Case Western Reserve University

12:37: Albin Zak's lecture

1:01:03: Q&A that followed the lecture

1:25:40: end


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