1) “Space Oddity,” released in 1969 (a play on the title Space Odyssy) by David Bowie: In a 2003 interview with Performing Songwritermagazine, Bowie explained: “In England, it was always presumed that it was written about the space landing, because it kind of came to prominence around the same time. But it actually wasn’t. It was written because of going to see the film 2001 (Space Odyssy), which I found amazing. I was out of my gourd anyway, I was very stoned when I went to see it, several times, and it was really a revelation to me. It got the song flowing. It was picked up by the British television, and used as the background music for the landing itself. I’m sure they really weren’t listening to the lyric at all (laughs).
In the opening 1:10 of “Space Oddity” a single snare drum is heard interjecting sporadic accompaniments to help set the “spacey” mood. As you listen to the rest of the song, identify which of the following statements best represents what happens with the drums.
A) The drums go into a rock groove for the rest of the song and end strong.
B) The drums go into a rock groove for the main body of the song and then gradually break down to cymbals and other drum-set special effects.
C) The drums continue this snare drum accompaniment without ever going into a full groove.
D) There are no drums on this track at all!
2) Alice Cooper (aka Vincent Damon Furnier)
Alice Cooper, the king of shock rock, pioneered a grandly theatrical and violent brand of heavy metal that was designed to shock. Drawing equally from horror movies, vaudeville, heavy metal, and garage rock, the group created a stage show that featured electric chairs, guillotines, fake blood, and huge boa constrictors, all coordinated by the heavily made-up Cooper. While the visuals were extremely important to the group’s impact, the band’s music was nearly as distinctive. Driven by raw, simple riffs and melodies that derived from ’60s guitar pop as well as show tunes, it was rock & roll at its most basic and catchy, even when the band ventured into psychedelia and art rock. In 1968 Frank Zappa signed Alice Cooper to his Straight Records label and released their first album, Pretties for You, in 1969 and Easy Action in early in 1970. After moving to Warner Brothers in 1971 to release Love It to Death, Cooper began to develop a more impressive, elaborate live show, which made him highly popular across the U.S. and in the U.K. The album Killer was released late in 1971 setting up Coopers biggest albums 1972’s, School’s Out and 1973’s Billion Dollar Babies, which was the group’s biggest hit, reaching number one in both America and Britain; the single, “No More Mr. Nice Guy” has since become a classic rock standard. Welcome to My Nightmare was released in 1975 followed by other significant records including Alice Cooper Goes to Hell (1976), From the Inside (1978), Constrictor (1986), Trash (1989), Hey Stoopid (1991), The Last Temptation (1994), Fistful of Alice (1997), Brutal Planet and Dragontown (2000), The Eyes of Alice Cooper (2003), Dirty Diamonds (2005), Along Came a Spider (2008), and Theatre of Death and Alice Does Alice (2010). During the 1980s and 1990s, Cooper made appearances in horror films and has a syndicated radio show, Nights with Alice Cooper – Source: Stephen Thomas Erlewine, The All Music Guide.
In this version of Alice Cooper’s “No More Mr. Nice Guy” he sings that he “went to church…”
B) In a car
Rocket Man released in 1972 by Elton John and Bernie Taupin: Space exploration was big in 1972; the song came out around the time of the Apollo 16 mission, which sent men to the moon for the fifth time.
The inspiration for Bernie Taupin’s lyrics, however, was the short story The Rocket Man, written by Ray Bradbury. The sci-fi author’s tale is told from the perspective of a child, whose astronaut father has mixed feelings at leaving his family in order to do his job. It was published as part of his anthology The Illustrated Man in 1951. The Elton John song “Rocket Man” was produced by Gus Dudgeon, who worked with David Bowie on his 1969 song “Space Oddity.” Both songs have similar subject matter, and lots of people accused Elton of ripping off Bowie, something both Elton and Bernie Taupin deny.
Many artists make use of a “break down” section, which allows a song to be stripped back essentially after the whole band is playing to have more intensity when building to a climactic section of the song. In “Rocket Man,” identify where this breakdown begins.
A) Beginning of the song
B) Around the 55 second (0:55) mark
C) Around the 1 minute 50 second (1:50) mark
D) Around the 3 minute 2 second (3:02) mark
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