This Study Guide prepared by:

Susan Smith Nash, Ph.D.

Elaine Bontempi, M.Ed.

Catherine Kerley

Learning Objectives

Upon successful completion of this chapter, the learner will be able to

1.         Differentiate between pop music and rock music, "cheese" and "camp";

2.         Describe examples of various types of rock music, and explain why they were popular;

3.         Write about various examples of how nonblack artists "borrowed" or stole the music of black Americans;

4.         Understand how and why rock trends connect with an entire generation of listeners;

5.         Describe the cultural values embedded in or communicated by rock and popular music.



Kevin J.H. Dettmar and William Richey, "Musical Cheese: The Appropriation of Seventies Music in Nineties Movies" Reading Rock and Roll. New York: Columbia UP, 1999.

Author Biography

Kevin J.H. Dettmar is a professor and chair of the Department of English at Southern Illinois University, Carbondale. He is the author of The Illicit Joyce of Postmodernism: Reading Against the Grain, editor of Rereading the New: A Backward Glance at Modernism, and (with Stephen Watt) Marketing Modernisms: Self-Promotion, Canonization, and Rereading. William Richey is associate professor of English at the University of South Carolina. He is the author of Blake's Altering Aesthetic.

Multiple Choice Questions: Comprehension/Chapter/reading-specific

  1. When Dettmar and Richey write of “cheese” they are referring to
    1. smooth music.
    2. the “cream of the crop” music.
    3. music in bad taste.
    4. “aged” music.
  1. “Camp” refers to
    1. music considered excessive.
    2. music considered to be in bad taste.
    3. music from the 1970s.
    4. music from the 1960s.
  1. According to the authors, film implies that anyone who claims their life has been changed by music
    1. identifies with the artist.
    2. identifies with the lyrics.
    3. needs to get a life.
    4. should be a musician.
  1. Films such as Reality Bites use music from the 1960s, 1970s and 1980s
    1. for irony.
    2. to frame and comment on its Generation X narrative.
    3. to evoke the decade.
    4. for a and b only
  1. The intended use of music in some sound tracks has been missed by the audience as indicated by
    1. a renewed interest in some of the music used in the soundtracks.
    2. decreased sales in music used in the soundtracks.
    3. letters from moviegoers.
    4. surveys taken by moviegoers.
  1. An indication of the intended theory in Wayne’s World comes from
    1. the use of music selected for the soundtrack.
    2. a closing statement by the main characters in the movie.
    3. use of humor.
    4. a and c only.
    5. All of the above
  1. In Pulp Fiction, Tarantino’s use of music implies:
    1. a sense of meaning.
    2. a sense of irony.
    3. a sense of depthlessness.
    4. a sense of suspense.  
  1. The use of “cheese” in Tarantino’s films is to promote
    1. a sense of irony.
    2. a sense of confusion.
    3. a theory of the decade.
    4. none of the above.
    5. All of the above
  1. "My Sharona" was not used in one of Tarantino’s films because
    1. the beat was inappropriate for the scene.
    2. The Knack objected to its use.
    3. movie producers objected to its use,
    4. The Knack demanded too much money for the rights.  
  1. The distinction between cheese and camp is
    1. clear.
    2. ambiguous.
    3. tenuous.
    4. relevant.

Before You Read

Define camp and give three examples.  What is camp often associated with?  Why?

After You Read

Would you consider surfer music as used in Quentin Tarantino's Pulp Fiction to be a good example of "cheese"?  Why or why not?  Rent the movie and make notes of the scenes when surfer music is being used.  How is it disjunctive?

Web Links

Reading Rock & Roll: Authenticity, Appropriation, Aesthetics.   

Kevin J.H. Dettmar’s homepage.

History of Rock ‘n’ Roll.                                                                                     

Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.                                                                   

Pop Music.                                                                                             

Billboard magazine.                                


Author Biography.

Dave Marsh currently edits Rock 'n' Roll Confidential. He is a former editor of Creem and Rolling Stone music magazines. He has written several music books, including two on Bruce Springsteen and one on The Who. On a list of the Top 1001 Music Critics Ever, he would rank in the Top 10, sometimes at No. 1.

Multiple Choice Questions: Comprehension/Chapter/reading-specific

  1. Chuck Berry wrote of a “country” boy. What he really meant by this is that the "boy" was
    1. colored.
    2. poor.
    3. underprivileged.
    4. uneducated.
  1. Artists who have borrowed from Chuck Berry’s guitar playing are
    1. The Beach Boys.
    2. Bob Dylan.
    3. The Beatles.
    4. The Rolling Stones.
    5. all of the above.
  1. Chuck Berry’s vocals
    1. imitate guitar.
    2. are multisyllabic phrases.
    3. imitate piano.
    4. apply to a and b only.
  1. The thing about Chuck Berry that is easiest to overlook is that
    1. he is black.
    2. he is a dreamer.
    3. he is from the South.
    4. he was poor.
  1. Chuck Berry’s lyrics of a “country” boy also symbolized
    1. Elvis Costello.
    2. Elvis Presley.
    3. Jerry Garcia.
    4. all of the above.
  2. Chuck Berry grew up in an atmosphere characterized by
    1. the threat of lunching.
    2. sharecropping.
    3. segregation.
    4. all of the above.
  3. Chuck Berry’s genius lay in his ability to shape those gruesome facts into
    1. psychological reality.
    2. a soundtrack for a Broadway musical.
    3. jail time.
    4. a story about joy and freedom.
  4. The Beach Boys were guilty of "borrowing" from Chuck Berry's "Sweet Little                            Sixteen" to make their song
    1. "Daddy Took the T-Bird Away."
    2. "Surfin' U.S.A."
    3. "Pulp Fiction."
    4. "Rip Tide Sally."
  5. The Beach Boys continued their "borrowing" and used Chuck Berry's "Johnny B. Goode" as the basis of their song
    1. "Fun, Fun, Fun."
    2. "All Dogs Go To Heaven."
    3. "Good Vibrations."
    4. "Little Old Lady from Pasadena."
  6. The "Chuck Berry Riff" is characterized by
    1. machine-gun bursts of notes.
    2. a spray of illegible opening lines.
    3. each multisyllabic phrase all in one word.
    4. all of the above.

Before You Read

What is the "message" in Chuck Berry's music?  Why was it so popular?

After You Read

What made Chuck Berry's music so influential?  How and why did white musicians appropriate his style and his ideas?


Web Links

Chuck Berry.



Mr. Rock ‘n Roll.



Chuck Berry.









The Tokens, "The Lion Sleeps Tonight," by Rian Malan (+race) Rolling Stone May 25, 2000 i841 p54(1)

Author Biography.

When faced with the crucial rite-of-passage question of the South African fifties-born male--what do I do about the army?--Rian Malan actually left. He went to America with a little experience as a court reporter and recreated himself--it took seven years--as a Los Angeles based writer, with an agent. He was the only writer since Tom Wolfe, grand master of the new journalism, to be on the cover of Esquire.

Multiple Choice Questions: Comprehension/Chapter/reading-specific

  1. Solomon Linda was
    1. an aristocratic British imperialist.
    2. a Zulu Tribesman.
    3. an African American slave.
    4. a colonel in the New Zealand army.
  1. Renditions of Solomen Linda’s song have been sung by
    1. R.E.M.
    2. Glen Campbell.
    3. Phish.
    4. Native Americans
    5. all of the above.
  1. Traditional Zulu dancing is punctuated by:
    1. sacrifices.
    2. the use of hallucinogens.
    3. foot stompings.
    4. healing ceremonies.
  1. The first recording studio in sub-Saharan Africa was
    1. at the top of an office building.
    2. formed in a Zulu tribesman’s hut.
    3. in an aristocrat’s house.
    4. none of the above.
  1. The song that was cut by Solomon Linda and the Evening Birds that brought so much attention was called "Mbuba," Zulu for
    1. birds.
    2. crocodile.
    3. lion.
    4. elephant.
  1. Pete Seeger is
    1. a piano player.
    2. a guitar player.
    3. a banjo player.
    4. a drummer.
  1. Pete Seeger is a
    1. fascist.
    2. radical.
    3. pacifist.
    4. communist.
  1. The Weavers wrote
    1. "On Top of Old Smokey."
    2. "Good Night Irene."
    3. "Greensleeves."
    4. all of the above.
    5. A and B only
  1. "Mbube" was recorded live with
    1. MGM.
    2. BMG.
    3. RCA.
    4. Columbia.
  1. Howie Richmond published
    1. The Beatles.
    2. The Rolling Stones.
    3. The Moody Blues.
    4. The Who.

Before You Read

Do you think it matters very much if someone "borrows" a song from what they consider to be a folk source or a hymn, and then does not bother to try to find the original musician to pay him/her royalties?  Why?  Why not?

After You Read

In an interview, Elton John told his interviewer that his songs "are hymns" and the "Elton John sound is based on hymns."  What would happen if someone were able to trace the hymn that corresponded to "Goodbye Norman Jean" or the one that corresponded to "Rocket Man," and so forth?  Should Elton John pay?  How much?

Web Links

The Tokens Homepage.



The Lion Sleeps Tonight.






The Tokens.



Who Are the Tokens?


The Beatles, "I am the Walrus," by Ian MacDonald  Revolution in the Head: Beatles Recordings and the Sixties. Fourth Estate; ISBN: 1857020995: 1998.

Author Biography.

Ian MacDonald is a musicologist and the author of Revolution in the Head: Beatles Recordings and the Sixties.


Multiple Choice Questions: Comprehension/Chapter/reading-specific

  1. The Beatles stopped touring in _____which adversely affected Epstein.
    1. 1965
    2. 1966
    3. 1967
    4. 1969
  1. Lennon’s mood when he wrote "I am the Walrus" was
    1. hypocritical.
    2. ironic.
    3. paradoxical.
    4. sympathetic.
  1. The tune of "I am the Walrus" was greatly influenced by
    1. McCartney’s vocals.
    2. a police siren.
    3. dogs barking.
    4. all of the above.
  1. "I am the Walrus" is
    1. a celebration of British authority.
    2. a story of an acid trip.
    3. an anti-institutional rant.
    4. a song about animals.
  1. "I am the Walrus" blasts
    1. art.
    2. education.
    3. culture.
    4. law.
    5. all of the above.
  1. "A Whiter Shade of Pale" and "I am the Walrus" are related mainly by
    1. mood.
    2. tempo.
    3. intended meaning.
    4. a and b only.
  1. Lennon’s favorite author was
    1. Edgar Allan Poe.
    2. Lewis Carroll.
    3. Shakespeare.
    4. none of the above.
  1. The nonsense of "I am the Walrus" is
    1. whimsical.
    2. ironic.
    3. self-definitive.
    4. none of the above.
  1. "I am the Walrus" marks the start of a period where
    1. the author allowed expressive integrity.
    2. the author started a revolution.
    3. the author decided to go solo.
    4. none of the above.
  1. "I am the Walrus" was banned by BBC for its use of
    1. the word eggman.
    2. the codeword knickers.
    3. its anti-government undertones.
    4. all of the above.


Before You Read

When you think of The Beatles, do you think of LSD-inspired songs?  Does the idea of a drug-inspired song seem as progressive today as it might have in the 1960s?  Why or why not?

After You Read

Some critics consider "I am the Walrus" to be one of the most brilliant rock songs ever written.  Do you agree?  Why or why not?


Web Links

The Beatles.



The Beatles Ultimate Experience.



Songs, Pictures, and Stories.



The Beatles on Abbey Road.


Strawberry Fields Forever: Putting Together the Pieces.  

Robert Shelton. Bob Dylan, "Like a Rolling Stone," No Direction Home. New York: Da Capo, 1997.

Author Biography.

Multiple Choice Questions: Comprehension/Chapter/reading-specific

            1.  According to Johnston, working with Bob Dylan in the studio

                        a.  is easy because he’s very professional.

                        b.  is difficult because he’s not very professional.

                        c.  is stressful.

                        d.  is very preplanned.


            2.  Bob Dylan has been said to be very

                        a.  whimsical.

                        b.  intense.

                        c.  moody.

                        d.  picky.


            3.  Dylan had little sympathy for those who

                        a.  dropped out of school.

                        b.  did drugs.

                        c.  hadn’t fought the easy life.

                        d.  rebelled against authority.


            4.  In "Like a Rolling Stone," Bob Dylan refers to school as

                        a.  an academic institution.

                        b.  prison life.

                        c.  life.

                        d.  none of the above.


            5.  Bob Dylan refers to a school girl as

                        a.  a female attending an academic institution.

                        b.  a feminine male.

                        c.  someone afraid to step into the mainstream.

                        d.  a sissy.


            6.  "Like a Rolling Stone" seems to

                        a.  applaud the bourgeois.

                        b.  talk about a loss of innocence.

                        c.  applauds non-conformity.

                        d.  apply to b and c only.


            7.  Musically, "Like a Rolling Stone"

                        a.  has a splendid progression of chords.

                        b.  has a sense of rehearsal.

                        c.  was recorded in two takes.

                        d.  is none of the above.


            8.  "Like a Rolling Stone" was recorded after

                        a.  one take.

                        b.  two takes.

                        c.  three takes.

                        d.  several weeks.


            9.  When Bob Dylan asked people to play with him in "Like a Rolling Stone," he                                                told them to play

                        a.  any way they felt was best.

                        b.  in a sympathetic overtone.

                        c.  his way only.

                        d.  loud.


            10.  The guitarist who played on "Like a Rolling Stone" was

                        a.  Bob Dylan.

                        b.  Keith Richards.

                        c.  Alice Cooper.

                        d.  Mike Bloomfield.

Before You Read

There are a few rock songs that seem to define the very essence of rock music.  Name a few and explain their significance.

After You Read

"Like a Rolling Stone" is about the loss of innocence and the harshness of experience.  Can you think of other songs that are about the same theme?  How are they the same or different than "Like a Rolling Stone"?

Web Links



Bringing it all Back.






The Critical Corner.


The Cambridge Dylan Society.               

Michael Azerrad.   Nirvana,  "Smells Like Teen Spirit," Come As You Are. Main Street Books, 1993.

Author Biography.

[Kurt Cobain]  I grew up in New York State. When I was seven, entranced by the three tom-tom thumps that announce the chorus of "Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds," I started playing drums in rock bands. My first rock concert was Three Dog Night--my grandfather took me. I got into punk rock on May 8, 1977, the day I got both Television's Marquee Moon and Talking Heads '77; that summer, a friend came back from a vacation in England with a big pile of singles by bands like the Clash, the Sex Pistols and the Damned. My life was never the same.  Then I went to college in New York City, where I got a degree in Latin, a language that has served me in good stead in my professional life in many ways. After goofing off for a few years I eventually blundered into rock journalism, and wound up writing a couple hundred articles for Rolling Stone while writing for MTV News and a bunch of other magazines. A professional highlight was interviewing Ray Charles on the phone and making him laugh. Then I wrote Come As You Are: The Story of Nirvana, published in 1993. After a satisfying foray into the side of things, I started writing my current book, Our Band Could Be Your Life: Scenes from the American Indie Underground 1981-1991. Now I'm thinking about what book to write next.

Multiple Choice Questions: Comprehension/Chapter/reading-specific

            1.  According to the article, the editor for Rip magazine, Lonn Friend, had a fetish                                  with

                        a.  guitars previously owned by famous musicians .

                        b.  half naked pictures with stars.

                        c.  female vocalists.

                        d.  lead singers.


            2.  Kurt Cobain felt that meeting with the editor from Rip magazine was

                        a.  prostitution.

                        b.  insulting.

                        c.  exciting.

                        d.  an honor.


            3.  Rip magazine

                        a.  published a promotional article for Nirvana.

                        b.  didn’t support Nirvana until later.

                        c.  criticized Nirvana.

                        d.  hailed Kurt Cobain as an upcoming idol.


            4.  “Oldsters” called Kurt’s lyrics

                        a.  angry.

                        b.  deep.

                        c.  hollow.

                        d.  incoherent.


            5.  Most of Kurt’s lyrics came from

                        a.  the band members’ poetry.

                        b.  classical literature.

                        c.  Kurt’s poetry.

                        d.  brainstorming with band members after partying.


            6.  In his songwriting, Kurt deals with

                        a.  synonyms.

                        b.  antonyms.

                        c.  homonyms.

                        d.  all of the above.


            7.  Kurt recognized that the dualities in his music were reflections of

                        a.  his relationship with his mother.

                        b.  his relationship with Courtney Love.

                        c.  himself.

                        d.  his audience.


            8.  "Smells Like Teen Spirit" portrays

                        a.  the dualities of people Kurt Cobain’s age.

                        b.  the emotions of teen romance.

                        c.  the spirit behind high school sports.

                        d.  teenage suicide.


            9.  According to the article, what do bohemians in their early twenties do?

                        a.  become environmental activists

                        b.  experiment with drugs

                        c.  have a revolution

                        d.  write graffiti


            10.  What did the Calvanist teen revolution hope to accomplish?

                        a.  to create and control their own culture

                        b.  to control their own political situation

                        c.  to rescue them from a corrupt older generation

                        d.  all of the above

Before You Read

When you listen to the song "Smells Like Teen Spirit," how do you feel?  What are the emotions that surge forth, and how do they mesh with the lyrics?

After You Read

When Kurt Cobain says, "I'm such a nihilistic jerk half the time and other times I'm so vulnerable and sincere," can you relate to this feeling?  Why?  How?  Use examples drawn from your life.


Web Links

Kurt Cobain.

What Makes a Legend Most?



"Smells Like Teen Spirit."



Rants and Raves.








Student Paper--Bonus Multiple-Choice Questions


            1.  Kurt Cobain was labeled

                        a.  a rebel.

                        b.  the voice of a generation.

                        c.  a heretic.

                        d.  a sell out.


            2.  The feelings that Kurt Cobain tried to express in "Smells Like Teen Spirit"


                        a.  conflicting.

                        b.  unclear.

                        c.  bitter.

                        d.  sad.


            3.  Nirvana was part of the _______music scene.

                        a.  pop

                        b.  punk rock

                        c.  underground

                        d.  new age


            4.  In 1991, Nirvana signed on with

                        a.  RCA.

                        b.  BMG.

                        c.  DGC.

                        d.  Columbia.


            5.  Nirvana paved the way for the _______movement.

                        a.  New Bohemian

                        b.  Grunge

                        c.  Aquarius

                        d.  Generation X


            6.  Kurt Cobain wanted his music to be

                        a.  heard.

                        b.  appreciated.

                        c.  felt.

                        d.  rejected.

                        e.  a, b, and c.

                        f.  all of the above.


            7.  "Smells Like Teen Spirit" starts out with

                        a.  a slow ballad.

                        b.  a piano solo.

                        c.  a guitar riff.

                        d.  a double drum solo.


            8.  The drums, bass and guitar in "Smells Like Teen Spirit" leave the listener

                        with a

                        a.  sad feeling.

                        b.  angry feeling.

                        c.  confused feeling.

                        d.  haunting feeling.


            9.  When Kurt Cobain sings about being contagious, he’s talking about

                        a.  AIDS.

                        b.  being a social outcast.

                        c.  the flu.

                        d.  Ebola virus.


            10.  Tori Amos illustrated why "Smells Like Teen Spirit" connects with so

                        many by

                        a.  making a cover of the song that was in direct contrast to how it was

                                    originally sung.

                        b.  expressing why in an interview.

                        c.  singing about Kurt Cobain’s success.

                        d.  doing all of the above.

Christopher Sieving . Ice-T, "Cop Killer," (+race) Journal of Communication Inquiry october 1998 (22: 4)

Author Biography.

Christopher Sieving is a music and film critic, and has written articles for many different journals.

Multiple Choice Questions: Comprehension/Chapter/reading-specific

            1.  The song “Cop Killer” by Ice-T created a lot of public debate because

                        a.  it was only heard by a small minority of Americans.

                        b.  it protested police brutality.

                        c.  it constituted an exhortation to kill police officers.

                        d.  it told the story of the Los Angeles riots.


            2.  Ice-T’s experience and his “black knowledge” of the policing in Los Angeles:

                        a.  caused the Los Angeles riots.

                        b.  entered into contestation with white power.

                        c.  was used as evidence in the Rodney King trial.

                        d.  led to a banning of his videos.


            3.  The first album recorded by Ice-T’s rock band was

                        a.  Social Inequality.

                        b.  Street Thugz.

                        c.  Body Count.

                        d.  Screamin’ Streets.


            4.  On June 11, 1992, what boycotted Time Warner entertainment?

                        a.  Disney

                        b.  Six Flags

                        c.  MGM studio

                        d.  Hollywood


            5.  What contributed to the targeting of “Cop Killer” by conservative forces?

                        a.  the fear that it would incite murder

                        b.  the growing white hostility towards rap

                        c.  the equation of black crime with black culture

                        d.  all of the above


            6.  What influenced Ice-T’s decision to pull "Cop Killer" from his album?

                        a.  threats made by Time Warner

                        b.  threats made by Ice-T’s daughter

                        c.  threats made by Ice-T’s wife

                        d.  a and b only


            7.  It has been argued that "Cop Killer"

                        a.  has different meanings when the lyrics are taken out of context.

                        b.  has different meanings when read by different people.

                        c.  could be beneficial to society.

                        d.  has a and b only.


            8.  One way that "Cop Killer" was fought was through

                        a.  racism.

                        b.  deracialization.

                        c.  demonstrations.

                        d.  all of the above.


            9.  Another way that "Cop Killer" was fought was through

                        a.  decontextualization.

                        b.  media.

                        c.  politics.

                        d.  all of the above.  


            10.  Doug Elder, the president of the Houston police, warned that "Cop Killer,"

                        when mixed with _____, would unleash a reign of terror in communities

                        across the nation.

                        a.  hot summer days

                        b.  violence

                        c.  drugs

                        d.  all of the above

Before You Read

According to his publicist, "Ice-T not only invented gangster rap, he has lived it.  Ice-T is the original embodiment of LA Hip-Hop.  Through his music, his book [The Ice Opinion, St. Martin's Press] and his lecture tours of America's prisons, high schools, and colleges including Harvard, Berkeley, and Stanford, Ice-T has become an influential spokesman for America's youth, regardless of color."  What do you think of gangsta rap, and do you think that Ice-T is selling out?  One can argue that what is happening is the commodification of black rage (rather than the deracialization)--and that by "buying" him, nonblack audiences can listen to him, "consume" the message, and have their anxieties assuaged and their trivial angsts legitimized by conflating them with very serious racial issues.  What do you think?  If you were a university speakers bureau's president, would you pony up $10,000 to bring Ice-T to your campus?  Would you be further commodifying black rage by using it as an advertising slogan to show you relate to youth?  On the other hand, maybe Ice-T has something to say . . . what might that be?  Explain your position using examples.

After You Read

How does the author suggest that Ice-T deracializes black rage?  Does it make sense for members of the privileged groups to relate to black rage, except as to appropriate it as their own and project it onto normal teenage angst, rebellion, and needs for separation?  Explore the possibilities and make connections to your own experience, using examples from your own life.

Web Links

MC Ice-T: The Official I-T Site.

Ice-T Speaks: Official Interview.

Rolling Stone Artists:  Ice-T.

Biography of Ice-T by His Publicist for Speaking Engagements. Ice-T's Fee: $5,000-$10,000.

Musicians Speak Out on Global Affairs.

Official Site.                                                        - Backstreet Boys.                


Anti-Backstreet Zone.                                        


How to Tell the Backstreet Boys and Nsync Apart.               htm


Backstreet Boys Parodies.                                   

Britney's Guide to Semiconductor Physics.                      


Britney Spears Playland.             


Behind the Music that Sucks.                  


Adorable Britney.                                   


The Mystery of Britney’s Breasts.


Wyclef Jean, "Gone Till November"

Author Biography.

Wyclef Jean--the "hip-hop Amadeus" and member of the multiplatinum recording group the Fugees--has drawn from an extraordinarily wide musical palette in assembling The Carnival. A kaleidoscopic journey through Wyclef Jean's eclectic musical interests, the album features: hip-hop appropriations of classic disco "We Trying To Stay Alive," the album's first single; an internationally-recognizable traditional song transformed into a hip-hop anthem "Guantanamera"; cutting edge rapping and scratching; four selections in French/Creole "Sang Fézi," "Jaspora," "Yelé," and the calypso-flavored "Carnival"--each has been a chart-topping hit in Wyclef's native Haiti); and a nonstop fresh blend of far-flung musical influences and streetwise poetry.

Multiple Choice Questions: Comprehension/Chapter/reading-specific

  1. The ________ was the starting point of the modern pop era.
    1. release of Elvis Presley’s first album
    2. arrival of the Beatles in America
    3. death of Buddy Holly
    4. first release by James Brown
  1. Pop songs ______
    1. make rules.
    2. break rules.
    3. trigger memories.
    4. do all of the above.
  1. The first song on Rolling Stone’s Pop 100 list in December 2000 was
    1. the Beatles' “Yesterday.”
    2. the Rolling Stones' “Satisfaction.”
    3. the Eagles' “Hotel California.”
    4. Nirvana's “Smells Like Teen Spirit.”
  1. The last song on Rolling Stone's Pop 100 list in December 2000 was
    1. Madonna's “Like a Virgin.”
    2. Oasis' “Wonderful.”
    3. Soft Cell's “Tainted Love.”
    4. Cheap Trick's “Surrender.”
  1. Many of the Backstreet Boys hits came from
    1. Michael Jackson.
    2. Prince.
    3. various unknown artists.
    4. Sweden.
  1. The Backstreet Boys' song, “I Want It That Way” became popular
    1. immediately after its release.
    2. after its video.
    3. after it was a hit in Japan.
    4. after it was a hit in Europe.
  1. Britney Spear’s hit “Baby One More Time” was written by
    1. Britney Spears.
    2. Janet Jackson.
    3. Madonna.
    4. Max Martin.
  1. Wyclef’s hit was called
    1. "Funky Cold Medina."
    2. "Gone till November."
    3. "Rock On."
    4. "Tuesday Morning."
  1. Britney Spear’s voice was lower than usual on her recording of “Baby One More Time” because
    1. she was sick.
    2. she stayed up late.
    3. she was trying to sound older.
    4. her vocal chords were damaged.  
  1. Who directed the Backstreet Boys’ video of “I Want It That Way?”
    1. Rob Reiner.
    2. Wayne Isham.
    3. Ron Howard.
    4. Steven Spielberg.

Before You Read

What do you think determines the popularity of Top-40 music?  Is it the marketing, the image, or the commodification o some essential quality of the times?  Explore various possibilities and illustrate them with examples.

After You Read

Do you think that pop music has the same enduring quality as rock classics, including "Like a Rolling Stone" and "I Am the Walrus"?  Give reasons to support your position.


Web Links

Official Page.



Urban Music Showcase.



The Wyclef Jean Spot.






Wyclef Jean: The Ecleftic Experience.



Will Hermes. Eminem: The Marshall Mathers LP by Entertainment Weekly May 24, 2000.

Author Biography.

Will Hermes is a critic for Entertainment Weekly.

Multiple Choice Questions: Comprehension/Chapter/reading-specific

  1. Eminem’s real name is
    1. Joe Brady.
    2. Marshall Mathers.
    3. Clint McClellan.
    4. Matthew Misal.
  1. On the cover of Slim Shady, Eminem
    1. stood beneath a full moon.
    2. was huddled up next to a pill vial and bottle of booze.
    3. was wearing the gang colors of the Bloods and Crypts.
    4. was pictured wearing the colors of the Kingpins.
  1. The Eminem LP is
    1. indefensible.
    2. critic proof.
    3. heartbreaking.
    4. all of the above.
  1. On Slim Shady, Eminem got recognition from raps about
    1. impregnating Pamela Anderson.
    2. assaulting the Spice Girls.
    3. dating Britney Spears.
    4. having sex with Jennifer Lopez.  
  1. Celebrities that are disrespected in Eminem’s music include
    1. The Spice Girls.
    2. Britney Spears.
    3. Jennifer Lopez.
    4. all of the above.
  1. When not denying his culpability as a role model, Eminem proves
    1. to be an excellent father.
    2. a responsible husband.
    3. a peerless rap poet.
    4. a devout Buddhist.
  1. “Stan” is a rap about
    1. gang violence.
    2. police brutality.
    3. obsessive fans.
    4. drug overdose.
  1. “Kim” is a rap about
    1. teen pregnancy.
    2. domestic violence.
    3. date rape.
    4. drug abuse.
  1. Eminem’s lyrics are
    1. offensive to many.
    2. angry.
    3. sad.
    4. confusing.
  1. Eminem denies being
    1. a misogynist.
    2. a homophobic.
    3. a homosexual.
    4. a and b only.


Before You Read essay question

Do you think that Eminem has ripped off black artists in the way that earlier artists did?  Do you think his race is held against him?

After You Read essay question

Some have suggested that what Eminem is all about is the commodification of political incorrectness.  Do you agree?  Why or why not?


Web Links


Cover Girl Tori Amos.                           


Tori Amos Offers a Woman's-Eye View of Songs by Men.


’97 Bonnie and Clyde.



Eminem and the Grammys: Rewarding Hate and Violence?








Visual Analysis

Answer the questions below based on the links provided.

Copyright Casebook--Vanilla Ice, David Bowie and Queen.

1.  Listen to the songs back to back--Vanilla Ice's "Ice, Ice, Baby" and Queen's "Under Pressure."  Can you hear the similarity?  Have other songs by Queen become appropriated in similar or dissimilar ways ("Another One Bites the Dust" and "We Are the Champions" come to mind) in advertising, by football teams' marching bands, or at sports events?

2.  In a techno world of sampling and sharing of ideas, how can one not sample?  Explore the idea that musical borrowings, image borrowings, language and fashion are all part of the polyphony of life and culture, and that we live in a collage, not a nearly organized reality, so such things are natural.  The question becomes: When is someone claiming that something is his/her intellectual property (when it has clearly been sstolen), and when is the appropriation used for personal gain, without giving credit to the originators?  Vanilla Ice committed a most egregious violation--he did not cite his sources!!

     John Lee Hooker

Copyright Casebook - ZZ Top and John Lee Hooker

Essay Questions:

1.  This is yet another example of the shameless thieving by predominantly white, mainstream musicians of African American musicians' songs, riffs, lyrics, and attitude.  On the one hand, they are popularizing and mainstreaming something that was, at one time, very much on the fringe.  However, shouldn't there be some sort of attribution, and then shouldn't the borrowers share the royalties and fees?  What do you think?  Take a position and argue it.

2.  Lists five white musicians who have been heavily influenced by black music.  Describe their music and their influences, and also provide a profile of their audience.  Did they make modifications along the way to heighten the appeal to their audience?  What was it, and how did they do it?

picture picture Milli Vanilli

Essay Questions

1.  Ah, yes, the infamous Milli Vanilli!  Was their crime so heinous?  When should they have admitted that they were a fashion statement and part of a hype machine for a music video-driven mainstream market?  Express your opinions.  By the way--here's a thought.  According to Behind the Music, when the two first started performing as Milli Vanilli, Rob did not speak English (only German), and Fabrice spoke French (not English).  Hmmm.  How did they communicate?

2.  What would you do?  Imagine that a German producer asked you to perform and be the front person for a collection of studio mix-meisters and an absolutely nonvideogenic lead singer?  You would become famous and would get to lead the life of a rock star.  How could you say "no"?  Would there be anything you would refuse to do or wear?

Essay Questions:

1.  Analyze Boy George's "look."  In what ways is he doing the fashion equivalent of sampling?  List the various culture, gender, and fashion "samplings" that make his look a pastiche of juxtapositions, a walking collage.  What is this saying about his ideas about labels, categories, and contemporary life?

2.  Boy George has changed his look in recent years.  Do you think his old "look" would still be valid for the 2000s?  If you wished to portray a multicultural look, what would you include?

tech tech

Essay Questions

1.  How does Courtney Love simultaneously reinforce and undermine gender stereotypes surrounding "girl groups"?  Refer to specific elements in the image to support your answer.


Read and Respond

Please visit the following sites and respond to the discussion question.

Milli Vanilli and the Scapegoating of the Inauthentic. Bad Subjects.  November 1993.  


Milli Vanilli Overview Articles.


Ebony magazine. Interview with Milli Vanilli in 1990.


Discussion Question

How did you respond when you first heard the tragic saga of Milli Vanilli--two dancers who were recruited to lip-sync, create music videos, and be the "fronts" for what amounted to a studio production in a pseudo pop-music factory in Germany?  What was their major transgression?  Do you think that there is anything unusual about this--after all, Jennifer Lopez, Madonna, and others do not always sing the songs attributed to them, and such DJs as Paul Oakenfold simply mix tracks.  Describe your reactions, your thoughts, your judgments.





Rolling Stone Magazine.



Origins of Rock Music.



Music Styles.



Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. 500 songs that shaped rock and roll.



Rave: Inside 90s Counterculture.



Promoting Women in Rock Music.



Bikini Kill--Riot Grrl Music.




Riot Grrrl Retrospective.



Stephen Amico. “Gay Men, House Music, and the Trope of Masculinity.”   


Dead Musician Directory.



“Elvis Speaks in Tongues.” Did Elvis steal black music?   


“Courtney Love Does the Math.”