Two Songs One by Fats Domino and One by Chuck Berry

Two Songs One by Fats Domino and One by Chuck Berry Listening Assignment

Two Songs One by Fats Domino and One by Chuck Berry
Two Songs One by Fats Domino and One by Chuck Berry

As a reminder: there are six topics available in Unit 3, and you will write your listening response in only one of them. Please read all five of these topic prompts right away, and aim to complete the Unit listening and reading assignment by Monday, February 11, so that you have time to review your own listening notes before choosing your topic.

Two Songs One by Fats Domino and One by Chuck Berry Guidelines

There is no extra credit available for writing a response in more than one topic and following the discussion participation guidelines submit at least two substantive questions, supported by your own listening observations, before February 18 at 5 pm. You will receive additional prompts for discussion from your TA after the discussion deadline. Up to 2 points of extra credit is available for discussion participation that continues.

It used to be called boogie-woogie, it used to be called blues, used to be called rhythm and blues. It is called rock now. I óChuck Berry

Antoine ìFatsî Domino and Chuck Berry were two of the most influential popular musicians who helped to forge rock ëní roll in the early 1950s out of R&B, blues, jazz, and country music: rock ëní roll was the newest hybrid music of the time. The cross-pollination of sounds was the recipe for success in opening up new markets for black communities and white teenagers across the nation. Scandalous stage antics by some performers (notably Muddy Waters) also proved irresistible to the youth of the 1950s. These early musicians helped to create rock ëní roll by mixing styles in subtle yet infectious ways.

Two Songs One by Fats Domino and One by Chuck Berry

Hits were disseminated over the radio and TV as the media went through a revolution in technology and its role in the distribution of culture. Major record companies dropped the ball as smaller record companies such as Chess Records featuring Chuck Berry, Muddy Waters, Etta James, etc capitalized on newer markets. For example, the smart and frugal business sense of the Chess brothers, with their keen ability to detect a hit, led to the company’s success.


Choose two songs one by Fats Domino and one by Chuck Berry from any of the Unit 3 playlists (check Boogie-Woogie and the Jump Blues, and Walking the Line: Country Music and Rockabilly for songs). Address one of the following for both:

(1) Composition: Make a formal analysis of the song you chose using letters (ABA, AABA, AAB, etc). Make sure to tell us what makes the B section distinct from the A section: a new melody? a new rhythm? etc.

(2) Interpretation: What kinds of emotions does the melody, and its interpretation in this recording, convey? Discuss how specific connections between lyrics and the shape of the melody lead to this expression. Site-specific examples (i.e. “the words ‘while we’re apart’ in the return to A” or “timecode 1:33”.

In comparing the songs, consider what is simple or predictable about the song, and what is not. Support your work in this response with claims made in at least two of the Unit 3 readings, choosing at least one required reading and one elective reading. For example, consider, in Richard Peterson’s “Why 1955?” (the role of younger audiences, the role of smaller independent labels, and the shift toward the ìTop 40î format in radio), or perspectives on Berry’s rise to fame in Taylor’s “His Name Was In Lights”…and (choose at least one:) Nadine Cohodas’ perspectives in the optional readings “Blues with a Feeling” or ì2120 South Michiganî. You might also try to imagine how a teenager growing up in the 1950s might hear one of the songs you chose. Tell us why you think an adolescent of the 1950s may have heard the song in a particular way. Is it the melody, the lyrical content, the overall mood, or something more complex like the postwar Zeitgeist?)

Fats Domino – Fats Domino, The Fat Man (1949)

Chuck Berry – Brown-Eyed Handsome Man (1957)

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