The Same Old Song: Influence and Allusion in Popular Music

Christopher Doll (Music)

Is all pop music really the same? Are rock musicians more original than their pop counterparts? And what about hip hop—is sampling theft, or does it have artistic merit? These and other questions will guide us as we focus our attention on musical and lyrical details that raise issues of influence and allusion between songs from all over the popular-music repertory. We will listen to artists such as Ray Charles, Elvis, The Beatles, Jimi Hendrix, James Brown, Led Zeppelin, Bob Marley, Michael Jackson, Madonna, Public Enemy, Beastie Boys, Bjork, Radiohead, Danger Mouse, Lady Gaga, and Bruno Mars. We will also watch musically intertextual films such as The Rocky Horror Picture Show, This is Spinal Tap!, and The Royal Tenenbaums.