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MUS 43 — Music of the 1970s: The Sounds of Possibility

Quarter: Winter
Day(s): Wednesdays
Course Format: Live Online (About Formats)
Duration: 10 weeks
Date(s): Jan 11—Mar 15
Time: 5:00—6:50 pm (PT)
Refund Deadline: Jan 13
Units: 2
Tuition: $520
Instructor(s): Charles Kronengold
Class Recording Available: Yes
Status: Open
Live Online(About Formats)
5:00—6:50 pm (PT)
Jan 11—Mar 15
10 weeks
Refund Date
Jan 13
2 Units
Charles Kronengold
Were the 1970s a special time for music? A half-century later, it seems clear the answer is yes. New genres and styles proliferated. Listeners heard innumerable new voices from a host of new places. People made and bought records, and experienced live music, like never before. And much of this music has lasted.

What can a deep dive into the music of the 1970s teach us? How did soul, salsa, new wave, and classical fit their times and places? What did funk, disco, punk, heavy metal, and progressive rock do for the people who experienced them? What can we learn from musical developments in Mexico, Brazil, Nigeria, India, Japan, and Indonesia? This course approaches the 1970s as a special cultural moment. The 1960s were over; that decade’s ebullience and scent of revolution were unsustainable. There was a world economic crisis. But the music industry boomed. So 1970s music can be haunted by doubt and loss, even as it embraces narratives of endurance, progress, abundance, and utopian possibility.

Listening hard to stars like Diana Ross, Joni Mitchell, and Led Zeppelin and experimenters like Herbie Hancock and Pauline Oliveros, as well as mainstream pop and edgy post-punk—paying special attention to women artists and artists of color—we’ll gain a picture of what music meant at a time when nations, politics, cultures, and identities were all in flux.

Author; Music Scholar

Charles Kronengold writes and teaches about 20th-century music, film, and aesthetics. He is the author of Living Genres in Late Modernity: American Music of the Long 1970s and, with Adrian Daub, The James Bond Songs: Pop Anthems of Late Capitalism. He recently finished his second monograph, Crediting Thinking in Soul and Dance Music. He taught music history at Stanford for 14 years, including serving as a faculty fellow at the Stanford Humanities Center and an affiliated faculty of the Program in American Studies, the Center for the Comparative Study of Race and Ethnicity, and the Program in Modern Thought and Literature.