Lesson 1: Pop Music

Pop Music means "Popular Music" and is what we use to describe music that lots of people like to listen to.

Pop music can be songs about Love, happiness, sadness, work, play, almost anything.

You can hear Pop Music on the car radio, on the computer, in movies and on the television, and even in video games. 

Pop music is everywhere! there is almost no place on earth that people live without pop music.

There is even pop music in outer space! in 1977 a spacecraft called Voyager was sent into space carrying pop music. One day somewhere far far away someone may find the Voyager spacecraft and listen to the music we listen to everyday.
Voyager Spacecraft
One of the songs included on Voyager is "Johnny B Goode" recorded in 1958 by Chuck Berry and is one of the most recognizable Pop songs ever recorded. Listen and see if you recognize it: 

Pop music got it's start with the radio. radios play music by picking up signals from radio stations. They began to get popular in the 1920s. Back then popular music you would hear on the radio was Country, Blues, and Gospel Music.
One of the first Pop Stars on the radio was The Carter Family. They were a family of country and gospel singers and became very popular in the 1930s. One song you might have heard back then on the radio was 'Will The Circle Be Unbroken":

By the 1950s Gospel, Blues, and Country music had all come together in a new form of Music called Rock & Roll, also just called Rock. Do you remember the first song we listened to by Chuck Berry? that was one of the first Rock & Roll hits on the radio.
Another Pop Star from the 1950s was Elvis Presley. One of Elvis' biggest hits was a song called Hound Dog:
 Back then Everyone loved to watch Elvis dance. He was almost more famous for his dance moves than his music. What do you think of Elvis' dancing?

By the 1960s Rock & Roll was the most popular form of music in the United States and Europe.  Many Pop Stars became the most famous people on earth. One famous person was Mick Jagger of the band The Rolling Stones. Here is The Rolling Stones playing live on TV in 1969:

By the 1970s Pop and Rock became very imaginative, meaning musicians used their imaginations to dream up new looks and stories to go along with their music. One very imaginative Pop Star was David Bowie. Let's look at some pictures of Bowie in some of his wild and imaginative costumes.


 David Bowie often sang about Space and astronauts. One famous Pop song he sang was called Space Oddity:
By the 1980s two new forms of Pop music became very popular, Punk and Hip Hop. Both got their start in New York City in the 1970s and soon became popular around the world. 

One of the first Hip Hop stars was Afrika Bambaataa. He made music with electronic equipment and record players that might sound like something we might hear on a video game. He also incorporated  a new type of dancing to his music called Break Dancing. Let's see if you can find Break Dancing in this video of his song called Planet Rock:

The other type of music that became popular in the 1980s was Punk. Punk music also had imaginative costumes and dances. One very fun  punk band was called The Ramones. Let's watch The Ramones sing and dance in this video:

In the 1980's and 1990's Pop music became very colorful and sometimes silly. One popular band from the 1980s was The B-52s. Let's watch a video called Rock Lobster:

Today Pop music comes in many styles and forms, and even old forms of pop are being rediscovered. Do you remember The Carter Family song we listened to called Will The Circle Be Unbroken? Recently a new version of that song was recorded for the video game Bioshock Infinite. Let's hear that version and see if you can sing along too:

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