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"Tell Me Something Good": Music & the Language Arts
Suggested Grade Level: 1-4
This research guide serves as a resource for the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum's Education Department course, "Tell Me Something Good": Music & the Language Arts. For additional information on the course and for more teacher resources, see http://www.rockhall.com/education/inside-the-classroom/rockin/TMSG/
Many songs tell stories, describing characters and their adventures in particular places at particular times. This class looks at some of the great stories of rock and roll and examines how lyrics can establish a setting, introduce characters, and develop a plot. Through exciting recorded performances by Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Inductees like Aretha Franklin, the Beatles, and Chuck Berry, and the Police, students learn how narrative can be developed. They will act out undersea adventures on a “Yellow Submarine” and imagine what it would be like to be “Johnny B. Goode” by drawing what they hear and read in the lyrics, all while learning to summarize and retell the stories told through rock and roll.
These research databases can be accessed within the Library and Archives.
MLA International Bibliography
Provides a classified listing and subject index for books and articles published on modern languages, literatures, folklore, and linguistics. This database annually indexes over 50,000 journal articles, books, and dissertations.
Hear and feel the music from America's past right up to recent additions including Motown, Jimi Hendrix, the Mamas and the Papas, and other artists from the rock era. There are songs by and about American Indians, miners, immigrants, slaves, children, pioneers, and cowboys; songs of Civil Rights, political campaigns, the Revolutionary War, and the Civil War; and every great American genre is here—from folk and blues to country, gospel, and rock.
Rock’s Backpages is the largest database of rock journalism online, featuring 17,000+ articles on numerous artists. The archive draws on numerous publications from Creem and Trouser Press to Rolling Stone, and from New Musical Express and MelodyMaker to MOJO. It is fully searchable by artist, genre, writer or keyword (allowing search by album or single title, date, etc). Rock's Backpages also features a library of over 100 audio interviews.
RILM Abstracts of Musical Literature
Comprehensive international guide to writings about music. Covers articles from more than 5,200 journals, books, conference proceedings, dissertations, reviews, and catalogs in over 100 languages.
For Your Students
The Beatles by
Call Number: ML421.B438 V46 1997
Tells the story of the world's most celebrated and influential rock group
Margaret Sutton by
Call Number: ML421.B438 S888 1971
Brief illustrated biography of the four Beatles
These resources, pulled from class discussion and selected from the Library and Archives' collections, will help you to:
Respond to stories told in songs by summarizing main ideas, noting significant details, and supporting interpretations with references to text (both lyrically and musically).
Identify narrative elements (characters, setting, point of view) and retell the plot sequence.
Explain how an author’s choice of words expresses ideas, appeals to the senses, and suggests mood.
Aretha Franklin by
Call Number: ML420.F7362 B44 2001
With unique access to key figures in Aretha's past, and a new chapter revealing the most recent events both personal and professional in the life of the diva, this is the definitive biography of the woman who captivated the music world of the early fifties and became a star.
Call Number: ML54.6.S756 L97 2007
Lyrics written by Sting--for the band the Police and for his solo projects--with his commentary
Reading Song Lyrics by
Call Number: ML2800 .E35 2010
Reading Song Lyrics offers the first systematic introduction to lyrics as a vibrant genre of (performed) literature. It takes lyrics seriously as a complex form of verbal art that has been unjustly neglected in literary, music, and, to a lesser degree, cultural studies, partly as it cuts squarely across institutional boundaries.
Rock is beautiful : an anthology of American lyrics by
Call Number: ML54.6 R63 1970
LYRICS to over 80 classic songs written & performed by American songwriters dating from 1953 - 1968. Includes many songs & performers that are classic standards today - and many that are virtually unknown.
Tell Me Why by
Call Number: ML421.B438 R55 1988
A unique combination of musical analysis and cultural history, Tell Me Why stands alone among Beatles books with its single-minded focus on the most important aspect of the band: its music.
Things We Said Today by
Call Number: ML54.6.B438 T45 1980
Complete lyrics and a concordance to the Beatles' songs, 1962-1970
Written in My Soul by
Call Number: ML390 .F53 1986
Bill Flanagan, who would go on to create VH1 Storytellers and CMT Crossroads, spoke about songwriting and creativity with Bob Dylan, Chuck Berry, Carl Perkins, Joni Mitchell, Mick Jagger, Paul Simon, Van Morrison, Bruce Springsteen, Elvis Costello, Bono and nineteen more music legends. It is a look at rock & roll history from inside the heads of the people who made it.
New to Archives? Check out:
Below are descriptions of a few archival collections containing artist lyrics. Other collections can be found by following this link.
ARC-0043 Jimi Hendrix Lyrics
This is Jimi Hendrix's original, handwritten lyrics to the song "Purple Haze" on crumpled, yellow note paper.
ARC-0087 LL Cool J Notebook
The LL Cool J Notebook (Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum Collection), circa 1993, contains handwritten lyrics to songs from the album 14 Shots to the Dome, as well as information on tours and personal appearances, including the 35th Grammy Awards and the Arsenio Hall Show.
ARC-0095 Joe Walsh Lyrics
The Joe Walsh Lyrics consist of handwritten and signed lyrics to "Life's Been Good."
ARC-0281 "Poetry of Popular Music" Course Materials
The "Poetry of Popular Music" Course Materials consist of 156 1/4-inch audiotape reels containing music and interviews that supplemented the high school course, "Poetry of Popular Music," taught by Anthony C. Moore, in Cherry Hill, New Jersey from 1972 to 1998. The collection also contains documentation related to the "Poetry of Popular Music," including examples of the textbooks Moore created for the course, quizzes, student assignments, and permission requests to reproduce and publish song lyrics. The collection provides rich documentation and insight to the teaching of rock music at the high school level.
ARC-0407 Song Lyrics for "Home"
The Song Lyrics for "Home" are a typed page, written by Justin Gorski in 2012.
ARC-0293 John Lennon Lyrics
These are John Lennon's original typewritten lyrics and handwritten notes to "Woman is the Nigger of the World."
Rock Hall Video: In the Museum
Aretha Franklin, "Respect" (1990)
The Police, "Message in a Bottle"
The T.A.M.I. Show
: Chuck Berry - "Johnny B. Goode"
Beatles, "Yellow Submarine"