Black Music Goes Mainstream: Cover Recordings as Catalysts for Change

Course Dates: 
First 4 weeks: March 28, April 4, 11, 18, 2018
Wednesdays, 9-11 a.m.
B. Lee Cooper
Course Catalogs: 
2018 Spring

We will explore musical interchanges among black and white recording artists from 1940-1990. Participants will discover a multitude of motivations for cover recording including commercial competition, repertoire expansion, gender appropriateness, performing styles, artistic salutes, musical arrangements and career extension. Who was involved? The Beatles, Ray Charles, The Diamonds, Fats Domino, The Platters, Elvis Presley, Linda Ronstadt and many others. Listen to hits like Fever, Hound Dog, I'm Walking, The Lion Sleeps Tonight, Little Darlin', Rock Island Line, I'm Movin' On, Mercury Blues, and What'd I Say—and reflect on the changing nature of popular music.

Course outline

B. Lee Cooper ( is the author of 40 books on American popular music, including Cover Recordings, 1900-2016. He has taught at College for Seniors since 2009.