jgreelyblogJeannie Greeley is the Senior Multimedia Producer for the Media Development Team in the Digital Learning Department. Jeannie was a freelance journalist and columnist in Boston’s media landscape for more than a decade. She’s used her storytelling and editing skills to create dozens of videos for Berklee students, from instructional media to feature-length documentaries.

For the last few months, I’ve been on something of a digital archeological dig, burrowing through lost 45s, unearthing 70s bell bottoms, and finding missing teeth on the floor of CBGB from punk’s heyday. 

It is all for the larger good of preserving music’s precious past for a new online Inside Berklee Course rolling out this fall: Rock History.

In collaboration with the Instructional Design Team and the faculty course author, Kate Dacey, the Digital Learning Media Team decided to create 10 video time capsules for the course — each a multimedia montage representing a 5-year period of rock’s past. It’s like that shoebox you buried in the backyard at age 12, except instead of digging it up and finding Nancy Drew novels and middle school love letters, you find a Sex Pistols album and an oversized flannel from your grunge days.

Our team has learned valuable lessons about the countless connections between rock’s present and its past.

So we thought we’d play a little game called 6 Degrees of Separation … though it might be better termed 6 Degrees of Imitation … or perhaps 6 Degrees of Litigation! (Sorry, Kevin Bacon, your band, the Bacon Brothers, didn’t make the cut for this one.)

1.) In which order are the following artists connected by 6 degrees of separation to the hit song, “Hound Dog”? (For bonus points, try to figure out how!)

A.) Leiber & Stoller > Big Mama Thornton > Elvis Presley > Nirvana > Hanson > Taylor Swift

B.) George and Ira Gershwin > Big Mama Thornton > Robert Johnson > Elvis Presley > Eric Clapton > Amy Winehouse

C.) Leiber & Stoller > Big Mama Thornton > Elvis > UB40 > Neil Diamond > Urge Overkill.

2.) In which order are the following artists connected through 6 degrees of separation to the hit song, “Respect”?

A.) Otis Redding > Aretha Franklin > Erma Franklin > Janis Joplin > Melissa Etheridge > David Crosby

B.) Aretha Franklin > Otis Redding > The Rolling Stones > Eurythmics > Flock of Seagulls >Radiohead

C.) Otis Redding > Aretha Franklin > Sam Cooke > The Beach Boys > Prince > Michael Jackson

3.) The Motown hit “Will You Love Me Tomorrow” was performed by the following artists in order before eventually becoming a hit by its original writer:

A.) The Shirelles > Brenda Lee > The Chiffons > Cher > Linda Rondstadt > Carole King

B.) The Shirelles > Roberta Flack > The Chiffons > Dusty Springfield > Smokey Robinson > Carole King

C.) The Shirelles > Cher > Linda Rondstadt > Neil Diamond > Roberta Flack > Carole King

4.) Which of the following describes a logical connection between the musician and 6 steps in the evolution of digital music?

A.) Metallica > Napster > Spotify > iPod > iTunes > RealAudio

B.) Suzanne Vega > MP3 > Shawn Fanning > Napster > Roxio > Rhapsody

C.) Radiohead > Spotify > PMP300 music player > Pandora > Napster >iPod Shuffle

(Answer: 1 – C. Leiber and Stoller wrote “Hound Dog,” which was originally recorded by Big Mama Thornton, then later recorded by Elvis Presley, whose hit song “I Can’t Help Falling in Love With You” was covered by UB40, who also covered “Red Red Wine” by Neil Diamond, who was covered by Urge Overkill in their 1992 hit remake of “Girl, You’ll be a Woman Soon” for the soundtrack to Pulp Fiction.)

(Answer: 2 – A. Otis Redding wrote “Respect,” which later became a hit for Aretha Franklin, who is the sister of Erma Franklin, who wrote “Piece of My Heart,” which later became a hit for Janis Joplin, who was covered on the Greatest Hits album of Melissa Etheridge, who revealed in 2000 that David Crosby is the biological father of her children.)

(Answer: 3 – A. “Will You Love Me Tomorrow?” was written by Carole King and Gerry Goffin and recorded in this order: The Shirelles (1960), Brenda Lee (1961), The Chiffons (1963), Cher (1966), Linda Rondstadt (1970), and finally, Carole King (1971) on Tapestry.

(Answer: 4 – B. Suzanne Vega’s “Tom’s Diner” was used to help create the technology behind the MP3. MP3 files were the backbone of Shawn Fanning’s company, Napster, which later became Roxio, and was finally acquired by Rhapsody.)

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