Girl Groups: Though the term now seems somewhat sexist, "girl groups" is actually
the most fitting way to describe the attitude and approach of the female vocal groups of the Sixties, whose lingering charm is based precisely upon their encapsulation of purely adolescent fantasies. The first girlgroup hit was "Will You Love Me Tomorrow" by the Shirelles (1960), which set the pattern for the teasing moralism that then extended to a variety of other acts (Shangri-Las, Crystals, Ronettes, Angels, Dixie Cups), almost all of them individually faceless and collectively irresistible. Phil Spector was probably the greatest creator of girl-group hits, and his airy yet foreboding Wall of Sound is characteristic of the musical and moral tensions of the genre. One of the most charmingly innocent rock & roll styles.
Gospel: For the purposes of this volume, black American religious music, descended from the spiritual but transferred (as/was blues) to an urban context. Mostly, gospel music arose from the upsurge of fundamentalist sanctified churchgoing in such black communities, even in the pre-Depression years, although the genre came to full flower a bit later. Gospel includes a wide variety of musical styles, notably the spiritual blues of Blind Willie Johnson and Reverend Gary Davis, the call response techniques of many of the groups of the late Forties and Fifties and the more rugged male and female harmonies of the post-World War II groups. As R&B evolved into soul, its gospel roots became ever more prominent, and most of the best known black singers of that decade had spent at least some time in gospel groups before turning to secular material. (Sam Cooke and Aretha Franklin, among others, were full-fledged gospel stars before crossing over.)
Grease: Lowdown, down to earth, relating to street life or sounds as an insider. Reflective both of the roots of R&B in rib joints, etc., that served greasy foods, and of rock’s original creators, who were presumed to have greasy hair or fingernails (depending on whether they doubled as mechanics).
Gutbucket: The sort of R&B that might have been played in a cheap saloon; gutbuckets were the kind of dives (featuring both gambling and liquor) in which such music got its start, the musicians playing for contributions from the customers.
Hard Rock: Rock played with driving, forceful rhythm. The phrase came into use only after soft rock, such as singer/songwriter music, came into vogue in the late Sixties/early Seventies. Now generally regarded as encompassing most blues-based rock and such offshoots as heavy metal and punk.
Heavy Metal: Heavily, sluggishly rhythmic rock of the late Sixties and early Seventies that relied heavily on technology and very little on technique. The classic heavy metal bands were Grand Funk Railroad, Blue Oyster Cult, Black Sabbath and, oddly, the early Led Zeppelin. All distorted the blues through heavy amplification, screaming vocals and rhythms of absolutely no subtlety. Presumed to appeal primarily-almost exclusively-to working-class young men, and heavily associated with downer (barbiturates, etc.) use. The term was coined by critic Lester Bangs from certain passages in Burroughs’ Naked Lunch.
Honky-Tonk: A cheap saloon or roadhouse, usually featuring gambling, drinking and dancing, common in the South. Specifically, the music, usually country & western-played in such joints. Great honkytonk singers include George Jones and Lefty Frizzell.
Hootenanny: A concert, often informal, of folk songs =the campus folk craze of the early Sixties was built around such events.