Classic albums 1966–1973: The Beatles, Marvin Gaye, David Bowie and Pink Floyd

Course Dates: 22/07/24 - 25/07/24
Time: 18:45 - 21:00
Location: Keeley Street
Explore the making and meanings of four classic albums released 1966–1973 that reflect and define their era: The Beatles’ Revolver, Marvin Gaye’s What’s Going On, David Bowie’s Ziggy Stardust and Pink Floyd’s Dark Side of the Moon.
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Classic albums 1966–1973: The Beatles, Marvin Gaye, David Bowie and Pink Floyd
  • Course Code: MD614
  • Dates: 22/07/24 - 25/07/24
  • Time: 18:45 - 21:00
  • Taught: Mon-Thu, Evening
  • Duration: 4 sessions
  • Location: Keeley Street
  • Tutor: Toby Manning

Course Code: MD614

Mon-Thu, eve, 22 Jul - 25 Jul '24

Duration: 4 sessions

Any questions?
or call 020 4582 0412

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What is the course about?

This course focuses on four albums:
• The Beatles, Revolver (1966)
• Marvin Gaye, What’s Going On (1971)
• David Bowie, The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars (1972)
• Pink Floyd, Dark Side of the Moon (1973)
For each album we will look at the lyrics, music, iconography, and – as iconic works of psychedelia, soul, glam and progressive rock respectively – its position in the history of 20th century music. What makes each of these a great album, and how did they affect popular and critical understandings of what the pop album was and could do?

What will we cover?

- Historical and social context of the artists and albums: the foment of the countercultural 60s for the Beatles; the embattled aftermath of the 60s for Marvin Gaye, the economic tensions of the 70s for Bowie, and all of the above for Pink Floyd.
- Influences on each album
- Key innovations of each album (three of which are ‘concept albums’), including composition, instrumentation, recording process and production.
- Subjects address by the songs, the techniques use to address them, and how we might understand them in new ways
- Reception history: how was each album received, how did it influence others, its effect on the artist themselves, and its legacy.

What will I achieve?
By the end of this course you should be able to...

- Understand the historical and social context of the artists and albums
- Identity the influences on each album
- Identify and describe the key musical and technical techniques and innovations of each album
- Understand the songs’ lyrics and album’s concepts
- Understand the reception history of each album and feel confident to explore further on your own
- Listen to music of the period with greater understanding and appreciation.

What level is the course and do I need any particular skills?

You do not need to be able to read music or understand musical terminology.
You need to be able to engage in class discussion in English and take your own notes as you wish.

How will I be taught, and will there be any work outside the class?

You will be taught through lecture-presentations including guided listening and class discussion, alongside visual slides. You may wish to listen and read further between sessions.

Are there any other costs? Is there anything I need to bring?

If you wish to take notes, please bring a notebook and pen. Notes and reading/listening lists will be provided. You may wish to buy some of the materials recommended in class.

When I've finished, what course can I do next?

Visit the City Lit website to find out more about Music history courses. Click on each title to read the full course outline, including dates, times and tutors.

Toby Manning

Toby Manning teaches and writes about music, literature, television and film. As a music journalist he wrote regularly for NME, Select, Q, The Word, The Big Issue, and has also contributed to The Guardian, The Independent, New Statesman, Arena, The Quietus and The Face. He is the author of the Rough Guide to Pink Floyd (2006; 2016) (link to the new version: He is also the author of John le Carré and the Cold War (2018). He is currently working on a book of new music writing and a book about Cold War books, film and music.

Please note: We reserve the right to change our tutors from those advertised. This happens rarely, but if it does, we are unable to refund fees due to this. Our tutors may have different teaching styles; however we guarantee a consistent quality of teaching in all our courses.