2120 South Michigan Ave.

Course Outline

Date Topic
February 1 Introduction, the great migrations, and early recordings
February 8 Blues, pop, gospel, jazz, and rock of the 1950s and 60s.
The business of music
February 15 Chuck Berry
February 22 The music of Willie Dixon
March 1 The legacy of Chess Records


Here are the music and video playlists for this course.

Please check back on or after the day of the class; these listings are subject to change. In addition, these playlists reflect our best intentions. If we get to talking, we may not get to all of the tunes.



The most helpful resource for discography is https://www.discogs.com/.

See also the Chuck Berry Database and Second Hand Songs.


Carson, Phil. Roy Buchanan: American Axe. Hal Leonard Corporation, 2001.

Cohodas, Nadine. Spinning blues into gold: The Chess brothers and the legendary Chess Records. United States: Iconoclassic Books, 2012.

Cohen, Rich. Machers and rockers: Chess Records and the business of rock & roll. New York: W.W. Norton & Co, 2004.

Dixon, Willie. I am the blues. New York. Da Capo Press, 1989. via Internet Archive.

Guralnick, Peter. 

  • Feel like going home: portraits in blues & rock’n’ roll. New York: Perennial Library, 1989.
  • Martin Scorsese presents the blues: a musical journey, with Scorsese, Martin.. New York: Amistad, 2003.
  • Sam Phillips: The Man Who Invented Rock ‘n’ Roll. New York, NY: Back Bay Books, 2016.

Turner, Ike, and Nigel Cawthorne. Takin’ Back My Name: The Confessions of Ike Turner. Virgin Pub, 1999.