Humanities (HUMN) 286

History of Popular Music II: Be-bop to Beatles, 1940-1970 (Revision 1)

HUMN 286 course cover

Permanently closed, effective May 14, 2018.

Delivery Mode: Individualized study with video component*.
*Overseas students, please contact the University Library before registering in a course that has an audio/visual component.

Credits: 3

Area of Study: Humanities

Prerequisite: None. HUMN 285 or MUSI 285 is strongly recommended.

Precluded Course: HUMN 286 is a cross-listed course—a course listed under 2 different disciplines—with MUSI 286. HUMN 286 may not be taken for credit by students who have obtained credit for MUSI 286.

Faculty: Faculty of Humanities & Social Sciences

Humanities Home Page

HUMN 286 is not available for challenge.


HUMN 286 is the second of two, three-credit courses that survey the history of North American popular music from the ragtime era to the Woodstock festival at the end of the 1960s. This course deals with the three decades following the outbreak of World War II and takes the story of popular music from the birth of rhythm and blues and modern jazz through the rock and roll years to the sounds of the counter-culture in the 1960s. The stylistic evolution of such musical forms as folk, blues, jazz, country and western, and rock is examined, and an attempt is made to place these different kinds of popular music in their appropriate social and historical contexts.


  • Unit 1: Country and Western to 1960
  • Unit 2: The Folk Revival to 1958
  • Unit 3: Big Bands and Mainstream Jazz
  • Unit 4: Modern Jazz: Be-bop and Cool
  • Unit 5: The Blues: Country and Urban to 1960
  • Unit 6: Rhythm and Blues and Rock'n'Roll
  • Unit 7: Modern Jazz: Funk and New Wave
  • Unit 8: The Folk Revival, 1958-1965
  • Unit 9: Blues, Soul, and Rock in the Early '60s
  • Unit 10: Music of the Counter-Culture: Folk and Rock in the Late '60s


To receive credit for HUMN 286, you must achieve a course composite grade of at least “D” (50 percent) and a grade of at least 50 percent on the final examination. The weighting of the composite grade is as follows:

Exercise Essay Final Exam Total
20% 30% 50% 100%

To learn more about assignments and examinations, please refer to Athabasca University's online Calendar.

Course Materials


Collier, James Lincoln. 1978. The Making of Jazz: A Comprehensive History. Boston: Houghton Mifflin.

Dunaway, David. 2nd. ed., 2008. How Can I Keep From Singing: The Ballad of Pete Seeger. New York: McGraw-Hill.

Gillett, Charlie. 1972. The Sound of the City: The Rise of Rock'n'Roll. New York: Dell.

Heylin, Clinton. Bob Dylan: Behind the Shades Revisited. N.Y.: Harper Paperback, 2003.

Malone, Bill C. 3rd., 2010. Country Music U.S.A. Austin: University of Texas Press.

Miller, Jim, ed. 1980. The Rolling Stone Illustrated History of Rock and Roll, 2nd ed. Toronto: Random House.

Other Materials

The course materials include audiotape lectures and a student manual. A radio program, Bop to Rock, is broadcast throughout Alberta on CKUA Radio.

Athabasca University reserves the right to amend course outlines occasionally and without notice. Courses offered by other delivery methods may vary from their individualized-study counterparts.

Opened in Revision 1, July 2, 2004.

Updated April 03 2019 by Student & Academic Services