Dr. J's Rock and Roll Classes

In order to keep Michigan Rock and Roll Legends advertisement-free, the site has been supported by the rock and roll history classes that I teach through the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute at Saginaw Vallley State University in Michigan and Rutgers University in New Jersey. Rock and roll classes have also been presented in the past at Sunrise Side Lifelong Learning in Tawas City. These noncredit courses are open to the general public and offer discounted class fees for OLLI members.


Presented in May 2018 at Saginaw Valley State University in Michigan and coming in October 2018 to Rutgers OLLI in New Jersey:



The Everly Brothers - Heartaches and Harmonies (Revised)


Among the first ten inductees into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, the Everly Brothers were the artists most closely associated with country music. The Kentucky-bred duo grew up performing on the family country radio show all over the South and Midwest in the 1940’s before becoming early rock and roll stars in 1957 with their classic recordings on the Cadence label. Don and Phil Everly’s main musical contribution was their keening, knife-like harmonies that would become important models for later harmony-based rock and roll acts such as Simon and Garfunkel, the Beatles, the Bee Gees, and the Hollies.


This fun and informative four-session course will use a wealth of vintage video, photos, and even some early radio broadcasts to examine the amazing career of Don and Phil Everly. The class will also examine the rise of country music in America during the 20th century and its impact on the Everly Brothers, one of the most important country-based recording artists in the history of rock and roll.


Instructor is Gary (Dr. J) Johnson. It will meet in the OLLI classroom at Brookdale Junior College in Freehold on Thursday afternoons from 1:00 to 2:30 P.M. on Octobeer 4th, 11th, 18th, 25th, and November 1st.



Scheduled for the 2019 Winter Session at Saginaw Valley State University in Michigan.


Bob Dylan


Bob Dylan made a seismic impact on international pop culture as he fused folk tradition, rock and roll rebellion, political insight and poetic ability into a personalized, myth-making style that still resonates today. Much of his most celebrated work dates from the 1960s, when he became a reluctant “voice of a generation” with songs such as “Blowin’ In The Wind” and "The Times They Are A-Changin'" which became anthems for the Civil Rights Movement and anti-war protests.


Dylan has been scrutinized, acclaimed, assailed and debated by critics, detractors, defenders, and fans with more fervor and attention that any other post-war musician. Although his later work has not affected pop culture as much as his material from the 1960s, most of it amounts to a resourceful body of music that is often beautiful and daring.


This entertaining and music-filled course will employ dozens of performance clips and music videos, along with hundreds of photos to illuminate the entirety of Bob Dylan’s life and career from his boyhood in Minnesota through his most recent “uncovering” of the classic American Songbook.


The Bob Dylan course will be presented by Gary (Dr. J) Johnson on Wednesday afternoons from 1:00 to 3:00 p.m. in Curtiss Hall - Room C129. Class dates are January 30, February 6, February 13, and February 20.