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All Shook Up How Rock ‘N’ Roll Changed America

912 words - 4 pages

Music can be traced back into human history to prehistoric eras. To this day archeologists uncover fragments of ancient instruments as well as tablets with carved lyrics buried alongside prominent leaders and highly influential people. This serves as a testament to the importance and power of music, as well as its influence in society. Over its many years of existence, music’s powerful invocation of feelings has allowed it to evolve and serve many purposes, one being inspiring change. American journalist and author Hunter S. Thompson once said, “Music has always been a matter of energy to me, a question of fuel. Sentimental people call it inspiration, but what they really mean is fuel.” This ...view middle of the document...

Yet despite its problematic beginning, Rock ‘n’ Roll played a substantial role in developing African American racial identity and empowerment. As record companies and radio stations began to credit African American singers and song writers a sort of cross cultural unity began to arise among Rock ‘n’ Roll fans. Such influences empowered individuals to fight for change.
Sexually suggestive lyrics in Rock ‘n’ Roll portrayed sex in a much different way than it had been in society at the time. In opposition to the commonly held religious belief that sex should wait till marriage, Rock ‘n’ Roll portrayed it as new, fun, normal, not risky, and something that the youth should be doing right now. With this new mind set government policies and legislations began to accommodate for the change with safe sex campaigns and a new take on contraceptives. In response the older generation began to push back with a call to clean up vulgar lines or simply completely banning the playing of such songs. They reached out to radio stations, producers, and record stores convincing them to no longer play, produce, or sell explicit material. The old mind set on sex was also reinforced through campaigns in magazines and other written press, stressing values and abstinence. Despite the elder generation’s relentless attempts to regain control and censorship over sex their efforts were futile as most of the youth remained involved in such activities, indicating the shier influential powers of Rock ‘n’ Roll on American youth culture.
Through the many conflicts that certain Rock ‘n’ Roll related situation occurred, the music itself played a major role in fostering unique generational identities and a distinct teenage culture. The beat and rhythm encouraged the listener to...

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