Culture and Music
George Gershwin once said, “True music must repeat the thought and inspirations of the people and the time. My people are Americans and my time is today.” Over the years, no form of art has attached itself to humanity more than music. Music has been creating and destroying cultures in the Twentieth Century at a very rapid rate. Fads come and go, but true music and the heart behind it never dies.
The story of subcultures in and through modern music has to start in the 1920’s America. In the wake of prohibition, popular nightclubs were closing down and music fell by the wayside. However, a strong underground scene reared its head during that time as well. Well-dressed men and flapper girls swarmed speakeasies in search of music, liquor and a good time. Mainstream America looked down on these rebels. They were often thought of as no good young people with loose morals and no respect for authority. Little did mainstream America know, however, exactly how important those few rebels were during the roaring Twenties and how their actions helped mold musical societies for the rest of the millennium.
While guns were blazing and ships were sinking during the Second World War, another subculture arose. Nazi Germany was arguably the roughest place in the world to live at that time. Hitler had his iron fist grasped tightly around the actions of Germans at that period in time. That’s what made the rebellious nature of pacifists in that country that much more amazing. Right under Hitler’s nose grew a subculture of swing music fans who held their own underground parties complete with full bands playing wonderful swing music and wild, eccentric dancing. Hitler tried to disallow these people from listening to their music and having their good time because swing music was notoriously performed by Jewish artists. Hitler viewed the swing generation as traitors to their country and would often punish those caught in the act of listening to swing music. This entire ordeal was portrayed cinematically in 1993 in the movie “Swing Kids” directed by Thomas Carter. That movie depicts the brutality and horror of the times while showing the courage and heart of those who lived in them. (Author’s Opinion: I recommend renting that movie as soon as possible!)
In the 1950’s something completely crazy happened in the United States. Colonel Tom Parker introduced the world to its future. Rock and Roll was born in the 1950’s. Most people credit the foundation of modern Rock and Roll to a few youngsters namely Elvis Presley, Buddy Holly and Bill Haley of Bill Haley and the Comets. Rock and Roll was making a serious impact on American lifestyles at that time and most older people did not agree with it at all. Parents forbade their children to listen to this new “Devil’s Music” and protested Rock and Roll’s growing success every step of the way. However, if one cliche stood true in this time its that “You can’t stop the Youth.”...