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Music’s Effect On Society Essay

2054 words - 8 pages

Rock n’ Roll is a type of music that came about in the late 50’s. Before that, there was no music that resembled Rock n’ Roll; instead, folk and other genres dominated. Then the Korean War ended. Shortly thereafter, the Vietnam War began, and with it came a new type of music, featuring hateful songs and concerts. The introduction and evolution of rock and roll music from the late 50’s and 60’s made a generation more violent both physically and verbally.
The first sign of music changing in society can be seen in the differences between songs protesting the Korean and Vietnam wars. In 1952, America was in the heat of the Korean war, and the music in the background was folky and simple such as Pete Seeger’s “This Land is Your Land.” At that time, only one man, Ernest Tubb, dared protest this war. Even when Tubb wrote songs protesting the war, his lyrics had a softer tone than later rock and roll protest songs. “Dear Mom, was the way that it started / I miss you so much, / It went on Mom, I didn't know, that I loved you so / But I'll prove it when this war is won” (Tubb). Writing to his mother makes this song much softer and sweeter than songs of the later era. Word choices such as “I miss you so much” and the framing of the song as a letter make this song more of a simple and peaceful protest song. These songs could be seen as sweet and simple, but the artists and lyric writers of the next decade would see these songs as emotionless, and ignorant of the real problems going on around them.
In the midst of the Vietnam war, songs arose about much more threatening subjects. These songs reflect this generation’s increasingly likelihood of being critical of both the war and the government as compared to past generations. The first sign of this resistance comes from a song recorded by Barry McGuire in 1965 called “Eve of Destruction,” which speaks of violence emerging in America. “The poundin' of the drums, the pride and disgrace, / You can bury your dead, but don't leave a trace, / Hate your next-door neighbor, but don't forget to say grace” (McGuire). These lyrics talk about the conflicted feelings of pride and disgrace that Americans had towards their involvement in Vietnam. This song also talks of not trusting the government when the lyrics read, “I can't twist the truth, it knows no regulation / Handful of senators don't pass legislation, / you're old enough to kill, but not for votin', / you don't believe in war, but what's that gun you're totin'” (McGuire). This distrust in the government is shown through the talk of a government not passing legislation, and sending kids to war who can't even vote for the men sending them there. Imagine an eighteen-year-old senior in high school being taken away from his family and sent to war, where he was trained to kill without remorse. This imagery and protest was unheard of in the songs of the previous generation.
Other songs such as “Fortunate Son” by Creedence Clearwater Revival and “War Pigs” by Black...

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