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The Fascination With Rock Music In The 1960s

1488 words - 6 pages

Throughout the 1960’s, popular music empowered youth and emphasized this portion of the population as a whole. As the cold war comes to an end in history, society’s unnerve, especially among the newer generations, assembled ideas in order to create a certain understanding of their desires. However, unlike most of social uprisings in the past where demands were normally written through official documentation, in the sixties, rebellion is introduced in a lyrical manner through Rock Music. The fascination with this type of music reflects the controversy in times of war regarding race, gender, and social class. The propositions that the lyrics in Rock Music request, influence society to the day, ...view middle of the document...

The early 1960’s is consider to be a time where “the movement,” as Ron Eyerman and Andrew Jamison call it, takes place, becoming one of the most influential movements in history. The “Movement ideas, images and feelings were disseminated in through popular music,” with the aim to generate awareness, “identity formation,” and in general a “new vision of American society” (Eyerman and Jamison). In the music industry, this rebellion began spreading, “making possible a new sort of sound,” (E & J) that would criticize the complex militarism, racial inequality, and the economics in life. Although musicians opted for this source of expression, not all of them accepted their relation with the rebellious movements. In fact, some of them claimed to be only doing an artistic movement rather than one in relation to the Movement of the era. For example, when Elvis Presley is proclaimed to be the King of Rock, “he had no intention of becoming a political symbol, but he couldn’t avoid it because of the ways in which he unintentionally defied society’s definitions of race, class, and gender” (Shumway). The tremendous large audience behind Presley’s music made it possible for a change on how the young society recognized and appreciated music by trying to associate the lyrics with a subliminal meaning. On the other hand, many musicians, such as Bob Dylan attempted to affect society intentionally. Dylan’s lyrics talked explicitly about politics and “the power of a generation to express” the importance of unification (Shumway). These two stars of the time are ones of the most important that influenced society’s point of view in several aspects of society.
In the same manner, as rock music began to become immensely associated with society’s lifestyle and concepts, specific key factors in this movement appeared, such as the want for peace and equality. The songs “dealt with universal themes of peace and brotherhood” that also “reflected the political openness of the civil rights movement” (Eyerman and Jamison). In 1963 the March on Washington gave music the opportunity to play a hopeful message as Martin Luther King Jr. enunciated his “I have a Dream” speech. The songs “envisioned a tolerant society, racially integrated, where different cultures were respected” (Eyerman and Jamison). It was songs like Dylan’s “Blowin in the Wind,” that portrayed this utopian desire and questioned the arrival of such achievement:
How many years can some people exist
Before they're allowed to be free?
Later on, the day after Martin Luther King Jr. is assassinated James Brown gave a concert in Boston which helped preventing the riots in the city and proclaimed his manifesto regarding racial differences through his song: “Say It Loud -- I’m Black and I’m Proud” (Shumway). His song was adopted by the black-power movement making it their anthem and a motivational quote to keep fighting for their rights. Music is “a glue that help[s] young people together,” concerts such as the...

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