Music of the 1960s Term Paper

Pages: 2 (824 words)  ·  Style: MLA  ·  Bibliography Sources: 3  ·  File: .docx  ·  Topic: Music

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Music of the 1960s

Whenever the decade of 1960s is discussed or analyzed, it is almost impossible to ignore the popular music of the period and the profound impact it had on Western society -- an effect that continues to be felt to date. In this essay, I shall discuss how the popular music evolved in the sixties and the ways in which it influenced the society.

The 1960s was a time of change; it was a period when the baby boomers came of age, and challenged the conventional "wisdom" of the older generation by embracing free-sex, drugs and outlandish fashions, confronted racial injustice, and opposed the unjust war in Vietnam. All of these changes and pressing concerns of a disgruntled youth and a counter-culture lifestyle were reflected in the popular music of the time. Some people have even gone as far as to suggest that the music of the sixties did not just reflect the changes but was in fact responsible for the youth culture and societal behavior of the time. In any case, there is little doubt that music was in the forefront of a number of influential movements in the sixties. Martin Luther King's Civil Rights movement for example, was in the words of one writer, "clearly a sing-in as well as a sit-in campaign" (Rodnitzky, 105) and it is difficult to imagine that the civil rights marches would have been as emotionally stirring without the singing of anthems such as "We Shall Overcome."

Even before the use of music by the civil right movement for change, American folk music had a tradition of "protest" and socially relevant songs. Woody Guthrie, for instance, roamed the American landscape during the Great Depression in the 1930s and sang about the poor, the plight of migrant workers and America's natural beauty. Before the start of the 1960s, however, protest folk music had been pushed into the background due the anti-Communist hysteria and the purported links of folk music with the political left. Western popular music at the time consisted of little more than catchy melodies and lightweight "boy meets girl" themes.

At that point in time, young folk singers such as Bob Dylan entered the arena and filled the vacuum by providing socially relevant music that the Western youth was yearning for. In songs such as "Oxford Town," "Masters of War," "A Hard Rain's a-Gonna Fall" and "Blowing in the Wind," released in 1963, he commented on issues that were close to… [END OF PREVIEW]

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Music of the 1960s.  (2007, January 18).  Retrieved January 18, 2020, from https://www.essaytown.com/subjects/paper/music-1960s-whenever-decade/85725

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"Music of the 1960s."  Essaytown.com.  January 18, 2007.  Accessed January 18, 2020.
https://www.essaytown.com/subjects/paper/music-1960s-whenever-decade/85725.