Term Paper: Rock Music and Drugs and the Influence They Had on the Baby Boomer Generation

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Rock Music and Drugs

Rock Music, Drugs, and the Baby Boom Generation

The "Baby Boom" generation is known as those individuals born in the years immediately following the Second World War. After the men returned home from the front to their homes in the United States, the general feeling of optimism and security that prevailed on the homeland encouraged people to begin starting families. Babies were born in huge numbers, giving rise to what social scientists would refer to as a "baby boom"; hence the name Baby Boom generation.

The baby boomers came of age at a time of economic prosperity and a general sense of optimism. All of that began to change in the late 1960s and 1970s, however, with America's increasing involvement in the war in Vietnam. At this point, many of the baby boomers were still in their teens or just beginning to enter adulthood. In 1963, after the assassination of President John F. Kennedy, much of that optimism that the baby boomers had grown up with was beginning to dissipate as the succeeding president, Lyndon B. Johnson, increased America's involvement with the Vietnam War. Popular music also began to change with the arrival of the British Invasion - namely, the English rock groups the Beatles and the Rolling Stones, whose sexual lyrics and outlandish behavior shocked the older generation of Americans. Popular culture would never be the same again.

As the 1960s wore on, there was a shift from traditional rock n' roll to art rock. This was brought about largely owing to experimentation with drugs in the music scene of those years. This experimentation would forever alter the landscape of rock n' roll as we know it today. Whereas in the first half of the 1960s, the Beach Boys were releasing singles like the poppy "I Get Around" and the Beatles were unleashing hits like "A Hard Day's Night," by the middle of the decade a shift was already under way in both bands' sound; in 1965, the former would release "Pet Sounds," while the latter would put out such strange melodies as "Michelle" and "Norwegian Wood." Rock n' roll was no longer merely "fun"; it now had a serious message to transmit to the masses.

The more experimental side of rock n' roll in the late 1960s was abetted no doubt by the widespread usage of drugs like marijuana and LSD among both musicians and fans. The 1960s gave birth to a drug counterculture, the sheer scale of which has never been seen… [END OF PREVIEW]

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"Rock Music and Drugs and the Influence They Had on the Baby Boomer Generation."  Essaytown.com.  May 1, 2008.  Accessed November 19, 2019.