While most young adults perceive their parents as “lame”, “boring” or don’t know how to have a “good time”, we neglect to realize that they lived in one of the most exciting and musically invigorating times in our nations history. This is because most of the parents of our generations’ young adults were born in the Baby Boomer Generation. The BBG, which was from about 1954 to 1964, accounted for a very significant decade of social, political and cultural change in America. World War II had just ended only 9 years before and the popular music genres were jazz and blues up until the mid 1950’s when a new genre was introduced: Rock and Roll. As time was changing, those that didn’t particularly favor the mainstream of jazz and blues became social outcasts in American society; however, those outcasts then became the “pioneers of rock”. As rock and roll music was introduced in the mid-1950’s, it was “…described as ‘cleared of the blurred overtones of blues singing -- repetition without tedium’ it was simple, yet edgy. It was fast, repetitive, foul mouthed, and connected with the younger generations, which is exactly what they wanted”. Rock music was exactly the type of loud and edgy sound that the rebellious teenagers of the 1950’s were waiting for to have the ability to break out of the mainstream and pave the way to the upcoming social revolution resulting from rock and roll in the 1960’s. Rock and roll was so popular not because of its characteristics, but because it was a genre that unified anyone interested, voiced their opinions and proclaimed self motivated “movements” and changed easily with the new popular culture. As the 1950’s continued, the US dealt with “issues of race relations, war, sexuality, drugs, ecology and world hunger arose in later years, rock 'n' roll was forced, like every other ideology, to respond to them. That many of these concerns were of central importance to the kids reared on and reveling in rock 'n' roll as a lifestyle only heightens the significance of their common response, as expressed in and through the music”. On the other hand, America was not the only country heavily influenced by rock music, in the 1950’s Britain was also heavily influenced by the introduction of rock music and resulted as an instant craze there. From that sudden influx of influence, the 1960’s became a “decade of musical exchange, ideas were constantly being traded between England and the US, which gave way for the evolving music…it solidified the foundation of rock music and allowed it to branch out into other sub-genres, vastly expanding it’s audience". The well-known event called the British invasion involved “the bands to tour in the US. Bands such as The Beatles, The Who and The Rolling Stones finally began touring in the US. This flood of British musicians diminished the careers of most American musicians". The Baby Boomer Generation witnessed first hand the social impact rock music had on America. One of the largest social impacts rock and roll took on was the protest to the Vietnam War that lead to the creation of the rock sub-genre of the psychedelic movement. Rock and roll music was no longer just about teenage rebellion, but rather it was about “social and political reform of America”. Drugs became a large influence in regards to the psychedelic movement and the social and political reform voiced by rock music in the early 1960’s, and from this began one of the most legendary musical social movements our history: Woodstock. As a result of the protest to the Vietnam War and the heavy influence rock music had on the nation, “many folk rock musicians, such as Bob Dylan used their music to protest the Vietnam War. The biggest event of the 1960s by far though was Woodstock, a three day festival in which some of the world's most prominent rock and folk musicians performed, such as Jimi Hendrix, The Who, Janis Joplin, the Grateful Dead and Credence Clearwater Revival”. The phrase “drugs, sex and rock n’ roll” was the characterizing phrase of the 1960’s in regards to the overwhelming social impact that those 3 components had on the social, cultural and political environments of the decade. Overall, the importance of the introduction of rock in the Baby Boomer Generation has forever influenced the rock music we know today, because “every rock musician today can trace its roots of their inspiration and music to the springboard of rock music and culture, the explosive events of the mid-1950’s that first introduced rock and roll to the new world”. With the introduction of rock music, people found an outlet to: express social and political reform, promote peace in a country during wartime, introduce an intense era of partying and drugs that surpasses any other decade so far and most importantly unified a nation through music, leaving a legend that continues today.
May 31st, 2015
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