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Free «Music of the 60s» Essay Sample

The 1960s was marked by revolution in the music field. Unlike the 1950s and earlier music, this era was dominated by groups rather than individuals. This was especially so in the pop music which was then controlled by young vocal groups. These groups combined their song writing talents and charisma performance of the song writers and the production team. Some musicians like Everlys,Elvis and Roy Orbison were still riding high while other musicians lacked materials to come up with songs.

The fashion and hair style of both females and males changed drastically. In ladies, poodle skirts disappeared completely and were replaced by miniskirts. In males, bell bottom trousers and go-go boots replaced the earlier fashion. Hair style was mainly afro in men and some of the ladies. Ladies poufed up their hair in to big bouffant. Sometimes, ladies treated their hair in such a way that it was long and straight as though it had been ironed. Tie and dye t-shirts, love beads and peace signs were introduced especially after the assassination of John F Kennedy and Martin Luther King. Twist was the new dancing style in which people danced while twisting their bodies (stinalisa.com, 2009).



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During the 1960s, music underwent an amazing transformation, different from all the others. There were few individual artists who were still popular and going strong like Elvis. Other artists did not have enough materials to compose good music at the time. Young artists thought of ways in which they would come together and form bands. In fact, every boy and girl in the United States and Britain wanted to form a band. One of the most influential bands that was formed at the time was the beetles from Britain and Beach boys from the states. This band inspired teenagers from all over the world to form bands. Most teenage bands started as cover bands; bands which usually played other artists music.

Teenagers started to go to clubs to listen to new and exciting live music. Clubs were formed from where the teenagers would go to listen to this music. Teen clubs were born. Such clubs were first formed in Phoenix Arizona. Inspired teenagers would meet here to listen to new music live. The clubs were for teenagers exclusively and were mostly opened after hours; in the afternoons. These young people learned a lot from these places and they would be able to proceed in forming their own bands. One of the most popular persons from these teen clubs in Arizona was Alice cooper. Cooper later started his own band which he named Spiders. There were other key figures from these teen clubs but most of them were after the 1960s (about.com, 2009)

More bands continued to be formed all over the United States. Beach boys was the most popular band in this nation in the early 1960s. They dominated in the USA as a band while Elvis dominated as an individual. However, their domination was until 1964 when the Beetles visited the United States. This group that was formed in1963by four youths from Liverpool in Britain. They performed at the La Guardia airport on their arrival to the United States. The beetles had advanced technology, which had never been used by any other group or musician. This group was liked by many people in this country posing a threat to the Beach boys and Elvis. They got many fans in the United States and this started an era called the British invasion. The beetles turned out to be the most popular band in the 1960s. The ripples of their influence on music are felt in the modern day music as well.

The beetles were very popular not only in England but also in the United States and other nations. In fact, there was no single time that this group was above position five in the weekly charts of the time. All people adults and kids from all races sang to the tunes of this popular group. Their influence on other musicians was amazing. Their influence is still felt in the modern world music. According to Madani, this group influenced and inspired all that came after including today’s music (Jack, 1998).

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The beetles faced controversy at the height of their popularity. John Lennon commented on their popularity saying that the group was more popular than Jesus. Protests to their songs and albums were inevitable in the United States. This gave Elvis the chance to meet the then president; President Nixon requesting him to ban the beetles from entering united States. May be Elvis proceeded to do this because of the imminent competition he and the beach boys got from the beetles. Elvis had requested the president to ban them because the beetles were also anti-war and that their lifestyles encouraged drug use. The beetles were lucky because their success was not affected by these protests from the U.S people (the people history, 2009).

The Beetles and the Beach boys were not the only popular artists of the time. Bob Dylan was very influential and inspirational to most people especially the youth. Apart from being an artist, song writer and poet, he was also an activist. He was greatly concerned with the social issues in the United States. His songs were mostly directed towards these social issues in the American society. He included phrases and lyrics in his songs which talked about the policies and procedures of the day that he disagreed with. Dylan’s songs were very inspirational and influential in the American society. In fact, some of his songs were used as the anti-war anthem and others celebrated civil rights. He became a favourite of many people including Martin Luther King. Dylan was in fact one of the performers in the great march to Washington led by Martin Luther (the people history, 2009).

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The songs played by the beetles were more of rock rather than souls. This was maybe one of the differences in the music of the 60s between Britain and America. Beetles influenced the Americans who liked their style. Rock started to be popular in America. Britain beats were by far popular than the American ones. A song released by the beetles in January 1964 marked the popularity of rock music which greatly inspired the Americans. This song by the Beetles featured in the Ed Sullivan show and attracted over 73 million viewers. This was no doubt a great milestone in the American pop culture. In the next few years, more Britons featured in rock and roll music. In fact, the Briton rock and roll artists are said to have played a pivotal role in internationalization of production of rock and roll music. This brought to an end the instrumental music then common in America and girl groups.

The beetles had influenced the introduction of pure rock music. Their idea of rock music groups using guitars; drums and producing own materials were embraced by many artists in the coming years. In the mid 1960s, Rock music became very popular in the USA and Canada. This form of rock had evolved from the earlier rock to what was commonly known as garage rock. The kind of music was named this way because many rock artists practiced and did their rehearsals in the family garage. Garage rock was characterized by teenage bands which were formed by teenagers from middles class families. There were also rural and urban bands formed by teenagers from these areas. These bands were formed from all regions of USA and Canada and they usually sang regional music.

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It is unfortunate that garage rock style did not stay for long. It is said that this style picked in the year 1966 and by 1968, the style was disappearing really fast. After this year, garage rock styles started to be replaced by other forms of rock for instance country and progressive rock. The only place that was not severely affected was Detroit where this kind of rock stayed in to late 1970s. Detroit rock was characterized by aggression which later was given the name hard rock. Though garage rock did not disappear completely, its name changed completely to punk and hard rock.

In 1968 and 1969, rock music changed from drug fuelled to less experimental music but topics became angrier and music got more aggressive. Though rock music was the most common towards the end of the 1960 decade, soul music was still alive. Soul music played a significant role during the reign of black power in 1969. It was at this time that soul music gained popularity than there before. As soul music gained popularity, there were major events of rock place that were taking place. Examples of these events were Woodstockin August and Altamont in December of 1969(Jack, 1998).

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Music of the 1960s has a great influence on today’s music. Some of the artists of the time have inspired the current trend of music in many ways. The influence and inspiration from the 1960s music cannot be overemphasized. How would modern music be without inspiration from bands such as the beetles and other artists of the time?


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