The 60s Counterculture
The 1960s was one of the most disruptive and unrestrained ages emboldened and buffered by affluence. Additionally, the period was characterized by spirits of faith and innovation and expressed a sense of possibility for humans to experiment on better consciousness states and more realistic ways of living. Fortunately, there was a mediating link between the modernist innovation spirit and music, which was “youth.” The youth was a generation that raised the hopes of post-war America and prosperity. The influences of youth on music paper were felt from pop, soul, folk, blues revivals, and acid rock and significantly changed the relationship between music and society throughout the decades.
Looking at a timeline that marks the state of society across the ages, the link between events of the time and music is evident. The different songs from different genres served as powerful tools to educate, inspire, reassure, and soothe us during current times. An example is the Jazz song “Strange Fruit,” a tragic song recorded in 1939 by Billie Holiday. Listening to the song sent chills down my spine since it contains messages of lynching and racism. Initially, the music styles were not very exciting since the lyrics did not touch on real-life events and facts.
A blue example that incorporates feelings is a blue by Bessie Smith, who was also referred to as the Blues Empress of the time, known as “Put It Right Here or Keep It Out There.” The song has short lines, and the artist talks about her experience with a man, stating that she had dated the man for one and a half-decade, and she gave him aboard and room when he was still like a Cadillac, but he has changed to a worn-out and old fork (Brackett). In the Rock world, there were also changes since artists became more confident in expressing their thoughts on disturbing issues. This is evident from Bob Dylan’s song, “Like a Rolling Stone,” which won the lives of both blacks and whites (Brackett). The afore-described shows that artists became more influential to the following generations regarding social and political life. With time, they were braver in expressing the events associated with the current period.
Brackett, D. (2009). The pop, rock, and soul reader: histories and debates. Oxford University Press, USA.