The 1960’s in America was a decade of political protest, social unrest, and teenage rebellion.  Young adults were tired of their parents’ 1950’s cookie-cutter mold ways.  They wanted their lives to have real meaning and desired to express their true emotions.  They didn’t want their futures to consist of dull marriages, two car garages, and new dishwashers from the local utility stores.  Adolescents were beginning to question the integrity of the federal government as they realized a pointless rich man’s war was being fought in the foreign lands of Vietnam.

From this decade, a new kind of music blossomed and the hippie counterculture was born.  While the majority of Americans still blindly pledged allegiance to the deceitful government and held true to their conservative ways, a minority of people told Uncle Sam to go to hell.  They grew out their hair, dropped acid, and rocked out to the jams of the 1960s.


Jimi Hendrix “Voodoo Chile” live at Woodstock

Rock historians and the future generations of America will forever glorify the weekend of August 15th to 18th in the year of 1969.  It was the weekend the Woodstock Music Festival was held in Bethel, New York.  It was “three days of peace love and music” where half a million people, whose tents blew over from the wind and heavy rains, stayed in the mud, got high, and listened to the music of Jimi Hendrix and the Experience, Jefferson Airplane, and Creedence Clearwater Revival.


Jefferson Airplane “White Rabbit” live at Woodstock

This music is considered art because of its poetic lyrics and the meanings behind those lyrics.  People today would do anything to travel back in time so they could witness these musical geniuses perform their art live onstage.

Creedence Clearwater Revival – Fortunate Son

A folk culture has developed naturally from this music because of what it stood for.  The hippies and young adults of the baby boomer generation worshiped the artists’ talents and music of the 1960’s.  They passed their love for rock music on to their children in order to keep the culture alive.


The Rolling Stones “(I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction”  on the Ed Sullivan Show

The rock music of the 1960’s mainstreamed into society by the music industry and its heavy marketing of catchy songs like the Rolling Stones’ “(I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction and the Doors’ “Light My Fire”.  These bands would appear on the Ed Sullivan show and were required to censor their lyrics as to not offend the live and TV audiences.  The Doors were banned from the Ed Sullivan show after Jim Morrison refused to say “girl we couldn’t get much better” instead of “girl we couldn’t get much higher” during the performance of “Light My Fire.” 1960s rock also became a part of mass culture by the commercialization of it. The establishment of the Hard Rock Café chain, the making of Hollywood movies, and the manufacturing of merchandise with 1960’s artists screened onto the front of sneakers, t-shirts, hats are just a few examples of this.

Rock music of the 1960’s will live on forever because of its everlasting impact on society through its appreciation as an art form, its folk culture, and its acceptance as part of mass culture.  Bands formed in the 1970’s to the present are inspired by the work of the artists of the 1960’s because of their innovative performances, sounds, and lyrics.

Taylor Collins

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