Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Music in the tumultuous sixties

The 1960's began with a sort of wide eyed innocence  -- John Kennedy, was the young charismatic president who represented a spirit of hope for the nation. When JFK was assassinated in 1963 many felt that their hopes died, too. This was especially true of young people, and members and supporters of minority groups.

A time of innocence and hope soon began to look like a time of anger and violence.
Many Americans protested to demand an end to the unfair treatment of black citizens. Many more protested to demand an end to the war in Vietnam. And many protested to demand full equality for women.

To make matters worse, 2 other very important and influential American leaders were also assassinated. Civil rights leader Martin Luther King Junior was shot in Memphis, Tennessee, in 1968 and only weeks later, Robert Kennedy -- John Kennedy's brother -- was shot in Los Angeles, California. He was campaigning to win his party's nomination for president.

The two murders resulted in riots in cities across the country. The unrest and violence affected many young Americans. The effect seemed especially bad because of the time in which they had grown up.

Later, many young Americans began to question these beliefs. They felt that their parents' values were not enough to help them deal with the social and racial difficulties of the nineteen sixties. They rebelled by letting their hair grow long and by wearing unusual clothing. Their dissatisfaction was strongly expressed in music.

In the sixties rock music comes of age and dominates the popular music charts. Elvis Presley continues to score hits in the early part of the decade, but the music continues to diversify with the folk revival, the Brill Building sound, Phil Spector's wall of sound, girl groups and surf music, all
impacting the early part of the decade.

The Motown, Stax and Atlantic labels bring more African-American artists back to the forefront of the pop charts. By 1964 American artists back to the forefront of the pop charts. By 1964 American artist are sharing the top of the charts with U.K. bands led by the Beatles and The Rolling Stones. In the U.S. garage bands emerge, inspired by the British Invasion sound.

Sixties songwriting moves beyond pop love songs and begins to include social consciousness and political statements. In the latter half of the decade psychedelic music reflects the growing hippie culture. Bubblegum music is created to generate radio friendly pop singles. Album sales begin to gain importance, as a harder rock sound emerges and sows the seeds for heavy metal.

Musical TV shows of the 1960's
American Bandstand 1952 - 1989 
Ed Sullivan 1948-1971 
Hullabaloo 1965-1966 
Shindig 1964-1966

In the sixties, television becomes a major force in rock music as networks try to attract a younger audience. American Bandstand continues with it's afternoon, clean-cut, teen idol format, while the Ed Sullivan Show and other TV variety shows begin showcasing rock bands in prime time. The networks also add the weekly prime time shows Shindig and Hullabaloo featuring dancers and new music for teenage fans.

The Beatles dominate the sixties record charts with 6 of the top 10 albums of the decade and 21 of the decades' top 100 singles. Their nearest competitor is Elvis Presley with 9 of the decades' top 100 singles and 4 of the decades' top 100 albums.

1960's Top 10 Best Selling Singles Worldwide:
1 The Beatles - Hey Jude - 1968
2 The Rolling Stones - (I Can't Get No) Satisfaction - 1965
3 Procol Harum - A Whiter Shade of Pale - 1967
4 Roy Orbison - Oh, Pretty Woman - 1964
5 The Beatles - I Want to Hold Your Hand - 1964
6 Elvis Presley - Are You Lonesome Tonight? - 1960
7 The Righteous Brothers - Unchained Melody - 1965
8 The Beatles - Help! - 1965
9 The Beatles - Yesterday - 1965
10 Elvis Presley - It's Now Or Never - 1960
Article Source - Rock Music Timeline 

Watch this excellent video on the sixties
Tom Brokaw on historic 1968 (the year I graduated from high school) 
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