Chat with us, powered by LiveChat The Rock and Roll of the 1960s is often considered both a window and a mirror to culture and society of culture and society. Two of the most important bands of the 1960s | Wridemy

The Rock and Roll of the 1960s is often considered both a window and a mirror to culture and society of culture and society. Two of the most important bands of the 1960s

 The Rock and Roll of the 1960s is often considered both a window and a mirror to culture and society of culture and society. Two of the most important bands of the 1960s were the Beatles and the Rolling Stones. Consider their earlier music and answer the following: What was the Beatles’ view of the world as they saw it? What was the Rolling Stones’ view of the world as they saw it? Be sure to use musical examples, as well as information from the textbook and other outside sources to support your analysis. Use the mashup tool, and include at least one song by the Beatles and one from the Rolling Stones.In response to at least three of your peers, consider if you agree or disagree with their viewpoints. Offer an additional musical example (use the mashup tool!) to support your views and your agreement or disagreement. Remember, always explain why you believe what you believe to be true!When sharing your musical selections with the class, you may use the mashup tool for YouTube. If you are uncomfortable with that or would like to post a traditional text response, that is acceptable as well. Below are the Mashup direction should you choose to use that option. Using Mashup is NOT mandatory.


· The Rock Revolution

Rock and Roll as a genre was developing at a rapid rate during the 1960s. The subculture that developed in the 1950s takes hold in the 1960s and the verbal and musical messages that they wished to convey became more radical. The lives of teenagers and college students in the 1960s were quite different from the lives of their parents. Young people began to blatantly reject the more conservative “establishment” values of their families and they began to speak out against widespread discrimination against blacks, women, Chicanos, gays and Native Americans. Young women now had access to oral contraceptives, and this brought about a revival of feminism and sexual freedom form women. Recreational drugs, especially marijuana and LSD spread to a larger segment of the middle class. The military escalation in Vietnam and the subsequent military draft had a powerful influence on American young people. 

The result of all of these events happening in such a short amount of time contributed to the rapid development of Rock and Roll. New technologies in music enhanced the production and performance of music. Lyrics were meant to speak directly to audiences. Rock and Roll became more multicultural and influenced by African American styles as well as music from around the world. Rock and Roll itself was more revolutionary genre because it was eclectic; artists attempted to embrace real-world issues and the attitude shift of the 1960s generation made this music more egalitarian than any other previous popular music genre.


· Identify the musical genres and subgenres that arose out of the 1960s.

· Identify the core instrumentation of the rock band.

· Explain the musical role of the rock beat.

· Discuss the variation and diversity found within Bob Dylan’s music.

· Describe some ways that music can be considered both a window and mirror to society and culture in the 1960s.


· Read, view, and engage with Readings and Resources.

· Actively participate in the Unit Discussion.

· Complete and submit the Unit 3 Assignment. 

· Complete the Quiz in MindTap.


Readings and Resources

Readings and Resources

Textbook or eBook:

Campbell, M. (2019).  Popular music in America. 5th ed. Cengage Learning.

This reading will explore the genres and sub-genres of rock and roll music that arose out of the 1960s and the four dominant issues that were prevalent at this time. This unit addresses four issues (Civil and Minority Rights, Sexual Freedom, Drugs, and War) and how music was both a window and a mirror of rock and roll music at this time. 

· Chapter 12: The Rock Revolution (pgs. 197-228)

Articles, Websites, and Videos:

The following website contains a great deal of detail concerning the life and works of Bob Dylan. You can explore the different songs he has written throughout his career. This resource will help you with your listening assignment this week. 

· Untold dylan . (n.d.).  WordPress.

Bob Dylan was the recipient of the 2016 Nobel Prize in Literature for the songs that he wrote during the 1960s. You can listen to his speech from when he received this award here. 

· Bob dylan nobel lecture . (n.d.).  Nobel Media AB 2019

The textbook includes some verbal descriptions of the role of rock and roll backbeats. In this video, you will be able to listen to a recorded backbeat and hear a description of the role of backbeats in the Rock and Roll music of the 1960s. Video

Guide to Drums – Intro to Backbeat

Duration: 1:51 User: n/a -  Added: 7/25/07

CH. 47

The Rock Revolution: A Historical Perspective

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Chapter Introduction

Among the musicians knighted by the Queen of England are the esteemed conductors Sir Thomas Beecham and Sir Georg Solti, the opera star Dame Kiri Te Kanawa, violinist Sir Yehudi Menuhin … and Sir Paul McCartney. Other key figures in 1960s rock elevated to the peerage include Mick Jagger, Eric Clapton, Roger Daltrey of The Who, and Ray Davies of the Kinks. These venerable and venerated rock stars are the old guard of rock-era music, and their music fills classic rock playlists. It is comfortable music now, not cutting edge, because of decades of familiarity. But when it came out, it disrupted an industry and fueled a cultural and social revolution.

To this day, the rock revolution still seems like the most momentous change in the history of popular music. In the fall of 1963, who could have predicted the extraordinary developments of the next four years, capped by the release of Sgt. Pepper? Nothing since has transformed popular music to such a degree in such a short time, and only the modern-era revolution of the 1920s has had a comparable impact.

The new music of the 1960s—an extraordinary range of rock substyles, Motown, soul—was both the soundtrack and an agent of change for a decade of turmoil. A generation eager to overturn the values of their parents found verbal and musical messages that embodied their radical ideas.


Volume 90%


©Michael Campbell/Cengage

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47-1Social and Cultural Change in the 1960s

Those who came of age during the latter half of the sixties grew up in a world far different from the world of their parents. A decided majority experienced neither the hardships of the Great Depression nor the traumas of World War II and the Korean War. They were in elementary school during the McCarthy witch hunt; in most cases, it had far less impact on them than it did on their parents. A good number came from families that were comfortable financially, so as teens they had had money to spend and time to spend it.

A sizable and vocal segment of these young people rejected the values of the group they pejoratively called the “establishment.” They saw the establishment as excessively conservative, bigoted, materialistic, resistant to social change, obsessed with communism and locked into a potentially deadly arms race, and clueless about sexuality. Fueled by new technologies and drugs—both old and new—they incited the most far-reaching social revolution since the twenties. For college-age youth of the mid-1960s, there were four dominant issues: minority rights, sexual freedom, drug use, and war.

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47-1aCivil Rights

A generation that had grown up listening to rock and roll, rhythm and blues, and jazz found it difficult to comprehend the widespread discrimination against blacks that they saw as legitimized in too many segments of American society. They joined the drive for civil rights—through demonstrations, sit-ins, marches, and, for some, more direct and potentially violent support, such as voter registration in the South. The successes of the civil rights movement created momentum for other minority rights movements: women, Chicanos, gays, Native Americans.

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47-1bSexual Freedom

Commercial production of an effective oral contraceptive—the Pill—began in the early sixties. For some women, this was the key to sexual freedom; it enabled them to be as sexually active as males, with virtually no risk of pregnancy. It precipitated the most consequential change in sexual relations in the history of western culture. Moreover, it extended the drive for equal rights from the voting booth—in the United States, women were granted the right to vote only in 1920—into the bedroom and sparked a revival of feminism, which sought, among other things, to extend these rights into the workplace.

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During this same period, the recreational use of mind-altering drugs spread to large segments of the middle class. Previously, drug use had been confined to small subcultures; for example, many jazz musicians in the post-World War II era were heroin addicts. Marijuana, always a popular drug among musicians and minorities, became the most popular drug of the sixties among young people, and especially the counterculture. However, the signature drug of the sixties was D-lysergic acid diethylamide, a semisynthetic drug more commonly identified as LSD or acid. The drug was developed in 1938 by Albert Hoffman, a Swiss chemist; Hoffman discovered its psychedelic properties by accident about five years later. Originally, psychiatrists used it therapeutically, and during the Cold War, intelligence agencies in the United States and Great Britain apparently ran tests to determine whether the drug was useful for mind control. The key figures in moving LSD from the lab to the street were two Harvard psychology professors: Timothy Leary and Richard Alpert. They felt that the mind-expanding capabilities of the drug should be open to anyone. In reaction, Sandoz, Dr. Hoffmann’s chemical firm, stopped freely supplying scientists with the drug, and the U.S. government banned its use in 1967. Underground use of the drug has continued despite this ban.

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In the latter part of the sixties, the Vietnam War replaced civil rights as the hot-button issue for young people. In 1954, Vietnam, formerly French Indo-China, was divided—like Korea—into two regions. The north received support from the USSR and communist China, while the southern region received the support of western nations, especially the United States. A succession of American presidents saw a military presence in South Vietnam as a necessary buffer against communist aggression.

As a result, U.S. military involvement gradually escalated over the next decade. Finally, in 1965 the government began sending regular troops to Vietnam to augment the special forces already there. This provoked a hostile reaction, especially from those eligible to be drafted. Many recoiled at the prospect of fighting in a war that seemed pointless; a few fled to Canada or elsewhere to avoid the draft. Massive antiwar demonstrations became as much a part of the news during the late sixties as the civil rights demonstrations were in the first part of the decade. The lies and deceptions of the government and military, which among other things reassured the American people that the war was winnable and that the U.S. forces were winning, coupled with news reports of horrific events such as the My Lai massacre, in which U.S. soldiers killed close to 500 unarmed civilians in a small village, further eroded support for the war.

The gulf between the older establishment positions and attitudes of young Americans on civil rights, sex, drugs, and war widened as the decade wore on. Still, there was a major shift in values. Civil rights legislation passed, the role of women in society underwent a liberating transformation, recreational drug use became more common and socially acceptable in certain circles (although it was still illegal), and the war eventually ended in failure. As a result of this revolution, ideas and practices that seemed radical at mid-century—such as multiculturalism and equal opportunity in the workplace—are accepted norms in contemporary society, in theory if not always in practice.

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47-1eThe Counterculture

A small but prominent minority of young people chose to reject mainstream society completely. They abandoned the conventional lifestyles of their parents and peers; some chose to live in communes. They followed Timothy Leary’s advice to “turn on, tune in, drop out.” They dressed differently, thought differently, and lived differently. They were the ideological heirs of the Bohemians of nineteenth-century Europe and the Beats of the late 1940s and 1950s. Members of the group were known as hippies; collectively, they formed the heart of the counterculture. Many gravitated to the San Francisco Bay Area.

Throughout the sixties, the Bay Area was a center for radical thought and action. The free speech movement led by Mario Savio got started at the Berkeley campus of the University of California in 1964; it led to confrontations between student protesters and university administrators over student rights and academic freedom. In 1966, in Oakland—next to Berkeley and across the bay from San Francisco—Huey Newton, Bobby Seale, and Richard Aoki formed the Black Panthers, a radical black organization dedicated to revolutionary social reform by any means necessary, including violence. Hippies generally followed a less confrontational path.

For hippies, Mecca was San Francisco; their counterpart to the Sacred Mosque was Haight and Ashbury, an intersection in what had been an ordinary neighborhood in San Francisco, near Golden Gate Park, the largest public park in the city. The area became a destination for those who wanted to “make love, not war” and travel the fast route to higher consciousness by tripping on psychedelic drugs. Migration to San Francisco peaked during the 1967 “summer of love,” when an estimated 75,000 young people flocked to the city.

In San Francisco, Memphis, Detroit, London, and elsewhere, the new music of the 1960s, from acid rock to southern soul, was both a soundtrack for social change and a voice to articulate the new values that transformed life in America and abroad.

A Message Of Peace, written in dust on the side of an old army tank.

A Message Of Peace, written in dust on the side of an old army tank.

The Intersection Of Haight And Ashbury, the countercoulture destination in San Francisco.

The Intersection Of Haight And Ashbury, the countercoulture destination in San Francisco.

47-2Rock: A Revolutionary Music

Why did the new music of the 1960s connect so powerfully with this generation? There are at least three key reasons: the sheer novelty of the music, the power of the words, and the messages embodied in the music. The music of the rock revolution was novel because the innovations were comprehensive, not cosmetic. Every aspect of the music—its influences, creative process, authorship, sound, musical message, and end product—evidences the impact of new ideas and resources. The music took advantage of brand new and still evolving technology in both performance and production.

Song lyrics spoke to and for the audience, in language that was often frank, personal, topical, and occasionally challenging, but the more powerful message was in the music itself. We highlight significant changes that made rock decisively different from the popular music of the previous generation.

47-2aA Fully Integrated Music

Rock is an integrated music. It isn’t just that the music of the sixties was more profoundly influenced by black music than any earlier mainstream style. It’s also that the influence went both ways—we hear black influences in music by white bands and white influences in music by black performers. And, most important, these various influences are assimilated into a new sensibility and a new sound. Embedded in the music is the idea that integration is about not only being together but also blending together.

47-2bSong Ownership and the Creative Process

From the outset, rock changed the relationship between composer and performer. Most of the early rock stars, such as Chuck Berry, Buddy Holly, and Little Richard, performed original material—Elvis was an interesting exception to this trend. In their music, the song existed as it was recorded and performed, not as it was written, if indeed it was written down at all. With rock, a song was no longer just the melody and the harmony, but the total sound as presented on the record—not only the main vocal line but also guitar riffs, bass lines, drum rhythms, and backup vocals.

Increasingly, rock musicians took advantage of multitrack recording, an emerging new technology, to shape the final result even more precisely. Multitrack recording made it possible to record a project in stages instead of all at once. Strands of the musical fabric could be added one at a time and kept or discarded at the discretion of the artist or the producer.

This ability to assemble a recording project in layers fostered a fundamental change in the creative process. It was possible to experiment at every stage of a project, and it was normal for one person or group to stay in creative control of the project from beginning to end.

Because the composers were typically among the performers on the recording and maintained control throughout the creative process, the artistic vision of the act and the message of the music reached its audience more directly. This in turn strengthened the bond between act and audience.

47-3The New Sounds of Rock

The sounds of rock were startlingly new. Rock and roll and rhythm and blues had laid the groundwork, but when these new sounds arrived—with Dylan and the folk rockers, the ascent of Motown, the British invasion, the “guitar gods,” soul, and more—the impact was stunning.

The core of the rock band—electric guitar, electric bass, and drums—was in place by the early 1960s, and by the latter half of the decade, rock and soul musicians had developed new ways of playing these instruments, for example, the sonic flights of Jimi Hendrix, and Motown bassist James Jamerson’s reconception of the role of the bass.

Moreover, electric instruments benefited from a huge boost in amplification. Marshall stacks, the amps used by the Who, Cream, and so many other rock bands, weren’t even available in 1960, but by the end of the decade their sound was filling arenas. Other companies kept pace, replacing tubes with transistors and boosting output many times over. A performance at Candlestick Park in San Francisco, at the time an outdoor baseball stadium with a capacity of almost 50,000, would have been a bad idea in 1960, the year it opened; in 1966, however, it was the venue for the Beatles’ last public performance.

With increased amplification and a balance of power among the instruments, what had been the background component of a band in modern-era pop became, in many cases, the whole band, or at least the center of the action. This shift flipped the balance between horns and rhythm instruments. Horns, when used, were usually an extra layer; they were no longer in the limelight except for the occasional saxophone solo. And particularly in white rock, they were no longer an integral part of the band.

47-3aRock Rhythm

This core nucleus laid down a new beat, a  rock beat . The defining characteristic of a rock beat is the layer that moves twice as fast as the beat. Played forcefully, this faster, more insistent rhythm is far more assertive than shuffle, swing, or two-beat rhythms.

In the rock of the sixties, producing a rock beat became a collective responsibility. With the liberation of the bass line to play a truly creative role, the instruments became both more independent and more interdependent. No instrument, not even the rhythm guitar, was absolutely locked into a specific pattern, like the bass player’s walking pattern, the banjo player’s “chunk” on the backbeat, or the drummer’s ride pattern in pre-rock music. The distinctive groove of rock was the end product of the interaction of all the rhythm instruments. Take one away, and the groove was gone.

47-3bSharing Melody

This sharing of responsibility also applied to melody. Up to this point, the main source of melodic interest in the songs we’ve heard was, appropriately enough, the melody—the vocal line when it was sung and the lead instrumental line when it was played. That changed with rock: melodic interest was spread out to the other instruments. In many of the songs we hear in this unit, the song is immediately identifiable from an instrumental riff, generally the first of several melodic hooks. The hook identifies the song well before the singer enters. Typically, other instruments also had parts with some melodic interest. One result was a greater variety of texture, from delicate tapestries with a few well-spaced parts to densely packed free-for-alls.

All of these changes—in instrumentation, rhythmic and melodic approach, and texture—applied to both white rock and the black music called “soul,” through the mid-seventies. The difference from one style to the next was usually a matter of emphasis or interpretation; indeed, new ideas flowed freely in both directions.

47-4Rock Attitudes and the Musical Message

These innovations give us a musical perspective on the wholesale shift in attitude that was at the core of the revolution. Three qualities of this new attitude stand out: Sixties rock was egalitarian, it was eclectic, and it was real. Until 1960, most groups had a leader, who fronted the band, or a featured performer. In the thirties it was Benny Goodman with his orchestra. After the war, it was Muddy Waters, or Louis Jordan and His Tympany Five. Even Buddy Holly fronted the Crickets. Vocal groups—from the Mills Brothers, a popular black vocal group from the 1930s through the 1950s, to the girl groups—were the almost singular exception.

By contrast, most sixties rock bands took group names: the Beatles, the Beach Boys, the Who, Jefferson Airplane. In so doing, they projected a collective identity. There was nothing in their name that said one member was more important than the others. The interplay among voices and instruments was another key. In hooking the listener with a catchy riff or in laying down the beat, no one person was consistently in the spotlight.

The sources of the new rock style, and the way in which they made their way into rock and soul, also evidenced this new attitude. Rock took a pragmatic approach to musical borrowing—musicians took what they needed, no matter what its source, and transformed it into something new.

Contrast that with music before 1960. Pop artists gave country songs a shower and a shave before putting them on record, as a pop cover of any Hank Williams song will attest. If the recordings are any indication, neither the singers nor the arrangers made much of an effort to understand either the sound or the sensibility of country music. Similarly, rhythm and blues hits usually got a bleach job when covered by pop acts: the Chords’ cover of “Sh-Boom” is one example among too many. Even many of the teen idols, from Pat Boone to Fabian and Frankie Avalon, dressed the part but neglected the sound and the style of rock and roll.

Most sixties rock bands projected a collective identity. There was nothing in their name that said one member was more important than the others.

Most sixties rock bands projected a collective identity. There was nothing in their name that said one member was more important than the others.

In the sixties, sounds came from everywhere: Delta blues, East Indian music, symphonic strings, jazz, music hall, folk, country—if it was out there, it was available for adoption. More important, rock musicians didn’t necessarily privilege any particular style or family of styles. There is no sense of connection between the social standing of a style and its use in rock, unless it’s an inverted one: the grittier the source, the more it was admired, as in the case of Delta blues. The Beatles’ music epitomizes this egalitarian, eclectic approach: one track can be sublime, the next can sound like a children’s song.

There was a hierarchy of importance within rock, especially in the wake of the Beach Boys’ Pet Sounds and the Beatles’ Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band. The possibility of making an artistic statement in rock has been part of its collective understanding since Dylan went electric. But these artistic statements were typically crafted out of seemingly ordinary materials. Even when rock emulated classical music and other established traditions, it did so on its own terms; the Who’s Tommy was a rock opera but a far cry from conventional opera. For the best rock bands, the sound world of the sixties was like a well-stocked kitchen; bands simply took what they needed to create the feast.

Finally, rock was real in a way that earlier generations of pop had not been. Rock formed a bond with its audience that was different from the connection between Tin Pan Alley popular song and its audience. Tin Pan Alley songs offered listeners an escape from reality, whereas rock songs often intensified the reality of life in the present. Songs were not written so much for something—such as a musical or a film—as to say something.

Rock’s concern with the present, combined with its direct and often personal communication between song, singer, and audience, elevated the role of the music for many members of that audience from simple entertainment to, in the words of noted rock critic Geoffrey Stokes, “a way of life.” Sixties rock and soul was a revolutionary music; the rock revolution is, in fact, the only widely acknowledged revolution in the history of popular music.

47-5The Ascendancy of Rock

During the latter half of the 1960s, rock swept away the modern-era pop that had dominated the music industry for decades. By 1970, rock music had become the new mainstream, a new family of styles. Virtually every other kind of music that was not rock or rock-influenced was out of fashion. In this respect, the rock revolution and its reverberations paralleled the coming together of popular music in the late twenties: the blend of foxtrot song, jazz, and blues. But the range of styles within this new mainstream was much broader than in that earlier time. This is a reflection of the openness of rock musicians toward music of all kinds—and the openness of the rock audience toward musicians and music of many different kinds.

The Beatles were the poster boys of the rock revolution. Their invasion of America sparked it: their commercial and musical impact was crucial to rock’s ascendancy. By the time they disbanded, the revolution was complete.

More importantly, the Beatles played a key role in reshaping the music and the industry that supported it. Among the most significant developments to which they contributed substantially were: establishing rock as the new popular music, making rock an international musical language, creating a new kind of popular song, proposing rock as art, confirming the recording as the primary musical do

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