Apologies for the radio silence. I had a freelance gig I had to get out of the way.
In the 60′s, all the little subversive hatchlings of the previous decade came home to roost. The vernacular got rougher, songs became more provocative, and an almost defiant freedom of expression was loosed.
As one phrase puts it, the 60′s were ‘years of hope and days of rage.‘
Music became inextricably linked with the social causes of the day, from war & peace to feminism to the civil rights movement, musicians strove to capture the zeitgeist of the era.
And for the most part, they succeeded wildly.
The 60′s saw the emergence of the most enduring singer/songwriters in history, think Bob Dylan, The Rolling Stones, Jimi Hendrix, Eric Clapton, The Beatles. The list goes on and on. These artists sought to express the life and times that surrounded them regardless of ‘establishment’ perceptions.
This decade also gave rise to new and innovative musical styles, which in turn influenced later styles. Bob Dylan spawned the likes of James Taylor and Carole King. Gospel-influenced Soul led to girl groups and the Motown sound. Psychedelic Rock a la The Byrds, Hendrix, and the Doors gave rise to prog and punk rock in the following decades.
The Beatles music provides an eloquent timeline for the decade of music as a whole. The early albums captured a ‘cheeky’ sort of innocence, a kind of throwback to the conservatism of the 50′s. Songs like “I wanna hold your hand“, “Love me do“, and “She loves you” spring to mind here. This progressed to a more folksy flavor with Help! and Rubber Soul before branching out to the experimental with the psychedelic Sgt. Pepper’s and Magical Mystery Tour.
I always sense a kind of pragmatism in 60′s music. There’s a hope for better days contained in the lyrics or melody, but there remains a sense of realism laced throughout, an acknowledgment that life doesn’t always work out the way you want.
It’s a realism that largely fled the coop in the 70′s….
- Happy Trails, Heartbreak Hotels, and the Birth of Rock (lalammar.net)