Skip to comments.Rockin' in the Free World
Posted on 02/16/2013 3:39:12 AM PST by Kaslin
While watching the Grammy awards last Sunday, it occurred to me that American culture has been defined by music ever since the end of World War II. After the Germans and Japanese surrendered in 1945, millions of GI's returned home to marry and begin families. The big-band era of good-time music accompanied that, and romantic singers like Frank Sinatra ruled the day.
In the '50s, many young people, tired of conformity, began to rebel. The rise of Elvis Presley illuminated that rebellion. Then the angst kind of died out as Chubby Checker ushered in "The Twist" in 1960, and Americans began dancing all over the place.
Exhausted from doing "The Pony," young consumers eventually began to respond to the snappy melodies of an English group called The Beatles, and once again, music mania gripped the nation. The British invasion featured the four mop-tops, The Rolling Stones and The Animals, among others.
Then came Vietnam.
That led to protest music and drug-fueled lyrics, as well as introspective tunes by The Doors, Jefferson Airplane and Bob Dylan. Acid rock soon followed, and everything was very far out, man.
After about seven years, that intensity died down. The dark themes receded, and dancing once again came back. The age of disco took hold as the Bee Gees and other polyester-clad groups dominated the charts. The good times of the late 1970s and early '80s featured Madonna, Michael Jackson, and Earth, Wind and Fire. But it all ended when the AIDS scare arrived in 1984. Suddenly, the uninhibited party became dangerous.
Then music kind of meandered for a while until rap emerged. At first, the anger-fueled recordings were confined to urban radio stations and a niche audience. But when Elton John sang a duet with the white rapper Eminem on a Grammy telecast, rap went mainstream. Massive parental headaches followed.
The rise of the Internet signaled the slow collapse of record stores, and the music industry quickly fragmented after the turn of the century. Consumers could now download songs into portable machines and bop at will. Americans no longer had to depend on the radio to hear their favorite tunes.
Since then, there have been a series of pop superstars but no real purpose or point-of-view to the music, which again may reflect the current times. I mean, what do Lady Gaga and Jennifer Lopez really stand for? Narcissism? Just asking.
The talent is still there. I heard Justin Bieber do a knockout version of Paul McCartney's classic "Let It Be." And Bruno Mars with his little hat was pretty good on the Grammy show this year.
We are definitely living in confusing, rapidly changing times, as machines now dominate leisure options for many consumers. Fifty years ago, we all were humming the same tunes heard over and over on AM radio. The good vibrations of The Beach Boys thrilled Maine, as well as Malibu. The music actually brought Americans together.
Today, the tuneless lure of cyber-space has pulled us apart. Perhaps forever.
Once there was a way to get back homeward.
Once there was a way to get back home.
Sleep pretty darling, do not cry.
And I will sing a lullaby.
On the flip side, I’m 54, married, 2 young kids.
I’ve been searching out some of my favorite growing up songs on you tube and playing them for my benefit mainly. But, my kids, 5 and 10, love my music and my 10 yr old son prefers it to Beiber, gaga, and the like. He’s a Beatles fan. without any “When I was your age” diatribes.
So I guess it’s mostly about the all the “tools” we all have at our disposal and the choices we make on how best to utilize them.
Had a young person recently tell me, I envy you because music was still music and the Beatles were great and you were alive to see that time. I laughed out loud and asked the young person for forgiveness for having laughed. The young person told me, forgiveness for what? I love the music from that time.
The Music didn’t die with the Buddy Holly plane crash, It died with Hank Snow.
Heck and I always blamed it on Sargent Pepper.
Although O’Reilly doesn’t say this, it is a myth that rock music led the anti-war movement. Reap search by Houston and Bindas shows music didn’t’t turn anti war until polls shifted against the war. In addition, songs such as “For What it’s Worth” weren’t about the war at all. Recently, leftist writers such as Doggett have complained that rock wasn’t revolutionary enough. Even the Jefferson Airplane refused to do appearances at Dem fundraiser s because they “didn’t want to get involved in politics.” Robby Krieger of the Doors said they didn’t do political music, that they were a mirror, not a lamp.
What did you think of Chet Atkins?
Great guitar player.Nice guy,helped a lot of Country stars.
Played with an ease of a natural player.
Roy Clark also played a great guitar,and could play anything else he picked up with strings on it. Others include Tommy Emmanuel,Gerry Reed, Hank Snow was an under rated player, but he could pick with the best of them.
IMO the Luther Perkins beat, made Johnny Cash famous. Cash couldn’t carry a tune in a bucket.
Lots of truth to your words. Liked Johnny for lyrics.
The late 50’s were the high point of popular music in the last 100 years. If you look at the charts, they show a blend of rock and roll, country (Patsy Kline, Jim Reeves, etc.)and singers like Sinatra, Patty Page, Johnny Mathis, etc. The popular music of the day crossed the social and economic spectrum. It was in the late 60’s that popular music was highjacked by the anti-war and drug crowd and has been in a downward spiral ever since.
This late 50’s tune seem to have stood the test of time. It appeared on the ‘Bronx Tale’ with De Niro and on the credits of a recent Jason Statham movie.
‘Don’t you just know it.’ Heuy ‘Piano’ Smith And The Clowns
There are some great new artists out there in alternative rock. Here’s a new one that I heard the other day that I loved right away:
Family of the Year - Hero (Lyric Video)
He missed a beat by not going further back than the end of WWII. A lot of the early 19th Century was dominated by Stephen Foster, “The father of American music”, because his music, in sheet music form, was both memorable and could be played on the common upright piano, invented in the year of his birth.
20 years after the war, Tin Pan Alley arose in New York, with a resultant explosion in production of sheet music of popular songs. This got its second wind with the end of World War I, and the roaring twenties.
Just about the time of the Great Depression, radio entered the scene, which both killed Tin Pan Alley and made the big bands possible, as they could stay put instead of traveling all over the place. And yet their popularity and concomitant wealth meant that they *could* travel, so they did.
And this lasted until WWII, where gasoline rationing and travel restrictions eventually forced them back on the radio.
But “early” 19th Century implies from 1801 to about 1851. It is somewhat forgivable as well because in US history, the period before the Civil War is seen as intrinsically different from after the Civil War, so it is often used as “mid-19th Century”.
You are really getting off the subject in the article.
The author stated that, “it occurred to me that American culture has been defined by music ever since the end of World War II.”
My point was that American culture has been defined by music long before then. Even today, what would our culture have been without the Gershwins and Irving Berlin, or John Philip Sousa, Jazz and Blues?