Research Paper on Rock Music in the 1960s

Paper Type:  Research paper
Pages:  6
Wordcount:  1471 Words
Date:  2022-11-02


The origin of rock music can be traced back to the blend of the Whites and Black American musical beats and style. It was originally known as rock and roll. It comprised of Black's blues combined with the White's gospel music. It originated from the United States. Younger audiences were attracted to the dynamic energy and sexuality represented by musicians who specialized in rock music (Biamonte 101). Elvis Presley attracted the attention of teenage fans, all who admired his high voice and dressing mode, which displayed his high level of sexuality. On the other hand, the older generation was horrified by the penetration of young musicians that experimented with unique musical sounds that had not been heard in the past, and also of the rebellious attitude displayed by the singers (Regev 578). Both White and Black singers and fans were attracted to the rock genre because of its melodious wailing. Compositions were new in the 1960s, which were presented in a conventional style. Audile instruments were also being used by musicians that joined the industry as new entrants.

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Musicians that specialized in rock music relied on their voices to attract and retain the interest of the members of the public (Biamonte 98). This is because the new genre of music was not positively received by both the White and Black audiences. The Whites assumed rock music belonged to rebellious blacks who influenced their youths negatively. However, as more White pop stars emerged, people from the White race started accepting the rock music as part of them. It was closely related to the blues which they had been used to in the past. For instance, the Beatles introduced unique sounds in their rock music, creating an impression that people from diverse cultural backgrounds would enjoy music composed of different races.

The 1960s period is famous for the revolutionary popular music that was composed at that time. It was a period that the rock genre music evolved. Rock music was a combination of pop and rock and roll sounds that had trended in the 1950s (Regev 559). Rock music was new and comprised of unique beats that were exciting to the audiences. Young and new musicians took over the music industry in the 1960s and their creative minds led to the transition from the pop and rock and roll sounds that the public had been accustomed to in the past. Technological ideas and music hybridity birthed the rock musical sounds. Notable musicians like Elvis Presley were the new faces in the music industry. It was a new phase of political and cultural influence on the music charts in the country (Leonard 87). The rock songs' lyrics addressed issues that had been affecting some groups in the society. Music was the only channel of communication with political leaders that would help change the harsh environment.

Bob Dylan had composed and wrote songs that had been used in social protests, and his introduction of a folk revival genre was not a surprise to his fans. Dylan's beats were more electric and sharper than those of the Beatles, an indication that the rock revolution was being embraced by musicians from different backgrounds (Leonard 87). Dylan portrayed to the public that rock songs would fit in as a form of entertainment and as a medium of expressing discontent about social issues in the society. Rock songs portrayed the American culture and conflicts that had been triggered by the Vietnam War on the society. Sexual liberation and freedom, the civil rights movement, and protests against the war were the main social issues affecting most youths even as the rock genre was being introduced to the society (Regev 558). However, with more musicians being interested in the tones and electrified guitar played when singing rock songs, more themes were introduced. Rock songs started addressing issues like social protests, rebellion, and drug abuse. Members of the public got interested in rock music as they felt it addressed areas that politicians and other influential individuals had ignored.

Songwriters had also evolved and moved away from composing love -based songs. Their main focus was on the social factors affecting the community (Biamonte 99). It was also a time when songwriters were concerned about albums as opposed to hit songs. With the development and popularity of television, composers and songwriters were assured that the new rock genre would attract the attention of the younger generation. Televisions started introducing the rock shows slowly but steadily and within a short-time, teenage fans were requesting for more rock music to be featured on shows. It was also the period when festivals featuring rock music gained popularity. Concerts would be held for one or three days and thousands of fans would attend in solidarity (Regev 570). For instance, the Beatles, a popular group in the 1960s had their sings dominate the musical charts in that period. Their albums were sold in millions, earning the group profits in return.

The rock genre dominated the music charts in the 1960s. It encouraged the introduction of other subgenres, where with the emergence of each, a unique style was released. Rock bands also had different lifecycle spans, meaning that some lasted more than the others (Leonard 67). With the introduction of rock in the music industry, musicians were able and willing to experiment with different sounds in a bid to find their identity and also position themselves in the market. For instance, some of the sub-rock genres included psychedelic rock. Psychedelic rock became popular in the late 1960s. It was closely connected to the use and popularity of drugs. The aim of this rock genre was to enhance the usage of drugs, and only a particular group of people would understand the lyrics.

The rock music in the 1960s had also been negatively affected different misfortunes in the society and in the music industry. Notable influential musicians like Buddy Holly had died, while DJ Alan Freed had been persecuted. This had made it hard for the fans to accept the bad news. In addition, other musicians were now motivated to produce unique music sounds that would last for a long period. Unlike the previous decade where vulgar language had been used in the rock and roll songs, the 1960s was a period that positioned itself as a phase of decent lyrics that would appeal to both the young and older generation (Leonard 64). The rock genre positioned itself as being politically and culturally influenced, which then appealed to the public. This is because most people felt that it addressed areas that affected the society, an aspect that other musicians had failed in the past. Rock music was perceived as one that would make a difference in the music scene and in the world.

In the push to stabilize the rock genre, musicians managed to convince the audience that it was different from other genres that had been in existed prior to its introduced. The use of unique music, sounds and instruments appealed to the public. Morality was also starting to be an aspect that the older generation considered to be part of the society. Therefore, conservative forces were on the lookout for ways they would improve rock music. Songwriters and composers were also emerging with unique lyrics that gave the society some hope that the political leaders would understand the anxiety and stress the members of the public had to endure. Every country had its own notable musicians who composed the rock songs. For instance, America, England, and Britain were all catching up with the influential rock music, all which targeted the fans of each nation.


In conclusion, the emergence of the rock genre in the music industry has gone through a transformative stage. Social issues facing the society were one of the main themes that rock musicians sang even as they sought ways to attract the attention of political leaders. Rock music was a success since it appealed to both the young and older generation, as it addressed issues that both age-groups identified within that period. Songwriters were also quick to come up with unique lyrics that appealed to the community, making them attract the attention of the public after the first rock songs were introduced to the fan base. The use of musical instruments was also a notable influence for the success of rock music in the world. Guitars that produced high and electric sounds became popular for most musicians as they had to play both hard and soft rock. Groups of musicians produced both singles and albums in a bid to appeal to the public.

Works Cited

Biamonte, Nicole. "Triadic modal and pentatonic patterns in rock music." Music Theory Spectrum 32.2 (2010): 95-110.

Leonard, Marion. Gender in the music industry: Rock, discourse and girl power. Routledge, (2017): 45-87.

Regev, Motti. "Pop-rock music as expressive isomorphism: Blurring the national, the exotic, and the cosmopolitan in popular music." American Behavioral Scientist 55.5 (2011): 558-573.

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