Throughout American history, each generation has sought to individualize itself from all others preceding it. Decades of American history can be separated to represent a distinctive set of values, culture, and political ideals. The 1960’s was a decade caught between euphoric, idealistic beginnings and a discordant, violent climax. The music of this time period produced a strong counterculture which sought to influence America in a way never before experienced. The songs were the backbone of this new age; they were the tunes which the generation danced to, marched to, and got high off of. This paper will discuss the ways popular music of the 1960’s produced national awareness of the anti-war movements, led to the partialcollapse of the structure of American society, and forever changed the way current generations listen to and buy music.
The songwriters of the 1960’s were rarely without inspiration. Perhaps the most powerful incentive came from the movement to end the Vietnam War. Many of the most prominent musicians of that generation aided the struggle to protest against and attempt to end the war. The most popular song to be considered an anthem against the war efforts was called “Blowin’ in the Wind,” written by Bob Dylan in 1962 while he was living in New York. The song is centered around racism and militarism, two main focal points which were principal in many early sixties protest songs. Dylan used conventional symbols to blatantly state his point; a white dove representing peace, flying cannon balls describing war and violence, and roads and seas symbolizing the hardships and struggles there would have to be with eliminating the war.
Demonstrations against the Vietnam War took place in many major cities and college campuses. While many of these demonstrations had only peaceful motives, violent methods were often used to break them up. Take for example the famous student takeover of Columbia University. Black students ar…