Few eras in American history have been as controversial as the 1960s, a period marked by the civil rights movement, the Vietnam War, and the assassinations of President John F. Kennedy and the Reverend Martin Luther King Jr. Popular music played an incontestable role in defining the character and spirit of the 1960s. The baby boom generation played a vital role in the political and cultural events of this period, and the boomers were a generation identified with rock ’n’ roll. （Starr, L. and Waterman, C. , 2014）Folk music has always been an important part of the American music tradition, and topical songs – personal stories linked to current political and cultural events- are an essential part of that heritage.( Friedlander, P. , 1996 )
In the 1960s, The United States was a period of turmoil and trouble of politics. One of the first issues that it is the civil rights movement. Young people in a variety of demonstrations intended to focus attention on racial segregation and discrimination. Serious racial discrimination has been the cause of American society, constantly causing resistance and struggle. It was until 1964 that the United States Congress formally abolished the apartheid system through the Civil Rights Act.
Secondly, the United States launched the Vietnam War to the United States has brought great casualties. Young students against the United States involved in the Vietnamese civil war, mass demonstrations everywhere. However, despite the opposition domestic and foreign, President Jenson continued to expand the war, the gradual escalation of the Vietnam War in the 1960s, resulting in young people’s strong dissatisfaction with the reality of society.
In this case, many young people left the big cities, left the family, to the suburbs or the countryside, the formation of community, living a simple group life. They oppose authority, against tradition (including traditional culture) and against existing order. They also do the opposite in clothing and hairstyle, and also generally take hallucinogenic drugs. So they get a nickname “Hippies”, referring to living outside the established society of non-obedient young people. Finally, sexual liberation is a prominent phenomenon in the 1960s. On the “sexual” traditional concept of suspicion and contempt, illegal cohabitation is considered to be a substitute for married life.
The meaning of the word “freedom” meant not only the end of racial discrimination, but also the rebellion against the previous generation of sexuality. In this context, rock and roll constitute an indispensable part of life in the 60’s. It reflects and influences the feelings and aspirations of a generation of young people, and gives their views on life, society, and the world. These are particularly clear in the folk rock songs represented by Bob Dylan.
1960s is the time of the rise of rock and roll, But also rock music against the beginning of national violence; Since then, rock music is the young people that way to against hegemony.
- Starr, L. and Waterman, C.（2014）American popular music : From minstrelsy to MP3. Oxford University Press.
- Starr, L. and Waterman, C. （2007）American popular music. Oxford University Press.
- Friedlander, P. (1996) Rock and roll : A social history. United States of America, Westview Press.
- Stuessy, J. and Lipscomb, S. (2009) Rock and roll. 6th edition : Its history and stylistic development. Person Education, Inc.,