Essay on The 1960s Music and Drug Revolution
The decade of the 1960s is most likely talked about because of the Vietnam War, but most over look what was going on in America. Back in the states the faces of angry anti- war activists were on every major street corner you looked, they protested for peace and to get their brothers out of the Jungles where the vicious war took place. The sixties were also the forefront of the Civil Rights Movement for Black Americans to receive racial dignity, economic and political self-sufficiency: with voting rights, and also freedom from white Americans.
Lastly the four major political ssassinations of John F Kennedy, Malcolm X, Martin Luther King Jr. , and Robert F. Kennedy all took place one after another in this decade leaving the Americans in heartbreak and turmoil. Politically leaving the United States at a standpoint on what the hell is there to do next. To get away from the mess, the most effective escape of the time was the music. It changed the depressing feeling to help make the people somewhat forget what harsh realities are happening around them and give them hope. With the music so empowering to some this brought to us what we now know as the Hippie Movement. (Yapp). Most were fed up with the United States leading to thousands of carefree people to hard drugs and rock and roll. During the hard ships in the sixties people used music to find the glass half full instead of half empty. All of the events of the sixties had an effect on the way the people dressed then and still to this day. Self-expression of the 1960s led men and women to grow their hair long and dress freely in bright colors and daring prints that were outrageous and had never been seen before.
Events: The 1960s started out on a good foot with John F Kennedy, as President America as happy with the way politics were being handled. He was the second youngest president to ever be in office. John was elected in 1961 and was putting a pretty big hand print on the Americans with big events such as the Bay of Pigs Invasion, the Cuban Missile Crisis, the building of the Berlin Wall, the Space Race, the African- American Civil Rights Movement, and early stages of the Vietnam War. Until 1963 Lee Harvey Oswald assassinated him with a shot to the upper back and a final shot to the head.
Pronouncing him dead 30 minutes alter. To this day Kennedy continues to rank ighly in public opinion ratings of U. S. presidents. Following Kennedys assassination were the deaths of civil rights leaders Malcolm X, Martin Luther King Jr. , and JFK’s brother Robert F. Kennedy. All four of these deaths happening in such a short amount of time left Americans with really no guidance on what to do next and what was going to happen to them. Socially the United States was tired of being let down and many decided to go about their own ways of carefree living. Many were also in poverty so looking for a brighter side to life.
The outcome of looking for a better life was to be a hippie. The ubculture started out with the youth and quickly rose and spread across country and even into some other countries. Hippies created their own communities, listened to psychedelic rock, embraced the sexual revolution and many used drugs such as Marijuana, LSD and mushrooms to explore an altered state ot consciousness. Something that cannot be ignored was the Vietnam War that mainly took place in the 1960s. The war had an estimated 47, 355 American casualties, with men and women losing lives left and right many were in a deep depression.
The war went on from 1955 to 1975 with the United States getting highly involved in the 60s. The US got involved to help prevent communism in South Vietnam for containment; with overwhelming firepower, air support, airstrikes, search and destroy operations, and lots of heavy artillery. Although the war did not end until the 70s, the capture of Saigon by the Vietnam People’s Army in 1975 marked the end of the war, and North and South Vietnam were reunified the following year. Descriptive: The different styles and trends of the sixties are extremely different with all the different social groups.
Starting off with the early times of the sixties when John F. Kennedy was still the president and first lady Jacqueline Kennedy (Illustration 1) was the icon of elegance and poise. Her style consisted of pillbox hats, suits in pastel colors with big buttons and short Jackets. A casual day consisted of capris and versatile layers in bright colors these styles were increasingly popular. The sixties were also a time of the “British Invasion” in America. The ever so popular bad The Beatles had arrived in America at this time with their hit songs still listened to until this day.
This sparked a style of what we call Mod. Mod short for Modernists; consisting of women copying men’s style with fitted Levis Jeans and sneakers. Also wearing men’s shirts, tailors suits, mini skirts, A-line skirts, and trousers. The Mod style icon was Twiggy (Illustration 2), a popular British model who broke the rules for women style and taking them out of the conservative long dress and long skirt confines of the previous 1950’s. Finding your personal style and dressing how you felt was the biggest trend of all. The best known and most significant of all was the Hippie style catalyst.
Giving the people of the sixties ultimate comfort and self-expression. This style consisted of oose- fitting clothes; most often tie dyed pieces and adding the perfect accent to top off an outfit with a flower. Flowers showing a sign for peace during the rough times of war going on back in Vietnam. Hip-hugger bell-bottom Jeans were incredibly popular for both men and women and following these Jeans were peasant shirts, skirts and halter-tops (Illustration 3). Another trend was women sewing patches of different cloth on to their clothes to either cover holes or simply for decoration.
Lastly in the late sixties the “anything goes” look was the outcome after all the not so everlasting trends in the previous years. Of course more new trends did thrive such as closer to the body clothing with firmly belted waistlines on dresses, suits and blouses showing off the hips. The film, “Bonnie and Clyde” gave the inspiration for jumper dresses and suits. The film also gave off wide leg pants giving a more professional look; that carried on into the 1970’s, compared to the very messy hippie look.
The hippie look was actually inspired and really made in toa mess by the music of the 1960s. Music was being influenced by so many new trends that had never happened before, the new ways of politics, economics and carefree lifestyle.. Drugs elped ease the pain and became the most influential variables in the music of the s es The rock and roll and pop music all started out small and underground until it became mainstream. Soon to be known as the psychedelic era, this era introduced drugs to be an important aspect of music and a part of the typical day of a rock star.
The listeners of the music also used drugs like acid and marijuana to enhance the overall experience of the sounds, movements and brightness of lights during the shows and music festivals. Bands such as The Byrds and The Grateful Dead used drugs like LSD, marijuana, and heroin (Illustration 4). They believed using drugs would make a difference of the previous music in the 1950s, and were very successful with blowing the 50s music away. The effect that the drugs had on the band was turning them into real musicians, ones that could capture the audience’s attention in just a couple of strums ofa guitar.
This new music started around the San Francisco area and spread across the nation. Young people greeted the new genre of music with open arms and drugs helped change the way to enjoy the new wave of music. It also became apparent that the British group The Beatles started to use LSD when ecording in the studio. The song “Tomorrow Never Knows” was a product of the famous group high on an acid trip. Toward the end of the sixties the iconic music festival called The Peace and Music Festival of Woodstock.
The three-day festival was hugely successful and the first ever of its kind to occur (Illustration 5). More than two million people tried to get in, with borders and state lines closed due to the amount of people. The festival headlined different bands from across the world and was a place to demonstrate peace. Even though during most of the three-day event it oured rain it did not stop anyone from putting a damper on the mood. Putting a close to the sixties a few years later was the end of the Vietnam War however the end of war did not put an end to drug use.
Many people had lost their lives in the psychedelic era either from a gunshot in the Far East of a prick of a heroin laced needle in the United States. These tragedies were captured in the music of the sixties and is remembered and reminded to the generations to come. Compare and Contrast: From the radical 1960s to the present time now there are so many things have changed and so many things have also stayed the same. Starting with the fashion of the 60s consisting of women wearing men’s wear clothing as a huge trend that went on throughout the time and is still to this day.
There is also the mid 60s, which was when the “hippie look” was widely popular, and the baggy look with long shirts and pajama looking pants with low hemlines. Today everything is a high hemline and form-fitting clothes from tight denim Jeans to crop top shirts for girls. Although the 60s did go through a phase of tight bell bottom pants made of polyester. Thankfully, those are not seen any more in present time. Another comparison is the Civil Rights Movement that happened in the sixties. Black Americans wanted the legal freedom from whites, voting rights, as well as inside schools, and over all racial dignity.
Ever since this Conclusion: The 1960s was no doubt a revelation that changed America forever. With so many monumental experiences that will most likely never happen again. Fashion is of course torever changing but more so in the 1 Starting early on witn clean cut pastel suits to the late sixties tie dye shirts; skintight bell-bottom Jeans and long hair were the trend. All of the tragedies in the sixties it had a huge impact on music and hat the American people felt, what they were feeling was the way they dressed and showed self-expression through their clothes.
Music was a huge part of people’s lives back then, that was the only thing that young adults had to look forward to and music is even more relatable today. Music speaks to people in ways that no one can describe, almost life changing to some. The artists and bands of the 60s talked about what was going on around them inside their song lyrics. Making it easily relatable to their fans and to the American people to make it seem like they were all in the mess together and never by themselves.