All Shook Up: How Rock 'n' Roll Changed America

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Music can be traced back into human history to prehistoric eras. To this day archeologists uncover fragments of ancient instruments as well as tablets with carved lyrics buried alongside prominent leaders and highly influential people. This serves as a testament to the importance and power of music, as well as its influence in society. Over its many years of existence, music’s powerful invocation of feelings has allowed it to evolve and serve many purposes, one being inspiring change. American journalist and author Hunter S. Thompson once said, “Music has always been a matter of energy to me, a question of fuel. Sentimental people call it inspiration, but what they really mean is fuel.” This fuel is the very things that powers the influence of Rock ‘n’ Roll on American society, that author Glenn C. Altschuler writes about in his book, “All Shook Up – How Rock ‘n’ Roll Changed America.” Between 1945 and 1965 Rock ‘n’ Roll transformed American society and culture by helping to ease racial integration and launch a sexual revolution while most importantly developing an intergenerational identity. The development of Rock ‘n’ Roll in the late 1940s and early 1950s by young African Americans coincided with a sensitive time in America. Civil rights movements were under way around the country as African Americans struggles to gain equal treatment and the same access to resources as their white neighbors. As courts began to vote in favor of integration, tensions between whites and blacks escalated. As the catchy rhythm of Rock ‘n’ Roll began to cross racial boundaries many whites began to feel threatened by the music, claiming its role in promoting integration. This became especially problematic as their youth became especially drawn to ... ... middle of paper ... ...ions, conformity, authority, and norms. In closing, the undoubtable influence of music, more specifically of Rock ‘n’ Roll on American society is responsible for a number of changes to the status quo. These range from sexual liberation and racial desegregation all culminating with other influences to create an intergenerational identity. Despite the desperate attempts of older generations to smother these influences, these changes ultimately shaped the years that followed, molding the country into what it is today. Along the way these changes as well as individual involvement in them has also eased the lives of many through empowerment and a feeling of community and purpose. Despite a lull and renewal Rock ‘n’ Roll continues to serve as an agent of influence and change in today’s youth culture and continues to burn in the heart of past generations of loyal fans.

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