Essay on The Evolution of Music During the 20th Century

Essay on The Evolution of Music During the 20th Century

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Soul had a great cultural impact on the music industry during the 1960's, especially considering that record labels such as Motown, Stax, and Fame had several important soul artists under contract. While Motown was considered by some to be a more restrained (pop) type of soul, musicians such as Marvin Gaye and Stevie Wonder and groups such as the Supremes and the Temptations released many successful records in combination. Both Stax and Fame Records decided to take a different approach, and many of the tracks issued out of their respective studios were of a grittier, southern soul style, which some consider to be more true to the roots of African American culture. Some southern soul musicians include Otis Redding, Wilson Pickett, and Aretha Franklin. During the civil rights movement and more so after Martin Luther King was assassinated, some soul artists began incorporating a "black power" element within their music. For example, take James Brown's single "Say It Loud, I'm Black and Proud".
During the 1960s, and especially during the years following the British invasion, television played a key role in igniting the popularity of several American bands. “American response” bands such as Paul Revere and the Raiders and the Monkees gained considerable success due to the air time they received on TV. It was at this time that three main shows were providing coverage on new musical acts—both British and American alike—and these shows were being targeted towards a teenage demographic. CBS’s Where the Action Is, ABC’s Shindig, and NBC’s Hullabaloo were all major factors in the blossoming careers of the American response bands. This occurrence can also be attributed to British invasion bands such as the Beatles and the Rolling Stones, who ...


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...y and western music was the norm; and mainstream pop was practically everywhere in urban settings. However, as populations shifted, word of mouth spread, and radio stations were able to amplify the reach of their signals – white, middle-class teenagers came to discover a whole other world of music. Take for example, Alan Freed’s radio program, The Moondog Show, which played hit R&B records when other major stations refused to play them. Like radio stations, who utilized recorded music to garner an audience, TV shows did the same by holding special guest appearances by a famous musician or band. These appearances would not only generate views to keep the show on air, but it also elevated its popularity. As an example, consider Ed Sullivan’s television show, Toast of the Town, which went on to boost the popularity of Elvis Presley and several musicians and bands after.

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