How the Hippies Counterculture Transformed Music Essay

How the Hippies Counterculture Transformed Music Essay

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In the 1950’s and 1960’s, rebellion and music were synonymous. The 1950’s brought widespread attention to a new kind of music coined as “Rock ‘n’ Roll”. Because parents deemed the music as sinful, the youth used it to establish an identity for themselvess. In the 1960’s, the rebellion was given a collective charge when young adults voiced displeasure over the country’s entrance into the Vietnam War and the use of nuclear weapons. One group within this movement was coined the “hippies”. This paper will discuss the beliefs of the hippies of Haight-Ashbury in San Francisco, California and illustrate how the hippie “counterculture” transformed into an evolution of music, in the making of protest songs and the new “psychedelic” sound. It will elaborate on the musicians who found fame in responding to the call by this movement.
Hippie movements in the 1960’s were happening throughout the U.S., in New York in the northeast, in Atlanta in the south, but the largest movement, known as the “Hippie Revolution,” took place in San Francisco, California. The main reason for this can be traced back to the “gold rush” of the late 1840’s and early 1850’s, when people from across the globe traveled to the state to make a fortune on gold. San Francisco, between the winter of 1848 and the end of 1849, experienced a population increase from 1,000-25,000 and this rapid increase would continue through the following decade. The rush for gold meant the establishment of an infrastructure: ships, railways for trains and more roads. In the neighborhood of Haight-Ashbury, the year 1883 saw the completion of “The Haight,” a cable car line connecting Haight-Ashbury to the east edge of the adjacent Golden Gate Park, a public resting area, and downtown San Fran...


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... War activists. As a result, this new type of music was seen as a way to establish a sense of identity and pride in oneself by the current generation. Rock ‘n’ roll concert events were a perfect way to get those activists together to simultaneously protest what it was they believed in, be it anti-technology, sexual stereotypes, communal living or pro-drug use or just simply desiring peace. Musicians rose to further fame by voicing the ideas of its listeners across a broad platform and drugs created a type of music that could enhance the timelessness of their drug experience in a supposedly new state of consciousness. Rock ‘n’ roll had gained popularity before the hippie movement began but the characteristics of the movement certainly helped to provide a gateway for new musicians to gain popularity and for those same musicians to exhibit further musical exploration.

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