The Music Of The 60'S

Author: Brenda Coxe
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Aah! The Glorious 60's – at least that's the way I see it when I hear some of the music that the radio stations play now. Our parents would have shuddered at some of the content and language that is found in the music of the 21st Century and even the late 20th Century.

My musical interests started as a young girl of perhaps eight or nine, but at that time I certainly wasn't interested in the Top 40. My mother, I am disappointed to say, was not a fan of modern music until after I entered my teens and converted her. For that reason, I was perhaps 11 or 12 when I was playing with the dials on the radio one day and managed to tune into 1380-AM, the popular rock station of the day. From that day forward my radio went with me everywhere I went.

Those who are older may remember the transistor radio – a small radio about the size of a cell phone that could be put in your purse or pocket. It went with me everywhere, even in my book bag to school. At any given moment I was able to tell you the Top 20 (there was only 20 then) on the charts.

The early sixties I don't recall much other than on the oldies stations, but I recall it being an era of wonderful dance tunes and of course, the start of the beach and race car songs. Then came 1963 – the start of the First Wave British Invasion with The Beatles, The Dave Clark Five, Rolling Stones, Herman's Hermits, P.J. Proby, and Petula Clark just to name a few.

Beginning about 1966 a different wave hit the shores with hard rock and the likes of Steppenwolf, The Doors, Eric Clapton with Cream, and a few others. This style was the predecessor to heavy metal, but at the same time, it was a much tamer kind of sound. Though there may have been the occasional "damn" in the lyrics, there was no vulgarity and any song that even hinted at sex or drugs was banned. I Think We're Alone Now almost made it to obscurity because of the second verse, and Jefferson Airplane's White Rabbit made it on the banned list for quite some time.

The age of Folk Rock and Protest followed as the Viet Nam war became more and more of an issue for our young people, myself included. Bob Dylan's Eve of Destruction became almost a national anthem along with another song by a one-hit wonder called Dawn of Correction. Joan Baez and Donovan also hit the scene at this time in musical history. During this period of time many groups and artists faded from the scene because they either weren't able to change with the time or they weren't interested in doing so.

By 1967 the Dave Clark 5, previously the runners up to The Beatles began to wan in popularity, not because they were not still a good band, but because their dance style of performing was no longer what the teens wanted to hear. By the end of the decade, you either changed your style of music or you became a has-been.

Some of the young people today feel the music of the 60's was "yucky," but if you listen to some of the music today, it's directly connected to that era. Phil Collins' Groovy Kind of Love is a remake of Wayne Fontana and the Mindbenders' 1960's version. Tiffany's 1980's I Think We're Alone Now was a remake of Tommy James & The Shondells' 1960's version. Personally, with a few exceptions, the music of the 1960's was much clearer to understand, and there was no need to censor the lyrics or even consider it. Yes, things must change, but should they not change for the better?

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