Chapter 5 - Chapter 5 The 1960s(Part I In historical...

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Chapter 5: The 1960s (Part I) In historical perspective the early 1960s can be thought of as an “in-between” period in American popular music. The energy and excitement of the early rock ‘n’ roll era was over and the explosion of the British invasion was yet to come. But like it’s audience, it can be seen that rock, as it would soon be referred to, was entering into its adolescence during this period. The trajectory of pop music was, of course, inseparably linked with the tumultuous events of the 1960s. By the end of the decade three major political figures, John F. Kennedy, Martin Luther King, Jr., and Robert Kennedy, had been assassinated. The cold war tensions of the 1950s reached a peak in 1962, when a nuclear conflict between the U.S. and the U.S.S.R. was narrowly averted during the Cuban missile crisis. Racial tensions escalated and led to a wave of riots that roiled many cities during the middle to later part of the decade. An unpopular and controversial war in Vietnam caused a backlash by American college students, resulting in protests and conflicts on college campuses. Popular music was influenced by and was often influential on these turbulent times. Several important trends in popular music developed in the beginning of the decade. A new type of dancing emerged, one that didn’t involve contact between the participants. The first dance in this new style was the Twist , a dance craze that was introduced by Chubby Checker’ s hit cover version of “The Twist.” It wasn’t the first noncontact dance to emerge in American popular culture, but it was an important shift in the style of popular dance. It also marked the beginning of adult acceptance of rock ‘n’ roll music. Members of the first generation to grow up with rock ‘n’ roll, who were in their teens during the mid-1950s, were now entering their 20s and becoming writers and producers. In The Brill Building on New York’s west side the traditional Tin Pan Alley model of songwriters composing songs and publishers getting them to vocalists to record was reinvigorated and updated to fit the times. Record producers such as Phil Spector, who had grown up with rock ‘n’ roll and been a performer, were now becoming the movers and shapers of pop music. At the same time, the concept of the recording artist who writes, plays, and sings his or her own material was continued and expanded by artists such as Brian Wilson of the Beach Boys. Chuck Berry and Buddy Holly had, of course, been rock ‘n’ roll pioneers of this self-contained approach in the previous decade. As the 1960s progressed, rock bands that wrote and performed their own music would increasingly become the norm . Dance Music “The Twist” was written by Hank Ballard and originally recorded by his rhythm & blues group Hank Ballard and the Midnighters as the B-side of a single. The B-side was considered to be the secondary recording, while the A-side was the focus of promotion and marketing. Ernest Evans,
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