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5/16/2016 Unit 5: The Birth (and death?) of Rock'n'Roll, American Pop, and the British Invasion: Unit 5 Notes 1/9 MUSC 171 The Social History of Popular Music CDS N16 Table of contents Unit 5 Unit 5 Notes Quick Review Questions Unit Summary Navigation Home Site pages My profile Current course MUSC 171 The Social History of Popular Music CDS N16 Participants Badges General My Moodle Administration Book administration Course administration My profile settings My home Unit 5: The Birth (and death?) of Rock'n'Roll, Ame... Print book Print this chapter
5/16/2016 Unit 5: The Birth (and death?) of Rock'n'Roll, American Pop, and the British Invasion: Unit 5 Notes 2/9 Unit 5 Notes Before you begin Unit 5, complete Exit Ticket 2 if you have not yet do so. Click each section to expand the unit notes. 5.1 The Quest for Quiet and Suburbia The quest for quiet is a major theme of the post-World War II era. Imagine the major-event onslaught that hit two consecutive generations: World War I, the Russian Revolution, Prohibition and the rise of gangsterism (aka the Roaring 20s), the Great Depression (aka the Dirty 30s), and World War II (which included, of course, the Holocaust and nuclear bomb attacks on Japan). In the midst of the early days of the Cold War, the “Communist Threat” and McCarthyism, with the Korean conflict on the horizon, who wouldn’t be looking for some quiet? Thus, the great white rush into the suburbs began. However, new economic prosperity meant that teens became a driving economic force, with their own, disposable income to spend on bubble gum, bobby socks and music. And, for really the first time in North American history, teens were developing their own voices and not just being smaller, pimplier versions of their parents. While adults were pursuing peace and quiet and economic success, their children were craving excitement not available in their white picket fence infested suburbs. Viewing: Leave it to Beaver clips Leave it to Beaver typified the American Dream for many Americans. They could watch the show on their new television sets (miracles in themselves) and enjoy the nutty antics of an essentially peaceful and loving, very white suburban family. Characters and stories that appear to 21 Century viewers as corny and naïve, represented the greatest aspirations of many 1950s viewers. We see happy, wise, understanding parents who are home at the same time as their children; kids who are at home the same time as their parents, who talk to their parents, tell the truth, and – unbidden – explain the lesson they just learned; a dad who brings home the bacon to a very “put together”, loving and supportive wife. In short: aliens! There is no cynicism in this show. It sets domestic standards very high for a population not yet media-savvy enough to understand that what we see on TV is not real. Keep Beaver and his parents (and their fans) in mind as we explore the 1950s and 60s.

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