The Shape of the Sixties

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Jefferson Airplanes co-founder, Paul Kantner once said “If you can remember anything about the sixties, then you weren't really there.” Sure, “The Sixties” may have been just been a decade long party, but there was a different side to this era. The counter-culture that was the sixties undoubtedly revolutionized the world that we life in today. The music was edgy, and heavily drug influenced but marked the beginning of a whole new sound. The sixties also marked a new age of film production based on both technology and content. The speeches were controversial but shaped a better world. This era was heavily filled with controversy, scandal and crime but through this it changed the world.

As Cat Steven's sings in the song Peace Train, “I've been smiling lately, dreaming about the world as one. And I believe it could be someday it's going to come.” What Cat is trying to say here is that she can see change is coming, and the world is going to be a better place, a place of equality. However America in the sixties was a very uneasy time, with the Vietnam War as well as the Civil Rights Movement. Both of these were both huge catalysts for all of the protest in the sixties. At the end of the Civil War many groups were created in order to achieve this equality but the process was painfully slow. It wasn't until this era however that hundreds of years of work finally began to pay off. The hippie movement stood up in agreement with this change, and with them came the support of the music. In 1963 Bob Dylan released the song Blowin' in the Wind a non-specific song but very related to the uneasy times. This song is essentially a universal plea for humans to learn from our mistakes and to have freedom. The song has being covered numerous times and is a staple for any anti-war song. The second stanza of the song goes “How many years can a mountain exist, Before it's washed to the sea? Yes, 'n' how many years can some people exist, Before they're allowed to be free? Yes, 'n' how many times can a man turn his head, Pretending he just doesn't see? The answer, my friend, is blowin' in the wind, The answer is blowin' in the wind.” What Dylan is saying here is very clear, the people he is talking about is any group that has been oppressed or alienated should now be free, for everyone deserves freedom. The music of the sixties was not only groundbreaking and revolutionary, it was also changed the shape of music. Something happened in the sixties that was tokened as the “Britsh Invasion”, the British musicians essentially took over the American music industry and formed it into their own. This all started when The Beatles first appeared on The Ed Sullivan Show and took off into superstardom. In 1967 The Beatles released the album Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band, a simply amazing record that was the anthem for the summer of 1967. This marked a new age and a new sound for what music was and will be. The sixties are when lyrics became edgy and people started to stand up against the government and oppression. In 1968 The Beatles released the song Revolution, a song with much apt to the current time. In the second verse it goes “You say you got a real solution.Well, you know. We'd all love to see the plan.” The Beatles are asking the government for their so called plan of action.1964, Dylan released“With God on our Side” this is another protest song that traces the history of America's conflicts dealing with all sorts of past wars. The lyrics are a vicious attack on the attitude that claims a war is vindicated. Music played a huge role in making the sixties a revolutionary time, and without these extraordinary people much less would have been accomplished in this era.

Through music you can see that media influence plays a lead role in bring about revolution, film in the sixties represented a decade of fun, music, fashion and countless social change. In the sixties was the first time that film began to really be about controversial subjects....
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