Jim Morrison is one of the most influential figures in the history of Rock music. Though he died in 1971, at the age of 27, his records sell better 25 years after his death than they did when he was alive. His band, the Doors, had a unique style that was largely due to Morrison's song writing and performing. But, Morrison's great influence is not primarily musical. Instead, it was Morrison's status as a rebel that originally made him so popular with teenage audiences. And, this rebellious role made his popularity continue to the present.
There had been other popular music stars who appealed to teenage girls, and made teenage boys want to imitate them. But, Morrison came at the height of young people's reaction against American society in the late 1960s. Morrison was a part of that prosperous society. He was born in 1943, and his father was a career naval officer who eventually became an admiral.
His family moved around a great deal, but Morrison led a fairly typical middle-class American life The American middle class had achieved the highest standard of living in history. But, the prosperity of the 1950s also led to an emphasis on conformity. Many affluent young people began to believe that their society could offer only “ a life of mediocrity” in which the individual “ languishes as a cog in the machine, while dreaming of a life fit for heroes” (Reynolds and Press 3).
In the 1960s, the civil rights movement, the war in Vietnam, and the sexual revolution began to show what was wrong with this prosperous society. Because of the rise in the birth rate following World War II, a huge new Baby Boom generation existed. When this generation reacted against the problems of the society, the number of teenagers, and the amount of money they had, combined to create a powerful new kind of youth culture. The leading voices in this culture were the rebellious stars of Rock and Roll, a kind of music that...
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Reynolds, Simon, and Joy Press. The Sex Revolts: Gender, Rebellion, and Rock 'n 'Roll. Cambridge: Harvard U P, 1995.
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