The 1960’s The 1960’s were a time of radical change. It was a decade where people began to question authority, and time of confrontation. The decade’s radicalism began with the assassination of John F. Kennedy in November of 1963. This event changed the country’s idealistic views, and started an upheaval of civil rights movements. Baby boomers started a new perception, and formalized the act of resistance to war. There were also many of whom, turned violent and rebellious; in their effort to fight “the system. ” Pop culture flourished and Rock and Roll became the dominating genre of music.
Music was what drove fashion, movies, art and television. In 1965, a protest song called “Eve of Destruction,” sung by Barry McGuire, reached the top of the singles charts. Later on in 1966, a song by Army Staff Sgt. Barry Sadler called “The Ballad of the Green Berets,” which celebrated military and patriotism, also reached the charts.
This reflected the nation’s division. Towards the end of the decade, more and more Americans believed their political leaders and military had falsely convinced them that the Vietnam War was worth fighting and winnable. On January 31st the Vietnamese launched the Tet offensive.
A series of surprise attacks on scores of cities and towns in Vietnam. The offensive implied that if victory was reachable, we were thousands of lives away. Martin Luther King Jr. was assassinated on April 4th while standing in the balcony of his motel room, right before he was to lead a protest march for garbage workers. Following his assassination, outraged by the murder, many blacks went out to the streets in riots. In 1969, in the midst of a growing rebellion, Richard Nixon was inaugurated as president. Yes, there was a rebellion, but looking at the other side of the divisions.
Almost half a million Americans gathered for the Woodstock festival. A three day concert that they hoped promoted a new way of living through the celebration of music, peace, and love. Music in the 1960s was a characteristic in the accelerating radicalism going on during the decade. The British Invasion was a movement that happened from 1964-1666. This was where a surge of British bands were a hit in the United States. The Beatles were one of these bands that defined this movement. The Fab Four, as they were known, performance on the Ed Sullivan Show to many was the beginning of the invasion.
With their catchy songs and good looks, The Beatles became hugely popular and had a huge influence in the music industry. The Beatles were just one of many bands during this decade. Other bands like The Rolling Stones, Led Zeppelin, and Pink Floyd had a great impact on the invasion as well. These are just few of the bands who reached the top of the charts in the new Rock trend. Young people listened to all this music, which reflected the confusion in the media. The British Invasion was added to the counter-cultural rebellion going on at the time. There were three different types of musical styles that many successful bands used.
Each style was different in its own way; there was the ”beat“ bands. Which were fundamentally the pop-rock bands; like The Beatles. Then there were the R&B bands, like The Rolling Stones. That used a guitar based different version of American blues. Which would soon became into “garage” and “frat” rock. Though there were these different styles of rock, The British Invasion had more to do with the pop “beat” bands than the R&B or “frat” bands. Soon this genre of music soon became to be known as what is now “classic rock”. There was still more to music in the 60’s than rock.
Music played an important role in people’s way of questioning authority. For example protest music, which was intended for anti-war movements. That was sung at many protest rallies. Songs like “This Land is Your Land,” by Woody Guthrie. Civil Rights Movement songs were no exception. Taking on traditional folk songs and combining the songs of the Civil Rights Movement songs helped bring great change in society. Many important Civil Rights Movements occurred during the 1960s. Such as the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the Voting Rights Act of 1965, the Immigration and Nationality Services Act of 1965, and the Civil Rights Act of 1968.
These are some of the most important achievements reached, some which had long been waited upon from the black community. In 1960, black college students sat down at a segregated lunch room in North Carolina and were determined not to leave. Their sit-in captured media attention. This later led to led to similar expositions throughout the South. The following year civil rights workers organized “freedom rides. ” In these freedom rides blacks and whites boarded buses towards segregated south terminals. Where they thought more disputes might capture media attention and eventually lead to change.
They also organized rallies. There biggest one being the “March on Washington” in 1963. Over 200,000 people came together in the nation’s capital to show their commitment to equality for all. After a day of speeches and songs the highlight of the day was the speech given by Martin Luther King Jr. “I have a dream that one day on the red hills of Georgia, sons of former slaves and the sons of former slave owners will be able to sit down together at the table of brotherhood,” King exclaimed. Every time he said, “I have a dream,” the crowd went crazy.
Violence followed the aggressive claims for reform. Riots broke out in a couple of big cities in 1966 and 1967. In 1968, Martin Luther King was shot dead. Several months later, Senator Robert Kennedy, who was a spokesman for the disadvantaged, an opposed person to the Vietnam War was assassinated as well. These two assassinations noted the end of the times of innocence and idealism for both anti-war and civil rights movements. Media, music, politics, and fashion were all connected, and each influenced upon each other.
So fashion in the 1960s was as radical as everything else going on at the time. There were two main types of fashion trends; the Mod Fashions and the Hippie Clothes. The Mod fashion was a combination of British and American fashion combined. While Hippie Clothing were more laid back natural style. Mod, which is short for “modern”, was a time period were fashion trends came out of London during the 1960s, and quickly spread to America, Europe and Australia. The mod lifestyle trend centered on innovation and the “new”. Mod fashion was slim fitting and featured bold geometric shapes.
Color played a big role. The grays, browns, and darker colors of the 1950s were replaced by bright fluorescent colors. In comparison to fashion trends of before Mod Fashion were mass produced and affordable. Towards the end of the 1960s, the Hippie movement came in. A lot of young people had became displeased with the more dominant social values; often thinking of them as shallow and materialistic. Many then began to accept willingly the values of peace, love and freedom. Clothing styles and fabrics were inspired by Indian and African cultures.
Natural fabrics and tie-dyed were also popular. Some people even handcrafted their own clothes and accessories. Also many personal items were often decorated with beads and fringes. Bare feet or leather sandals were usual hippie fashion. Peace signs and flowers became signs of the movement. This decade was an important decade since everything from politics, media, music and fashion played a part in shaping American history. The 1960’s was a time of standing to the government, and a time of uniting. Prior to this period, people did just as the government wanted, but no longer.
The American people stood up against the Vietnam War and African Americans united with one another during the civil rights movement. Important leaders such as John F. Kennedy and Martin Luther King Jr. were an example to people to stand up against “the system”. The assassinations of the individuals added to both these causes. This led to the America expressing their true selves. This expression was in the way of music and fashion. This decade showed American people can change the government if they are united and that one can be themselves and express themselves.
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