Music During the Vietnam War Essay

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Music During the Vietnam War

Throughout time, music has been an influential part of society. As a form of entertainment and expression, its impact has always been felt both economically and emotionally. During the Vietnam war, music evolved into more a form of expression rather than pure entertainment. Emotionally charged songs became a method to oppose the war, and vent frustrations. While many songs opposed the war, numerous others focused on peace and happiness. They provided a positive perspective in an otherwise depressing time. Along with incorporating passion into music, cultural diversity increased in music greatly. Black artists became progressively more popular and accepted in the musical scene. This respect
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Black musicians gained respect and a consistent audience. Names such as B.B. King, Aretha Franklin, The Temptations, Little Richard, among others, would not be recognized if it weren’t for John Hammond. The fact that black musicians were accepted and even respected, translated to a beginning of the civil rights movement.3 This attitude slowly carried over from music to the world as a whole with the help of civil rights leaders.

Many artists created a new form of music through the influence of the black artists. The first signs of this influence appeared in the music of Elvis Presley and Buddy Holly. It carried on to artists like Bob Dylan, The Beatles, and various other musicians.4 A new form of music emerged, rock and roll. This new style of music was fueled by emotion. One of the first stages in the development of rock and roll was sacrificing musical complexity for the sake of capturing an audience. The jazz and blues songs that were popular before rock and roll emerged, consisted of several chords and elaborate rhythms, while rock and roll songs are comprised of only three or four chords and very simple rhythms.5 More direct expressions of emotions were used, and lyrics of personal and political significance were brought into the mix. The relationship between artists and their audiences changed. Fans related to the musicians’ opinions rather than simply the style of the music. As a result of the bold lyrics, a general respect for musicians
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