Rock n Roll & 20th Century Culture Essay

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Rock ‘n’ roll and 20th Century Culture

     According to Philip Ennis, rock ‘n’ roll emerged from the convergence of social transformations which resulted from World War II (Ryan 927). Despite its pop culture origins, rock music is arguably one of the strongest cultural factors to develop in this century. Artists such as
Lennon, McCartney and Dylan defined the emotions of a generation and, in the last decade, it as even been acknowledged by members of the establishment which it hoped to change as a major influence in the country. In order to understand how rock went from a sign of rebellion to a cultural icon, it is necessary to understand where it came from.      According to Albert
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     Rock ‘n’ roll music came of age in the sixties which was a period in the nation’s history when a young generation expressed their anguish and sense of alienation to the country’s social establishments by searching for new answers to the age-old questions concerning the meaning of life, the value of the individual, and the nature of truth and spirituality (Harris 306). The classic rock music which was created during this period gave form and substance to this search. Songs such as “My Generation” by the Who recorded the keen sense of alienation that young people felt from the past and the “Establishment” and it also showed the keen sense of community they felt among themselves.
     Classic albums such as the Beatles’ “White Album,” the
Who’s “Who’s Next,” Dylan’s “Highway 61 Revisited, and Pink
Floyd’s “Dark Side of the Moon” capture what was essential about the time because they were both a result of that time and because they helped to produce it by reinforcing the younger generation’s feelings of alienation and separation.
     Although the distinction is somewhat fuzzy, rock music is not exactly the same as rock and roll. Rock ‘n’ roll brings up memories of two-minute, Top 40 “singles” of the fifties era. Drawn

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