Rock and Roll Times

This section is about the times that Rock was born. You can’t understand the music without knowing about the times.

The Golden Age of Rock starts in the 50s. Dwight Eisenhower was president, segregation was firmly entrenched, dress was conservative, radios had tubes and were AM only, and the interstate highway system hadn’t even been proposed.

By the time of Woodstock, we had been through the beginnings of desegregation starting with Eisenhower (and still in the works today), Camelot with President Kennedy, the Vietnam buildup with LBJ, and a near constitutional crisis with Tricky Dicky Nixon. The information age had begun, computers were beginning to be used by businesses.

The baby boomers were hitting their teens and early twenties, just the age where they question everything. “Children are to be seen but not heard” was an idea of the past and changes in society allowed them, actually encouraged them, to speak up. There was a general prosperity as the country recovered from the austerity of WWII, and parents were out to spoil their children.

Technology was everywhere. The information age had begun. Cars were cool again, and just about anyone could own one. Improvements in TV technology, news reporting, air travel, and long distance service made the world seem smaller.

Counterculture movements became prominent, first with the Beatniks and followed by the Hippies. Many elements of the countercultures were brought into everyday life. Psychedilia started with the drug culture and moved into everyday life. Dress became casual, T-shirts and jeans went mainstream, and Rock music took over the airwaves.

Most of all, music became easier to find. Phonographs, transistor radios, and television shows delivered the newest sounds weekly. Where radio music was just “played” before, DJs developed their own style. Top 20 lists grew and there was a list for every flavor and style of Rock. A crank the radio dial could bring any type.