We can’t look at the artists, music or events without mentioning the technological advances and recording techniques and the special effects of the time that helped make a big impact on the artistry as well as the business in 1960’s rock n roll. Also the way we listened to this music changed in the 1960’s.
We didn’t listen to our records on our toy record player or hi-fi any longer; we listened to them on a stereo. During the 60’s almost all mono recordings were replaced by ones in stereo.
The choice of medium became wider with the compact cassette and 8-track tapes. The re-recording ability of the compact cassette really helped in its popularity, not to mention its compact size and portability. Along with the compact cassette came the portable cassette players, 8-track players in-car and portable stereos. These things really had a tremendous impact on the music industry.
Multi-track recording invented in the 1940’s by Les Paul was improved upon and widely used in most studios in the 60’s. Two of many bands that fully utilized the technology and were innovative in the use of multi-track recording techniques were The Beatles and The Beach Boys. Although very crude compared to today’s technology, these groups among others helped put this technology on the map as far as their musical expressions were concerned.
Some of the effects old and new to the time that were utilized in many of the recordings of the 1960’s were re-verb, distortion, echo and wha-wha. Also larger and louder amplifiers and sound systems were developed with less distortion which made it easier to play to larger audiences. Another big breakthrough was the introduction of Dolby noise reduction which improved sound quality tremendously. You can hear all of these and others in the Psychedelic Music of the 1960’s.
Television had a huge impact on this industry with shows like American Bandstand, The Ed Sullivan Show, The Beatles Cartoon Show and The Monkeys to name a few. If you’re old enough, you still remember seeing The Beatles on the Ed Sullivan Show.
The decade of the 60’s was one of many accomplishments as well as tragedy, war and violence. It was a time of technological advances and great individual accomplishments, a decade of firsts: the first heart transplant, the first televised Presidential debate, the first man in space, the first man on the moon and the first Super Bowl.
As a nation we mourned the loss of a President gunned down in Dallas. We cried as his brother met the same fate. The Civil Rights Movement which had made great strides in the Sixties was shook by a gunman in Memphis. Along with the Civil Rights Movement we saw the rise of feminism, the anti-war movement, the rise of the New Left and increased crime–riots in Los Angeles, Chicago and Detroit to name a few. We heard it all. Let’s not forget our fallen bothers.
We saw many of our young men as they went off to fight in what was to many a senseless war. This along with the strong materialistic values of the time and the Cold War helped spawn a counterculture or social revolution. These rebels of the time were called hippies. The hippie movement grew massively and very fast. The movement was marked by their drug use, free love and of course, their music.
The counterculture revolution created a vast market for rock, soul, pop, blues, reggae and folk music. Artists influenced by the drug culture music of the times included The Beatles, The Rolling Stones, Jefferson Airplane, Cream, The Grateful Dead, Janis Joplin, Led Zeppelin, Jimi Hendrix, Bob Marley, Bob Dylan, The Who and Donovan to name only a few.
A vast many of these artists and others of the Sixties were greatly influenced by the music that resonated from the Mississippi Delta and into the larger cities like Chicago, Detroit, St. Louis and Memphis. In their youth many of these aspiring artists would spend hours listening to the sounds of Robert Johnson, Muddy Waters, Elmore James, Howlin’ Wolf and Son House. This was especially true of the musicians across the pond in England. Even today the Blues are quite popular there. We must not forget the heroes of the 1950’s that left their impressions, including Little Richard, Chuck Berry, Fats Domino, Jerry Lee Lewis, Carl Perkins and of course, Elvis Presley. John Lennon once said that Chuck Berry was his teacher but Elvis was his idol.
With all this in mind the artists of the 1960’s took that influence and added their own artistic expression which was augmented by the use of hallucinogenic drugs. The most popular besides marijuana was LSD, which gave birth to music known as Psychedelic Music also known as Acid Rock. The effect of the drug use is reflected in much of the rock music of the sixties. Whether you agree or not with this practice one will have to admit that some of greatest music was claimed to be written under the influence of these substances.
Next post we’ll take a closer look at some of the artists, music and events that had the greatest impact on the overall music scene of the decade.
It’s more than just about the music. Music is a mood, attitude or a state of mind, at the same time music can affect ones mood, attitude or state of mind. No matter the genre, music can affect our very soul. I couldn’t imagine a world without music.
Music can have an effect on ones psyche. I believe even affect us on a physiological level. Music makes us happy and sad. Music makes us weak and strong.
I have respect and appreciation for all musical genres. For me Blues, Jazz and Rock get it done. Not to say I don’t spend a lot of time listening to R&B, Soul, Pop, Bluegrass, Country and Classical music, I do.
No matter your favorite type of music, one can agree it is one thing that make life a little bit more bearable at times and meaningful to others.
So maybe it is about the music.
The sum of a man’s problems comes from his
inability to be alone in a silent room
We learn in our guts, not just in our brains, that a life of joy is not in seeking happiness, but in experiencing and simply being the circumstances of our life as they are; not in fulfilling personal wants, but in fulfilling the needs of life; not in avoiding pain, but in being pain when it is necessary to do so. Too large an order? Too hard? On the contrary, it is the easy way
Charlotte Joko Beck