The procession of rock
By the beginning of the 60s, the next generation was approaching adulthood. Parents of these children actively fought for peace, tranquility and abundance. Parents, however, entered it with a load of unpaid debts – they brought with them the fear of nuclear war and the sin of racial hatred, and the ideals of equality and justice were simply trampled on in pursuit of stability and success. It is not surprising that children questioned the moral and political foundations of the post-war world; these new moods are reflected in their musical predilections.
Dylan’s songs about racial oppression and the threat of nuclear annihilation immediately turned into hymns, and the song “Times – they are changing” sounded the first warning about growing social tension. However, with all its adherence to the brightest ideals, folk still remained the music of the past, a means of communication between the politicized intelligentsia and rock and roll, which were looking at children’s entertainment with undisguised irony. The new generation did not yet have its own unique voice.
The revival of rock and roll began, to the surprise of many, in a city far from the United States and quite provincial – Liverpool. When Brian Epstein, the manager of a local music store, once went into a cellar called “Cavern”, he heard in the music of the ensemble playing there not only the echoes of the local passion for America’s vibrant life rhythm. At The Beatles, the bold courage of the British outsider seethed, eager to capture all that he had so far been deprived of.
Having cleaned up the early Beatle sloppiness, the Epstein manager left this morale in the pets. On February 9, 1964, the Beatles appeared before 70 million American television viewers. It was a historic event. It built bridges between countries and styles; it also created new borders – between eras and generations.
Bob Dylan, feeling more acutely the limitations of his audience, the narrowness of the stylistic framework of the genre, offered his old flock a short program of completely new, “electric” music. Hearing guitar howls, folk purists howled in response, and Dylan’s new music was already pouring a life-giving stream into rock. The Beatles and Dylan shocked the whole foundation of youth culture, changed the sound of rock and the direction of its development, discovered the principles that are fundamental today.
The Beatles-Dylan bunch became the driving force behind 60s rock. And yet, even she did not exhaust the entire scope of the youth movement.
Toward them, a stream of sharp, “dirty” soul spilled out of Memphis. The decade moved to its climax, the intensity of racial clashes grew, and soul music – along with jazz giants such as Miles Davis, John Coltrane, Charles Mingus or Eric Dolphy – came to the forefront of this struggle; the proud power of negro self-consciousness was fully embodied in it. Black pop music made such statements about racial liberation, which ten years ago it was scary to think about. But perhaps the main victory of that time was the merger of two cultures: white and black. It was a bright, festive, slightly extravagant union, for which, it seemed, nothing was impossible. The new music embodied the dream of unity and equality, harmony and tolerance.
In the second half of the decade, disasters hit rock: the Beatles announced the final cessation of concert activity, in 1966 Bob Dylan had a car accident and was turned off from the creative process for a whole year, in 1967 Mick Jagger and Kate Richards were arrested for drug possession , Brian Jones are members of the Rolling Stones.
By the time the Beatles’ ideas spilled onto the streets, Haight-Ashbury had already turned into a gigantic stash ruled by tramps, thieves and false prophets and cocaine with heroin. Opposition to rock culture was brewing in society. The time has come for newspaper panic and age discrimination.
In January 1968, Dylan released “John Wesley Harding” – an album that seems to still be exploring the health of a nation that is decaying from the inside, but already completely devoid of color and defiantly impudent in its acoustic simplicity. This album led to a complete revision of rock and roll values. Interest in blues guitarists flared up again, gospels sounded in the charts, acoustic groups got recognition, they even began to relate to country and western performers in a new way.