A Review of the 1960s: Peace, Love, and Music

Review 1960 Peace MusicThe “Summer of Love” really sums up the history of hippie beliefs and fashion. In the summer of 1967 in San Francisco, over 100,000 people gathered to promote love and protest the Vietnam War. Monterey Pop Festival was another part of the Summer of Love that included a three-day music festival in Monterey, California. This festival had some iconic performances from acts like The Jimi Hendrix Experience and artists like The Who and Janis Joplin. A few years later in August of 1969 is when the most famous music festival occurred: Woodstock.

The emergence of these musical festivals that focused on peace, love, and music came along with the developing rock and roll counter culture. The conservative, “keeping up with the joneses” lifestyle of the 1950s was a perfect segue into the counter culture that came to be in the 1960s.

Although rock and roll began with artists like Chuck Berry in the 40s and even a little later in the 50s with Elvis Presley, the 1960s is most known for the solid rock and roll culture. Rock music helped to motivate young people to question their government and what was going on in the world.

Not only did the 1960s include the completely unjustified war in Vietnam where we sent thousands of American troops to their inevitable death, but our nation was also dealing with the unrest of the Civil Rights Movement. Racial tensions were high in the 1960s. Over 100 years after slavery was abolished in the United States, black Americans were still dealing with harsh segregation, which oftentimes landed them in jail, got them beaten, or even killed.

This decade was also home to many startling assassinations that were brutal attacks on peace. First there was Patrice Lumumba in 1961. Lumumba was the Prime Minister of the Republic of the Congo and always advocated for the freedom of the Congo from Belgium.

Here in the States, we had the infamous assassination of John F. Kennedy in 1963, Malcolm X in 1965, and both Martin Luther King Jr. and Robert Kennedy in 1968.

All of these historic figures were either advocates for peace or civil rights leaders and their cruel deaths represent a time of confusion and chaos that ensued during the 1960s.

All of the turmoil of this decade lead people not only to the streets, but also to the studios and ultimately to radio. The art of music (and even painting and poetry) became a movement for peace and change.

Another movement that saw a resurgence in the 60s was the feminist movement. By the 1950s it became the norm for women to stay home and stay in the kitchen. Although TV shows of the 50s show women loving their roles as housewives, The Feminine Mystique by Betty Friedan said otherwise. Friedan exposed the abuse and neglect women faced during the 1950s as housewives. While women, on paper, seemed to have all the same rights as men, they were very much neglected and discriminated against.

The 1960s became a re-emergence of the feminist movement. This empowerment of women was very noticeable in the rock world where many women broke out and became icons for the music industry. There were musicians such as Janis Joplin and Mama Cass Elliot who were paving the way for women in rock.

The 1960s were a very liberating era where those who felt like they had no power and no say in what was going on had a voice. From the importance of rock and roll music and the counter culture to the demonstrations for peace and basic human rights, the 1960s was arguably one of the loudest decades for the youth of the time. You could not be silenced in the 1960s and this set a precedent for the decades to come.

We can view the 1960s as an inspiration for the way we live our lives as students today. We have a voice and the 60s demonstrated different ways for us to use it.