Background of the Countercultural Movement 1960s

  • Define countercultural movement
  • Movements that sparked this movement
    • WWII
    • Civil Rights
    • Women’s Rights
    • Vietnam
    • Sexual Revolution
    • Societal changes prevalent in music
    • Youth facilitated this countercultural movement
      • The youth did not react to the events during the 1960s but instead the youth at this time caused this movement and its success


Emergence of new musical genres

  • Means of expression in the countercultural movement
  • Shattered ‘norms’
    • Examples of artists shattered the norms genres previous existence
      • Jimi Hendrix
      • Bob Dylan
      • The Beatles
      • The Beach Boys
      • Pop and rock transformed
        • The Pop of the 1960s was broken down into four distinct categories: East Coast DooWop, R&B, California/San Francisco, and Motown.
        • Broader audiences

          Blurring of racial boundaries and a broader audience

          • Partially due to the diversity of artists
            • Black artists emerged for the first time and played a key role in this movement’s new type genre
  • New technology made music more accessible to everyone
    • Pocket sized radios
    • Car stereos
  • Television and the “Ed Sullivan Show”
    • The Beatles 
(made up of John Lennon, Paul McCartney, George Harrison, and Ringo Starr) created a “Beatlemania” across the world with their innovative musical style. The craze has also become known as the “British Invasion.”  74 million Americans tuned in to see the group’s first live U.S. television performance on the “Ed Sullivan Show.”
    • Ed Sullivan’s Rock and Roll Classics: The Sixties


  • Women challenged traditional views of the female and addressed feminist issues head on in their music
  • Women artists who flourished in this movement
  • Examples of women artists and groups who flourished during this movement
    • Janice Joplin
      • Was the first white female to transform the Blues while entering into the rock world at the same time
      • Played at Woodstock
      • Died of a drug overdose but left a lasting legacy forever
      • Her performances were theatrical and meaningful
      • She created this whole new sphere in the rock world where women held a place
        • Greatly changed the dynamic of rock for all the women who followed her
  • Aretha Franklin
    • Her song “Think” was #7 in 1968 in the US
    • Aretha Franklin’s “Think”
    • Combines funk and gospel music, which was a new type of music that became her own
    • Her music exuded confidence in her lyrics and her presentation
    • Gets her points across regarding women’s power and independence in a meaningful, intense way
  • The Shangri-Las
    • Their song “Out in the Streets” was a huge hit in 1965
    • The Shangri-Las “Out in the Streets” 1965
    • Influenced the pop melodrama genre of music and seemed as if they were a support group for the depressed through their music
    • A shift from “teen-beat” songs about love to topics prevalent to adulthood such as fetishism and guilt
    • “Out in the Streets” sends a message that the beautiful should punish themselves as atonement
  • The Crystals
    • Their song “And Then He Kissed Me” was #6 in 1963 on the US charts
    • Reputation of sweethearts and sang pop
    • Their messages centered around monogamy and enjoying the sweet, innocence of a relationship before human desires get the best of us
  • The Ronettes
    • Their song “Be My Baby” was #2 in 1963 on US charts
    • The Ronette’s “Be My Baby” 1963
    • Pop is their genre
    • The lead singer, Ronnie Bennett, had an incredible voice that was undeniable no matter what the theme of the song was
    • Live performances were life changing to audiences

Joni Mitchell

Politically charged music

  • Songs used as anthems for rallies, demonstrations, and attracted political support and attention
    • “Fortunate Son” by Credence Clearwater Revival

      Creedence Clearwater Revival

    • “For What It’s Worth” by Buffalo Springfield
    • Songs conveyed general feelings towards politics, war, life, society
      •  “Imagine” by John Lennon
      •  “What’s Going On” by Marvin Gaye
      • Songs addressed specific events taking place in the 1960s
        •  “Abraham, Martin, and John” by Dion Dimuci
        • “Chicago” by Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young
        • “Ohio” by Crosby, Stills, and Nash
        • Major Performers
          • Bob Dylan

            Bob Dylan performing at the 1965 Newport Folk Festival

          • Joan Baez
          • Sly & the Family Stone
          • Jimi Hendrix

            Jimi Hendrix

          • Crosby, Stills, Nash, and Young
          • Country Joe & the Fish
          • Jefferson Airplane
          • Credence Clearwater Revival
          • Peter, Paul, & Mary
          • The Mamas & The Papas


  • Freedom of expression and desire for change in a communal setting
  • Specific festivals
    • Monterey International Pop Music Festival
      • Three-day festival was held June 16-18, 1967 at the Monterey County Fairgrounds in Monterey, California
      • 200,000 people attended
      • Artists:
        • Jimi Hendrix, The Who, and Janice Joplin
  • Woodstock Music and Art Fair
    • In White Lake, New York from August 15-17, 1969
    • Woodstock attracted half a million young people
    • Slogan: “Three Days of Peace and Music” 
    • Artists incorporated antiwar messages and peace
      • Music from Jimi Hendrix, Janis Joplin, The Grateful Dead, The Who, and Jefferson Airplanes
      • Creedence Clearwater Revival at Woodstock 1969
      • Themes of music:
        • “Sex, drugs, and rock and roll”
        • Role of drugs
          • Marijuana
          • LSD
          • Rebellious youth
            • Tie-dye
            • Long, shaggy hair
            • Shift away from societal ‘norms’