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Drugs and Rock&roll - Research Paper Example

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Drugs and Rock&roll

Rock and roll in the late 40s and 50s was mainly identified as African American music. Moreover, white middle-class youth enjoyed it immensely. These youth would go in search of dancing halls where rock and roll was the staple as the predominantly White areas would not play it. The notion that Rock and Roll music merely supports the pure expression of reality is erroneous. Since its inception in the 1950s many ‘Rock and Roll’ musicians have romanticized drug abuse and early death and have been partially responsible for the broad acceptance of psychedelic drugs in society. This scandalized their parents as they felt that White youth would inevitably adopt Black culture and mannerisms if they only listened to Black musicians. Mixing with Black people in any context was strictly forbidden in the 50s in the United States. The rock and roll beat, which was so intriguing, was viewed by the older generation of Americans as being similar to the primitive rhythms which originated in Africa. What was especially frightening for the parents of this era is that they could not seem to be able to stop their children from liking this new and foreign music. There were many attempts to quell the ‘wild’ beats used in rock and roll by using mellow White singers like Pat Boone re-do songs that were originally done by Black musicians (Evans, 1998). Moreover, this did nothing to stop the popularity of rock and roll among the youth.
One of the reasons why parents were so concerned with this music genre is because the Black musicians did not make any effort to hide the fact that they believed that drugs were a necessity if one was to create good music. According to some rock and roll musicians, drugs would help the musician to explore his or her inner thoughts while simultaneously escaping the limitations of real life. This would result in enhanced creativity due to better sensory perception. Government authorities in America attempted to arrest the increased abuse of drugs but were unable to stop this trend. In 1951, Alan Freed, a White disc jockey from Cleveland launched a radio show known as "Moondog Rock 'n' Roll Party,". This station would only play music that was created by Black musicians. It has been claimed that the words ‘rock and roll’ were first heard on this station. Entire neighborhoods with White populations would tune in to this station whenever it was on air. More and more White musicians, particularly the youthful ones, began to experiment with creating music that sounded like what was heard on Alan Freed’s Moondog Rock 'n' Roll Party. Rock lyrics were not only popular because they were rhythmic, but also because they challenged the accepted rules of the mainstream society. The music motivated the youth to revolt against the social norms. At that time, it was an accepted thing that “children should be seen and not heard”. Rock music challenged this norm by encouraging every living being to seek self expression. Rock also encouraged young adults to experiment with things they were unsure of, such as drugs, in order to establish for sure that they were not good. Hollywood culture took advantage of this misunderstanding caused by, among other things, the generation gap and started to generate documents claiming to “ ...Show more


In the United States, the abuse of drugs and popular music was first intertwined when jazz musicians in the 1930s began to smoke marijuana massively. …
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