What were the 60's all about then? Well in terms of music it was a period of construction, building on the impact of the emergence of Rock and Roll in the 50's, where Elvis Presley and Chuck Berry laid down a ground-breaking, sexual blueprint and taking that ignition into a million other spaces. The artists of the 60's found themselves in a brave new world and whilst the decade started with the 7" single very much to the fore, it ended with albums becoming just as important, forming bodies of work, rather than a snapshot. But whatever the format, the power of song was key. The songs that were being written at the end of the 60's couldn't have been imagined at the start and there are a multitude of factors for this, sexual permissiveness, mind-altering recreational drugs and the societal movement of a youth culture that wanted to define itself by what it wasn't, namely anti-establishment and pro-innovation. So if we define the 60's as a period of building, what did it lay the musical foundations for? The answer is pretty much every type of music you love and cherish today be that pop, rock, folk, metal, soul, dance or funk. More importantly, it laid down the blueprint for how songs were written and performed. Whilst the ethos of what a band could stand for was created, the medium of their message was ultimately in the songs they wrote. Some ground rules, here are twenty songs that were ground-breaking, but it's limited to one song per artist and in each case it's the song that defined them. Timothy Leary famously said 'Turn on, tune in and drop out.' Whilst the first two parts of his sentence are certainly true of the 60', the songs here are nothing to do with dropping out, in their own way they all helped to shape the music of subsequent and future decades and in 1,000 years' time the 60's will be continue to be revered as much as the time of Shakespeare in literature is today. So read on and remember, turn on and tune in, but don't drop out.
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What makes music fantastic? Star quality, amazing music, breathtaking lyrics and the ability to bring something new to the table, even if that means a new take on the classics. That's what I love to listen to and write about.
As well as writing for What Culture, I occasionally write a blog http://tedney.blogspot.co.uk and sometimes use Twitter, but sparingly @TedneyNash