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When music changed the world

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I have often been critical of my own generation, the baby boomers, for its inept political and environmental management of the planet. 
It does however also deserve some plaudits for the fresh injection of energy and innovation it brought to the world.

This is my own very personal recollection of events as they happened in Australia.  It may lack a broader objectivity, but it is the one I will happily carry with me for the remainder of my life.

Elvis Presley began a tidal wave of radical social change in the late1950's by facilitating worldwide acceptability for "black music".   His radical gyrating stage antics sent legislators into a frenzy looking for ways to prevent an entire generation from coming under his influence.

Too little, too late, gentlemen.
Your restrictive censorship barriers were unacceptable to us.
We, just as much as you, had the right to read "Lady Chatterleys Lover", and watch and listen to the music performers of our choice.

Meanwhile, four unassuming young men were growing their hair long and entertaining small audiences at the Cavern nightclub in Liverpool with music that would eventually change the world forever.

Australia clambered aboard the bandwagon of Beatlemania like no other country on Earth.  Hundreds of thousands of fans closed down entire capital city centres when the group was on tour in 1964.  Scenes which are unlikely to ever be repeated.

The constrictive shackles of post-Victorian conservatism were forever broken.  The young baby boomers dreamed of a better world than that of their parents who had lived through the horror of two World Wars, and the deprivations and austerity of the 1930's depression during their lifetimes.

I, for one, accepted the "Ticket to Ride" with John, Paul and Ringo, but mainly because of George Harrison who always impressed me as a thoroughly decent and sensible human being.
Their music was original, simple, and joyful, and filled us with an enthusiasm for life.

For those who remained "unBeatled", the Rolling Stones gathered most of them up, and the two great unstoppable music machines of social change in the 1960's were under full steam.

We questioned social injustice and demanded reform.
We challenged our Prime Minister's futile policy of  "All the way with LBJ" until we helped stop the war in Vietnam.
An entire generation dreamed of prosperity and peace.

The Beatles composed the beautiful song "In my life."

"There are places I'll remember all my life,
Though some have changed,
Some for ever,
Not for better"

I remember my country, and my culture, which was changed for the better, partly through the musical genius of Lennon and McCartney, accompanied by a generational chorus of idealism led by Bob Dylan and Joan Baez.

They gave us the power to know we could build a better world.

Perhaps, despite all our faults, we did.

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About GOF

"Life is like a sewer. What you get out of it, depends upon what you put into it." (Tom Lehrer)

10 responses »

  1. Vietnam demos were the "coming of Age" of Aussies. We suddenly discovered Democracy needs our input to keep it on track.I don't pine for the "Good ol' days" at all. Folk are better fed and educated and religion has lost a lot of it's influence which might even be something to do with being better fed and educated.

  2. My dad was very into the Rolling Stones, he used to organise gigs for Sheffield Polytechnic back when he was a youngster and saw all sorts of people before they were big, including Queen, the Rolling Stones and the Who.

  3. Lovely!George was always my favorite and why I took up the ukulele when he was dying.

  4. Democracy needs our input to keep it on track.Nicely put Peter, and, like you, I have no desire to return to the days of our parents.

  5. Your dad must have a lot of incredible memories and probably a whole evenings worth of stories to relate just about the 3 groups you mention.

  6. I think all four of them were remarkable in the way they handled the stardom, but like you, I had a special admiration for George. He wrote some great songs too, but was always inevitably in the shadow of John and Paul.

  7. My aunt was really, really into the Beatles. She introduced them to a young me and I was in love with all four! My grandfather used to call it "ra-ra" music!

  8. My grandfather used to call it "ra-ra" music! I wonder what term he would have coined for modern rap music 😉

  9. I don't think he would have considered rap "music" at all! Just a bunch of hooligans trying to keep their pants up!

  10. I don't think he would have considered rap "music" at all! Just a bunch of hooligans trying to keep their pants up! With caps on back to front as well 😉


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