The Factor Online, All The Time
Rockin' in the Free World
By: BillOReilly.com Staff Thursday, February 14, 2013
While watching the Grammy awards last Sunday, it occurred to me that American culture has been defined by music ever since the end of World War II. After the Germans and Japanese surrendered in 1945, millions of GI's returned home to marry and begin families. The big band era of good time music accompanied that, and romantic singers like Frank Sinatra ruled the day.

In the fifties, many young people, tired of conformity, began to rebel. The rise of Elvis Presley illuminated that rebellion. Then the angst kind of died out as Chubby Checker ushered in the Twist in 1960 and Americans began dancing all over the place.

Exhausted from doing the Pony, young consumers eventually began to respond to the snappy melodies of an English group called The Beatles and, once again, music mania gripped the nation. The British invasion featured the four mop-tops, The Rolling Stones and The Animals, among others.

Then Vietnam emerged.

That led to protest music, drug-fueled lyrics, as well as introspective tunes by The Doors, The Jefferson Airplane, and Bob Dylan. Acid rock soon followed and everything was very far out, man.

After about seven years, that intensity died out. The dark themes receded and dancing once again came back. The age of disco took hold as The Bee Gees and other polyester-clad groups dominated the charts. The good times of the late 1970's unleashed Madonna, Michael Jackson, and Earth, Wind and Fire. But it all ended when the AIDS scare arrived in 1984. Suddenly, the uninhibited party became dangerous.

Then music kind of meandered around for a while until rap emerged. At first, the anger-fueled recordings were confined to urban radio stations and a niche audience. But when Elton John sang a duet with the white rapper Eminem on a Grammy telecast, rap went mainstream. Massive parental headaches followed.

The rise of the Internet signaled the slow collapse of record stores and the music industry quickly fragmented after the turn of the century. Consumers could now download songs into portable machines and bop at will. Americans no longer had to depend on the radio to hear their favorite tunes.

Since then, there have been a series of pop superstars but no real purpose or point-of-view in the music which, again, may reflect the current time. I mean what do Lady Gaga and Jennifer Lopez really stand for? Narcissism? Just asking.

The talent is still there. I heard Justin Bieber do a knockout version of Paul McCartney's classic "Let it Be." And Bruno Mars with his little hat was pretty good on the Grammy show this year.

We are definitely living in confusing, rapidly changing times as machines are now dominating leisure options for many consumers. Fifty years ago, we all were humming the same tunes heard over and over on AM radio. The good vibrations of The Beach Boys thrilled Maine as well as Malibu. The music actually brought Americans together.

Today, the tuneless lure of cyber-space has pulled us apart. Perhaps forever.
NSN
MONDAY
TUESDAY
WEDNESDAY
THURSDAY
FRIDAY
SEPTEMBER 19, 2014  | PM Rating: A
Talking Points Memo & Top Story
"We are living in a dangerous, fast-changing world. Machines dominate the lives of Americans...
Impact Segment
Senator John McCain joined The Factor to analyze the threat posed by ISIS and the Obama admi...
Unresolved Problems Segment
The federal government says it's okay to use welfare benefits to buy marijuana in states where...
Personal Story Segment
Citizens of Scotland have rejected a referendum that would have divorced them from the United...
Factor Follow Up Segment
The Factor welcomed Tea Party activist Scottie Nell Hughes, who put forth her unique take on...
What the Heck Just Happened Segment
Guys Friday Greg Gutfeld and Bernard McGuirk joined The Factor to answer that deep question,...
Get KP free when you become a PM!
Newsletters
Learn More about our newsletters here.
BillOReilly.com Column
Talking Points Memo Transcript
The Bill Bulletin
The Factor Insider
This Week on The Factor
E-mail Address
Follow The Factor
Terms & Conditions   |   Privacy Policy   |   Acknowledgements   |   Advertising   |   Mobile Site
Copyright © 2002-2014 BillOReilly.com. All rights reserved.