Tuesday, January 20, 2009

The Great Music of The Swinging 60s

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The Swinging 60s - The Evolution of Classic Songs That Shook the World by Martin Sejas

The 60s are considered a watershed decade in the history of music due to the many classic songs that appeared in this era that changed the sound and direction of music forever. The changes that took place in just 10 short years were simply enormous and its effects are still being felt and are still influencing today's musicians. The following article has been written to give you a concise rundown of the major songs and artists from this decade whose legacy is still being felt today.

At the beginning of the 1960s, Elvis was still the King and even more so when he released his first songs after returning from military service in Germany. Many of his songs such as "It's Now or Never" and "Are You Lonesome Tonight?" became number 1 hits during this period. The early 1960s also saw the emergence of teen artists who for the first time achieved significant success on the charts. Brenda Lee made her debut with the classic song "I'm Sorry" at just 15 years of age and had a long career through the 60s and 70s. Matt Dinning's song "Teen Angel" also became a smash hit and continued with the theme of lost teen love. All these young artists had a clean-cut image which would not last much longer in the 60s.

The early 1960's also see the start of the Twist dance craze instigated by the massive hit "The Twist" by Chubby Checker and this dance craze would continue until at least 1962. 1962 would also see the emergence of Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons with their first 3 singles all reaching number 1 in the United States ("Sherry", "Walk Like A Man" and "Big Girls Don't Cry").

However, 1964 would be the year that changed music forever. The arrival of the Beatles in America and along with it The British Invasion would completely transform the entire industry, especially in North America. The Beatles' appearance on the Ed Sullivan Show in February 1964 has been pinpointed as possibly the most important musical moment of the 20th century.

It is their appearances on the show that kick-started Beatlemania in America and the rest of the world. No other band had ever caused so much hysteria and no other band has done since. The Beatles became mega superstars with their outrageous chords, beautiful melodies, accumulating incredible commercial and critical success and 20 number 1 hits in the United States in just 6 years. No other singer or group has been able to match their success since and it's unlikely anybody ever will.

The Beatles' success also led to the British Invasion with artists such as The Rolling Stones and The Animals also becoming commercially successful in their own right during this period. Bands such as the Troggs and the Kinks emerged as pioneers of heavy metal which would emerge in its more well-known form in the early 70s but you can't help but recognize the influence of these early bands. "Wild Thing" and "You Really Got Me" are much listened songs from the 60s if you are a heavy metal or hard rock fan.

The 60s also saw the emergence of the all girl group The Supremes who are considered to be the pioneers of RnB and soul with songs such as "Baby Love" and "Stop! In The Name of Love" still influencing today's Rnb artists. They had a total of 12 number 1 hits in the United States and are considered one of the most successful female vocal groups of all time.

The second half of the 60s saw a profound change in sound with the rise of psychedelic rock which was essentially rock music trying to represent experiences with hallucinogenic drugs. Drugs such as LSD were commonplace at the time and used by many artists such as The Beatles and hits such as "Strawberry Fields Forever" reflected this new type of rock. The popularity of this psychedelic rock did not last long as it simply became a transition from blues-oriented rock to progressive rock and heavy metal in the early 1970s.

The end of the 1960s also saw the arrival of Creedence Clearwater Revival (CCR) with their distinctive Southern rock sound which would be the inspiration for many rock groups in the 70s such as the Eagles and Lynyrd Skynyrd. CCR experienced enormous commercial success in the United States in just a few short years and many of their songs such as "Proud Mary", "Who'll Stop The Rain", "Bad Moon Rising" and "Fortunate Son" are still staples of classic rock music stations.

The 60s were a significant period in the history of music whose legacy continues to live in the music of today. Artists from this period has inspired countless of music artists throughout history and there's no doubt that people will continue to look back on the period as a source of inspiration for future music.

Martin Sejas is the lead writer of http://www.AllTimeClassicSongs.com, a website dedicated to appropriately honoring 60s classic songs and other classic songs from other influential musical eras.

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