Music has been influencing cultures for thousands of years, and North America has bred a unique blend of sounds that has helped to shape our history.
To me, the one of the biggest and most obvious first impacts on the North American music scene was the rockabilly sounds of the 1950s. Artists such as Elvis Presley, Chuck Berry, and Jerry Lee Lewis spearheaded the whole movement that had parents right across the land pulling their hair out and losing sleep over some hip-shaking and suggestive lyrics. The Ed Sullivan Show helped spread their music beyond the crowded venues, and shelves of record stores. It pushed it across the world and a new phenomenon known as rock and roll was born. The sound and lyrics to the chart-topping songs were actually quite simple in the beginning. It was just a pre-curser to the complex and masterly produced sounds of the late 1960s through to present day.
The movement gave birth to new possibilities, and the music that followed in the next 60 years would evolve that original sound and attitude into a whirlwind of influence. Starting with bands like the Beatles, and solo artists such as Bob Dylan, people began to think heavily about what was being said in the songs they enjoyed so much. Pretty soon, the power of song was influencing everything from style and attitudes, to sub-cultures and legislation.
I have been emotionally invested in music ever since I could remember, and one of the coolest parts about how far music has come is the fact that there is no keeping up anymore.
I see high school students rocking out to bands such as Led Zeppelin and Pink Floyd, which are nearly 50 years old in origin. Then, on the other hand, I see people into their 40s and 50s listening to the latest hip-hop and pop music. That spectrum of interest tells me that people have been influenced by music so much, they no longer need someone else make the choice for them. The various genres have bled themselves into our culture, and, because of the Internet, we are now well aware of the different types of music that is out there.
The popularity of certain music has come and gone over the years, but make no mistake, they are all still alive in the hearts of those who’ve taken interest in what the songs had to offer them.
Over the years, songs have made me stronger, smarter, and more thoughtful. They have made me happy, sad, and angry. Music has the potential to shape the entire world, but its ability to shape an individual is what makes the power of song significant to the big picture.