1960s: A Revolution of Sound and Society
The 1960s were a decade of tremendous change. The space race had begun with the Soviet Union's launch of Sputnik in 1957 and culminated on July 16, 1969 with the moon landing by the United States. On May 17, 1954, the Supreme Court ruled in favor of the desegregation of schools with the landmark case Brown v. Board of Education. The Civil Rights movement would continue to gain traction, including key moments such as Martin Luther King Jr.'s "I Have a Dream" speech in 1963, the passage of the Civil Rights Act in 1964 and the Voting Rights Act in 1965. The US would enter the Vietnam War, eventually sparking country-wide protests and demonstrations. John F. Kennedy would be elected in 1960 and assasinated in 1963. Lastly, the first FDA approved birth control pill would hit the market in 1960. The 1960s were witness to a revolutionary amount of social and political transformation. Change was also easy to observe in the music industry.
At the beginning of the 1960s, pop and rock 'n roll trends from the 1950s continued before developing into a more electric style. By the end of the decade, a folk-influenced style of rock music dominated the scene, featuring singer-songwriters such as Bob Dylan, Willie Nelson and Joni Mitchell. Pop music dominated much of the decade, driven by the explosion of youth culture in the US and Europe. Baby Boomers were coming of age and driving the market of fashion and music. The British Invasion of bands like The Beatles and The Rolling Stones helped curate the pop sound of the 1960s. By the end of the '60s, this pop sound would become more psychadelic and better reflect the social unrest of the decade. One of the most memorable sounds of the 1960s were the artists of Motown Records. Motown drew inspiration from blues and soul, creating a pop/rythym & blues sound that produced numerous numer one records. Notable Motown acts included the Supremes, the Miracles, the Temptations, the Four Tops, Martha and the Vandellas, Marvin Gaye and the Jackson Five, who debuted in 1969. Lastly, one of the most popular forms of rock 'n roll during the 1960s was surf rock. Surf rock was characterized by being almost entirely instrumental and heavy use of reverb on the guitar. While the Beach Boys are the best remembered surf rock band, other popular artists included The Ventures and The Surfaris. Take time to delve into each exhibit section included here, and reflect on how each genre influenced popular fashion.