1960’s Counterculture: Crossfire Hurricane Analysis

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1960’s Counterculture: Crossfire Hurricane Analysis

In the mid to late 1960’s the front wave of demographic group of baby boomers reached their teenage years. This group was highly visible and vocal. Many were rebelling against conforming into their parent’s culture. They were considered to be part of a “counterculture’, a society in which many young people expressed views and beliefs that conflicted with society. This group was;

-Strongly influenced by television and music,

- Anti-establishment, anti-nuclear arms, anti-war (especially Vietenam)

- Anti-racism (civil rights movement)

- Environmental activism

- Aboriginal rights

- Equal rights for women (feminism movement)

- Political activism (sit -ins, non-violent protests)

Many considered this group to be rude and their music too loud. Their refusal to conform characterized them as spoiled brats and self-centered. They were considered to be long haired rebels who were pushing personal freedoms well beyond societal boundaries. Along with freer attitudes the birth control pill was introduced which led to a sexual revolution. Much of the music of the era focused on protest and rebellion against authority in general. The themes of sex, drugs and personal freedoms were dominant in music of the time.

A defining event of the 1960’s was Woodstock music festival. Woodstock was a music event that was held in upstate New York in 1969. Over 400 000 “peace loving” concert goers flocked to the festival for three days of music. There were large amounts of drug use and sexual liberation. There were 2 deaths, one from a heroin overdose and one concert goer was run over by a tractor while sleeping in a nearby field, but overall there was a sense of social harmony that reflected the values of the time, peace and personal freedom. It was considered to be one of the defining moments of the 1960’s counterculture and one of the most pivotal moments in music history.

The 1960’s to date has been one of the most influential decades in shaping our society to be where it is now. Change constantly occurs in society but no decade has yet transformed our culture as the 1960’s.

Watch the documentary “Crossfire Hurricane” and examine why the band The Rolling Stones was so popular at this time. To help you in your analysis answer the following questions as you watch the documentary.

  1. Dick Caveat, a popular journalist of the time, when describing Mick Jagger was quoted as saying “Some describe him as the supreme sexual object in modern Western Culture; a sadomasochistic freak, or a pussycat”. How do these characteristics reflect the 1960’s counterculture and why did it make him such a popular icon at the time?

  1. During an interview Mick Jagger is asked if he purposefully times his dancing and “moves” on stage. He responds by saying “I know nothing about timing, I just do it”.

  1. How does this statement reflect the thinking of the counterculture youth?

  2. How is this type of performance different from today’s performers and does today’s performances reflect the values of today’s youth?

  1. The Rolling Stones first played many blues songs that were covers of black music of the Southern Mississippi Delta. Many of the band members also had relationships with African American women. How did this contribute to their persona as the “anti-heroes” of the time and how did it contribute to their connection with the youth counterculture.

  1. In the documentary there were many scenes of screaming teenage girls chasing the band and storming the stage, but Mick Jagger was quoted as saying that in many other countries “fans were mostly boys, they connected with us as well”. What do you think it was about the band that made young men connect with them?

  1. At one time newspapers in America were running an article titled “Would you let your daughter marry a Rolling Stone? ”, with the connotation that it would be very negative for your daughter to marry one of the band members. Looking at the values of today’s society do you think if that article ran today the majority of people would be upset if their daughter were to marry a famous musician?

  1. The free concert at Altamont is considered to be one of the defining events of the time. To many it signified the end of the 60’s “peace movement” and all that the 60’s stood for.

  1. What happened at Altamont and why do you think it occurred?

  1. What did the concert at Altamont say about society and how it functions? (Does Altamont support the belief that people do need to have some type of conformity and societal norms?)

  1. Overall why were the Rolling Stones so popular at the time (what were the values that they reflected in society)

  1. Think of a pop icon in today’s society (music, actor, entertainer, etc) and describe how they embody or reflect the values that are important to youth in today’s culture.

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