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How Does Music Define a Generation?

  • Date Submitted: 10/17/2010 08:41 AM
  • Flesch-Kincaid Score: 68.3 
  • Words: 900
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Webster’s Dictionary defines irony as an outcome of events contrary to what was, or might
have been, expected. Now, consider how a young man of the late 1960’s and early 1970’s who was enveloped by the anti-authority rock of the day becomes the ultimate authority figure: a police officer. During my interview with my father, Austin, I came to understand how the music of his generation had an impact on his life in such a profound way. Music critic Simon Frith explains that music has a “…relationship between someone’s life and their work”. For Austin, the music sustained him when he was undercover and could not be in contact with family. It also entertained him in times of relaxation. It made him think about his life, his choices. He appreciated it for the artistry and creativity. He passed his love for his generation’s music down to at least one of his children—me. “Music of that day is timeless.   It’s like having a conversation with an old friend,” Austin reveals. To him, the music of his youth symbolized anti-establishment, free thinking and relaxed views on drug use.
Rock, Southern rock, country and bluegrass are all genres that have shaped my father’s tastes in music. He recalls, at the time no more than three years old, Frith’s “ethereal voice”of a “heavenly choir…” while at church with his mother. My grandmother is a full-blooded Blackfoot Indian with a devoutly Catholic upbringing. She had taken my father to mass during the Christmas holidays. Austin says he remembers asking if the angels had to go home when they finished singing.   In this particular case, the “voice” was “disembodied” but it strengthened the impact on the impressionable. Austin says hearing that choir sing will always be one of his favorite memories. Lynard Skynard, Marshall Tucker Band, Led Zeppelin, The Eagles and Pink Floyd are the groups Austin listened to back then and still does to this day. But he says he has found he often comes back to his roots. His father was a fan of bluegrass...

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