Songs of the 50s
Songs of the 1950s Songs of the 50s In this paper I will research and identify 5 songs of the 1950s and what the songs reflect about the culture, mood, and values of the 1950s and the ethnic groups the artists came from. I will also discuss how accurately the songs reflect the mood, value, and perceptions of the 1950s as discussed in our readings, Nation of Nations. “All I Have To Do Is Dream” The first song I would like to address would be: “All I Have To Do Is Dream,” by the Everly Brothers. This song reiterates the basic ideology of the 1950s associated with “the good life. The song offers a neat synopsis of the mood, values, and perceptions of this era, for example, the song states “only trouble is, gee whiz, I’m dreamin’ my life away…. ” This quote shows the leisure time available to Americans, it also reflects the time of hope during this era. The song also reflects a strong sense of optimism, confidence, and overall comfort afforded by this era. This song also seems to echo the general sentiments of the time in terms of the open attitudes toward sex with some of the romantic lyrics.
Since the baby boom initiated during this era the lyrics to the mood and values are represented in the lyrics above. Since America emerged from World War II, in this era this song reinforces the American Dream. The song gives the mood and perception of happiness at having a secure job, owning a house, etc… “A Lot of Livin’ To Do” “A Lot of Livin’ To Do” by Sammy Davis Jr. , Mr. Davis represents both the African American and Hispanic races and this song’s lyrics also embody the era because of the references to the “good life” with “And there’s wine, already for tasting.
And there’s Cadillac’s, all shiny and new. Gotta move, cause time is wasting. There’s such a lot of livin’ to do. ” These lyrics indicate the era because it was called “the culture of consumption. ” The Americans experienced a large scale of spending during this time period. The song’s reference to fancy cars shows that consumer’s values definitely dominated the American economy and culture during the 1950’s. A Combination of Lyrics Through my research for this assignment I found several songs that reflected the moods of this era that did not relate to the “good life” that I would like to touch base on. My Captain” by Muddy Waters clearly reflects on the issues of the difficult working conditions for an African-American man in a big city. Their lyrics reveal racial undertones as well as the tensions and divisions within America at the time. Two other lyrics that I felt were important regarding this era was “Korean War Blues” and “Eisenhower Blues” by J. B. Lenoir. These songs reflect the political strive associated with containing communism during this era and the political paranoia underlying the times.
The connection to the mood, perceptions, values, and politics are found in the words from the song “Korean War Blues,” “Lord I got my questionnaire, Uncle Sam’s gonna send me away from here; Lord I got my questionnaire, Uncle Sam’s gonna send me away from here; He said J. B. you know that I need you, Lord I need you in South Korea. ” These lines reinforce the fear and the paranoia associated with the Red Scare and containment. Yakety-Yak The final song on my list is “Yakety-Yak” by The Coasters, this song again reflects on the era’s carefree attitude and the triumphant mood of democracy in a light way.
It was also a time for teenage rebellion due to the introduction of rock-n-roll. Many adults, parents, and teachers opposed rock and roll as an emerging genre and form of social protest. The lyrics of this song exemplify the generation gap and strain as the kids were fighting for freedom from the adults, “Don’t you give me no dirty looks, your father’s hip, he knows what cooks, just tell you hoodlum friends outside, you ain’t got time to take a ride, Yakety yak, don’t talk back. ” Conclusion
Through the course of research for this paper I learned a great deal about the moods, values, perceptions, and politics that were expressed through songs. Even though some of the songs reflected a casual happy life style there were also the songs that reflected the imperfections of the era. This was a difficult time due to the war ending, desegregation was taking place, and it was also the time of the baby boomers. Through the songs of the 1950’s I discovered that many artists were able to vocalize their own point f view on the events of the era. References: Resource Readings: Davidson et al. : Nation of Nations, Third Concise Edition, Volume II © The McGraw? Hill Companies, 2002 Lyrics Depot: © 2008 LyricsDepot. com. All Rights Reserved. Retrieved February 10, 2008.