AFTER A DECADE and a half of global and political crises, many white Americans enjoyed a postwar economic boom and settled into secure middle-class prosperity. The period witnessed a tremendous expansion of suburbs as people moved out of cities to raise children—the so-called "baby boom" generation. And with the assistance of the GI Bill, which supported all veterans regardless of race or ethnicity, people attended colleges and universities in unprecedented numbers to prepare for the "white collar" jobs created by the growth of American corporations.

The peace and prosperity of the Eisenhower era, however, were only a partial reality. Underneath the veneer of socio-economic stability were rumblings of discontent that occasionally disrupted the surface: the Red Scare at home mirroring the Cold War abroad; civil rights protests and demonstrations against hundreds of years of discrimination; and the rebellion of the baby boomers, who were not content to inherit the society their parents had worked hard to construct.

At the beginning of the postwar period, Tin Pan Alley continued to dominate the mainstream of the music industry. However, Tin Pan Alley music—performed by such singers as Frank Sinatra, Perry Como, Rosemary Clooney, Pat Boone, Dean Martin, and other (mostly white) "crooners"—tended to avoid the real concerns of the era. Outside of this mainstream, new voices highlighted new concerns and established new styles and genres in the American soundscape.

Many young people who leaned to the left politically appreciated the revival of folk music, which they saw as predating postwar commercialism. They flocked to performances and bought records by the Weavers, Leadbelly, Odetta, Harry Belafonte, the Kingston Trio, and the Limelighters. The 1960s saw the rise of a new generation of folk-influenced musicians, among them Joan Baez, Bob Dylan, Phil Ochs, Judy Collins, and the trio Peter, Paul and Mary.

Record companies eliminated the label of "hillbilly" music, replacing it with "country and western," which gradually became shortened to just "country." Artists such as Hank Williams and Patsy Cline distanced themselves from the old stereotypes of hillbilly music and brought country to a more mainstream audience, a musical reflection of a demographic reality: the continuing migration of rural white southerners to the industrial cities in search of jobs.

African Americans also continued to be part of this Great Migration (see VAT, Units 6 and 7), and their musics also evolved to reflect the changing world. In the 1940s, the music industry began to loosely categorize most music by Blacks (and initially intended for Black listeners) as rhythm and blues, abbreviated to R&B, a category distinct from jazz. Reflective of demographic changes and support for desegregation, white performers such as Elvis Presley became immensely popular when they adopted elements of R&B, creating a new genre, soon called rock and roll.

The postwar period also witnessed the extraordinary growth of the country's Hispanic population. As migrant workers and immigrants from Mexico settled primarily in the Southwest and immigrants from the Caribbean moved to cities in the East, they brought their music with them. In the Southwest, norteña, or Tex-Mex music, became increasingly popular, and nationwide listeners and dancers enjoyed the "mambo" craze of the 1950s, which helped fuel the development of new, hybrid genres, such as Latin Jazz.

Native Americans, having made great contributions to the Second World War, worked hard to highlight their patriotism and bravery in intertribal powwows, which became popular, music-filled celebrations of Native American identity. But tribes continued to face challenges and oppression, giving rise to the Red Power Movement, the Native American component of the Civil Rights Movement. Native American performers Buffy Sainte-Marie and Peter La Farge, who were among the generation of folk-inspired musicians that came of age in the 1960s, gave voice to issues confronting Native peoples.

The styles and genres popular in the postwar period thus reflect the changing structure of American society. Although not all songs dealt directly with political issues, the racial, ethnic, and class associations of the genres increased their potency as potential vehicles for political and social commentary, a potential harnessed by many of the most iconic songs of the era.

Tin Pan Alley music was running out of steam. Before and during the war, big bands were the headliners; after the War the solo singer became more prominent. The bandleaders promoted this change and competed with each other by featuring their singers. Such "crooners" as Frank Sinatra, Bing Crosby, Perry Como, and Eddie Fisher were most popular, eventually breaking free of the big bands and replacing them at the top of the "Hit Parade"—the list of top-selling records.

Hit songs were increasingly associated with movies and Broadway musicals, and professional singers added them to their repertoire. Rodgers and Hammerstein were a particularly successful songwriting duo. Their musical Oklahoma! (1943) produced "Oh, What a Beautiful Mornin'" and "People Will Say We're in Love." South Pacific (1949) yielded "Some Enchanted Evening," "I'm Gonna Wash that Man Right Outa My Hair," and "Younger than Springtime." The King and I (1951) offered "I Whistle a Happy Tune" and "Getting To Know You." Musicals were also the source of inspirational songs, such as "Climb Ev'ry Mountain," from The Sound of Music (1959), and "You'll Never Walk Alone," from Carousel (1945; VAT Unit 7).

At the end of the 1940s and beginning of the 1950s, as audiences were wearying of crooners and show tunes, novelty songs appeared. These usually humorous songs often reflected contemporary life. "Woody Woodpecker" (1947), for example, was a popular song based on the cartoon character. "The Little Nash Rambler" poked fun at a new breed of "compact" car. "[How Much Is] That Doggie in the Window" (1953) was a particular hit that was later parodied in a country-western song entitled "How Much is that Hound Dog in the Winder" (including the line "You know what a basketball nose is, It dribbles all over the floor").

By the end of the 1960s, Tin Pan Alley had largely been supplanted by new genres and styles. Its decline, however, did not immediately result in the diminution of the stature of the professional songwriter. Indeed, in the 1950s and 1960s the heirs of Tin Pan Alley—songwriting teams such as Carole King and Gerry Goffin, Barry Mann and Cynthia Weil, and Jeff Barry and Ellie Greenwich—penned songs in the famed Brill Building in New York City, which publishing firms such as Mills Music, Famous Music, Fred Fisher Music, and Irving Caesar Music had called home since it was built in 1931. Collaborating with numerous labels and artists and crossing racial lines, these teams wrote music in the new genres of the era, including rhythm and blues and doo-wop.

It is impossible to describe a single set of characteristics for rhythm and blues. Record companies created the category as an umbrella term for all Black styles, aside from jazz, of the postwar years.

The secular genre of rhythm and blues grew out of the gospel music of Black churches (see VAT, Unit 7). Perhaps more than any other artist, Ray Charles brought the sacred style of gospel into the secular world. His R&B hits in the 1950s, including "I've Got a Woman" and "Hallelujah I Love Her So," paved the way for his gospel-infused crossover hits of the 1960s, such as "Georgia on My Mind" and "I Can't Stop Loving You." Gradually, this gospel-descended style became known as "soul," a term that was common by the later 1950s and associated not only with Charles's music, but also with other prominent artists such as Sam Cooke, Aretha Franklin, James Brown, and Otis Redding.

Small vocal groups, who performed without instruments and with tight harmonizations, termed "sidewalk singers," emerged as a result of a union musicians' ban on instrumental recordings in the 1940s. Influenced by the popularity of Black gospel music, which had a considerable tradition of male quartets, these groups typified another Black urban style. They sang using the full range of the male voice, including falsetto singing with subtle rhythmic backgrounds. The Ink Spots and the Mills Brothers were the heroes of many African American males in the 1950s.

Their example yielded rich harmonies often sung a capella: slow songs as in "My Prayer" (The Platters) and "Sh-Boom" (the Chords), and fast songs such as "Why Do Fools Fall in Love?" (Frankie and the Teenagers) and "Get a Job" (The Silhouettes). Small-group harmony of this era, dubbed "doo-wop," swept both white and Black audiences. White singers—particularly Italian American groups who shared the same urban environment as the original sidewalk singers—joined in: "I Wonder Why" (Dion and the Belmonts) and "Sherry" (The Four Seasons). Though fewer in number, female doo-wop groups like the Shirelles and the Chantels also hit the charts.

Urban blues—sometimes referred to as Chicago blues—was a style derived from the Southern blues that migrated to the cities of the North, especially Chicago. Among these blues singers in the 1940s, one could find Muddy Waters, T-Bone Walker, one of the first to shift from the acoustic to the electric guitar, and Big Mama Thornton.

From the urban rhythm and blues style came Chuck Berry and Bo Diddley, guitar-playing singers who aimed their lyrics and dance rhythms at a younger audience. Chuck Berry especially capitalized on the capabilities of the new electric guitar and wrote songs about sex and fast cars (in "Maybelline") and other topics generally directed to the youth culture ("School Day" and "Sweet Little Sixteen").

These rhythm and blues records began to attract white teenagers, especially for dancing, and soon white artists such as Elvis Presley began to emulate them. This music was first marketed separately from R&B. It became known as rock and roll.

What was to become known as the "Folk Music Revival" was another musical development that originated outside of the mainstream. It descended from the work of Woody Guthrie and Pete Seeger in the 1930s and early 1940s (see VAT, Unit 7). Independently and together as the Almanac Singers, the two musicians traveled the country composing and singing union songs at labor rallies and collecting Anglo-American and African American folk songs in the tradition of John and Alan Lomax.

In 1948, Seeger and his Almanac friend Lee Hays formed a new group called the Weavers. Singing folk ballads and newly composed songs to acoustic guitar and banjo accompaniment, they became an almost instant commercial success. With background orchestration, "Good Night, Irene," a song learned from Huddie Ledbetter (Leadbelly), topped the charts for weeks in 1950. They also had hits with Guthrie's "So Long, It's Been Good to Know You" and their own compositions, including "Kisses Sweeter than Wine." Other tunes—"If I Had a Hammer," "Where Have All the Flowers Gone," and "Turn, Turn, Turn"—would hit the charts in the next decade when recorded by their admirers.

The Weavers' success came to an abrupt end during the Red Scare, when they were blacklisted by the House Committee on Un-American Activities. They were forced to disband between 1952 and 1955, but when they returned they were viewed by a younger generation as voices of social conscience and protest. Younger musicians such as the Kingston Trio, the Limelighters, Peter, Paul and Mary, and Roger McGuinn (the Byrds) traced their interest in what later became known variously as protest, folk, and folk-rock to hearing the Weavers' powerful voices harmonizing in the 1950s.

The successors to Guthrie and Seeger did not shy away from using their stage for protest and social action. Their songs, such as Bob Dylan's "Blowin' in the Wind" and "The Times They Are A-Changin'," voiced dissatisfaction with the way their parents' generation ran the country. They were involved in the freedom marches of the Civil Rights Movement and later anti-Vietnam War peace demonstrations. Joan Baez was jailed for refusing to pay income taxes that supported the war effort.

Among the group of younger folksingers were indigenous artists Buffy Sainte-Marie and Peter La Farge. They wrote songs in the vein of the other folk musicians, such as Sainte-Marie's anti-war "Universal Soldier" (1964), and they also wrote songs that raised awareness about issues unique to Native peoples. Sainte-Marie's "Now that the Buffalo's Gone" (1964), for example, laments that land is still being taken from indigenous Americans and calls for change. In his song "Custer" (1963), La Farge defends and celebrates the 1876 Sioux uprising that resulted in the killing of General George A. Custer, who had killed Sioux women and children.

Protest songs often provoked responses, as emotions ran high and induced further creative endeavors. Barry Maguire's oft-banned "Eve of Destruction," for example, spawned an answer song called "Dawn of Correction."

Some singers composed songs in support of the Vietnam conflict. Sergeant Barry Sadler wrote a hit entitled "The Ballad of the Green Berets" about serving in Vietnam. Immensely popular, the song was about the men who fought, humanizing the war, which was often called the "television war" because of the footage available to Americans in their own homes.

Whereas folk music became known for its protest lyrics, the 1950s and 1960s also saw the emergence of "folk-pop," popular folk and folk-inspired music without controversial lyrics. The Kingston Trio, for example, had a hit in "Tom Dooley," a nineteenth-century ballad about a love triangle that ends in murder and hanging. Peter, Paul and Mary were also popular with their renditions of traditional folk tunes ("All My Trials"), their hit recordings of Guthrie and Seeger songs ("This Land is Your Land," "If I Had a Hammer"), as well as their own compositions ("Puff, the Magic Dragon").

The prosperity of the postwar period especially had a positive impact on country music. New radio shows hit the airwaves, including Louisiana Hayride from Shreveport and Hometown Jamboree from Los Angeles. The older Grand Ole Opry, however, reigned supreme. It became so popular that audiences flocked to see it live, determined to visit the shrine at least once before they died. The stars that dominated the period include Hank Williams and Kitty Wells. Wells blazed the trail for subsequent female stars of the postwar era, including Patti Page, Patsy Cline, and Loretta Lynn.

Many country songs of the 1940s and 1950s focused on the concerns and preoccupations of working people and set them to a melodic line that was easy to sing. This was a powerful combination for attracting audiences after the war. They also reflected the change in country music audiences by echoing everyday concerns in the new urban-industrial, rather than rural, environment: unemployment, lonely workers far from home, cheating lovers.

The movie industry was to have a significant effect on country music as well. Many country songwriters such as Merle Travis moved to California to be "out West" where they played on the radio and provided music for "barn dances," both live (such as at the Santa Monica Ballroom in Los Angeles) and on the radio. Country singers were featured in movies and benefited from the presence of costume designers who suggested the elaborate "cowboy" outfits worn by so many singers.

California was also the home of several guitar manufacturers. Leo Fender for example, the developer of the solid-body electric guitar, helped give California country music its own distinctive style, eventually to become known as "honky-tonk." The introduction of Fender's bass guitar in 1951 allowed the bass player to be more flexible, a significant change for country music.

The electric guitar, which was to have a significant impact on the development of rock and roll, gained its biggest momentum from country and western music. The basic instrumentation of country and western bands—rhythm guitar, lead guitar, string bass, and drums, with piano optional—became characteristic of the rock and roll band and remains so to this day.

As it absorbed influences from R&B, country music developed sub-genres, one called "rockabilly," the premier performer of which was Elvis Presley. Other country singers also engaged in this combination of country with rhythm and blues, such as Carl Perkins ("Blue Suede Shoes"), Jerry Lee Lewis ("Great Balls of Fire"), and Buddy Holly ("That'll Be the Day"). With the dance beat of rhythm and blues, "rockabilly" was an initial combination of country and rhythm and blues, which would become rock and roll.

As rock and roll diverged from country, the "Nashville sound" became the quintessential country music of the 1960s. With roots in honky-tonk, it featured tinny piano parts, steel guitar, and twangy vocals. But, striving for crossover appeal on the pop charts, the music also featured elaborate arrangements that might include crooning backup singers and orchestral strings. The artists who typify this style include guitarist Chet Atkins (who, as a producer as well, was largely responsible for the Nashville Sound), and singers Jim Reeves, Johnny Cash ("I Walk the Line"), Marty Robbins ("Streets of Laredo"), Patsy Cline ("Crazy," "I Go to Pieces"), and Loretta Lynn ("I'm a Honky-Tonk Girl").

Throughout the 1960s, country music became programmed more frequently on network television, including Glen Campbell's Goodtime Show, the Johnny Cash Show, and Hee Haw, thus reaching well beyond its traditional audience. Country music became quite popular abroad starting with the Second World War and the Armed Forces Network, resulting in international tours for several country singers. Performers such as Boxcar Willie and Slim Whitman profited considerably from presenting the American vision of cowboys, mountains, and the American West to audiences overseas.

In simplest terms, the marriage of rhythm and blues and country and western music gave birth to the most revolutionary music since the birth of jazz—rock and roll. But if it were that simple, rock and roll would have appeared long before. The seeds of this marriage had been lying dormant for decades, but in the early 1950s they found fertile ground. Postwar prosperity brought new music technologies—low-cost high fidelity recordings, transistor radios, television for play-back, and electric guitars for performance—and the money to buy them.

Moreover, the young postwar generation was restless and rebellious in the new suburbs their Depression-bred parents had secured for them. Tin Pan Alley songs of the crooners did not resonate with teens the way James Dean and Marlon Brando did with their sense of danger and defiance. The time was right for a new musical style that would give them a voice. The R&B music finding its way to a few radio stations struck a "forbidden" chord in the still-segregated United States.

In 1954, Elvis Presley became the catalyst to bring that music together with his white country gospel background. Despite (or more likely, because of) the gyrations that thrilled teens and scandalized their parents (all the better!), Presley embodied the new music in a way that white audiences could not ignore. Ironically, the new music derived from populations that Tin Pan Alley mainstream music had ignored: African Americans, Southern whites, and youth.

By 1955, rock and roll was sweeping the nation, with teens dancing in movie theaters to Bill Haley's "Rock Around the Clock" from Blackboard Jungle. Rhythm and blues artists Chuck Berry ("Maybelline"), Fats Domino, the Coasters ("Yakety-Yak"), Little Richard, and Bo Diddly joined rockabilly musicians Buddy Holly, Jerry Lee Lewis, Johnny Cash, and Carl Perkins under the rock and roll banner.

Radio, still immensely popular, became a leading vehicle for propagating new songs and spreading cultural change even in the most rural areas. Transistor radios made broadcast music more portable than ever. No longer tied to the family console radio for their music, teens retreated to the privacy of their bedrooms with their transistor radios to listen to this music so foreign to their parents' ears, and they relished bringing their sounds with them wherever they went. Freedom from the family radio widened the already broadening musical gulf between adults and teens, just as rock and roll came on the scene to give young people a voice of their own. This musical gulf proved to symbolize a much deeper separation that by the end of this era became known as the "Generation Gap."

It is probably no coincidence that the rise of rock and roll paralleled the Civil Rights Movement of the 1950s and 1960s. The same year that Elvis Presley recorded his first hit song, the Supreme Court ruled in Brown v. the Board of Education of Topeka that segregation was unconstitutional, inspiring a movement of nonviolent protest. The following year, Rosa Parks bravely initiated the Montgomery Bus Boycott, which inspired Martin Luther King, Jr. to create the Southern Christian Leadership Conference to organize similar protests across the South.

By 1960, white students joined Blacks as "Freedom Riders" traveling through the South, testing desegregation of interstate transportation while singing together civil rights anthems, including "We Shall Overcome" and "Ain't Gonna Let Nobody Turn Me 'Round." What effect did the desegregation of the airways playing the music of Black rock musicians like Chuck Berry, Bo Diddley, and the Platters amid white rockers Buddy Holly, Elvis Presley, and the Skyliners have on these students? We will never know, but by the 1963 March on Washington D.C., at which King delivered his famous "I Have a Dream" speech, Black and white musicians actively participated together, joining arms and using their fame to set an example to the nation.

Billboard magazine provides some evidence of the theory that rock brought Black and white music together as never before in mainstream culture. Before 1955, Billboard historically maintained three different weekly charts of top-selling records: (1) Pop, for the white, middle- and upper-class group, the Tin Pan Alley songwriters; (2) Rhythm and Blues, for Black audiences; and (3) Country and Western, for audiences in the South, Midwest, and West as well as rural areas nationwide. Because of the intermingling of different styles, and more significantly, the biracial attraction of rock and roll, the three charts eventually merged. Between 1955 and 1960 performers such as Elvis Presley, Chuck Berry, Johnny Cash, the Everly Brothers, and Jerry Lee Lewis released records that were popular with two and even all three of these groups. Unfortunately, although Blacks and whites were enjoying the same music, inequality still prevailed with regard to both profit-sharing and notoriety.

Publishing companies and record companies, especially the growing number of small independent labels, had a significant impact on the development of popular music in the 1950s and 1960s. Independent record labels presented the most innovative music because they had nothing to lose and could deal with music that the larger companies would never touch. Thus, they began marketing rhythm and blues and rock and roll recordings not just to Blacks, but to whites as well, especially when they realized how popular these records were with young, white audiences.

Soon record companies were looking for white musicians to "cover" Black hits—to perform them in their own versions, which were usually more successful commercially (Hitchcock, p. 279). For example, Pat Boone covered Chuck Berry songs for mass appeal and Bill Haley's rendition of "Shake, Rattle & Roll" was a "cover" of Joe Turner's original recording. Elvis Presley, raised in Memphis from the age of thirteen, absorbed its blues and hillbilly styles to develop his own unique style, yet his rise to fame only started when he was hired to record hits originally performed by Blacks, most notably Big Mama Thornton's "Hound Dog." Going against common practice at the time, however, Presley always credited Black composers and performers for their work.

A fine line existed between influence and appropriation and many Black artists were acutely aware that it was crossed far too often. Black musicians such as Fats Domino, Bo Diddley, and Little Richard exerted a strong influence on the rise of rock. The newer groups copied the older Black musicians' style of guitar playing, phrasing, and harmonies, but more often borrowed whole songs. For example, the Beach Boys' "Surfin' USA" (1963) is nearly a note-by-note copy of Berry's "Sweet Little Sixteen" (1958).

In 1960 a major breakthrough in Black music occurred when Berry Gordy, Jr. formed Motown Records, named after its birthplace of Detroit, Michigan, known as the Motor City (or "Mo-Town") because it is the center of the American automobile industry.

The heirs of doo-wop were the Motown singing groups, including the Temptations ("My Girl"), the Four Tops ("Reach Out, I'll be There"), Smokey Robinson and the Miracles ("The Tracks of my Tears"), and Martha and the Vandellas ("Dancing in the Street"). Popular though these African American groups were, none matched the popularity of the "girl group." The Supremes, who with Diana Ross as lead singer became the second most popular group of the 1960s (after the Beatles), were the most popular female group of all time with hits like "Baby Love," "Come See about Me," "Stop in the Name of Love," and "You Can't Hurry Love."

Motown recorded and published exclusively African American singers and songwriters, but its marketing practices targeted white audiences, aiming for crossover hits on both R&B and Pop charts. The groups were coached extensively in performance skills as precise as their harmonies, and the music was specifically arranged to sound good on car radios and be easy to dance to. Additionally, Gordy emphasized songs about universal topics, such as romance and breakups, in order to avoid controversy and score popular hits. Gordy's recipe was successful. Motown opened up a broader market for Blacks and by 1970 was the most lucrative business in African American history.

Although it represented a major breakthrough in terms of a Black business reaping profits from music by Black musicians, some have criticized Motown for diluting the Black style in order to appeal to whites. Indeed, Gordy directed the label to consciously avoid the conventions of 1950s R&B, retaining only general vocal conventions (melodic and harmonic) that originally derived from gospel.

The Spanish-American War in 1898, a result of which was America's acquisition of Puerto Rico, caused many more people to begin to immigrate to the United States from the Caribbean islands (see VAT, Unit 6). Over the following decades, musicians from Puerto Rico and Cuba began to play in some of the leading big bands, and others, such as Xavier Cugat, Mario Bauza, and Machito established their own bands. As big bands absorbed characteristics from Caribbean musics, a new style known as Afro-Cuban jazz emerged.

In the 1930s and 1940s, Cuban and Cuban-influenced musics were somewhat of a novelty in the United States, but this changed in the postwar period. As the white middle class benefited from the economic prosperity of the 1940s and 1950s, the tourism industry underwent significant expansion, and one popular destination was Cuba. Located a short distance from Florida, it was easily accessible by boat or plane and its capital city, Havana, offered exotic music and a lively nightlife scene. The Cuban dance music known as "mambo" first appeared in Havana in the late 1930s and early 1940s, and it became tremendously popular in the United States when it merged with big band music in the late 1940s.

The first significant Cuban bandleader associated with mambo in the United States was Perez Prado, whose "Mambo No. 5" became a crossover hit with both Latin American and white audiences in 1949. As in the big-band arrangements of American bandleaders such as Duke Ellington, mambo pits the different sections of the band—the brass, woodwinds, and percussion—against each other, often resulting in a lively, syncopated back-and-forth. The distinctively Cuban sound of mambo, however, is established by the use of percussion instruments such as the timbales.

Along with Prado's popular arrangements, the hits of the mid-1950s by Machito and His Afro-Cubans, Tito Puente, and Tito Rodríguez represent the peak of the "mambo craze." The mambo even featured prominently in the musical West Side Story (1957), in which composer Leonard Bernstein employs the style to depict the show's Puerto Rican characters. In the later 1950s, the rise of the string-based and slower cha cha cha, another Cuban style, marked a departure from the popularity of the mambo. By the end of the 1950s, Cuban music lost its appeal in the United States because of the Cold War tensions that followed the Cuban Revolution, in which Cuba aligned itself with the Soviet Union. Following a failed attempt to overthrow the communist regime of Fidel Castro in the Bay of Pigs Invasion in 1961, tensions with Cuba peaked in the 1963 Cuban Missile Crisis, in which Kruschev placed nuclear missiles on the island, which was within striking distance of the United States.

Latin American immigrants had also been moving to the United States in large numbers along the southern border with Mexico. During the Second World War, hundreds of thousands of white men left their factory jobs to serve their country in the military. To fill their jobs, employers hired women (see "Rosie the Riveter" in Unit 7) and minorities, many of whom abandoned jobs as farmworkers to take factory positions. To compensate for the loss of farmworkers, the US government invited Mexican laborers, known as braceros, to enter the country.

(The agricultural industry would become dependent on such workers, but the Immigration Act of 1965 failed to address the legality of their guest-worker status, leaving them to be considered "illegal immigrants." As of this writing, the federal government has yet to pass legislation addressing migrant workers from Mexico. For more on this, see Unit 9 and Unit 10.)

Mexican American and migrant farmworkers often faced harsh working conditions and were underpaid. To address these issues, César Chávez and Dolores Huerta created the National Farm Workers Association in 1962. Four years later, the union merged with a Filipino union to establish the United Farm Workers Organizing Committee. The union led a series of successful strikes, boycotts of agricultural products, and protests, eventually resulting in better wages, improved benefits, and legislation to improve working conditions.

Music played an important part in the movement. "El Corrido César Chávez" was first performed at a protest in Sacramento, California, in 1966, and other music, such as "El Picket Sign," was written to inform workers about the union and its activities.

Much of the mainstream music of the 1950s and early 1960s was not explicitly political, but lyrics did not have to be about politics in order to make a statement. Young white listeners made a powerful, rebellious assertion by crossing traditional genre and racial lines by listening to R&B, and country and rock and roll stars made similar statements by performing music rooted in R&B styles. Motown Records strongly rejected the appropriation of Black music by white artists and asserted the strength of Blacks in the business world without almost ever mentioning such things in its songs.

Increasingly, however, mainstream artists were inspired or felt obligated to make direct statements through their music. One such artist is Nina Simone. A classically trained pianist, Simone began her career singing pop standards in bars and lounges in New York and Atlantic City, but the bombing of the 16th Street Baptist Church in Birmingham, Alabama, inspired her to directly address racism in her music. Her song "Mississippi Goddam" (1964), concerning racial violence in the South, established her as one of the most prominent Black musicians of the Civil Rights Movement.

Much of the most explicitly political music first occurred on the fringes of society. In addition to the folk scene of Greenwich Village, the counterculture was also centered in the Haight-Ashbury section of San Francisco, known for its "hippies." It was largely there in the later 1960s that rock and roll transformed into "rock" as musicians embraced many elements of folk and Latino musics, experimented with new musical technologies for performance and recording, and wrote music that reflected their experiences "expanding consciousness" with psychedelic drugs. Also important in the development of rock were British bands and musicians, such as the Rolling Stones and Eric Clapton, who shunned the more smoothly produced style of rock and roll and embraced the music of Delta bluesmen and the Chicago blues, which they saw as inhabiting a space outside the mainstream and thus being less tainted by commercialism.

As racial injustices persisted and the Vietnam War escalated, embracing the countercultural movement became more appealing to a growing number of young people who felt disenchanted with American society. As the counterculture went mainstream, several bands associated with it achieved widespread fame, including Jefferson Airplane ("Somebody to Love"), Big Brother and the Holding Company featuring Janis Joplin ("Me and Bobby McGee"), and the Grateful Dead ("Casey Jones"). The counterculture exerted a strong influence on older bands, as well. As the 1960s progressed, the music of the Beatles, for example, became increasingly experimental in its sound and political in it messages.