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Legendary bands of the 60’s and the meaningful messages in their songs.

Updated on November 16, 2012

Where has all the meaning gone?

As an elderly rocker I, along with many others of my age, bemoan the passing of the modern troubadour, the musical activist for change, the singer with something different to say.

Of course it could be there are still some out there, rabble rousing, making songs with lyrics that make people think about the world around them.

But more and more it just seems to be warbling on about 'lurve' or, more usually, the loss of 'lurve'. If the videos that accompany today's music are to be believed 'lurve' simply translates as sex and an obsession with physical desire.

That and trying to prove how macho you are. It has all got deadly boring and sadly predictable.

Donovan - Universal Soldier - 1967.

The passing of the legendary musicians.

At the risk of writing too personal a piece I must admit to feeling very lucky that my teenage years coincided with the great outpouring of musical creativity that became known as 'the swinging 60's'.

I was lucky to grow up with the legendary bands that have left us a vibrant musical archive of creative and original lyrics that are still listened to today.

It is heartwarming, and revealing, that many young bands of today still cite these bands of the 60's as being amongst their earliest musical influences.

And whilst the modern bands of today will have their work cut out to leave such a legacy of classic rock songs it still seems important that they should try.

Are we more shallow today?

This piece of writing includes the folk/pop singer Donovan singing an anti-war song.

Perhaps the style of singing or the way he looks seems a little naïve in these days of no-expense-spared glamour but his lyrics are still relevant today. Perhaps more so.

We are still fighting wars across the planet although we often delude ourselves that they are 'peace-keeping missions'. The universal soldier now fights for Nato.

It would seem that few musicians now sing protest songs. Perhaps we all so conflict-fatigued that no-one has the energy to write them anymore. Or maybe war and conflict are over-glorified thanks to the unreality of video games?

Perhaps we are all just too unintelligent or too shallow to care nowadays? Maybe modern society has become too concerned with how it looks instead of how it behaves.

And another thing ...

... what about our hopes for peace? In the 60's, Britain had almost sloughed off the residual aftermath of WWⅡ with only some building work left to undertake on the remaining inner city bomb sites.

We were, on the whole, a mainly optimistic society and young people were mostly tolerant of other races and cultures. Many young people envisaged a future world as a multi-cultured, multi-ethnic place full of enlightenment, peace and love.

Maybe we weren't as politically correct as people today (listen to the clumsy toe-curling lyrics of the following video) but we were a more hopeful and less blame conscious society.

In Britain there were fewer knives out on the streets against people of a different race. So where has it all gone wrong?

The hopes for a tolerant society ...

The failure of our dreams ...

It seems that now such lofty sentiments do not influence our current musicians. Life for them is more parochial, more concerned with themselves and their own small sphere of life.

And those of us who lived through more heady times are left with only the memories of the things for which we strove. It would seem that such a high ethos was not sustainable and perhaps our dreams were too naïve in the face of the reality of human nature.

The continuing need for inspirational lyrics in modern pop music.

But despite the failure of those long ago dreams there is still a need for modern bands and singers to write songs that inspire, to write courageous lyrics about the things that are wrong with the way we live.

Troubadours are still needed to prick societal conscience, to make us aware, to lead the younger generation by good example.

Now, more than ever, we need musicians to be less concerned with just their own worldly wealth and more concerned about leaving a lyrical, anthemic legacy for both their own and future generations.

We do still desperately need people who can make music and write original lyrics to stand up and be heard and provide inspiration and impetus to the jaded, ambivalent and unfocussed amongst us.

The ultimate troubadour ...


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    • Angie Jardine profile image

      Angie Jardine 5 years ago from Cornwall, land of the eternally youthful mind ...

      Hi anon … so it is! Guess I’ll have to do an edit … many thanks!

    • profile image

      Anon 5 years ago

      one little problemo.. that song is NOT jefferson airplane, it's buffalo springfield- for what its worth

    • Angie Jardine profile image

      Angie Jardine 6 years ago from Cornwall, land of the eternally youthful mind ...

      Hiya WOL ... thanks for pitching up here with your two-pennyworth. I think you are right ... no-one is going to sing to lampoon or satirise or be ironic or outrage anymore. We have other methods now. But public protest by turning up in person will never go away.

      What was I thinking!

      And thanks for the legs comment ... sadly they too have gone west. Same shape - just a lot more of it! x

    • profile image

      writeronline 6 years ago

      Enjoyed the read, Angie. Found myself nodding along (not nodding off!) in agreement. I've got a sensational clip of Joan Baez (aged about 20) singing Bob Dylan's "With God on our Side" as part of my hub/rant about words of war and deception. Such a powerful song. Not taken seriously at all.

      Irrespective of the realities you acknowledge in your writing, and Bob expands on in his comment, I remain, like you, ever hopeful.

      But I have to admit, if God ever heard Dylan's 1965 plea; "If God's on our side, he'll stop the next war', it must have slipped his mind to do it.

      As to the rest of us mere (genetically programmed against it) mortals, we can't even get our head around Lennon's other great anthemic plea; "All we are saying, is give peace a chance."

      I think Pcunix probably has the right perspective, as does doigenes, as do you and I. 'Singing time's over. Now we take it to the streets.' (I know, The Doobies already did that..)

      PS: Boring old bat? No way (remember, we've all seen those legs...) Age doesn't weary images like that - babe:)

    • Angie Jardine profile image

      Angie Jardine 6 years ago from Cornwall, land of the eternally youthful mind ...

      @ KFRaizor. Thanks for the comment, perhaps you're right ... it's not enough to sing about things ... no-one believes in anything anymore. I guess I was hoping the pen really was mightier than the sword.

      @diogenes ... hi, Bob ... thanks for the bleak comment. Luckily I am an eternal optimist ... if I thought there was no way to change anything I'd probably check out now ... I've just come to realise that we use a different medium now, the internet. Thank goodness for Amnesty International, thank goodness for AVAAZ et al.

      @Pcunix ... you are right! Great, I don't have to listen to any more crap bands in the hope of them burbling on about something other than 'lurve'. Bring on Twitter, Wikileaks and other random anarchy ...

    • Pcunix profile image

      Tony Lawrence 6 years ago from SE MA

      Boring old bat??

      I think not :)

      Actually, I am encouraged by #OWS. They aren't singing, but they are thinking.

    • profile image

      diogenes 6 years ago

      This first comment is sadly apt. We are educated in genetics today, we finally believe in the findings of Darwin. We now know peace is impossible in beings hard-wired for warfare (survival). Gods are anachronisms only given credence by the credulous. We see our politicians and corporate leaders for what they are: self-serving thieves in the main and we sneer at their attempts to hoodwink us.

      We study the trite words of pop music and find nothing with any meaning. The young believe in little outside the dictates of "get it now," money, sex, drugs, fashion and celebrity.

      The masks are off for mankind and we finally understand we are but wild creatures and small bundles of particles quickly disintergrating as the matter-bank reclaims us.


    • KF Raizor profile image

      KF Raizor 6 years ago

      Maybe the singers have realized that, like the Eagles sang in the song "The Sad Cafe," "we thought we could change this world with words like 'love' and 'freedom,'" the world just doesn't believe "all you need is love" simply because you put it in a song.

      Thanks for the hub.