The purpose of this research is to examine the relationship between rock music of the 1960s and the use of drugs among Americans, particularly young Americans. The research indicates that the music and lyrics reflected the drug culture rather than directly contributing to its growth.
Many critics of rock music and American culture contend that rock 'n' roll of the late 1950s and the 1960s expressed the demands of a growing youth culture. The songs "helped youth develop a sense of generational unity" (Jahn 292). Mike Jahn believes that among these demands in the 1960s was the right to get stoned (Jahn 292). Robbie Robertson of The Band believes that the 1960s brought about a change in lifestyles, and that the songwriters were "expressing the feelings of people, the people in the street" (Last Waltz).
Author John Fuller believes that rock music and the musicians played an active role in influencing youth. He argued that rock music had a hypnotic-like power of suggestion. The interaction between the musicians and the crowds "would alter the pattern of the crowds and the way they reacted when brought together en masse under the impact of that music" (Fuller 38). Guitarist Jimi Hendrix was one of the rock stars to recognize the interaction that was happening at concerts. According to Fuller, "He directly traced the source of his commanding power over audiences to the hypnotic phenomenon" (79).
Rock song lyrics are often relevant, powerful and commanding. Hendrix said that when he sang his own "Electric Lady Land," the listener could put anything he wanted to into the song.
The lyrics of this song, for example, ask
the listener if he or she has ever visited
'Electric Lady Land,' where a magic carpet
is waiting, and where the listener can take
a ride with sound and motion without hang-ups
--all suggesting and recommending an hallu-
Whether or not the young listener would follow this reco...