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In the European and the USA societies the 1960s was marked by great changes in terms of politics, culture, religion and technological development. It is in this era that the civil rights movement was at its peak in the USA .In technology the era was marked by the first moon landing while the political scene was marked by numerous protest and greater demand for more freedoms. Generally the 1960s was the era when societies especially the youth were seeking to free themselves from the conventional conservatism that existed in most aspects of human life. Ranging from convectional organized religion to authoritative administration to the strict society codes, the 1960s was the era that saw the society seek more freedom from most of the traditionally held values. These traditional values included strict sexual codes, little usage of drugs, strict dressing codes, authoritarian administration and conservative religions. The society was seeking to free itself from such strictly held cultures. The music during this era also was changing with emergence of several bands that did not conform to the expectations of the society and were ready to write their own rules. Deviating from the traditional values that dictated how music was written, presented, sold and composed.
The new emerging bands made their own rules in song writing, presentations, dressing to the actual music composition and achieved great commercial success as well commanding huge fan followings. These bands become the symbols and inspiration of the changes that were taking place in the societies and greately influenced the changes that the society had begun to embrace. The Beatles was such a band and was among the most influential band in the 1960s to the 1980s with huge commercial success. Formed in the UK the band comprised of George Harrison ,Paul McCartney, John Lennon and Ringo Starr .The band popularity hit the peak in the 1964-1966 period .They were most influential in fashion ,hair styles ,music ,performances, defiance and commanded a huge fan base of youthful followers. The Beatles become a symbol that reflected the changes that the society was undergoing during this period. With their unusual hairstyles, colorful outfits and defiant attitude the band commanded a cult following in the western world. Among the changes they brought to the music scene included their own music style, success as a band as opposed to solos, charisma to the music scene that saw them command media attention and a near fever pitch attention from their fans (Brown & Stentiford, 2008).
The youth of the 1960s was seeking to free themselves from the restrictive culture that existed in the early 1960s and music become one of the most powerful tool of self expression .the Beatles were therefore a representation of those value that they were seeking to integrate in the society. There was emergence of a large segment of the youth population in the society that was willing not only to question the authority buts also the many traditional values that were held at the time (Bennett, 2007). They were also seeking to move away from the comforts of the conformist culture of the period and in the Beatle they saw a group that was leading the way. In countries such as the USA the hippie culture emerged that were opposed to the war, conformist religion, conservative politics and repressed sexuality.
Hippies were non cultural conformist who embraced the ideals of love, freedom peace and community and were anti war crusaders. They were also opposed to the mainstream religion, politics and authority. It is such groups that the Beatles were seen as the true representation of what they believed in, values that they held. The popularity of the Beatles therefore helped the hippies export their beliefs to other European societies and gain more acceptances to the society via extension of the group’s popularity with the masses. Music during this era was increasingly becoming more valuable than its entertainment value, song lyrics were becoming more important for the message that they carried and delivered to the masses. In their songs members of the society was therefore seeing powerful messages that had more meaning to their lives.
They were heroes to many in the society for their wit, charm, resilience and defiance for the authorities. These were the kinds of freedom that the youth were seeking in the 1960s and were epitomized by such movements as the hippies. The Beatles therefore were able to endeared themselves to the youthful generation of the ear for their rebellious attitude towards the conservative lifestyle lived by the older generation and their fun loving attitude that was their trademark. The counterculture movement that stemmed from the youthful generation of the 1960s is largely seen as one of the drivers that helped the modern societies achieves the freedoms that they enjoy today (Jalland, 2010). The 1960s eras are very responsible for the tolerant, vocal and questioning societies that exist today. Though we cannot full credits the Beatles as being single handedly responsible for the changes that this era brought in to the modern world. Being influential as they were they acted as one of the inspiring forces that made these changes take place and successful.
Given that they were strong supporters of the civil rights movements of the 1960s and participated in freedom marches and protest seeking for a more equal society. They also participated and supported the feminist movement, gay advocacy and anti war crusades. These can be argued to be the roots of a free and vocal society that exist today that is not afraid to question authority and demand for more equality and better services (Womack & Davis, 2006). The Beatles therefore largely contributed to the vocal, questioning societies that exist today by inspiring many in the 1960s with their attitudes and non conformist behaviors.