Things That I Love About America: Rock and Soul Music of the 1950s and 1960s

During the Fourth of July I try to recount some of the things that I love about this country. One of the things that I love about this country is the rock and soul music of the 1950s and 1960s.

I didn’t grow up in that period. But when I was a kid, I would take bus 55 to school and the bus drivers would frequently play KYA 1260 AM, an oldies station that played 1950s and 1960s music. It was in listening to KYA that I learned to love the music of Elvis, Chuck Berry, the Supremes, The Loving Spoonful, Smokey Robinson and the Miracles, the Monkees, the Doors and all those great musical acts of that time.

I was just a nerdy kid who didn’t know what was cool and what wasn’t cool, but I just got hooked on things that caught my interest. I read that early rock was a combination of country and rhythm and blues, and I could hear those influences on Elvis, Chuck Berry, Jerry Lee Lewis and the first rock n’rollers. I loved how the American musicians of that time were free to experiment and to be open to influences of country, gospel, rhythm and blues, folk music, and jazz. And I learned from watching documentaries how music was an important means of breaking racial barriers as young people of all races would find themselves loving Elvis or James Brown or the Beach Boys or Motown music.

I love other types of music too: 1980s New Wave, classical music, jazz, disco. My friends have been a big influence in introducing me to different musical genres and musicians.

Here is a youtube video of a 1965 music revue where Dusty Springfield introduces a British audience to some of the major acts of Motown. British musicians like Dusty Springfield, the Beatles, the Rolling Stones and the Animals were deeply influences by American soul, rock and blues music.

About angelolopez

I’ve wanted to be an artist all my life. Since I was a child I’ve drawn on any scrap of paper I could get a hold of. When I went to San Jose State University, I became more exposed to the works of the great fine artists and illustrators. My college paintings were heavily influenced by the humorous illustrations of Peter De Seve, an illustrator for the New Yorker magazine. I also fell under the spell of the great muralists of the 1930s, especially Thomas Hart Benton and Diego Rivera. I graduated with a degree in Illustration. Angelo Lopez has had illustrations published in Tikkun Magazine, the Palo Alto Daily News and Z Magazine. From April 2008 to May 2011, Angelo's cartoons were regularly published in the Tri-City Voice, a weekly newspaper that covers the Fremont, Hayward, Milpitas, Neward, Sunol and Union City areas in California. He did a political webcomic starring his cartoon character Jasper for the progressive blogsite Everyday Citizen. Since December 2011, Angelo does a regular weekly political cartoon for the Philippine News Today, a Filipino American newspaper based in the San Francisco Bay Area. Angelo is a member of the Sunnyvale Art Club, and the Northern California chapter of the Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators. During the 1990s, he was a member of the part-timer workers SEIU unit in the city of Sunnyvale. Angelo won the 2013, 2015 and 2016 and 2018 Sigma Delta Chi award for editorial cartooning for newspapers with a circulation under 100,000. He has also won the 2016 RFK Book and Journalism Award for Editorial Cartoons. Angelo won first prize for the Best of the West contest in 2016 and third prize in 2017. Angelo is married to Lisa Reeber. They enjoy taking walks, watching movies and hanging out with their nieces.
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2 Responses to Things That I Love About America: Rock and Soul Music of the 1950s and 1960s

  1. I’m with you on this one. What a great time to be a teenager during this time. Then came the late ’60s with folk music, a lot of it promoting social justice and ending the war in Vietnam.

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