Saturday, May 5, 2018

How Kent State shooting changed music

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(Washington Post) Musical trends, even the great ones that scar cultures and define eras, have many parents. Consider the folk and protest boom of the 1960s, whose songs were shaped by shifting attitudes about race, organized labor, urbanization and America’s involvement in foreign wars.

Later in the decade, the louche, flower-waving hippie and acid rock scenes of Haight-Ashbury, the East Village, Austin and Los Angeles blossomed out of evolving perspectives on drug use and sexuality, the workplace and the family. And a cascade of factors led to the sonic revolt and frenetic style of Britain’s punk bands: national strikes, spiraling unemployment, growing cynicism about the monarchy and even the Troubles in Northern Ireland.

It is far rarer for a single event to trigger an artistically significant and influential music scene. Yet this is exactly what happened in Akron, Ohio, in the early and mid-1970s, as young artists and musicians grappled with the legacy of the Kent State massacre.