Music’s my life, and everyday I live it, and it’s a good life too. Everything I want to say through the music it gets through ya.”

The words of this Billy Preston song reflect the attitude of many young people today. Music carries social norms and values and is the source of emotional and spiritual inspiration. In times of stress or depression during the troubled adolescent years, the radio often carries the message of hope for another day. It tells a teen-ager he’s not alone. It helps him escape into a trouble-free world of fantasy. Music gives identity to those who fear they have none. Perhaps this accounts for the multi-billion-dollar music industry, whose success depends on how well it serves the trends and thoughts of the youth market. And trendy it is; the only thing greater than the speed with which the trends change is the pressure to embrace each one.

The music of today differs from that of 1970. The reflective concerts of the late sixties and early seventies are nearly gone. Bob Dylan, Neil Young, John Lennon, and others who sang about the sins of the military-industrialist complex have been replaced by large bands of look-alike, choreographed singers whose lyrics are of a night at the disco.

In 1972 Bob Dylan commented on the contemporary music scene: “The frenzied masses of screaming teen-agers are following the frenzied masses of screaming guitar players.” But even that would be considered outmoded in some circles today. Dylan has shown the truth of the question asked by the Tower of Power in the song “What Is Hip?”: “You’re in a hip trip, maybe hipper than hip,/But what is hip? What’s hip today may become passé.”

The songs of the early seventies were songs about meaning and values. They considered questions of ...

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