Date of Defense


Date of Graduation




First Advisor

Eli Rubin

Second Advisor

Monty Ernst


It has been argued that Rock music is one of the Modern West’s most important artistic achievements. It was, in some way, shape, or form, the most popular genre of music in the Western hemisphere for the last 60 years. The depth and relevancy of the genre still resonate through almost every level of society; a Bruce Springsteen song played at a political rally, a Beatles tune scoring a movie characters existential contemplation, the same six songs played at sporting events, and the list goes on. Rock music can be as personal as a stranger strumming a guitar in a coffee shop to a world-famous band selling out mega stadiums on international tours. It can be incredibly honest and intentionally deceive. It can lament and rejoice all in one breath. The complexity and dialectical properties of the medium inherently make the study of Rock music and its downstream impact a worthwhile endeavor. This fact is multiplied when noting the genesis of Rock music coincides with the most tumultuous yet purposefully obscure periods in Modern American history. The 1950s to the 1970s was the most radical domestic period in Modern American history. It saw the fruits of the Keynesian/command economy set up through the New Deal but also saw the death of that system and those material gains through the birth of Neoliberal Capitalism. This work seeks to examine this interesting overlap of dates as well as the interlinked relationship between the early age of Rock Music and the economic period of transition away from the wartime economy. By examining these two historical occurrences some sense can be made about the discourse surrounding Rock music and its role within Modern Western society.

Access Setting

Honors Thesis-Open Access

Included in

History Commons