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MUS 222: History & Sociology of Rock Music

Research Paper Assignment: 1960's



1960s: Pull it All Together Research Paper

This research paper will combine the concepts of the entire decade of the 1960s. It will establish the “bigger picture” of what was happening in our country and in the music world. It is extremely important to assess the whole sixties decade to understand how the music affected the culture and the culture affected the music.

Review modules 4, 5, 6, 7 and 8. After reviewing everything you have learned about the 1960s, write a three page double-spaced research paper answering this question: How did music affect the culture and the culture affect the music in America during the 1960s? Cite at least three quality references (no wiki) at the end of the research paper.

Things to Remember:

  1. You need to use research!  Find at least 3 quality sources besides the textbook to help support your paper.  Include them in a Works Cited at the end of the paper.
  2. Use the research!  I know that might sound redundant but just having a Works Cited doesn't mean anything if you aren't using the research throughout the paper and citing what facts you got from what sources.  Use direct quotes and or paraphrase a source but always cite at the end of the sentence.
    1. Ex: "This is my sentence about the 60s culture" (Author's Last Name, page number)
    2. Ex: 60s culture sentence in a paraphrased form (Author's Last Name, page number)
  3. Topic- you need to show how music affected the culture and the culture affected the music from the 60s.  For example: The British Invasion affected the culture but the war in Vietnam affected the music. 
  4. A basic but acceptable way to set-up your paper is:
    1. Introduction with Thesis Statement
    2. Paragraph on music affecting the culture- use 3 or more examples
    3. Paragraph on culture affecting the music- use 3 or more examples
    4. Conclusion paragraph
    5. Works Cited

60's Research Paper

Final Project Topic Choices and Instructions 

The Final Project in MUS 222 is the final exam for this course. You will include specific musical detail and examine both historical and societal contexts for the music. The following is a list of topic choices for your Final Project.  

Make sure that you follow the instructions for the topic that you choose, and that you follow the guideline rubrics for this Final (in Blackboard). 


  1. Research the details of the protest music that was created during the 1960’s. Include those of the Civil Rights Protests and the Vietnam War protests.  

What specific historical and cultural events surrounded this protest music? What bands can be highlighted from this era? Include historical and musical detail about several bands. Select One song to analyze and describe its meaning considering historical events.  

  1. Women in Rock Music. This project will highlight the many women that have been influential in rock music from the 1960’s to the present. What key musicians were key to the development of rock music? How has societal change affected these women and their music? How does sexualization of music help or hurt women in today’s music? Select one song to analyze its meaning.  

  1. Protest Music of Today. What musical groups of the 2000’s have presented music with a protest message? Include key details of current events and societal views that surrounded this music. Highlight several groups and include song lyrics that reflect the protest. Analyze the content of these songs and describe their purpose. Do you feel that this protest was successful in its goal? Why or why not? 

  1. Changing Views of Black Musicians. Research the societal changes that have occurred from the 1960’s and beyond toward black musicians. Compare black musicians from the Civil Rights Protest era to those mega stars of the modern day. What were the societal views toward these musicians in the 1960’s? 1970’s? 1980’s? 1990’s? 2000’s? Who were the key musicians? List popular musical genres that existed.  Select at least one song from this list of musicians and analyze its lyrics. What was the meaning of the song and how did it reflect black culture? 

  1. Heavy Metal and its Impact. Research several sub-genres of heavy metal music. Include details about specific bands and songs associated with these sub-genres. Include details about controversy about heavy metal as detailed in Module 10, but research for more specific details. Select two heavy metal songs from differing decades and analyze their lyrics. What was the song about? Does  
    this song reflect any message in the music? What modern heavy metal trends exist today? Give details.  

  1. Bob Dylan Songs and Society. Research specific details about several of Bob Dylan’s songs that were written in the 1960’s. Describe specific historical and cultural events associated with the music and analyze song lyrics. How does his music reflect a message? Was it successful? 

  1. Rock Concert Event and Impact. Select a specific Rock Concert Event that took place for a charitable purpose. Include all details about the time, place, musicians, charitable cause, money raised, etc. Was this rock concert event a success? Please explain. How does this event reflect societal or historical context? Select one song performed at the event and analyze song lyrics. Describe the lyric content considering the context of the time and place of the rock event.  

  1. Music Copyright Issues. Research several historical court cases that involved a lawsuit about plagiarism of a song. Give several examples (at least five) and pinpoint the specific time, place, musicians, the issue and the results if any occurred. What were the song titles? Who were the musicians involved? Choose one of your songs and analyze the lyric content. Does it reflect any unique societal or historical context? Describe your reaction to the copyright lawsuits. Do you think these were fair? Do you agree or disagree with the verdict? Do you think that it’s okay to “sample” music for use in newly created recording? What does the law say about copyright? 



To submit which topic you want for your final, go back to the Blackboard assignment and simply click on the link, M10 Topic for Final Type your title in the provided textbox.