Kingwood College Library

American Music
From 1950 - Present

In many ways music gives us a more accurate picture of people and events than any other medium. Music reflects the times, describes events and makes us remember forgotten emotions.

This American Popular Music from 1950 to the 1990s Web Guide , arranged chronologically, is intended as an overview of American history through its music. Visit our earlier music guides at our other Subject Guides webpage.

The 1950s offered a combination of sounds - for everyone. Rock 'n roll, rhythm and blues, love songs, jazz (first Newport Festival), calypso (Harry Belafonte), and musicals were all popular. The music (for a change) was pretty a-political.  Records rather than air play began to determine the popularity of a song.   Johnny Ray (Cry), Patti Page (Tennessee Waltz), Nat King Cole (A Blossom Fell), Teresa Brewer (Til I Waltz Again With You), Tony Bennett, Perry Como, Pat Boone (Love Letters in the Sand), Doris Day (Secret Love), Eddie Fisher, Frankie Laine (Jezebel), Dean Martin, Kay Starr, and Peggy Lee (You Give Me Fever) had hits. Groups were popular including the Platters, Les Paul and Mary Ford (How High the Moon), Ames Brothers (You, You, You), Four Aces ( Love is a Many Splendored Thing), Buddy Holly, and many others made the huge number of decade hits.
In 1956, Elvis became the first rock star with hits including Don't Be Cruel, Heartbreak Hotel, All Shook Up, and Let Me Be Your Teddy Bear.   Black recording artists Chuck Berry (Maybellene) and Fats Domino (I'm Walking) became  rock 'n roll stars.  Color TV became a major influence, stereos were offered for sale, the first Grammy (1959) was given for Nil Blu, Dipinto Di Blu.  American Bandstand had an audience of 20 million teenagers and 20 million adults.  Stars like Bobby Darin, Frankie Avalon, Connie Francis and Fabian were discovered on American Bandstand.  The Grand Ole Opry with its country sounds was in full swing!
Broadway and movie musicals played an important part during this decade.  Hits included Guys and Dolls, The King and I, Pajama Game, Singin' in the Rain, Bye Bye Birdie, My Fair Lady, West Side Story, Gigi, and The Sound of Music.


Rock & Roll Hall of Fame
R&R Hall of Fame by AT&T. Exhibits, info, and news.
Lyrics from the Fifties
Select alphabetically for lyrics with audio.
Lyrics in English
Not strictly fifties, but there are several fifty stars there.
The Originals
A gallery of Fifties rock and rollers.
Fifties Website
Spend time here!  Contains information on everything fifties, good links to popular music, televison shows, etc
Fifties Tunes
Good chronology and history of music from 1955-1959. Links to Elvis and other popular fifties musicians.
Oldies Music
Good site for chronology of musical events from 50's and 60's , lists of artists and bands.

The Sixties through Mid Seventies

The sixties were the decade of Motown, Pop, Rhythm and Blues, Protest Songs,  musicals, and the Beatles.  Musicians of these decades ranged from The Beach Boys to Loretta Lynn to Barbra Streisand to Elton John.  The Beatles dominated the sixties.  After the Beatles split, Paul McCartney and Wings (Band on the Run), George Harrison (Give me Love), Ringo (You're Sixteen) and John Lennon and Yoko Ono (Whatever Gets You Thru the Night) all had individual hits.   After a quiet decade, music once again became political. The country was in the midst of its second undeclared war (Korea in the 50s followed by Vietnam in the late 60s), Nixon and Agnew resignations, Kennedy assassinations, Charles Manson murders, and the murder of Martin Luther King were a part of this period.
Black music producer began the Motown music label in 1960.  Hitting the charts were Dionne Warwick, the Supremes, Stevie Wonder, The Temptations,  and the Jackson 5.  Millions of records were sold.  Ray Charles was (and is) a major force in music with popular jazz, blues, rock, country, gospel, soul and rhythm and blues.
Musicals included How to Succeed in Business without Really Trying, Fiddler on the Roof, and  Hello Dolly. The rock musicals Godspell, Jesus Christ Superstar, and Hair hit broadway and the US like storms! The Kingston Trio's Tom Dooley in 1957 led the way for Bob Dylan's 'Blowing in the Wind' other protest songs by folk singers including Joan Baez and Peter, Paul and Mary.
In 1969, Woodstock was attended by 300,000.  A three day even for peace, love and rock took place. Performers included Janis Joplin, Sly and the Family Stone,  Led Zepplin, The Grateful Dead,  and Jefferson Airplane.


 About Motown
Great background site - by the decade - with links to music and the artists.  They are reconstructing but lead you to other links.  We hope this site will be up again soon.
 Motown Internet Quiz
Subtitled "So ya think ya know Motown" - meet the challenge.  (Leaving this dead link - when comes back, I bet they will include their fun quiz.)
 Motown Story
A little history and an album discography.

Rock 'n Roll

Rock & Roll Hall of Fame
Based in Cleveland. This is an excellent site for Rock music, soul, Motown, Disco, etc... Pretty much any music ranging from 1950 to the present.
Devil Music: Race, Class, and Rock and Roll
An excellent essay written by a college student.
PBS Rock and Roll Documentary
Contains information from the 6 part television documentary.  Great site to visit
Links to Sites Containing the Beatles
Just what it sounds like. :-)
Ultimate Band List Homepage
Today's Bands! Links to bands, magazines, lyrics, labels and much more.

Folk Music

FolkBook offers information about artists and venues, resources for musicians and lists pointers to other folk-related World Wide Web and Internet information.
Dirty Linen
The Magazine of Folk, Electric Folk, Traditional and World Music
The Joan Baez Web Pages
Photographs, lyrics, information and tours.
Peter, Paul, and Mary Home Page
Great information on this 60's folk group. Contains links to song lyrics, photos, bios, and more.
Bob Dylan Links
Links to Internet sources for Bob Dylan.
Bob Dylan's Lyrics and Chords Archives
Lyrics and guitar chords.  A site especially for guitarists.
The Southern Folklife Collection
The Southern Folklife Collection at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill houses one of the world's largest collections of Southeastern-tradition derived music. Photographs are wonderful.

Country Western, Blue Grass, and Old Time Music

 The Grand Ole Opry
From Nashville - it's all there. Visit with   Patsy Cline, Porter Wagoner and Dolly Parton represented the new guard while Opry institutions like Grandpa  Jones, Hank Snow, Ernest Tubb, Little Jimmy Dickens and Flatt &  Scruggs.
Ten Things You Didn't know about Country Music
Just the facts, m'am.
COWPIE Bunkhouse
For country music guitar players -- search by song.
Old Time Music Home Page
Collection of Links to OldTime music on the Web.
Great site - Bluegrass magazine.
The Desert Bluegrass Association
Arizona Desert Bluegrass Assoc homepage.
Bluegrass Reviews
Reviews for many of the bluegrass albums.
Brandywine Friends of Old Time music
Promotes and sponsors bluegrass and old time music in the Wilmington, Delaware area
Oklahoma Opry
Live from Oklahoma city, the Opry features local and southwest country and gospel performers every Saturday night



Music from Texas

Austin City Limits
The longest running country music program on public television. Direct link to performers.
Austin Music  or   Austin Music Connection
Check in here for info about Austin country, blues, rock and "uncategorizable" music. Includes profiles of Sue Foley, Commander Cody, Roky Erickson, and John Hiatt.
Tejano Music Awards, Try the home site for newer awards, when given.
Awards for Tejano Music - presented annually in San Antone.
OndaNet - Tejano Music Site
Selected by Texas Monthly as one of the best 100 sites.
Willie Nelson
Willie's page by Sony - discography, history, background, the like.
New and old - also leads to CMT - get the latest on country videos.

The Musical

Texas, the Outdoor Musical
A musical romance of the history of the Texas Panhandle. 35th year.

Broadway Musical Lyrics
Links to broadway musicals on stage today. Copyright warning.
Musicals Home Page
A great site for up to date information on musicals playing on broadway; also contains great links to performers, plays, telecharge, and more.


Louisiana: Cajun Music

Twangin'! - American Music
Good site for ethnic and traditional music links. Ranges from Cajun to Tejano music. Good place to start looking -- not just for music but for food, language, and history.
Historic New Orleans Collection
Houses the Russell Jazz Collection and many private collections of Louisiana Info.
The Cajun Culture
Dedicated to the appreciation and preservation of Cajun and Creole cultures.
Cajun Country Newsetter
Chiefly festival listings


DeeT's 70s Page
A tribute to the greatest decade ever.  [That's definitely a matter of personal taste :-) But, DeeT likes disco, and we like her site]
Leads to a ton of info about disco - and some very good sites.
The Disco Connection
Links to disco sites around the web.

Skipping through the 1980s and 90s... Send suggestions.

Southern Music

 Southern Music of the 1980s
 southern music of the 1990s

Punk/ New Wave/ Heavy Metal

New Wave Outpost
Links to anything you want to know about the new wave phenomenon -- groups like Culture Club, Duran Duran, etc...
The Punk Page
One of the first WWW web pages for punk music. Contains, lyrics, photos, etc..., an organized list of all punk links on web.
Rock Net
Good site for links to all kinds of rock music from The Rolling Stones to Megadeath. Also a news archives.

Rap/ Hip Hop

Mr. Blunt's Hip-Hop
Great page with links to performers, top numbers of the day and past, and radio netcast links.
Rap/ Hip Hop Lyrics
The Best of Rap and R&B on the Web
 Christian Rap & Hip Hop - includes lyrics

American Popular Music before 1900
  American Popular Music from 1900-1950
   American Cultural History by Decade

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