Adolescents and music culture

Adolescents and music culture are inextricably linked. Did this relationship start in the fifties, with Elvis?

Jeugdcultuur en muziek

Elvis was very important to pop music as he was a white boy merging black (blues, gospel) and white (country) music into a genre that reached a mass youth audience in the US and abroad and established modern youth culture. Elvis may not have been the first, or the only one, to produce rock ’n roll; but neither his black peers (Chuck Berry, Little Richard, Fats Domino), nor his white rivals (Carl Perkins, Jerry Lee Lewis, Vince Taylor) managed to gain the same popularity. But the link between music and youth culture is much older than the rock ‘n roll era and can be traced back to the Wandervogel. This was a youth movement of, and for, adolescents who, as the name indicates, went hiking in their free time to escape from the big German industrial cities. Founded in Berlin in 1898, the movement sought refuge in folk music, based on the romantic notion that the ‘common people’ had a taste for music that was superior to that of the ‘decadent’ city dwellers. This first youth movement collected old German music and bundled this into the Zupfgeigenhansel. In that sense folk music is the rock ‘n roll of the start of the twentieth century.