Boomers

Who Are The Baby Boomer Generation

I have written other posts, on this Blog, about what qualifies a Boomer as a Boomer, with the key qualification of course being that anyone born between 1946 and 1964 qualifies automatically.

But generations tend to be defined by the epic happenings of their time and for Boomers there are some very specific happenings that have shaped and molded our generation.

Not surprisingly this starts with the end of the depression and the end of the Second World War, which really is the curtain raiser for a generation that would dominate their world in the latter half of the 20th century, perhaps in a way that no generation had ever done in their respective centuries.

In fact given the distribution of wealth Boomers continue to dominate the early decades of the 21st century

Key Events Shaping A Generation

The events that shape generations are wide and varied, political, cultural and social. However, there are key happenings that might be used to identify where a major change in direction takes place that has a profound and lasting effect on the way in which that generation will develop thereafter.

In the next few paragraphs I will try to identify the some of the most significant key moments that I think have had that lasting effect on my generation the Boomers.

In here you will find joy and tragedy alongside hope and despair but above all you will find us The Boomers…..

Rock and Roll 1950s – Now

Rock and Roll is musical form that forever changed the face and direction of popular music in a way that none could have predicted.

Rockabilly

In the mid to late 1940s, Caucasian country musicians began experimenting with blues rhythms, a decades-old musical style popular in southern rural African American communities. This became rockabilly which s the 1950s, progressed was transformed into rock and roll, celebrating themes of the day such as young love and rebellion against authority.

Freed and Hayley

Disc jockey Alan Freed played this popular music on Cleveland radio and organised the first rock and roll concert before exporting this new sound to New York. In The Comets1954, Bill Haley and His Comets, performed the youth rebellion song ”Rock Around the Clock.” The song was the theme for the 1955 movie, ‘Blackboard Jungle’ a story about a white teacher in an inner-city high school, dealing with rebelling teens who sought to establish their independence from adult control.

Elvis

Haley and the Comets were successful in proving that musical themes taken with rhythms from southern African American culture could be combined to achieve commercial musical success at a time when music was on the rise as a consumer pastime. Presley’s meteoric rise to stardom, fuelled further the developing youth scene of cultural rebellion, and in doing so initiated the demise of centuries old colour barriers in the popular culture of the day. As a result artists like Chuck Berry and Little Richard, were gathering in huge, and growing, numbers, legions of young white fans.

Music was changed forever!

Civil Rights Movement, 1954 – 1968

Martin Luther King Jr

From Atlanta in Georgia, the sadly doomed, Martin Luther King Jr. Became the herald for a nationwide call for racial equality. Appearing on the NBC’s prime time news show, Meet The Press, In April of 1960, King waxed eloquent on the legal and moral implications of the then student protest sit-ins and the unacceptable federal response to the growing Civil Rights Movement.

Rosa Parks

The First Lady of Civil Rights, Rosa Parks rose to an uncomfortable fame as a Rosa Parksdevotee of civil rights activism in the American South. Rosa famously violated Chapter 6, Section 11, of the Montgomery City Code refusing to surrender her seat to a white passenger on a city bus to. The protest that resulted out of this brave and defiant action sparked a 12 month boycott of the public transport system eventually forcing the Supreme Court to reconsider Montgomery’s segregated transportation laws, leading to a cascade of changed laws across the southern states.

Muhammad Ali

One of the most notable athletes of his day, boxer Muhammad Ali became a resolute advocate for civil rights and a powerful and significant symbol of African American society’s pride in their ethnicity and culture African. Declared himself a conscientious objector to the Vietnam War following a drafting notice Ali was arrested and received a punishing ban from boxing for three years. The Supreme Court overturned the conviction in Supreme 1971.

Race For Space, 1957 – 1975

Rivals

Post WW2 the United States and Russia vied to hold the title of world superpower. This high stakes political tussle is characterised in no better endeavour than the race to dominate space initiated in the 1950s.

Sputnik and The Moon

The successful launch of Russia’s satellite Sputnik, put the United States on the back foot and a major effort was thereafter mounted to ensure that they would get to the moon first. So it was that in 1969, American astronauts Edwin “Buzz” Aldrin Jr. and Neil Armstrong were the first men to land on the moon.

The list of Space Firsts

It should be noted however that the Russians put the firs at animal into space orbit,Eagle lander Laika 1957 on Sputnik 2. The first man in space was Russian Yuri Gagarin in 1961. The first woman also Russian, Valentina Tereshkova went into space in 1963 some twenty years before the first US woman, Sally Ride would leave the earth’s atmosphere. The US must have been getting nervous in 1966 when the Russians went on to make the first lunar orbit, but of course they were inevitable beaten to the moon landing by the Apollo Crew and the landing of the Eagle giving us that most famous of expressions “The Eagle has Landed”…….

John F Kennedy 1960 – 63

The Young Senator

At age 43 John Fitzgerald Kennedy ran for election to be appointed as President of the United States. His election campaign, was plagued by constant claims that he was far too young and too inexperienced in foreign affairs to be considered as an effective President.

Charismatic Champion

Kennedy was a man for his time and as a vocal advocate for civil rights, he intelligently leveraged his youthful charisma to appeal to the under-represented voters and those who felt disenfranchise eventually winning against his much more experienced opponent, Richard Nixon.

Untimely Death

JFKThe block-letter pamphlets and red, white, and blue campaign buttons created for Kennedy’s campaign remain iconic symbols of his rise to fame which of course ended in the tragedy that unfolded at 12:30 pm on November 12, 1963, in Dealey Plaza Dallas.

Those who were alive then and now are oft heard to say “I remember what I was doing the day that JFK was shot”……..

1960s Music

There were of course many fantastic things happening in the music scene in the 1960s but it is perhaps worth picking out two particularly iconic elements that we would all I think agree shaped many of our experiences and for that decade and would have lasting influence thereafter.

Beatlemania, 1961 -1973

Modern music has been influenced for 5 decades to date, by the wildly creative contributions of John Lennon, Paul McCartney, George Harrison, and Ringo Starr starting back in the 1960s.

With an unparalleled fan base and a stable of established hits, the Beatles had Beatlesalready conquered the British popular music scene when they arrived in America in 1964 to unbelievable popular reception verging on mass hysteria.

The Beatles song book continues to influence artists today and has been reproduced and covered in so many forms that it has become an integral part of our continuing ll developing western culture.

After their split they all went on to careers with varying degrees of success with McCartney, probably the most commercially successful to this day, following his success with the Beatles with the 80s run of hits with his Band Paul McCartney and Wings.

Woodstock, 1969

Over three days in New York in the August of 1969 a music festival was attended by over 400,000 people.

This amazing event was packed with the premier talent of the day including feature performances from music icons musicians who included Janis Joplin, Joe Cocker, Ravi Shanker, The Who, Crosby Stills, Nash and Young, Jefferson Airplane, the Grateful Dead, The Band, Credence Clearwater Revival and Santana.

HendrixJimi Hendrix played his now famous rock version of the Star Spangled Banner at Woodstock.

The performance was an unashamed showcase of the protest music of an era which could be traced back to Bill Hayley’s Rock Around the Clock nearly two decades earlier.

Woodstock remains was a historical milestone of both musical and social progressive change which had been started by the Boomers and was at that moment in full swing….

Gates and Jobs a Phenomenon

When we think about people things or events that shape our Boomer lives and the way that we live them then in living memory we must surely talk about Bill Gates and Steve Jobs.Who Are The Baby Boomer Generation

While there were many others who stood alongside them in those dates of the closing decades of the last century like Wozniak and Allen, It is these two names that dominate the limelight of changes in technology that have profoundly affected and defined the way we live in the third decade of this one.

There will be few of us that are not familiar or touched in some way by Microsoft or Apple products in many aspects of our daily lives.

The Connector – Sir Timothy John Berners Lee

Perhaps less of a household name but critical to the birth and rise of other giants WWWsuch as Bezos with Amazon Page and Brin with Google and Zuckerberg with Facebook is Timothy John Berners Lee who invented the World Wide Web in 1989 and developed the first web browser.

All of these gentlemen together, supported by many others, in the last 4 decades, have bridged the millennium to unintentionally deliver the most rapid technical advances seen globally outside of wartime.

Boomers Witnesses To The Future

FutureAs Boomers we have seen unprecedented changes in political social and technological arenas that would have left previous generations dumbfounded and in a state of utter disbelief. The Boomers will witness more with potentially the last of us born in 1964 being around for another’s 3 to 4 decades to come.

I suspect that it will be some time again, before a generation presides over such sweeping change, outside of a major global conflict.

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