The Impact of Music Television Programs (1950s-1960s)

The impact of music television programs in the 1950s and early 1960s is immeasurable. The programs were acted as societal uniting and dividing forces. Most parents loathed the programs because they challenged the status quo, inspired teenagers to rebel, and most popular songs came directly from African Americans. In contrary, teenagers of the 50s loved the programs because they gave them a sense of identity. While the programs faced opposition mainly from the government, the media, and among parents, they played a key part in shaping the American culture. The 1950s programs promoted intercultural and racial unity.

Notable performances of the 1950s was Chuck Berry's "Duckwalk." The Dancehalls Rock n' roll was key in getting blacks and whites stirred in the early 1950s. The genre came from sustained and dedicated blending of hillbilly and the blues sounds that polarized the decades before (Trammell, David, Ernest, Insanul, & Rob, 2017). Chuck Berry came up with a risqué lyrics and signature moves that sent teenagers irrespective of their race into frenzy (Trammell, David, Ernest, Insanul, & Rob, 2017). This was a few years before Elvis's pelvic thrusts would redefine the music industry. Berry's "Duckwalk" guitar solo shows were high on demand in both the white and black clubs. Other shows which furthered unity in the American society included "Johnny B. Goode" and "Maybellene" narrations. Chuck enable the white and black teenagers come up with new music swags of the time (Trammell, David, Ernest, Insanul, & Rob, 2017). Such performance became the foundation of black and whites’ teenage unity and their rebellion against the conservative parents.

Most of the music programs of the 1950s challenged the notion blacks and whites segregation. They also criticized the place of African American culture in American society. Blacks were not always welcomed in most parts of America in the 1950s and most whites promoted prejudice against the blacks. At the family level, parents regulated what their teenagers watched and heard. In several cities, laws were passed that forbade blacks from mingling with whites. As the popularity of the 1950s music programs grew, the racial divide steadily collapsed (Cooper & Haney, 2012). Whites and blacks started to mingle as teenagers across the country, they watched and went to music shows regardless the race of the performers. The exposure of whites and blacks performing together at concerts helped to reduce racism. Ultimately, the music television programs played a vital role in forcing integration between whites and blacks.

The music programs of the 1950s and early 1960s had a positive social and emotional effect on teens. Unlike most programs, these music shows gave teens some form of freedom and new experiences. The shows largely influenced the youth related with their parents, the authority, and aided in creating self-identity. These music shows, in particular rock shows enabled teens to distinguish themselves from their parents. While most of these programs have been blamed for fueling rebellion, they helped to create unity among teens and encourages them to think independently. Teens were somehow tired of the controlled life they were exposed to. The music programs of the 1950s and 1960s inspired them to escape parentage over control.

The music programs created a sense of community especially among teens. While they listened and watched music shows at home, the music was a powerful social magnet. It increased contact, coordination, and cooperation among teens. The programs inspired the formation of many groups to civil rights, freedom, and politics. In brief, the music shows provided a net of physical and psychological safety which aided in keeping the society together.

In conclusion, the music television programs of the 1950s and early 1960s had a positive impact on the American sociocultural environment. While most of the adults criticized it on the ground that they urged teens to be rebellious and that the programs promoted undesired behaviors, they also played a great part in shaping the country. The most notable achievement of the programs was fostering racial unity. Despite the criticism, the 1950s music promoted intercultural and racial unity.


Cooper, B., & Haney, W. (2012). Rock music in American popular culture. New York: Routledge.

Hall, M. (2005). Crossroads: American popular culture and the vietnam generation. Lanham, Md.: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers.

Trammell, M., David, D., Ernest, B., Insanul, A., & Rob, K. (2017). The 25 Most Important         Civil Rights Moments in Music History. Complex Music. Retrieved from:   music-history/