The Youth Rock and Roll Club Culture of 1970s and 1980s Los Angeles
Weber State University
Read at the 2011 Phi Alpha Theta Regional Conference
Winner: Best Undergraduate Paper
Published in Historia: the Alpha Rho Papers, Vol I.
The rock and roll industry is relatively new to the realm of music, beginning in its most identifiable foundations only approximately fifty years ago. However, the “age of rock” has shaped the culture and lives of varying generations of youths for the latter half of the twentieth century into the modern day. This vast influence of music on the minds of youth is apparent in many instances, including that of the Los Angeles region during the late 1970s and early 1980s. Rock and Roll’s growth during this time period ushered in a new era of music that was different from its predecessors in a variety of ways, causing stirs within the community similar to the way its forebears had during the 1950s and 1960s. The hundreds of young Los Angeles teenagers who saw their futures filled with dreams of stardom and public recognition through rock reveals this particular case of musical influence. In this changing environment of experimentation in music and the introduction of new subsections of rock, including glam metal and New Wave, young artists began turning to louder chords and explicit lyrics to reveal their underlying frustrations with the community that they lived in. This youth backlash against the traditional lifestyles of the Baby Boomer generation was expressed in a variety of musical forms, most tellingly in punk and heavy metal rock.