Sixties Music – The Two Icebergs Collide by Sixties Course, Mel Rosenberg - Illustrated by Miki Peled -
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Sixties Music – The Two Icebergs Collide


Artwork: Miki Peled

This is the account of the music of the sixties course "Evolution of the Revolution" that we give every semester Read More
Member Since
Jun 2016
Published Books

A few words to my class from Facebook live!



If I were to pick a date on which sixties music started, it wouldn’t be January first, 1960. There was some great music during 1960-1962 but for the most part pop music sounded something like this.


Mark Dinning, Teen Angel, 1960



or this….



I would pick November 22nd, 1963. 

It is a day that the world remembers.


I believe that the music of the sixties involved a collision between two icebergs:

-the folk/protest movement, as personified by Bob Dylan.

-early rock music, as personified by the Beatles


These two ‘icebergs’ were on a collision course in late 1963. About to meet physically in mid 1964:

On Friday 28 August 1964, in a room in the Delmonico hotel … in New York City… the Beatles encountered Bob Dylan for the first time.” Read this article for the course, it also talks about serendipitous meetings of other musicians.


The Beatles meet Dylan


Back to November 22nd, 1963. The Beatles, who are already getting big in the UK, are featured on a short CBS TV segment in the morning.


CBS segment – can you identify the anchor?


The very same afternoon: John Kennedy is assassinated (you can watch it here), less than three years after he becomes President.


Inaugural Address, 1961 – What were his famous words?


The very next evening, Bob Dylan performs a song (in waltz 3/4 tempo) that he had just written. It calls out to American youth to rebel, to ignore their parents and the politicians. A song of revolution. The Times they are A Changin’. Learn the song well for the course.


Sorry for the quality – it’s over fifty years old!!!


Another version


Or how about this cover? Which do you like best? Write in the padlets (next two pages)



Bob Dylan has moved to New York , is gaining a big reputation as a songwriter and starting to become well known as a performer. Bob Dylan’s agent is Albert Grossman. He also manages Peter, Paul and Mary. They make Dylan famous.  Perhaps that’s why Grossman put them together. In late 1963 they are huge. Dylan will be soon. In the meantime, he is their prime songwriter.


Please pay close attention to the close vocal harmony!!!



So where did Dylan come from? He grew up as Robert Zimmerman, a Jewish kid in a small town in Minnesota. Dylan borrowed his subsequent name from someone else.


Who was Dylan Thomas?


He borrowed his musical persona from someone else, too – Woody Guthrie. Guthrie, Dylan’s hero, was an authentic folk/protest singer. Have a look  his famous song “This Land is Your Land” (see here on Wikipedia as well). What’s missing? In the Weaver’s popular recording, only the first three verses are sung. The subsequent ones are the disruptive ones (we’re talking about a song written in 1944, recorded in 1944). Learn the disruptive verses for the course.

G            C                       G
This land is your land, this land is my land 
         D                      G
From California to the New York Island
G7               C                         G 
From the Redwood Forest to the Gulf Stream waters
D7                             G 
This land was made for you and me.

Verse 1: 
G         C                      G
As I went walking that ribbon of highway
      D                     G
I saw above me that endless skyway
G7    C                    G  
I saw below me that golden valley
D7                             G 
This land was made for you and me.

Repeat Chorus
Verse 2:

G              C                         G
I roamed and I rambled and I followed my footsteps
                 D                    G 
To the sparkling sands of her diamond deserts
G7        C                     G 
While all around me a voice was sounding
D7                             G 
This land was made for you and me.

Repeat Chorus

Verse 3:

G                 C                  G
When the sun came shining, and I was strolling
                     D                          G 
And the wheat fields waving and the dust clouds rolling
G7          C                        G 
A voice was chanting, As the fog was lifting,
D7                             G 
This land was made for you and me.

Repeat Chorus

Verse 4:

G         C                    G
As I went walking I saw a sign there
                   D            G 
And on the sign it said "No Trespassing."
G7         C                        G 
But on the other side it didn't say nothing,
D7                             G 
That side was made for you and me.

Repeat Chorus

Verse 5:

G                     C                        G
In the squares of the city, In the shadow of a steeple;
              D                   G 
By the relief office, I'd seen my people.
G7                  C                     G 
As they stood there hungry, I stood there asking,
D7                            G 
Is this land made for you and me?

Repeat Chorus

Verse 6:

G      C                    G
Nobody living can ever stop me,
        D                    G 
As I go walking that freedom highway;
G7     C          G
Nobody living can make me turn back
D7                             G 
This land was made for you and me.

Repeat Chorus 2x

Woody Guthrie singing “This land is your land”


Early Dylan borrowed lyrics and music from other artists and cultures and created famous songs. Was he a cheat? Or was he just doing what folk musicians did?

Read more about what made Dylan Dylan here.



Woody Guthrie is one of the leaders of the folk/protest movement. Others include Pete Seeger, Joan Baez, Tom Paxton, Buffy Ste. Marie. The music has:

Simple lyrics and melodies (sometimes ‘borrowed’).

A strong message, which can border on self-righteousness.


Here is Donovan‘s version of (Canadian!!) Buffy Ste. Marie‘s song, The Universal Soldier. It is a classic. Do you agree with it? Learn it for the course.



with lyrics


Here is Pete Seeger singing Tom Paxton’s song “What did you learn in school today“.


Here is the local version.


And here is Pete Seegers’ classic “Little Boxes”


Joan Baez singing “Donna Donna” – do you know where the song came from?


In February, 1964, the Beatles appear on the Ed Sullivan show with 70 million viewers (me among them) and take the US by storm. Their Merseyside 2-4 rock ‘beat music’ is more infectious than the Corona virus and will soon pervade folk and protest music.


So I think (and I am not alone) that Sixties (rock) music was born out of the collision between folk/protest and early rock. Here’s a prime example indicating what happened:

In early 1964 Dylan writes “Hey Mr. Tambourine Man“. He records it with the producer Tom Wilson. It has an acoustic folk feel.


Dylan singing Hey Mr. Tambourine Man at Newport Folk Festival in 1964


But when the Byrds got hold of it…. “In an attempt to make it sound more like The Beatles, the band … elected to give the song a full, electric rock band treatment, effectively creating the musical subgenre of folk rock. Dylan was impressed, enthusiastically commenting, “Wow, you can dance to that!”



So by the mid-sixties, with the Beatles everywhere, if you didn’t rock, you didn’t exist.

Another great example of a band that ‘succumbed’ to the British invasion is Simon and Garfunkel. They also have the same producer Tom Wilson  to thank (or not). Here’s the story, in the next book of the course.


Beatles and Dylan had collided. At first through the music, then in person. They rubbed off on one another. The Beatles would go on to write more introspective music. John would sing with a somewhat Dylanesque voice and approach. Dylan, for his own part went electric in 1965. Popular music would never be the same.


Here is an amazing recording of a very young Donovan performing a very young song in front of the slightly older Dylan, who (at Donovan’s own request?) shows him up. A very telling video. Someone commented that if Phil Ochs were there he would have shown them both up. Enjoy!



Thank you for reading my book!

If you like it, you might also want to read:

Simon and Garfunkel Succumb to the Sixties

Do you Know your Sixties Music?

Read more about me and see ALL my books on Ourboox (I have many)

Or even better, create a book of your own!!!

Here is a tutorial to help you get started on your own voyage as an Ourboox contributor!  And finally, you can always write me at [email protected]

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