Date of Award

Spring 2012

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts


American Studies

First Advisor

Louis P. Masur

Second Advisor

Scott Gac


The structure of the ensuing analysis is divided into five chapters, the introduction being the beginning of chapter one, based upon a more or less chronological study of rock’s development, beginning in 1965 and ending at Monterey. Each chapter is intertwined with analysis of diverse scholarly material to extract and examine rock’s development and subjective observations utilized to paint an imagery-rich tale of one of America’s most fascinating eras of cultural growth. The first half of chapter one explains how one can understand the latter developments of rock-culture in the 1960s i.e. Woodstock and Altamont by simply observing that rock-culture was cyclical in nature, and the end of Monterey marked the beginning of the second cycle. The rest of the chapter provides a brief, yet telling contextual synopsis of the macro-cultural occurrences which effectually laid down the ideological niche for rock’s unorthodox vision. In other words, this section points to how rock culture was unique in successfully capitalizing on the failed Avant-Garde movements of the post-war era in combating the sense of ennui cast down by the rigid regulations and self-limiting uniformity of a conservative society. Secondly, because the analysis covers an incredibly diverse slew of cultural, musical, and ideological elements in a short period of time, this section lays down the basic framework of the ensuing argument.

The second chapter focuses on the general development of the rock “umbrella,” as it voraciously consumed genre upon genre, rapidly monopolizing the most innovative talent of the day as it began to form a concrete identity. Also, this section focuses on the specific development of a cultural identity built into the “hippie aesthetic,” the ideological base of rock which provided further fuel for creative expansion. The third section attempts to capture a short list of the overarching flavors built into the San Francisco rock scene while analyzing the genre’s integration into a live medium. These styles fall under the expansive category of the antepenultimate technical developments of rock. These broad styles gave birth to rock’s three most symbolic elements: socially relevant lyrics, the iconic “front-man” and the potency of guitar-lead free-form improvisation. The fourth section continues the funnel effect by briefly analyzing the penultimate influence, known as the “British Sound,” then switches to the final phase of rock’s authentic identity during the 1960s—the development of the era’s most distinctive sound, psychedelic-rock, and the centralization of rock culture in the creative mecca of Haight-Ashbury. Last, the final section breaks down the multifaceted development of rock’s greatest accomplishment, the outdoor festival; covering in great detail rock culture’s original stamp on popular culture—the spiritual catharsis which defined Monterey.


Senior thesis completed at Trinity College for the degree of Bachelor of Arts in American Studies.