Wednesday, October 17, 2012


The success of the American
popular music industry had always been
dependent upon the youth of America, and 
although the majority of 'pop' music's demographic 
had been too young to vote for President Kennedy
(voting age in 1960 was 21) they were drawn
to his youth, charm, and charisma.

Young people perceived great promise and a general air of hopefulness with Kennedy in office.

John Glenn had orbited the Earth, and the President spoke of going to the moon.

They were having children in the White House.

There was style and glamor

Mr. and Mrs. John F. Kennedy were indeed a fascinating, handsome couple, and they were brilliantly masterful at using the various forms of media to create and project a precisely controlled image.

Millions of young people thought he was cool.

(JFK tosses the coin at the start of the Orange Bowl in January 1963)

The man wore Ray-Bans for goodness sake!
** Not true!!  JFK actually wore American Optical's 'Saratoga' sunglasses  
(error correction April 23, 2013) 

Falling perfectly into the midst of 1963 popular music's demographic was 14 year old, future president, Bill Clinton; shown here on July 24, 1963 shaking hand with President Kennedy at the White House.

To view a video of this event click this link:

Following the assassination, the comparison to Camelot helped cement an extremely romanticized view of Kennedy's presidency, which; when looked at realistically, had comprised 1036 days - many of them turbulent, and some downright frightening.

But the average teenager of 1963 watched Donna Reed clean house in high heels and pearls, and  believed that a place as safe and sweet as Mayberry really existed.

Boys as wholesome as Bobby Vee, Bobby Rydell, Jimmy Clanton, Frankie Avalon, and Paul Anka could be brought into millions of American homes by way of television without fear of their looks or the lyrics of their songs offending parental sensibilities.

Many who were teenagers during the Kennedy era would later recall his administration as an optimistic, hopeful time.

It was, for many, a time of great innocence

And then one day - without warning, it was gone . .

How many people have experienced the horror of knowing someone who was murdered?  Thankfully, very few; but on November 22, 1963 every American could answer that question in the affirmative.

And what were we left with?

No more youth . .

No more charm . .
(LBJ liked to pick his dogs up by their ears)

No more charisma . .

Politics aside,
could there have ever been
two more polar opposite men
when it came to style and image?

Kennedy - cool and sophisticated
Johnson - brash and boorish

If you'd like a glimpse into the 'down home' personality of LBJ, you must take a minute to listen to this recording of him ordering pants over the phone on August 9, 1964.
Things get really interesting at around 2 minutes in. 
TO LISTEN TO LBJ'S PHONE CALL click this link:

So, what effect did this national tragedy have upon
the youth of America? 
Well, history has marked the assassination of
John Fitzgerald Kennedy as a 'loss of innocence,' and the start of the disillusionment of American youth.

Soon, many of the purveyors of American popular music would find their world as unstable as nitroglycerin as they fell victim to the whim of a disillusioned demographic . . 

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