"The unique position of post-war teenagers, physically almost adult yet excluded from adult roles and responsibilities, with considerable disposable cash, and familiar from early childhood with the products of modern mass media healthy, well-fed, and energetic, yet involved in less hard physical work than many of their ancestors-- this privileged, new position seemed merely to throw into sharp relief for them the limitation of their existence and to give them the opportunity to respond in new ways to these conditions.  Music-use became one of the main chosen instruments of their response."- (6)

Birth of Teenage Culture


Following World War II, there was a baby boom, which brought about some of the first strong youth subcultures in history.  In Britain, young people were beginning to turn away from their parents and tradition to create new cultural expression.  Among these cultural phenomenons were the Teddy Boys.  This group of delinquent young men dressed in ‘Edwardian’ clothing who introduced anarchy into British society and used early American rock and roll as their battle call (6). The idea of a youth culture was further being developed by a quickly widening generation gap.  The generation gap theory claimed that the younger generation's aspect of society was evolving at a higher rate than their parents after the war due to young people’s natural ability to overcome strife (6). This gap created a cultural schism between children and their elders in respect to music and style.  

Films such as “Rock around the Clock” featuring early American rock and roll stars like Bill Haley shocked working class boys who were quickly enthralled by the aggressive beats and sought to recreate the music's mysterious allure.   The product was skiffle, a type of cheap amateur rock often featuring unschooled musicians and a lot of spirit.  Eventually the skiffle craze and an obsession with early American rock slowly produced young British groups of skilled musicians with original ideas (6). These early bands would eventually serve as ambassadors bringing a revitalized style of rock back to the United States during a time when American rock had died.  In 1950's, America’s youth were being constrained by religious fundamentalism and rampant McCarthyism which called rock communistic and primitive. Early Beatles and much later songs like The Who’s “My Generation” offered a breath of fresh air and embodied a new age of youthful creativity.  Britain reentered the world stage as the new major producer of rock and roll. 

(6)-  Bradley, Dick. Understanding Rock 'n' Roll. Buckingham: Open UP, 1992. Print.