Date of Award


Document Type

Union College Only

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts



First Advisor

Judith Lewin

Second Advisor

Jordan Smith




music, nation, culture, different, motivations


This thesis explores the different ways in which music and culture interacted during the Vietnam War era. During the late 1960s and into the early 1970s, the nation was changing politically, as well as socially. A rising counter-culture found its voice in society, allowing musicians, artists and young activists, all of whom had traditionally been overlooked as marginal figures, to become powerful influences. Rock and Roll music was one of the largest driving forces of this revolution because it spoke on behalf of a nation of dissatisfied youths that had lost hope and faith in their government. Through looking at four of the most influential bands of this period, Buffalo Springfield, Creedence Clearwater Revival, Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young, and the Doors and analyzing their lyrics, I point out how their motivations and words touched the nation and left a lasting impression. While some of their music was politically inspired and created to incite change, some of their music was used solely as a vehicle of self-promotion—propelling these musicians into the public eye and making them famous. I explore the effects that different motivations had on audiences and why the roots of these intentions were so important.