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The little devils

At the beginning of the sixties, young students from the British art school exchanged ideas and experiences. This environment was the best way to make discoveries, like black music.

Born under the shadows of the atomic bomb, these restless students felt different and claimed to live the present moment. They would reject conventionalities of the puritan society and bet on immediate pleasure. They felt like outsiders and saw the society that sheltered them from the exterior.

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They took refuge in the solidarity of their group and they manifested their distances with new attitudes and images that were made visible through unusual clothing and hairstyles. They sympathized with the existentialist ethics from the black American that they had received via writers of the beat generation. They sensed the same dilemmas and the two developed a unique lifestyle to solve their margination.

This youth repudiated the hit lists, that they considered as rancid and conventional, preferring the authenticity that implied the sound of jazz or blues. The issues that were exposed in this type of music really mattered to them: sex, identity or challenge.


They really couldn’t resist the rhythm of blues music and, so, they became devoted to this religion. Unlike jazz, that they received as elitist and old, blues provided repertory and attitude to young people with a little professional experience. For them, the rhythm and blues were an unlimited territory where it all fitted in: from rural blues to more sophisticated vocal groups like The Coasters. The more influential figures are: Muddy Waters, Howlin’Wolf, Chuck Berry or Bo Diddley.

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While purists, like Alexis Korner or John Mayall, searched for more primitive and genuine forms, other bands like The Rolling Stones made music for a younger public, full of excitement for innovations in a market initiated by The Beatles. At first, it consisted of young inexperienced people making music, but then they achieved to insert their own character and style, accentuating the rhythm, rising the volume of the amplifier and replacing subtlety with urgency.

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These disciples acknowledged publicly their debt with the musicians from the ghetto and they returned the favor taking them with them on tour. The British provided a new career to the black artists ignored by the white America. These setters of British rhythm and blues converted the black blues from Chicago into a metallic and unrestrained rock that reached a large audience of young people.

It also brought the foundations for the fertile decade of the sixties, serving as practice for a lot of talented people that would soon develop their own style and for that the future guitar stars (like Eric Clapton, Jimmy Page or Jeff Beck) could start launching their career.