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Collection spotlight

Music and social change seem almost synonymous. This month's Spotlight takes a look at five ways music impacted culture over the course of the last one hundred years.

Little Wonder Records

The advent of home record players, followed closely by radio, in the early Twentieth Century, established music as a force for change in America. One company, Little Wonder, seemed to especially capture the mood of the country during the First World War.


Who's Afraid of the Jazz Monsters

By the 1920's, Jazz was a musical and cultural revolution. One of the biggest changes brought about by jazz was the creation of the vamp - a dangerous, liberated woman who embraced the dances, underworld, daring fashion and openly seductive behaviour associated with the genre.


Rock n' Roll and Social Change

Coinciding with the birth of the teenager, by the mid-1950s, a second enormous musical revolution blended black and white traditions and created what would become that most ubiquitous form of American popular culture - rock 'n' roll.


How Indie Rock Changed the World

The path mapped by the pioneering indie-rock nerds of the 1980's exposed the prehistory of perhaps music's biggest cultural shift - one we now take for granted - the everyone-is-a-producer era of music.


Fight the Power

By the late 1970s, what started as battle-rhyming over a DJ's mix, was actually the seed that would grow into rap. Like Rock before it, rap evolved, pushing musical and cultural bounderies as it grew. However, early 1990s efforts to stamp out "gangsta rap" ultimately ensured the genre's survival as kids rushed to listen to this music their elders feared.