AUTHORTitus, A. Costandina / Simich, Jerry L.
TITLEFrom "Atomic Bomb Baby" to "Nuclear Funeral": Atomic Music Comes of Age, 1945-1990
PERIODICAL TITLEPopular Music and Society
DATE PUBLISHED1990
VOLUME NUMBER14
ISSUE NUMBER4
PAGE NUMBERS11-37
ISSN0300-7766
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This article chronicles the evolution of atomic music in the United States from 1945 to 1990, providing a detailed analysis of the changes, decade by decade. The article tracks the impact of political events and public sentiment on the shifting tone of atomic lyrics, also noting the influence of musical genre. As the article describes, atomic music emerged in the 1940s after the first atomic bombs were dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, and it initially tended toward religious themes. By the 1950s, the frequency of atomic testing and the proliferation of atomic imagery led to music that conveyed less of the initial reverential awe. In the 1960s, atomic bomb imagery was assimilated into other protest songs characteristic of the era. The 1970s show complacency towards atomic issues, and the 1980s begin a reemergence of atomic imagery. The discussion encompasses a wide variety of songs across all popular genres and includes sample lyrics in many instances. Detailed endnotes are also provided.


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