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Bruce Springsteen, Patti Smith, Joe Strummer of The Clash, Michael Stipe of R.E.M., King Crimson... These are some of the many musicians who drew their inspiration from the works of the Beat Generation, a generation of angry young Americans who began creating right after World War II. Ray Manzarek once stated: If he (Jack Kerouac) hadn’t written On The Road, the Doors would never have existed; Bob Dylan, too, has asserted: I read On the Road maybe in 1959. It changed my life like it changed everyone else’s. In my paper I would like to analyze the influence of the Beat literature on rock music, especially in song lyrics, and showcase the ties between these worlds; I shall focus on Jack Kerouac and Neal Cassady, the two most popular representatives of the Generation. The former, dubbed King of the Beats, was the originator of the movement's name, a chronicler of its ideas, and the author of aforementioned ”On the Road”. As an admirer of jazz rooted in the 1950s, he himself did not get involved in the rock & roll scene of the Sixties, but his books served as an inspiration for many acclaimed musicians of that period; with his taste for freedom and traveling, Kerouac eventually reached a cult status. Neal Cassady, on the other hand, was the muse of Beat artists (and others alike), the prototype of their protagonists, a carrier and representative of their ideas. As an icon of the 1950s, he blended flawlessly with the 1960s era of hippies, most notably befriending the Grateful Dead, who then have dedicated many songs to him and Kerouac. If the Beat Generation had never existed, would rock music have? Probably yes, but it would have looked a lot differently.

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Anna Wyrwik (Poland) 11479
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