Music isn't made in a vacuum — it's often a product of social upheaval, an expression of cultural identity and, in the case of celebrities, a way to take on another persona. Take a closer look at the art and change inspired by some of the most influential music of the past century at these upcoming events.

Hip-Hop Revolution

See the birth of hip-hop on the streets of NYC in the 1970s through its rise into a bona fide phenomenon by 1990, recorded by three local photographers. The exhibit includes early images of Afrika Bambaata, Run DMC, the Beastie Boys and the Rock Steady Crew b-boys. The photographers will also take part in a panel discussion on April 15, and Joe Conzo on May 14 ($16). April 1-Sept. 13; $14, Museum of the City of New York, 1220 Fifth Ave. 

Joel Brodsky 

You probably don’t know Joel Brodsky’s name, but any rock music fan knows the iconic “Young Lion” photo of The Doors lead singer Jim Morrison on the cover of their “An American Prayer” record. Known as a photographer who could make pop stars seem ethereal and human at the same time, he helped craft the images of artists for decades. Half of the show at Morrison Hotel Gallery will be devoted to his intimate portraits of the band; the rest include images of musicians like Tom Waits, Aretha Franklin, Iggy Pop, Kiss and many others. March 27-April 15; 116 Prince St.  

Music and Activism

When issues of civil rights, the anti-war movement and nuclear anxiety took hold in the 1950s and ‘60s, Greenwich Village responded with a folk music revival. This free lecture at the Museum of the City of New York will explore the neighborhood’s role in fostering music that argued for equality and pacifism. Thursday, March 26, 5 p.m., 1220 Fifth Ave., RSVP