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of the time to be honest was ourselves. You have to remember there was no internet at the time. So in order to find peers we actually had to go out in public. Apart from marijuana we really did not do quite as many drugs as thought (although there were exceptions, and probably we still did too many) and we certainly did not have as much sex as people thought we did. But we moved in groups, in what we considered tribes. Communes, festivals, just hanging around parks and coffee houses from San Francisco to the East German border. And even inside Eastern Europe, but that is a different day,eh?
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and somehow in the middle of the harmonies and good vibrations and the summer of love were the Doors. With lyrics that cried out to be poetic (and worked sometimes) a jazz organist a classical guitarist who had never played an eleectric guitar..and one of if not THE all time Bad Boys of rock Jim Morrison. Strutting and moaning into the mic with his leather jeans, able to get anything he wanted but always wanting more he was our Dorian Grey..the mirror dark image of the 60s that we tried to pretend was not there while at the same time having our moments where yes, we wanted to be him or wanted him depending on your gender bias.


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OK..did you guess it? There were the Byrds, with David Crosby, and Buffalo Springfield with Neil Young and Steve Stills, and the Hollies with Graham Nash. And together they made arguably one of the first super groups CSN..and on occasion Y. This clip does get lighter, and I know it is long, but it is still one of my favourite songs of theirs. In fact the first one I think I ever heard.


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And people from the East started coming out to visit. And soon the concept of lyrics from the East started blending with the vocal harmonies from the West. And soon people in the UK scene were starting to listen and take notice.


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As the British Invasion gained momentum, they were not always welcomed with open arms, at least not at first. The truth is that they did have a negative impact on the American scene in the beginning.

And what was the American music scene? Fragmented. The Boston-New York corridor was home to folk,avant guarde jazz and tin pan alley. Blues musicians gravitated to Chicago and Memphis. Nashville was home to what was becoming Country. You have to remember that Country and Rock and Roll were actually the same thing in the beginning. Detroit and Cincinnati were the main points for R&B. New Orleans was the home for traditional jazz. Texas and the bordering states to the nortn and west were home to Cowboy music. Cowboy music, with its emphasis on story driven lyrics would soon become the Western of Country and Western.

And in California were the reigning champions with their Fender guitars,madras shirts, infectious lines and tight harmonies. The Beach Boys, Jan and Dean, the Safaris, there was a whole school that had been ruling much of the charts (remember there was no FM music yet). But the Californians had two secret weapons that would help even the balance..Sun and Beaches.


60s btw

Mar. 19th, 2008 08:01 pm
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Today is the birthday of popular 60s author Philip Roth.

Also on this day in 1962 Bob Dylan released his first, self titled album. The first album had only two original songs on it, the rest of them being covers of traditional and blues songs. John Hammond produced the album for under 500 dollars. In 1964 Sean Connery started the first day's shoot for Goldfinger. And in 1969, the Chicago 8 were indicted (of which more later)
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Ok...now in truth the invasion started, as we all know, but these four fellows from Lierpool. Two of whom were actually Anglo-Irish but we shall leave that be. And while they did hae unique hair cuts (brought from Germany and invented by the girl friend of a now dead band member) they also wore suits and ties etc. In fact so did most of the groups that followed them. Not for long, but at the beginning.

The irony is that the British Invasion actually started out with British groups doing covers of American songs. But that was soon to change, as was the way we looked at music..and each other.

and again

Mar. 15th, 2008 06:34 am
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a common thread that tends to be running through the 60s..inherent contradictions. As it might be considered..a Dickensian era "the best of times the worst of times,etc etc". The same time period that gave us the Summer of Love also gave us the epitome of the Cold War..with the raising of the Berlin Wall and the Cuban Missle Crisis. Perhaps one was responsible for the other in a way, humanity's way of trying to achieve a balance.

An interesting side effect was the fallout shelter, a common building item in the 50s and early 60s, especially in higher income homes. Meant to protect life they actually were responsible for being the site where many a life was created.
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We all know about the beginnings of rock (well sort of..may get back to that later). But there was also jazz, which we have touched a bit, and folk.

If you weren't there it is hard to understand how popular folk music was in the 60s. The Folk Scare as Tom Paxton called it. Folk singers were actually getting signed on major labels and getting top 40 radio play. Coffee Houses were everywhere in every city. Songs of social injustice and songs to out angst anything available today. And some that pretended to be one thing while actually just being..well..silly? Especially at the beginning..such as this song.


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One could posit that the 90s were the generation of the Internet. We had BBS activity before that but it was different..not worse,just different. But the 60s were the generation of a different sort of net...a concrete one. By the early 60s the first wave of the North American Highway system was complete. And we had our VWs, we had our mustangs,we had our thumbs (and thumbing for rides was a noble art in and of itself. And probably as well that it is a vanished one.) We were able to connect with each other physically within hours..or by week's end at worse. Which meant demonstrations, which meant festivals, which meant a mobile culture in a way that had never existed before and doesn't really exist now.
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Some things have been echoing inside the cranial spare rooms over the last week or two.

The first being..do we really need the warts? The 60s certainly have more than share of them. But a good many of them we were not aware of at the time..the media was a bit more circumspect and of course the internet was far in the future. Certainly there is the Truth out there (sorry,wrong decade) but what of the myths and legends that grew. Would we truly be that much better off if we exposed them?

One thing we never realised..and which is true today just as much. Sometimes we are,indeed "them". Sometimes you are "them". Sometimes on the rare occasion even I am "them"
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First of all, let us set the record straight. Vietnam was not the only conflict the US was engaged in post Korea. They had been in and out of a 1/2 dozen Latin American Countries at the same time more and more and more advisers were being sent to Vietnam...and of course Laos...well..and Cambodia. But Vietnam got the headlines. It was the biggest and it was the only conflict to use non volunteers.

Ah yes, the draft. At the beginning of the 60s it was mostly about how much money or what connections, or sometimes just what part of the country you lived in. By the end of the 60s the US had become the first National Casino. And the stakes were your future. Something that not even Bush has been able to restart.

And as we watched the first televised war, and heard the stories of people coming back, we realised that the days of black and white were over. We were not always the good guys..and the television could lie as easily as politicians. And when the war ended we applauded and let go a sigh of relief, not realising how short our time of Peace would be.

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More than any subsequent decade the 60s were about cars. Driving them, admiring them, hitching rides in them. On the big screen there was James Bond's Aston Martin DB5. On the small screen there was the Batmobile.

But in real life there was the VW Beatle and the VW Microbus.They were cheap(ish) they were dependable and they had personality. And for those with a bit more money there was The pony car..the Ford Mustang. The VW was for hippies,even becoming one of the focuses for a song which became a movie. And the Mustang was for the rest of the under 30 population of North America.



that word

Mar. 6th, 2008 06:27 am
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the three or four letter depending on how you wish to approach it. In this case the first of the big three ..sex drugs and rock and roll. One of the great myths of the 60s was the whole sex thing. Yes, there was more sex than there had been in the 50s. But from what I can gather less than there was in the 70s. In fact less than there is now? Assuming you did not live in one of the major centers. And, I hate to tell the ladies, probably not nearly as much fun for you. Remember, the Woman's Movement was just around the corner but was not there yet. And the orgasm was not something that was shared.
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Now I am, to be honest, not the person to talk about the clothes of the 60s. I know in North America at the dawn it was madras shirts and white chinos on the west coast and black chinos and black turtlenecks (often with berets) on the east coast. And scruff and leather from the growing biker element. And the UK had the mods and teddys? I think. And then about mid decade we embraced Carnaby ( I do remember owning an Edwardian coat..double breasted and high collared).

Of course it was a moot point for a large percentage of us. If you were in secondary you did not have long hair, you did not wear jeans or boots..or tennis shoes in many areas. For that matter tie wearing was still expected even in some Universities, at least on Sunday.

And then of course came t-die and jeans and sandles and beads. And often to no clothes at all..but that is another story.
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Bear in mind that in many areas a large part of the 60s leading up to the Summer of Love was looking at the people who had come before us. We read Dylan Thomas who was dead, and TS Eliot who might as well have been. Allen Ginsberg (who we did not know was just getting started) Robert Lowell had started in the 40s, Sylvia Plath straddled the borders between the 50s and 60s in more ways than one.

And poetry was important, much more than today. After all, the Kennedys had Robert Frost at the White House. There was a prize winning play about Dylan Thomas. You were just as likely to find poetry readings at coffee houses as folk or jazz music. And suddenly the music we were listening to started carrying content instead of just following the beat. Not all of it obviously, but enough to sink lightly in the soul like coffee under moonlight.


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