Friday, August 31, 2012

VIDEO: Canned Heat - One Kind Favor

Hi all,

Here's a bit of 1960s style by Canned Heat! Enjoy!

Published on YouTube by juju8149

Artist: Canned Heat
Album: Living The Blues
Year: 1968

Wednesday, August 29, 2012


Cover of "Let It Be (1990)"
Cover of Let It Be (1990)

Posted by:"Woody Lifton" woodylifton on Trippy Dippy Hippies Yahoo Group:

The Cruise For Beatles Fans 2013

Boca Raton, Florida - The fourth annual Cruise for Beatles Fans (formerly known as the Beatles Tribute Cruises) has put together another Star Studded cast of Beatles friends and musicians to entertain their private group of Beatles fans.

The cruise will set sail from Ft Lauderdale on March 3rd 2013 for 7 nights to the Caribbean aboard Royal Caribbean's ALLURE OF THE SEAS.

The cruise will make stops in Charlotte Amalie, St Thomas, Phillipsburg, St Martin and the Nassau, Bahamas.

During the cruise VIP guests will be enjoying private concerts, Question and Answer sessions and picture and autograph sessions with the Special Beatles Guests, Beatles Trivia and Name That Tune contests and much more.

Special Beatles Guests:

Mark Hudson

Back by popular demand, the incomparable Mark Hudson is a Grammy Award winner and formerly was Ringo Starr's producer. This cruise is Mark's priority because he loves the relaxation, intimacy and attention that allows a significant interlude to his hectic agenda. He will tell the stories about working with The Beatles, Ozzie Osborn, Aerosmith, Celine Dion and Ringo Starr. You will be thoroughly entertained by his cool breeze style, laughing at his story-telling prowess.

Joey Molland

Guitarist for the Apple band "Badfinger" that put out such memorable hits as "Day by Day", "Come and Get It" (written and produced by Paul McCartney), "No Matter What" and "Baby Blue", This is Joey's first journey on the Cruise For Beatles Fans. The private group of cruisers will enjoy Joey's stories of being on stage at the Concert for Bangladesh, working with George Harrison and Todd Rundgren on Badfinger's Straight Up LP. Joey recently released his autobiography "Badfinger and Beyond" and will have copies of it and his Badfinger CDs available for purchase during the cruise.

Billy J. Kramer

Billy was the lead singer of Billy J. Kramer and the Dakotas, one Brian Epstein's biggest bands (besides the Beatles) and had hits with a number of Lennon/McCartney tunes like "Do You Want To Know A Secret", "Bad To Me", "From A Window" and "I Call Your Name". Currently he's working on an original CD with his new phenomenal band and we're sure he'll have plenty on hand to personally autograph for VIP guests who join us on The Cruise for Beatles Fans 2013.


This band was such a hit on the last cruise that we brought them back for more Beatles fun. We know this is one of the best Beatles Tribute bands in the world and obviously, Royal Caribbean Cruise Line agrees with us as Revolution has been a headline act for the cruise line for over ten years.

Joe Johnson

Returning for his fourth Cruise for Beatles Fans as EMCEE, he is the brilliant host of the nationally syndicated radio show Beatle Brunch. He will entertain and amuse the audience with Beatles Trivia Contests awarding valuable prizes to VIP guests with the answers. So brush up on your knowledge of The Beatles because you know the answers Don't Come Easy! His charming and candid interviews with all the Special Guest performers will delight you.

For more information about cabins, ship itinerary, pricing or past Cruises for Beatles Fans go to the ONLY place to register for this special Beatles vacation.
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Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Back to the Garden: A Woodstock Museum

Visitors to the Museum at Bethel Woods
by Peter Applebome, The New York Times:

A funny thing happened on the magic bus trip back to the tie-dyed land of peace, love and music.

Yes, there were Jimi and Janis and Joe Cocker twitching around in film clips from the famous concert 39 years ago on the rolling meadow that was Max Yasgur’s alfalfa field.

There was a real-life hippie bus in psychedelic colors, and displays of a stars-and-stripes suede jacket and love beads next to a minidress and go-go boots ensemble, the latter getup presumably not worn at Woodstock.

John Sebastian and Richie Havens were there to reminisce. They played Canned Heat’s “Going Up the Country” and “The Times They Are a-Changin’” by Bob Dylan. But somehow “then” kept looping back to “now” at the unveiling Wednesday of the Museum at Bethel Woods, which will open to the public on Monday.

So there was Duke Devlin, famous as the hippie from the Texas Panhandle who came to Woodstock and never left, standing in the bright sun giving his spiel yet again for a German television crew as they waited for two squadrons of reporters in Peter Pan buses to descend on the field where the concert took place.
A hippie bus of the era

Stout and tattooed, with long gray hair and beard, Mr. Devlin is the embodiment of the transition of the Woodstock generation into the AARP generation. But he figures that if Woodstock is about nostalgia, it’s about more than nostalgia, too.

“Is it over yet?” he asked. “We’re still here talking. We’ve now got this wonderful museum, but I don’t call it a museum, I call it a time capsule. And without me getting too political, a lot of the same ingredients are still the same - we’ve got a war, we have civil rights, we have women’s issues".

"Back then, we got sick and tired of being sick and tired. I don’t know if this can be recreated, but something like it can happen again. We’re back in the ’50s, man. The reason we’re all here is because we’re not all there.”

Which is not to say that the museum, housed in a lovely laminated wood structure built by a company that long ago built Mr. Yasgur’s silos, tries to be the personification of the Woodstock ethos, whatever that was.

Centered on a 6,728-square-foot permanent gallery, it’s part of Alan Gerry’s re-creation of Woodstock not as a vehicle for peace and love but as a vehicle for Sullivan County’s economic development. The site has become a $100 million arts center with a 15,000-seat outdoor performance space.

And along with voices marveling about how much fun they had in the mud or how Woodstock changed the world, we get to hear old Nixon-era stalwarts lambasting all that Woodstock has come to stand for.

“The ’60s were just a terrible time for the country,” says former Attorney General Edwin Meese III, the biggest downer in a chorus of voices, yea and nay, that museumgoers hear after a 21-minute film of music from the concert. “It was the age of selfishness. It was the age of self-indulgence. It was the age of anti-authority, an age in which people did all kind of wrong things. That was the start, really, of the drug problem in the United States.”

But yea or nay, and it’s mostly yea, the most striking thing about the museum is the way that in the end, it’s less about the famous concert and yoga in the mud than about the era that the concert has come to represent.

“When I came to this project, there was this idea to memorialize the concert, which was about as far as it had gone,” said Patrick Gallagher, president of the firm that designed the museum. “And I said, ‘If it’s just a celebration of a celebration, what’s the purpose?’

And the more we peeled back the onion the more it was clear that the idea wanted to be Woodstock as the culminating moment, the capstone of the 1960s. We had to look back to look forward.”

So about 60 percent of the museum is about the politics and culture and music of the ’60s: pillbox hats, Elvis, the Bay of Pigs, the Beatles, civil rights, the assassinations of John and Robert Kennedy and Martin Luther King Jr., and Neil Armstrong walking on the moon.

And the rest is a quite vivid re-creation of the chaotic and unlikely process that led to 500,000 people shouting, “No rain, no rain, no rain,” during the summer downpours, Jimi Hendrix’s legendary performance of “The Star-Spangled Banner,” and all the rest.

As for the music, Mr. Sebastian said that in the end, some was revelatory and a lot was something of a mess. “No matter what we say after the fact, most of us disliked our performances at Woodstock,” he said. “I can find you a quick dozen people who would look back on that performance and say, ‘Oh, man, I bit the big one.’” But as for the event, he said, he went home knowing that he had been a part of history.

He wonders why, if people love Woodstock so much, they don’t find ways to act on the things about it that matter. “It evaporated so fast,” he said. “One minute we were there and the next we were in Reagan-land.”

Still, he said, as one of the voices in the exhibit: “I guess it did give you the illusion of infinite possibilities. And maybe that’s the part that we have to say bye-bye to. Because that can’t be for your whole life or for every moment in history that you might happen to live through.”

As for saying bye-bye to Woodstock, not a chance. The museum opens a year before the 40th anniversary, probably the last big milestone at which most of the musicians will be able to perform without walkers. They’re just beginning to draw up plans, but Mr. Meese notwithstanding, don’t expect it to come and go quietly.


Saturday, August 25, 2012

An Aquarian Exposition: 43 Years Ago

by Michael J. Toro, Big Apple Dayze:

Woodstock just happened: a planned event that became an unplanned legend. Before August of 1969, few people ever heard of this farm land outside of Bethel, New York, where Bob Dylan (who, despite pleas, didn’t perform) had a home, and which was later immortalized in the song “Woodstock” by Joni Mitchell (who also didn’t perform).

More than on the musicians, the media focused on the spectacle: a sudden outpouring of crowds, in and around the Woodstock festival, which would personify the chaotic Sixties forever as the decade neared its end. Nothing like it had ever been seen before.

The Woodstock Music & Art Fair (billed as an “An Aquarian Exposition: 3 Days of Peace & Music”) was organized by John Roberts (trust-funder), Joel Rosenman (lawyer), Artie Kornfeld (Capitol Records executive) and Michael Lang (record producer), the oldest of the four who was only 26.

The group chose a 600 acre dairy farm in Bethel, owned by Max Yasgur, in Sullivan County, New York; in fact, not in the town of Woodstock itself, in adjoining Ulster County, but 43 miles to the southwest of it.
Many people mistakenly believe that Woodstock was planned as a free concert for the masses: perhaps as a “farewell tribute” to the Sixties by the counterculture of the Sixties. On the contrary, the festival was designed as profit-making venture and appropriately called “Woodstock Ventures” by its four young and enterprising organizers.
It famously became a “free concert” only after it became obvious that the event was drawing hundreds of thousands more people than the organizers had prepared for. Tickets for the event cost US$18 in advance (approximately US$106 today calculated for buying power, and approximately US$75 today adjusted for inflation)and $24 at the gate for all three days.

Ticket sales were limited to record stores in the greater New York City area, or by mail via a Post Office Box at the Radio City Station Post Office located in Midtown Manhattan. Around 186,000 tickets were sold beforehand and organizers anticipated approximately 200,000 festival-goers would turn up. Wikipedia
Richie Havens opened the show on Friday, August 15, 1969 at 5:07pm; on the morning of August 17, Jimi Hendrix would close it with a 16-song set, including his famous (or, some would say, infamous) psychedelic version of The Star Spangled Banner.

However, the rock ‘n’ roll merely served to accompany the unprecedented levels of sex and drugs amongst a crowd that, before the festival had reached its midpoint on Saturday afternoon, had grown to an estimated 500,000 people.

One of the worst traffic jams in American history occurred on the New York State Thruway with miles of bumper-to-bumper traffic backed-up for over 14 hours. Many abandoned their vehicles and made their way to the concert area or drifted through the adjacent towns and villages. The locals viewed these strange visitors with a mixture of bemusement, amusement, suspicion and contempt, but never without interest.

Yet there were those who just didn’t dig the Woodstock craze and fail to appreciate its iconic appeal. Wall Street Journal critic Jim Fusilli (who was there) says that it was a “mediocre festival at best.” 
While major artists such as The Doors and Led Zeppelin stayed away, those who did perform were “drugged up and sound equipment failed; it was “pretty much a bust.” I think it’s easy to assume that even if the like of Led Zeppelin and The Doors had shown up, they would’ve been just as “drugged up” as the rest (Jim Morrison would have probably been drugged up far ahead of everyone). Newser
Santana’s “Soul Sacrifice” was a show-stopper
In my opinion, Woodstock isn’t legendary for the quality of the music (despite several outstanding performances) or for the quality of the sound (perhaps it could have been better), not even for the quality of the thousands and thousands of crazed wanderers, self-absorbed idealists and rather silly rebels who attended this (despite its pretensions) rather bourgeois-oriented event. What I continue to find remarkable is what many news reporters covering Woodstock found remarkable from the start.

Less than a month after Apollo 11 had proudly landed on the Moon, and within a couple weeks of the ignominy of Senator Ted Kennedy’s Chappaquiddick incident and the insanity of the Manson killings, nearly half a million young people were, for the most part, able to assemble peacefully: a legend in and of itself; a spontaneous if temporary reaffirmation of these restless denizens of the Age of Aquarius.

Note: Of course, far more could be written about Woodstock than my talent, time and space were able to cover in this post. There are many interesting essays, articles and photo galleries to be found on the Web. However, let me recommend two exceptional ones: “A Woodstock Moment–40 Years Later” in Smithsonian Magazine; LandyVision, a superb photo gallery featuring tons of rare and unique photos.

Friday, August 24, 2012

VIDEO: Janis Joplin – Final 24: Her Final Hours

by I Love History...and Research:

“Analysis on the life and death of Janis Joplin, the undisputed queen of rock and roll. This compelling documentary series unlocks the hidden secrets, psychological flaws and events that result in the tragic deaths of famed notorious and the iconic.

Every episode maps out the final 24 hours of a different famous person’s life. The series weaves the star’s back-story with events from their last day, which lays bare the threads of fate that led inextricably from childhood to the moment of death. These are no ordinary biographies. They’re psychological detective stories attempting to uncover the mystery of why the celebrity died.

This episode focuses on the life and death of Janis Joplin, the undisputed queen of rock and roll. It explores how her drug addiction and a cut of nearly pure heroin took her from the throne to her grave.”

Thursday, August 23, 2012

The Music That Forged the Counterculture Revolution of the 1960s

the velvet underground
The Velvet Underground (Photo: thatspep)
by Gerard Harris

The counterculture revolution of the 1960s is one of the most significant steps in western cultural development of the 20th Century.

From the very beginning trickle of its inception, to its height during the Vietnamese war, music was a big source of its driving force, contributing to the achievements that it helped to bring about, but also laying some of the foundations for its downfall.

With a focal point around the United States and the United Kingdom, it's influence spread throughout western civilisation and beyond, but where it all began is hard to say. However, the most important ingredient in its development was the burgeoning distrust of the established order of things, and in particular the senators, congressmen and presidents that pulled the strings.

The heightened tension of the cold war, the fear of the bomb, the assassination of President John F. Kennedy, racial segregation and voting rights, the persecution of communists and the Cuban communist regime, police brutality, the Vietnamese war and the increased use of psychedelic drugs all coalesced in the 60s and early 70s to fuel the fire for the counterculture movement.

Music was at the heart of it all, from the folk movement led by the likes of Bob Dylan, Phil Ochs and Dave Van Ronk to the release of "Revolution 1" on the Beatles' White Album. The music gave the children of the counterculture revolution new sources of inspiration and a centre around which to base their dissatisfaction with the established order of play.

In addition to the songs and bands that talked about protest in one way or another, there were also those that talked about freedom in general, pushing the rules of convention to their outer limits. The Velvet Undergrounds lyrics for example include references to transgender, homosexuality and drug use in a way that had never been seen before, while bands like the Beach Boys are cited as big proponents of peace, love and understanding.

One of the biggest things to develop out of the counter culture of the 60s and early 70s is the large-scale music festival. Folk festivals were well established in the early sixties - Bob Dylan's electric guitar at the 1965 Newport Fold Festival has taken on near legendary status, for example - but it wasn't until the Monterey Pop Festival, which launched Jimi Hendrix to the big stage, the Isle of White Festivals and Woodstock that the idea really took off. The fact that this type of festival has become so widespread in recent years is a testament to the musical legacy of the 60s.

The counterculture movement ground to a halt around '73 and '74 with the end of the Vietnamese War, Nixon's presidential resignation and the implosion, corruption and exploitation of the free love era.

Whether it ended with the removal of things to protest for, the move away from psychedelic drugs as the hit of choice or the disenfranchisement with the excessive hedonism that typified the latter parts of the movement it's hard to say for sure, but the impact of everything that occurred during that period is still being felt today, including the music that helped to produce it and that it helped to produce. Civil rights became universal, new forms of expression became acceptable, wars were ended and music was made.

Tuppence Magazine is an online publication for entertainment news in the UK, including restaurant reviews like Spicy Basil Kilburn and film news like Mad Max 4 movie info.

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Wednesday, August 22, 2012

INTERVIEW: With Rory MacLean: ‘Magic Bus’ on the Hippie Trail

Magic Bus book coverby Frank Bures, WorldHum:

No-one knows exactly how many people in the 1960s and ‘70s set out on the hippie trail from Istanbul through Iran, Pakistan and India, and on to Kathmandu.

Some think as many as 2 million seekers traveled the route in search of some kind of enlightenment.

Regardless, beginning in 1962, when Allen Ginsberg landed in India, and ending in 1979, when the Iranian revolution shut down a big swath of it, the hippie trail was dotted with young Western travelers.

They were, as Rory MacLean puts it, “the first movement of people in history traveling to be colonized rather than to colonize.” In other words, they were traveling to have their minds blown and their lives transformed.

A few years ago, MacLean set out on the trail to see what had become of it and to explore the history of a movement that forever altered the travel world. The result is his fantastic account, Magic Bus, just released in the U.S.

I asked him via email about the Beatles, Middle Earth and how to find a trail of one’s own.  

World Hum: You write that the hippies, or Intrepids, as you call them, followed in the footsteps of the Grand Tourists of the 1800s and before. How do the two groups compare?

Rory MacLean: After the Napoleonic Wars young Englishmen, for the most part wealthy Romantics, traveled in their numbers to Rome and Greece, then the crossroads of Classical and contemporary culture. On horseback, by bone-rattling carriages and in the shadow of the Pantheon, their experiences established the concept of travel as a means of gathering knowledge, as well as an adventure of the Self.

Like the hippies who followed them a century and a half later, the Grand Tourists looked abroad for models for political reform and a free-love alternative to Christianity. Both groups aimed to learn and extract pleasure from the Foreign. Most of all they traveled to be transformed.

It seems that one of the things that pushed people out on the hippie trail was a desire to embrace life in the fullest possible way. Would you say that’s true?

Absolutely. In the ‘60s kids grew up with the world. It was the era of Kennedy, civil rights marches and the pill. Most of all it was an age of amazing technological progress. Everything seemed possible. All of which convinced young people that by changing themselves they could change the world. That lucky post-war generation had the chance to imagine a world without boundaries. They abandoned their parents’ Kingdom Come of postponed pleasure to catch hold of the living, transient world. 

I was surprised that you met so many people along the way who were on the original hippie trail - travelers either trying to track down memories, or who never really left.

For most Intrepids, the trip was the journey of their life - the experience of their life. Just consider how they traveled. A few flew directly to India, but the majority drove east from Europe. War-surplus Jeeps, retired Royal Mail vans, fried-out VW campers, rainbow-colored London double deckers, clapped-out Turkish coaches. I even heard of a Scotsman who drove a Messerschmidt bubble car to India. It was the weirdest procession of unroadworthy vehicles ever to roll and rock across the face of the earth.

I was lucky when researching “Magic Bus.” In Istanbul I met the original Flower Child. In Pakistan I broke bread with a one-time dope-smoking Catholic who converted to Islam and became an imam - because of Bob Dylan.

In Rishikesh I met the Beatles’ doctor. But last year when the book was published in Britain, and the first reviews appeared in the press, something even more amazing happened. Trail “veterans” started writing to me by the dozen.

They’d headed east in the ‘60s or ‘70s and - motivated by reading the book - now embarked on a new trek, up the stairs to the attic to unearth old boxes and dusty journals.

Within a couple of months I’d been sent over 500 photographs, and enough new material to write the book all over again. With their permission I started relaying those stories, along with those I’d already collected, in articles and talks. I even built the website - with a Flickr page - to create a meeting place for this community of Intrepid travelers.

A couple of those people mention Middle Earth and “The Hobbit” in the book. I’m wondering how influential those books were as far as inspiring people to set off on their own adventures.

In the ‘60s, books - and song lyrics - were central to communicating ideas. Lyrics inspired, guided - or in some cases misguided - the search for a new way of living, expressing genuine concern for the state of the world.

On the road, books were passed freely between travelers, in keeping with the ‘60s’ openness to new experiences. Top reads included More’s Utopia, Kafka’s The Metamorphosis and Huxley’s Brave New World.

Dog-eared copies of the novels of Hermann Hesse and Tolkien went back and forth from West to East countless times, as did Ginsberg’s “Howl,” Kerouac’s On the Road and especially Henry David Thoreau’s Walden.

“I went into the woods,” he wrote of 19th-century Massachusetts, “because I wished to live deliberately, to front only the essential facts of life, and see if I could not learn what it had to teach, and not, when I came to die, discover that I had not lived.” The same spirit of discovery - including self-discovery - defined many ‘60s travelers’ quests.

To read further, go to:

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

VIDEO: Taos Journal - Hog Farm 60's Hippie Commune

Hi all,

Here's a great piece of memorabilia about a particular 1960s icon - Hog Farm. This is a video of a visit with Oxygen Nichols, "caretaker" of the infamous Hog Farm, a mobile hallucination-extended family experiment from the 1960's in Llano Largo New Mexico. She also runs the Glam Trash fashion show held in Taos. This was the commune where the likes of Wavy Gravy, Ken Kesey and Ram Das hung out before it was moved to Woodstock NY.

Uploaded on YouTube by livesteel

Monday, August 20, 2012

Janis Joplin: Big Brother’s White Soul

Piece of My Heart
Piece of My Heart (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

by John Poppy, Look, 3 September 1968, on Janis
“Without the music, I might have destroyed myself. Now, my feelings work for me.”

Early afternoon in San Francisco. What if her all-out performances wreck her throat? She looks away, “Maybe I won’t last long, but if I hold back I’m no good now.”

An MC who really knows what he’s doing introduces them all in one breath, without commas: “... here they are Janis Joplin Big Brother and the HOLDING Company!” Whang! Everything happens at once. The boys flail out their first chord at the instant Janis strides up, snatches a mike by the throat and bellows - what?

What is she singing? It starts off sounding like, “You don’t own me ...” but thousands of watts of electricity ram the voice, the drums, the guitars past hearing into other realms of sensation.

In the audience, 19-year-old Mimi sits gripped by the authority of Big Brother’s sound, keeping the beat with her whole body. She weeps with joy every time she hears Janis Joplin. “I need a man, I need a man, I need a man to love me ...” Is that what she is singing? “Don’t know,” Mimi says, but tears have filled her eyes anyway.

Well, Janis was right. During a break in rehearsal several days earlier, she had dismissed lyrics with a downward wave. “Don’t worry about the words, man. What we’re trying to do is get people moving.”

That is what the primitive rock bands of bygone years used to say, but Janis adds a dimension: she delivers all of herself, gut, marrow, joy and sorrow, to you when she sings. She moans, she croons, but most of all she shrieks - to the despair, she claims, of her mother back in Texas, who is supposed to have asked her, “Janis, why do you scream when you’ve got such a pretty voice?”

She’ll do anything “to make you feel what I feel.” Part blues, part rock, her style inspires talk of “soul,” that secret link between the survivors of some huge, shared suffering. She has it, say her fans. Not really, say purist black listeners.

“Awww,” says Janis, “you know why we’re stuck with the myth that only black people have soul? Because white people don’t let themselves feel things. Man, you and any housewife have all sorts of pain and joy. You’d have soul if you’d give in to it.”

Break time. The concert was half over. Neatly dressed students drifted around the college gym (no smoking, no dancing during the performance) while, back in a locker room, Janis and the boys changed out of sweaty costumes and tried to think what to play for a second set. Sam nearly dropped his guitar when he skidded near Janis. “Ugh, you’ve been spitting on the floor,” he grinned in mock protest.

“Yeah,” she admitted, “I’ve got a lot of crap in my throat,” and took another sip from a Styrofoam cup of her favorite lubricant, Southern Comfort. Hip fans sometimes hand her a bottle of that instead of flowers.

Janis can be gross. She knows it, digs it and doesn’t even try to be little and pretty - which is one reason for the authority she holds over an audience. In the language of soul, she’s got herself together; she if focused. Her effect comes only partly from the voice. There are also the eyes, the jabbing finger and the body.

Janis is trim, but moves onstage like a 300-pound mama. When she stomps, her hips and shoulders and elbows and head move right along with her feet in a heavy blast of grace. None of this is accidental. Janis and Big Brother’s four men are professionals, not just electrified hippies. they practice long hours in a loft, working hard to let the soul come out.

Big Brother and the Holding Company is one of the oldest San Francisco groups, but one of the latest to taste the record contracts and concert tours of the Big Time. Back when folk, jazz and rock were starting to merge, its men came together just to get stoned and play for people dancing, to groove with the sounds, not to make money.

Janis joined them in middle sixties. They taught her to change her blues with the pulsating power of the big amplifiers, she gave them a voice, and they all kept on playing to make their friends dance (now, these are our people! Whee!” Janis crowed when she saw the grimy, pot-smoking crowd in the Straight Theater on Haight Street a few nights after the college performance).

In the old days, Big Brother was practically the Hell’s Angels private band. Things do change, of course: it is said that the Angels now have a couple of managers and want Blue Cross, while Big Brother makes records and concerts to play for sit-down concerts.

But they haven’t changed too much. The group still plays for their friends, including the Angels, and still behaves in the loose, low-key family way you never feel in those shiny bands created for TV.

You can spend several days with them and realize later that first names - Peter, Sam, James, Dave and Janis - are all you want, all you need. Would the music sound different if you knew more?
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Sunday, August 19, 2012

The 1960′s Hippie Counter Culture Movement

by Mortal Journey:

The 1960’s are defined by the hippie counter-culture craze that invaded the lives of every citizen in the United States and around the world.

What were hippies and their counter-culture movement?

Hippie couple at a communeThe 1960’s hippie counter culture movement involved a variety of social concerns and beliefs.

The hippies’ primary tenet was that life was about being happy, not about what others thought you should be. Their “if it feels good, do it” attitudes included little forethought nor concern for the consequences of their actions.

Hippies were dissatisfied with what their parents had built for them, a rather strange belief given that their parents had built the greatest booming economy the world had ever seen.

Hippies rejected established institutions. Calling them “The Establishment”, “Big Brother”, and “The Man”, hippies believed the dominant mainstream culture was corrupt and inherently flawed and sought to replace it with a Utopian society.

Hippies rejected middle class values, opposed nuclear weapons and the Vietnam War. They embraced aspects of eastern philosophy and sought to find new meaning in life.
Hippies dancing
Hippies were often vegetarian and believed in eco friendly environmental practices. They championed free love and sexual liberation, particularly for women. They also promoted the use of psychedelic drugs which they believed expanded their consciousness.

Hippies participated in alternative arts and street theater and listened to folk music and psychedelic rock as part of their anti-establishment lifestyle.

They opposed political and social violence and promoted a gentle ideology that focused on peace, love, and personal freedom. Some hippies lived in communes or aggregated communities of other hippies. Some described the 1960’s hippies movement as a religious movement.

Hippies created their own counter culture founded on psychedelic rock and the embracement of the sexual revolution. Drugs such as marijuana and LSD were tightly integrated into their culture as a means to explore altered states of consciousness.

Contrary to what many believe, hippies tended to avoid harder drugs such as heroin and amphetamines because they considered them harmful or addictive.

Hippie dress, which they believed was part of the statement of who you were, included brightly colored, ragged clothes, tie-dyed t-shirts, beads, sandals (or barefoot), and jewelry, all of which served to differentiate them from the “straight” or “square” mainstream segments of society.

Their aversion to commercialism also influenced their style of dress. Much of their clothing was often purchased at flea markets or second hand shops.

Hippie men wore their hair long and typically wore beards and mustaches while the women wore little or no makeup and often went braless (occasionally shirtless).

The peace symbol became the hippie official logo and the VW bus their official means of group transportation. Hippies often drove VW buses painted with colorful graphics so they could quickly pack up and travel to where the action was at any given time. Their gypsy like travel habits also meant many hitchhiked to get to and from major hippie events.

History of hippies and the counter culture movement

Wandervogel youth dancingThe origin of the word “hippie” derives from “hipster” which was first coined by Harry Gibson in 1940 in a song titled “Harry the Hipster” (as Harry referred to himself).

Hipsters were beatniks who had moved into New York City’s Greenwich Village. Beatniks were followers of the Beat Generation literary movement who through their writings, promoted anti-conformist attitudes and ideals.

The first clearly used instance of the term “hippie” occurred on September 5, 1965 in the article “A New Haven for Beatniks” by San Francisco journalist Michael Fallon (who was writing about the Blue Unicorn coffeehouse).

Similar counter culture movements had occurred in Germany between 1896 and 1908. Known as Wandervogel (which translates roughly to “migratory bird”), the youth movement arose as a countercultural reaction to the urbanization that was occurring in Germany at the time.

Wandervogel youth opposed traditional German values and forms of entertainment and instead emphasized amateur music and singing, creative dress, and communal outings involving hiking and camping. They were a back to the earth generation who yearned for the simple, sparse, back to nature spiritual life of their ancestors.

In later years, the Wandervogel Germans immigrated to the United States where they opened many West Coast area health food stores. Many moved to Southern California. Over time other Americans adapted the beliefs and practices of the Wandervogel youth.

Songwriter Eden Ahbez wrote a hit song called Nature Boy that was inspired by the Wandervogel follower, Robert Bootzin. The song helped popularized health consciousness, yoga, and organic food throughout the United States.

The Beat Generation and Beatniks

Beats from the 1959 Beat Generation MovieFollowing the Wandervogel youth movement, the 1950’s introduced the “Beat Generation” to the United States.

The Beat Generation were a fringe group of American writers who came to prominence in the 1950’s. Allen Ginsberg’s Howl (1956), William S. Burroughs’s Naked Lunch (1959) and Jack Kerouac’s On the Road (1957) are among the best known examples of Beat literature.

Because of their explicit descriptions of homosexual sex (many of the central Beat Generation authors were openly homosexual), the books Howl and Naked Lunch became the focus of United States obscenity trials. Ultimately the results of the trials helped to liberalize publishing in the United States.

The term “beat” came from “tired” or “beaten down” which is how the Beat Generation described their era. Followers of the Beat Generation came to be known as “beatniks”, a combination of the words “Beat Generation” and the recently launched Russian satellite Sputnik (Sputnik used in the collective because it was “far out of mainstream society”).

Central elements of the “Beat” were drug experimentation and alternative forms of sexuality (particularly homosexuality), an interest in Eastern religion, and a general rejection of materialism. Beatniks soon developed a reputation as bohemian hedonists who celebrated non-conformity and spontaneous creativity.

A large number of beatniks moved from New York City to San Francisco in the late 1950’s and became in integral part of the upcoming hippie counter culture movement.

The hippies arrive in California

Grateful DeadChandler A. Laughlin II, cofounder of the infamous Cabale Creamery club in Berkeley, was greatly influenced by the Beat Generation and their beatnik culture.

In 1963, Laughlin followed their lead and established a tight family-like identity among 50 people in Greenwich Village in New York City and later Berkeley, California.

Laughlin recruited many of the early psychedelic musical talent including the Grateful Dead, Jefferson Airplane, Iron Butterfly, The Charlatans, and others. Laughlin and George Hunter of The Charlatans band, were true “proto-hippies” wearing long hair, boots, and outrageous clothing.

Together they opened the Red Dog Saloon in the old mining town of Virginia City, Nevada. The Red Dog Saloon became a focal point of drugs and psychedelic music festivals.

During this time, LSD manufacturer Owsley Stanley, who also lived in Berkeley, provided much of the LSD to the burgeoning hippie scene. Stanley, an ex-army radar operator, converted his amphetamines lab to an LSD lab and became one of the first millionaire drug dealers in the United States.

His LSD product became a part of the “Red Dog Experience”, the early evolution of psychedelic rock and the budding hippie culture. At the Red Dog Saloon, the Charlatans were the first psychedelic rock band to play live while high on LSD.

The Red Dogs move to San Francisco

The Diggers giving away food in San FranciscoIn October of 1965, many Red Dog participants returned to their native San Francisco where they created a new collective called “The Family Dog”.

On October 16, 1965, The Family Dog hosted “A Tribute to Dr. Strange” at the Longshoreman’s Hall in San Francisco.

The event was the first psychedelic rock performance in San Francisco. Over 1,000 “hippies” attended to watch Jefferson Airplane perform alongside a rudimentary dance and light show.

Additional psychedelic rock shows followed, including the infamous January 22, 1966 Grateful Dead performance where 6,000 people were given punch spiked with LSD and treated to the first fully developed, elaborate light show.
The Diggers in San Francisco
As attendance exploded at the psychedelic rock shows, The Family Dog became Red Dog Productions and event locations were expanded.

More performance/parties were held at venues such as the Avalon Ballroom and the Fillmore Auditorium. These shows were full psychedelic musical experiences with light shows combined with the colorful film projections that became the staple of the 1966’s hippie events. Event attendees often wore colorful, outlandish costumes to these shows.

By June of 1966, San Francisco’s Haight-Ashbury district was the epicenter of the hippie movement. The area was already primed to become the center of hippie activity as its residents consisted of beatniks, writers, artists, and musicians.

About 15,000 hippies had moved to the area including the psychedelic bands The Charlatans, Jefferson Airplane, Big Brother, and Holding Company. The hippies accepted into their family the performance group The Diggers, a street theater group who combined spontaneous street theater with anarchistic action and art happenings.

The Diggers sought to build an alternative free society where every need and desire could be obtained for free. By late 1966, The Diggers had opened public stores that provided free food (some of which was stolen off the backs of trucks), distributed free drugs, gave away money, and organized music concerts and art events.

In October 1966, California became the first state to make LSD illegal when they declared LSD a controlled substance. In response to the criminalization of their psychedelic drug, San Francisco hippies staged a gathering in the Golden Gate Park. The event was called the Love Pageant Rally.

The purpose of the event was to demonstrate that those who used LSD were not evil, criminals, or mentally ill. It was the first incidence of political activism initiated by the hippies. Drugs were handed out to participants and the hippies put tabs of LSD on their tongues in front of police in protest of the new law.

The Summer of Love

The Summer of LoveOn January 14, 1967 the Human Be-In event was held in Golden State Park in San Francisco. This event, which received extensive media coverage from the major networks, popularized the hippie culture throughout the United States and led to the legendary Summer of Love on the West Coast.

3,000 hippies were expected but 30,000 hippies showed up and gathered in San Francisco’s Golden Gate Park to celebrate the hippie culture.

The Diggers secretly slipped LSD into the free turkey sandwiches that were handed out to all attendees and the media was treated to an all-out drug exhibition as drug addled hippies danced and sang before the cameras.

Three months later, on March 26, 1967, 10,000 hippies came together in Manhattan for the Central Park Be-In.
Hippie bus
Scott McKenzie’s rendition of the John Phillips’ song, San Francisco, became a huge hit in the United States and Europe.

One lyric, “If you’re going to San Francisco, be sure to wear some flowers in your hair” inspired thousands to travel to San Francisco, many wearing flowers in their hair and distributing flowers to passerby at intersections and on the street. The name “Flower Children” stuck.

Articles about the hippie movement appeared in prominent mainstream magazines including Time Magazine who ran the story, The Hippies: The Philosophy of a Subculture”. The Time magazine cover story described the guidelines for being a hippie:

“Do you own thing, wherever you have to do and whenever you want. Drop out. Leave society as you have known it. Leave it utterly. Blow the mind of every straight person you can reach. Turn them on, if not to drugs, then to beauty, love, honesty, and fun.”

It has been estimated that 100,000 people travelled to San Francisco during the summer of 1967. The media followed the movement of the hippies casting a spotlight on the Haight-Ashbury district where many of the psychedelic bands lived and played. In the hippies’ eyes, they had become freaks and little more than a sideshow for the amusement of visiting tourists. Many began to flee Haight in search of calmer, more remote settings.

The death of the hippie

Man putting flower in National Guard gunAt the end of summer 1967, The Diggers declared the “death” of the hippie movement and burned an effigy of a hippie in Golden Gate Park.

The Haight-Ashbury scene had deteriorated dramatically. The Haight Ashbury district simply could not accommodate the influx of hundreds of thousands of hippies.

Many hippies, some no older than teenagers, took to living on the street, panhandling, and drug dealing. Problems such as malnourishment, disease, and drug addiction grew prominent in the Haight community.

Crime and violence in the area skyrocketed as homeless drug addicted hippies stole to survive and drug dealers moved in to control the drug trade. By the end of 1967, many of the hippies and musicians who initiated the Summer of Love moved on, leaving many misgivings about the hippie culture, particularly with regards to their drug abuse and lenient morality.
Hippies in Haight
Although the hippie movement died in Haight, it was still alive in the United States and moving eastward. By 1968, the movement continued to cross the country.

Hippie fashion trends spread into the mainstream, especially popular with young teenagers and young adults of the populous “Baby Boomer” generation.

Longer hair for men, beads, feathers, flowers, and bells were worn by many teenagers of the era even though they did not necessarily delve deep into the hippie culture or the hardcore hippie beliefs that were prominent from 1966 through 1967. The movement even spread overseas to Britain and Australia.

Around this time, the hippie movement began to take on dire meaning to the mainstream public. The “Yippies”, led by Abbie Hoffman and Jerry Rubin, were notorious for their theatrics. The Yippies tried to levitate the Pentagon at an October 1967 war protest.

They used the slogan, “rise up and abandon the creeping meatball”. Civil disobedience was encouraged - over 3,000 took over Grand Central Station in New York resulting in 61 arrests.

They even nominated their own candidate for the 1968 Democratic National Convention in Chicago - Lyndon Pigasus Pie (an actual pig). Their silly theatrics were unpopular and looked down upon by the mainstream public who generally wanted a country governed by law and order.

People’s Park – the hippie era turns violent

Rebuilding Peoples Park at BerkeleyIn April 1969, citizens, including many hippies, were disgusted with the decrepit conditions of a vacant lot on the University of California campus.

The university had taken the homes of area residents through eminent domain and demolished all buildings on a 2.8 acre lot. The lot was subsequently ignored by the University and became quite an eyesore for the neighborhood.

Partially demolished buildings, debris and rubble were scattered throughout the lot. Eventually people began dumping old abandoned cars on the empty lot until it became a sort of junk yard.

Peoples Park RiotsCitizens, including hippies, took matters into their own hands and planted trees, shrubs, flowers, and grass to convert the vacant lot into a park which they affectionately named People’s Park.

The radical form of political activism was frowned upon by the authorities. Reagan, already angered that the University allowed student demonstrations, called the Berkeley campus “a haven for communist sympathizers, protesters and sex deviants.”

A major confrontation occurred one month later when on May 15, 1969 Governor Ronald Reagan ordered the park destroyed and a protective chain link fence built around it to keep people out. Riots quickly followed as students attempted to “take back the park”.

The police were called in and over 128 Berkeley residents were taken to area hospitals for head trauma, shotgun wounds, and other serious injuries inflicted by the police. One student was killed by a police shotgun blast and another man permanently blinded. This led to a two week occupation of Berkeley by the United States National Guard after Reagan called a state of emergency.

During the National Guard occupation, students snuck into the park at night and planted flowers. Each morning the National Guard destroyed all flowers that had been planted the night before.

Police were caught parking their vehicles several blocks away from the park and ironically, donning pig Halloween masks, attacking citizens that they found near the park. A year later, similar violence would erupt at Kent State University, killing four students and seriously wounding nine.

“These differing perspectives mirrored widespread 1960s societal tensions that tended to flow along generational lines regarding the war in Vietnam, race relations, sexual customs, women’s rights, traditional modes of authority, experimentation with psychedelic drugs and opposing interpretations of the American Dream. A wall began to form between the hippies and the general public.

Woodstock ends the hippie era

Jimi Hendrix at Woodstock in 1969The gap that existed between the hippies and mainstream society widened.

In August 1969, 500,000 people attended the Woodstock Music and Art Fair in Bethel, New York. Bands at the event included Joan Baez, Janis Joplin, Grateful Dead, Creedence Clearwater Revival, Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young, Carlos Santana, The Who, Jefferson Airplane, and Jimi Hendrix.

The Wavy Gravy Hog Farm provided security for what was a mostly peaceful event. The mainstream public was treated to visuals of drug using hippies covered in mud and exhibiting bizarre behavior.

Hippies in traffic on way to Woodstock 
In that same month, Sharon Tate (and her unborn baby) and Leno and Rosemary LeBianca were murdered by Charles Manson, a former Haight-Ashbury resident, and his “followers”, who the public identified as drug crazed hippies.

Counter culture catastrophes continued. In December 1969, 300,000 people attended the Altamont Free Concert where the Rolling Stones, Crosby Stills Nash and Young, and Jefferson Airplane played. The Hells Angels provided security for the event. 18 year old African American Meredith Hunter was stabbed and killed during the Rolling Stones performance.

By 1970, the hippie movement began to wane. The events at the Alatamont Free concert shocked many people including some who had supported the hippie movement. Several hippie mega-stars, including Jimi Hendrix, Janis Joplin, and Jim Morrison, overdosed on drugs.

The Charles Manson murders also contributed to the public hatred of the hippies. Soon, hippies were being physically attacked on the streets by skinheads, punks, athletes, greasers, and members of other youth subcultures.

The impact of the hippie movement

Hippies holding Make Love Not War signThe impact, good and bad, of the 1960’s hippie movement cannot be denied. The movement influenced popular music, television, film, literature, and the arts.

The music industry, particularly the rock music segment, experienced an explosion in sales that has continued to this day.

In subsequent years, unmarried couples no longer felt persecuted for living together. Frankness regarding sexual matters was common. Religious and cultural diversity gained greater acceptance.

Even fashion was impacted as the popularity of the necktie and other business apparel declined and was replaced by more casual dress standards.

Some changes were not as positive though. Some argue that the movement ushered in more liberal press and movies which has led to a degradation of our cultural values and ethics. Youth fashions became more and more bizarre, and sexual, in an attempt to rebel against the mainstream values.

Some argue that the embrace of spontaneity and worship of the “primitive” have turned us towards mindlessness and violence.

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Frank Zappa Biography

Frank Zappa Plays the Music of Frank Zappa: A ...
Frank Zappa Plays the Music of Frank Zappa: A Memorial Tribute (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Born: December 21, 1940 in Baltimore, MD
Died: December 04, 1993 in Los Angeles, CA

Composer, guitarist, singer, and bandleader Frank Zappa was a singular musical figure during a performing and recording career that lasted from the 1960s to the '90s.

His disparate influences included doo wop music and avant-garde classical music; although he led groups that could be called rock and roll bands for much of his career, he used them to create a hybrid style that bordered on jazz and complicated, modern serious music, sometimes inducing orchestras to play along.

As if his music were not challenging enough, he overlay it with highly satirical and sometimes abstractly humorous lyrics and song titles that marked him as coming out of a provocative literary tradition that included Beat poets like Allen Ginsberg and edgy comedians like Lenny Bruce.

Nominally, he was a popular musician, but his recordings rarely earned significant airplay or sales, yet he was able to gain control of his recorded work and issue it successfully through his own labels while also touring internationally, in part because of the respect he earned from a dedicated cult of fans and many serious musicians, and also because he was an articulate spokesman who promoted himself into a media star through extensive interviews he considered to be a part of his creative effort just like his music.

The Mothers of Invention, the '60s group he led, often seemed to offer a parody of popular music and the counterculture (although he affected long hair and jeans, Zappa was openly scornful of hippies and drug use). By the '80s, he was testifying before Congress in opposition to censorship (and editing his testimony into one of his albums).

But these comic and serious sides were complementary, not contradictory. In statement and in practice, Zappa was an iconoclastic defender of the freest possible expression of ideas. And most of all, he was a composer far more ambitious than any other rock musician of his time and most classical musicians, as well.

Zappa was born Frank Vincent Zappa in Baltimore, MD, on December 21, 1940. For most of his life, he was under the mistaken impression that he had been named exactly after his father, a Sicilian immigrant who was a high school teacher at the time of his son's birth, that he was "Francis Vincent Zappa, Jr." That was what he told interviewers, and it was extensively reported.

It was only many years later that Zappa examined his birth certificate and discovered that, in fact, his first name was Frank, not Francis. The real Francis Zappa took a job with the Navy during World War II, and he spent the rest of his career working in one capacity or another for the government or in the defense industry, resulting in many family moves.

Zappa's mother, Rose Marie (Colimore) Zappa, was a former librarian and typist. During his early childhood, the family lived in Baltimore, Opa-Locka, FL, and Edgewood, MD. In December 1951, they moved to California when Zappa's father took a job teaching metallurgy at the Naval Post-Graduate School in Monterey. The same year, Zappa had first shown an interest in becoming a musician, joining the school band and playing the snare drum.

Although the Zappa family continued to live in California for the rest of Zappa's childhood, they still moved frequently; by the time Zappa graduated from Antelope Valley Joint Union High School in Lancaster in June 1958, it was the seventh high school he had attended. Meanwhile, his interest in music had grown.

He had become particularly attracted to R&B, joining a band as a drummer in 1955. Simultaneously, he had become a fan of avant-garde classical music, particularly the work of Edgard Varèse. After his high school graduation, Zappa studied music at several local colleges off and on. He also switched to playing the guitar.

Zappa married Kathryn J. Sherman on December 28, 1960; the marriage ended in divorce in 1964. Meanwhile, he played in bands and worked on the scores of low-budget films. It was in seeking to record his score for one of these films, The World's Greatest Sinner, that he began working at the tiny Pal recording studio in Cucamonga, CA, run by Paul Buff, in November 1961.

He and Buff began writing and recording pop music with studio groups and licensing the results to such labels as Del-Fi Records and Original Sound Records. On August 1, 1964, Zappa bought the studio from Buff and renamed it Studio Z.

On March 26, 1965, he was arrested by a local undercover police officer who had entrapped him by asking him to record a pornographic audiotape. Convicted of a misdemeanor, he spent ten days in jail, an experience that embittered him.

After completing his sentence, he closed the studio, moved into Los Angeles, and joined a band called the Soul Giants that featured his friend, singer Ray Collins, along with bass player Roy Estrada and drummer Jimmy Carl Black. In short order, he induced the group to play his original compositions instead of covers, and to change their name to the Mothers (reportedly on Mother's Day, May 10, 1965).

In Los Angeles, the Mothers were able to obtain a manager, Herb Cohen, and audition successfully to appear in popular nightclubs such as the Whiskey Go-Go by the fall of 1965. There they were seen by record executive Tom Wilson, who signed them to the Verve Records subsidiary of MGM Records on March 1, 1966 (Verve required that the suggestive name "The Mothers" be modified to "The Mothers of Invention").

The contract called for the group to submit five albums in two years, and they immediately went into the studio to record the first of those albums, Freak Out! By this time, Elliot Ingber had joined the group on guitar, making it a quintet.

An excess of material and Zappa's agreement to accept a reduced publishing royalty led to the highly unusual decision to release it as a double-LP, an unprecedented indulgence for a debut act that was practically unheard, much less for an established one (Bob Dylan's Blonde on Blonde appeared during the same period, but it was his seventh album).

Freak Out! was released on June 27, 1966. It was not an immediate success commercially, but it entered the Billboard chart for the week ending February 11, 1967, and eventually spent 23 weeks in the charts.

In July 1966, Zappa met Adelaide Gail Sloatman; they married in September 1967, prior to the birth, on September 28, 1967, of their first child, a daughter named Moon Unit Zappa who would record with her father. She was followed by a son, Dweezil, on September 5, 1969. He, too, would become a recording artist, as would Ahmet Zappa, born May 15, 1974. A fourth child, Diva, was born in August 1979.

During the summer of 1966, Zappa hired drummer Denny Bruce and keyboardist Don Preston, making the Mothers of Invention a septet, but by November 1966, when the Mothers of Invention went back into the studio to record their second album, Absolutely Free, Bruce had been replaced by Billy Mundi; Ingber had been replaced by Jim Fielder; and Zappa had hired two horn players, Bunk Gardner on wind instruments and Jim "Motorhead" Sherwood on saxophone, bringing the band up to a nine-piece unit. The album was recorded in four days and released in June 1967. It entered the charts in July and reached the Top 50.

The Mothers of Invention moved to New York City in November 1966 for a booking at a Greenwich Village club called the Balloon Farm that began on Thanksgiving Day and ran through New Year's Day, 1967.

After a two-week stint in Montreal, they returned to California, where Fielder left the group in February. In March, Zappa began recording his first solo album, Lumpy Gravy, having signed to Capitol Records under the impression that he was not signed as an individual to Verve, a position Verve would dispute.

Later that month, the Mothers of Invention returned to New York City for another extended engagement at the Garrick Theater in Greenwich Village that ran during Easter week and was sufficiently successful that Herb Cohen booked the theater for the summer.

That run began on May 24, 1967, and ran off and on through September 5. During this period, Ian Underwood joined the band, playing saxophone and piano. In August, the group began recording its third album, We're Only in It for the Money.

In September 1967, the Mothers of Invention toured Europe for the first time, playing in the U.K., Sweden, and Denmark. On October 1, Verve failed to exercise its option to extend the band's contract, although they still owed the label three more LPs.

They finished recording We're Only in It for the Money in October, but its release was held up because of legal concerns about its proposed cover photograph, an elaborate parody of the Beatles' Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band, which was finally resolved by putting the picture on the inside of the fold-out LP sleeve. We're Only in It for the Money was released on March 4, 1968, and it reached the Top 30.

Another legal dispute was resolved when Verve purchased the tapes of Lumpy Gravy from Capitol. Zappa then finished recording this orchestral work, and Verve released it under his name (and that of "the Abnuceals Emuukha Electric Symphony Orchestra and Chorus") on May 13, 1968; it spent five weeks in the charts.

Although the Mothers of Invention still owed one more LP to Verve, Zappa already was thinking ahead. In the fall of 1967, he began recording Uncle Meat, the soundtrack for a proposed film, with work continuing through February 1968.

During this period, Billy Mundi left the band and was replaced on drums by Arthur Dyer Tripp III. In March, Zappa and Herb Cohen announced that they were setting up their own record label, Bizarre Records, to be distributed by the Reprise Records subsidiary of Warner Bros. Records. The label was intended to record not only the Mothers of Invention, but also acts Zappa discovered.

Early in the summer, Ray Collins quit the Mothers of Invention, who continued to tour. Their performance at the Royal Festival Hall in London on October 25, 1968, was released in 1991 as the album Ahead of Their Time. That month, Bizarre was formally launched with the release of the single "The Circle," by Los Angeles street singer Wild Man Fischer.

In November, guitarist Lowell George joined the Mothers of Invention. In December, Verve released the band's final album on its contract, Cruisin' with Ruben and the Jets, on which Zappa for once played it straight, leading the group through a set of apparently sincere doo wop and R&B material.

The LP spent 12 weeks in the charts (Zappa was then free of Verve, although his disputes with the company were not over. Verve put out a compilation, Mothermania: The Best of the Mothers, in March 1969, and it spent nine weeks in the charts).

The ambitious double-LP Uncle Meat, the fifth Mothers of Invention album, was released by Bizarre on April 21, 1969. It reached the Top 50 (the movie it was supposed to accompany did not appear until a home video release in 1989).

In May, Bizarre released Pretties for You, the debut album by Alice Cooper, the only act discovered by the label that would go on to substantial success (after switching to Warner Bros. Records proper, that is). The same month, Lowell George left the band; later, he and Roy Estrada would form Little Feat.

Zappa began working on a second solo album, Hot Rats, in July 1969. On August 19, the Mothers of Invention gave their final performance in their original form, playing on Canadian TV at the end of a tour. One week later, Zappa announced that he was breaking up the band, although, as it turned out, this did not mean that he would not use the name "the Mothers of Invention" for groups he led in the future.

Hot Rats, the second album to be credited to Frank Zappa, was released on October 10, 1969. It spent only six weeks in the charts at the time, but it would become one of Zappa's best-loved collections, with the instrumental "Peaches en Regalia" a particular favorite.

Although the Mothers of Invention no longer existed as a performing unit, Zappa possessed extensive tapes of them, live and in the studio, and using that material, he assembled a new album, Burnt Weeny Sandwich, released in February 1970; it made the Top 100.

To read further, go to:,_Frank/Biography/
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Friday, August 17, 2012

The Summer of Love and Woodstock

Cover of "The Age of Great Dreams: Americ...
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by Kathleen Johnson, The Cold War Museum:

Rebellion against the establishment appeared in many forms in the United States during the 1960s.

Caught up in the rising frustration circling around America’s increased involvement in Vietnam, the racial unrest in many urban areas, and the pressure to conform, a growing number of the younger generation rejected the American way of life.

The resulting movement, termed the counterculture, embraced an alternative lifestyle characterized by long hair, brightly colored clothes, communal living, free sex, and rampant drug use.

Distrustful of the American government and what they perceived as an increasingly materialistic society, hippies and other members of the counterculture attracted a great amount of media attention during the 1960s, including feature articles in magazines such as Time.

Throughout the decade many counterculture events increased the movement’s notoriety, but two in particular, the Summer of Love and Woodstock, epitomized the spirit of the protests.

On January 14, 1967, counterculture leaders called for a “human be-in” in San Francisco, California. Thousands of people answered the call, gathering in Golden Gate Park to promote peace, happiness, and love.

During the spring, more disillusioned youth traveled to San Francisco upon hearing a declaration that the summer of 1967 would be the “Summer of Love.” The Haight-Ashbury neighborhood of San Francisco quickly became the gathering place and home for many displaced youth who came to celebrate the counterculture event.

The Summer of Love boasted music festivals, poetry readings, speeches, and even theater. For the most part, the Summer of Love proved successful in its ability to spread the counterculture message, but by the fall of 1967, increased incidents of crime and drug abuse by hippies gathered in Haight-Ashbury signaled a change in the movement.

Cognizant of the shift away from peace and love within the movement, some hippies proclaimed their own death on October 6, 1967, with the “Death of Hip” Ceremony. Burning a gray coffin labeled the “Summer of Love,” the ceremony acknowledged that the counterculture had transformed into something more sinister than “flower power.”

Although a shift away from peaceful protest had begun in the movement after the Summer of Love, one final significant event grounded in the founding principles of the rebellion against the establishment would leave its mark on history.

Throughout the 1960s, music served as an integral part of the counterculture movement. Seen as a way to both embrace an alternative lifestyle and protest against war and oppression, hippies organized outdoor music festivals across the United States.

The most famous of all the counterculture concerts, Woodstock, took place from August 15-17, 1969. Originally hoping for attendance of 50,000, the promoters of the event, who chose a thousand-acre farm in upstate New York as the site for “The Woodstock Music and Art Fair: An Aquarian Exposition,” seemed as shocked as everyone else when over 500,000 arrived for the three-day affair.

Unprepared for such a large crowd, massive traffic jams ensued, food and water quickly disappeared, and bathroom facilities were scarce. Despite the potential for violence and disaster, the festival advertised as “Three Days of Peace and Music” lived up to its billing.

Listening to popular musicians of the day such as Jimi Hendrix, Joan Baez, and Janis Joplin, concertgoers seemed to bond because of the harsh conditions and a common desire to promote peace and love.

All in all, Woodstock remains a lasting icon of the cultural movement of the 1960s that looked to change the world through its acceptance of values and beliefs that contradicted the established power structure of the United States.

Research by Kathleen Johnson, Volunteer for the Cold War Museum.

- Anderson, Terry H. The Movement and the Sixties. New York: Oxford University Press, 1995.
- Farber, David. The Age of Great Dreams: America in the 1960s. New York: Hill and Wang, 1994.
- McWilliams, John C. The 1960s Cultural Revolution. Westport, Connecticut: Greenwood Press, 2000.
- Morgan, Edward P. The Sixties Experience: Hard Lessons about Modern America. Philadelphia: Temple University Press, 1991.

Further Resources:

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