Monday, January 13, 2014

Music Monday ~ Back to Be-in, Love-in and the '60s

Music Monday this week peeks into tomorrow, 14 January, then back to 1967. On 14 January in 1967 the "Human Be-in" took place in San Francisco, prelude to the Summer of Love to follow a few months later.

JANUARY 14, 1967 Human Be-In (1:30)

Tens of thousands meet in San Francisco's Golden Gate Park for a "Gathering of the Tribes" that puts the city's hippies in the national spotlight. Organizers Michael Bowen and Allen Cohen (also the co-founders of the Oracle newspaper) call the event a Be-In -- a clever reference to the successful sit in protests of the civil rights movement.

"A union of love and activism previously separated by categorical dogma and label mongering will finally occur ecstatically when Berkeley political activists and hip community and San Francisco's spiritual generation and contingents from the emerging revolutionary generation all over California meet for a Gathering of the Tribes for a Human Be-In. ...

Music will be played by all the Bay Area rock bands, including the Grateful Dead, Big Brother and the Holding Co., Quicksilver Messenger Service, and many others. Everyone is invited to bring costumes, blankets, bells, flags, symbols, cymbals, drums, beads, feathers, flowers...

The Human Be-In is the joyful, face-to-face beginning of the new epoch.

-- The San Francisco Oracle, Vol. 1, Issue 5, p. 2
(see HERE)

It's all part of history now. See here for more detail.
In January 1967, in England, still in my twenties, I was ignorant of what was going on five and a half thousand miles away. The new music eventually seeped through on the radio, first in a trickle then in a tsunami, and hung around for years.

Two songs that immediately spring to my own mind from that long-gone era:

From USA artist -

From UK artists - I've always loved this one -

I've been finding myself in an unplanned '60s time-slip - kind of - these last few days. First, in preparing this post, then reading a book which covers 1958 to 1963 and the present (Stephen King's "11/22/63"), then watching a DVD yesterday evening I picked up in the rental store due to the starry cast list, without having an idea of its theme - The Company You Keep (Redford, Sarandon, Nolte, Sam Elliot, Julie Christie, Chris Cooper)- it turned out to be based on events a year or so after the Summer of Love, and surmising, fictionally, on present-day fates of a set of well-matured members of The Weather Underground.

In the book "11/22/63" mentioned above the author says on numerous occasions, "the past harmonizes". I'm finding, also on numerous occasions, that so does the present!


James Higham said...

A union of love and activism previously separated by categorical dogma and label mongering


mike said...

A quirky era! So much was occurring that it was very difficult to find solid footing. The conservatives were extremely volatile trying to squelch the "alarming" liberalism seeping, then flooding their domain. A new-found liberalism and not-gonna-take-it-anymore mindset had risen on many fronts, in many groups, in many forms of expression. Marijuana and psychedelics were party favorites amongst the uber in-crowd replete with accompanying music, dance, op and pop, and other visual aides.

For all of the peace-and-love, there was a polarizing hatefulness permeating the ether. Racial tension was devastating, hippies were on the establishment's ass, the rise of the Black Panther Party to succor the white's politics, the Watts riots that spread across the nation was parallel with the Stonewall gay riots, Kent State shootings gravely gave new meaning to war protesting furthered by the Chicago Seven.

Ah, the good ol' days! LOL

mike (again) said...

I should also add that live coverage of these events and the Vietnam war was a first-of-its-kind phenomenon delivered in gory, full-color detail to America's dinner tables every night. For the first time in history, America could be virtual, vicarious guests to these events.

Twilight said...

James Higham ~ Cynically said, I feel sure, James!

Not having been any part of that scene, I feel unqualified to judge it one way or t'other, but think of it as an interesting phenomenon, quite unlike anything else before or since.

Twilight said...

mike ~ Yes I bet certain factions absolutely hated what was going on.

We don't smoke marijuana in Muskogee;
We don't take our trips on LSD
We don't burn our draft cards down on Main Street;
We like livin' right, and bein' free.

Okies from' all that!

You describe it nicely, mike - in a balanced way. As an onlooker, and from a distance in time (now) and miles (then) it seems that it all began with the very best of intentions, but eventually went wrong. A rot set in, either naturally brought on by the heat of heightened emotions or manipulated by a cadre of less "gentle people".

It was a punctuation in time though, wasn't it? One that's impossible to ignore.

mike (again) said...

An FYI and off post, Twilight! I saw a PBS program last night, "Unlocking Sherlock". Can be viewed:
It's a prequel to season 3, starting January 19th. It's a British production of a contemporary Sherlock Holmes. I certainly enjoyed the prequel and I'll tune-in to Masterpiece Theater next Sunday at 10PM. It's very different and not what I would have expected! We both enjoyed "The Paradise" and this appears equally good, but maybe only to me! LOL

Twilight said...

mike (again) ~ Thanks - I watched 30 mins of the video then skipped through bits of the rest (on my computer video had an out of sync sound and picture going on, which was a little offputting - we sometimes get that on PBS on our TV too unless we swap to the HD version on a different channel).
My OS is out of date - gotta get out my new computer soon.

I'm not a Sherlock Holmes fan generally, though I saw and quite enjoyed an SH movie with Robert Downey Jnr playing the part, tongue in cheek, naturally. I will give this series a try though. It seems as though a 21st century of S. Holmes will be better than the 21st century adaptation of "Little Women" complete with smartphones etc, I saw on TV not long ago and complained about in a post. :-)

ex-Chomp said...

I do remember very well of the song San Francisco, but, among my favourites, there was a “Whiter Shade of Pale”, not doubt on it.

Well as you’ve understood, my Moons are old, ah ah ah

Ol’ Moons, good soup...

Differences and similarities between the Great Crisis of the Sixties and this actual Great Crisis: A topic worth of munbling and pondering, indeed...

mike (again) said...

On PBS tonight @ 7 PM (Tuesday, 1-14-14), "1964: American Experience"

"1964 was the year the Beatles came to America, Cassius Clay became Muhammad Ali, and three civil rights workers were murdered in Mississippi. It was the year when Berkeley students rose up in protest, African Americans fought back against injustice in Harlem, and Barry Goldwater’s conservative revolution took over the Republican Party. In myriad ways, 1964 was the year when Americans faced choices: between the liberalism of Lyndon Johnson or Barry Goldwater’s grassroots conservatism, between support or opposition to the civil rights movement, between an embrace of the emerging counterculture or a defense of traditional values."

Twilight said...

Ex-Chomp ~ Best wine comes in dusty ol' bottles - so they say! ;-) I have many Moons also, and more to go, I hope.

Yes I've thought about trying to list differences and similarities between '60s and now. I get the feeling that now is a faint echo in some ways. Occupy Wall Street was an echo that faded fast.
The racial unrest of '60s has faded too - in relation to how it was then anyway. Now we have the constant surveillance and NSA thing - newer (to us). There's more and more money manipulating the political system, more inequality, and over it all the digital explosion of constant communication and entertainment on tap 24/7.
All still unfolding.

Twilight said...

mike (again) ~ Oh gosh! I'm glad we weren't watching in a way - I'd have felt even more time-slippy than I do already! :-)

PS: I've finished the book - now know the ending. Excellent read! Food for thought too.

mike (again) said...

Twilight, "1964" is on tonight (Tuesday evening). Yes, you're probably saturated, so not interested. I'll keep an eye open for "11/22/63" to read.

Twilight said...

mike (again) ~ Oops - gettin' my days mixed up! LOL! Well, as we've now finished the pile of rental DVDs maybe we'll take a look at "1964" tonight then. :-)

Twilight said...

mike ~ We watched "1964" - good programme - enjoyed it. Thanks for the heads-up!

DC said...

Great post
you might get a kick out of this...I remember watching it on TV when I was about 7
click here

Twilight said...

DC ~ Thanks - and for the link.
Watched it - once one gets over the stilted acting (I kept expecting Leslie Nielson to show up!)it carried a huge warning sign.

Kind of public service announcement wrapped up in a popular series, albeit a tad heavy-handed in presentation style for present-day audiences, it might have saved a few young people in the '60s from the same fate as the young man at the end of the episode.

I wonder what the detective did with those special ciggies he put in his pocket. ;-)

Anonymous said...

I saw " Thr Company You Keep " and Julie Christie is still as beautiful as she was in my 60s favorite, "Darling".

Twilight said...

Anonymous ~ She's wearing it well isn't she! Unlike some of her male counterparts (Redford and Nolte in particular - Sam Elliott is still as yummy though!) :-)