Read the 3 lectures, “Psychedelic,” “San Francisco,”” Los Angeles”, and “Hendrix” posted below
· Read chapter 7, pg 250, 260-268, Hendrix
· Watch all videos contained in the lectures
West Coast Rock
All these names refer to the same style of rock and roll that was popular in the late 1960s, up and down the West Coast. These names are used interchangeably.
The social tone of college age kids of the late 1960s was one of youthful rebellion against the materialism and political policies of the adult establishment. There was a rejection of the competitive, achievement–oriented culture, in favor of free living, and free loving. This lifestyle was called the Counterculture. With slogans like “love thy neighbor”, Eastern religion, and a general air of communal living, this new ethos was prominent in our culture throughout country among the young people.
This was the age of the hippies. ‘Flower Power’ and ‘Make Love Not War’, were the slogans of the day. This generation had a very difficult time relating to their parents, and it created what was often referred to as the generation gap.
There were four dominant issues fueling the generation gap.
1. Minority rights-an entire generation of kids were becoming very conscious about the ills done to minorities around the country. Blacks, whites, and people of all colors were starting to band together and fight for the rights of all minorities, to create more equality in this country.
2. Sexual freedom–the slogan love thy neighbor, often meant love in a sexual way. This is a time of multiple partners and sharing with a free love attitude. The invention of the pill enabled women to have multiple partners without getting pregnant. This was before AIDS, and the attitude was a very open and communal one.
3. Drugs–the main drugs of this time were LSD and marijuana. The slogan relating to drugs at this time was “Turn On, Tune In, and Drop Out”. The perceived expanding nature of the mind when using drugs was a big part of this movement. Harvard professor turned LSD proponent, Timothy Leary, was big on the scene, as was ‘One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest’ author Ken Keasy.
4. Vietnam–many people in this country, but particularly students, were outraged by what was happening in Vietnam. People were outraged that our American youth were being killed for a very unclear reason, but also people were protesting our treatment of the Vietnamese with incessant bombing campains.
Rebellion became the lifestyle of the young and San Francisco was the spiritual Mecca, or the nexus point of this movement. The exact focal point, was Haight-Ashbury, near Golden Gate Park. Hippies were preaching love not war and were openly experimenting with sex and drugs particularly LSD and pot. At any one time, one could find 50 to 60,000 hippies living communally, sharing food, medicine, and partners while trying to soak up the culture of the time.
Concerts in San Francisco clubs attempted to stimulate and enhance the drug experience, with entrancing repetitive rhythmic music, and disorienting light shows. The music was loud to the point you could feel it in your body. The songs sometimes lasted one half to one full hour. The music and lyrics were drug-related, and now in this era, there was no attempt to disguise that fact. Artwork also played a part in creating an atmosphere for drug excursions and partying. Tie dye, and psychedelic, colorful, and distorted artwork was the rage.
The music gained some degree of notoriety with the spread of FM radio. This format allowed longer more experimental songs to get airplay. Most of the music however was heard in live concerts throughout San Francisco and the Bay Area. Often these were free concerts with free drugs being given away during the shows.
· The Jefferson Airplane
San Francisco Bands
Jefferson Airplane was one of the bands that epitomized the growing Height–Ashbury culture, and provided the hippies and the scene with a psychedelic soundtrack. This band is often called the voice of the love generation. They developed a psychedelic sound with the synthesis of pop, folk, jazz, blues, and rock.
Lead singer Grace Slick was a former model with the striking stage presence and powerful vocals. She became the first tough imaged female rock star, and was a huge departure from what had previously been the model for a female singer. It is often said that she was like a lioness, storming around the stage, preaching to the audience.
The band started as a folk band, when the leader of the group, Marty Balin, went to see Bob Dylan in New York City. He brought these folk elements back to San Francisco as well as copying and being inspired by the Beatles.
In 1965 Jefferson Airplane became the first San Francisco band to be signed by a major record label, and thus they were the most commercially successful rock band in Acid Rock.
By 1967 the band was brought to national prominence with their album Surrealistic Pillow. By 1970 the group was breaking up, but their message of community, and communal living lived on. The band reformed shortly after and was renamed Jefferson Starship.
Listen to and watch the following videos.
Somebody To Love/White Rabbit Jefferson Airplane
These are their two bigs hits from this era. These songs show the prevalence of taking drugs, and having the peace- love hippie attitude. Notice the clothing and light show- all there to enhance the drug experience.
Jefferson Airplane – The Other Side Of This Life
J. Airplane-Surrealistic Pillow (24K Gold Collector’s Edition) Full HQ
The Grateful Dead
The Grateful Dead
“The Grateful Dead is not for cranking out rock ‘n roll, it’s not for going out and doing concerts or any of that stuff, I think it’s to get high”. Jerry Garcia
The Grateful Dead was the longest lasting psychedelic band, as well as the most improvising major rock group in history. This band started as a jam band and pretty much continued that way throughout the life of the group. The Grateful Dead started in the late 1960s, and the music was a combination of country, folk, blues, and rock. Amazingly enough, for such a popular band, they never had any radio hits. Instead the band focused on consistently top grossing tours and concerts.
Almost as famous as the band was the deadheads, mostly 18 to 24-year-olds who followed The Dead around the country, preserving the sixties flower child attitude with tie-dyed clothes, LSD and pot, peace and love, and in need of a good bath!!!
Guitarist Jerry Garcia was the band’s leader. He came up through folk and bluegrass bands. At one point he spent a couple of years doing field recordings in the South, exploring the banjo and traditional American folk music. In 1965 he formed a band called the Warlocks with people who would later be The Dead. They were the house band for Ken Keasey’s acid test, and played a series of public LSD parties before the drug was outlawed. As a matter of fact, a chemist that invented LSD bankrolled the band!!!
In 1967, which is often referred to as the summer of love, The Grateful Dead claim to have played more free concerts than any band in history.
In the 1980s Jerry Garcia was arrested for heroin possession and almost dropped dead from a drug induced diabetic coma. Garcia eventually did die in 1995 at a treatment facility for heroin addiction and this was the end of the group.
Watch and listen to the Grateful Dead’s music.
Grateful Dead – Truckin’
Grateful Dead – Uncle John’s Band (Studio Version)
Grateful Dead Greatest Hits || Grateful Dead Greatest Hits Playlist
Janis Joplin was considered the premier white blues singer of the 60s, and one of the biggest female stars in rock and roll history. Publicity about her sex life and drug problems made her a legend.
Joplin came from a comfortable middle-class family but was a loner, who, like Dylan, retreated into blues and folk music. She was also very interested in poetry and painting. She ran away from home at 17, and was soon singing folk and blues in San Francisco bars. She joined a local band, Big Brother And The Holding Company, and had a big hit with them in 1968. Within a year, she outgrew this band and started her own group.
As happened to many musicians of this era, things were going well with the band that she liked until she developed a bad heroin addiction. In 1970, her body was found with fresh needle puncture wound, dead from a heroin addiction.
Her voice was from the tradition of African-American gospel and blues shouters. It was course and screaming, which was well suited for cutting through a loud rock ‘n roll bad. She stomped around the stage belting out songs like a wild person!
Watch and listen to Janis Joplin.
janis joplin-move over
Janis Joplin – Me and Bobby McGee (Official Music Video)
Janis Joplin – Get it while you can
Janis Joplin- Try (just a little bit harder)