1967 and The Summer of Love
by Bill Harry
were entertained by a host of new bands who created what was to become known
as the ‘West Coast Sound’ and included the Grateful Dead, Jefferson Airplane
and Quicksilver Messenger Service. It was a celebration of Love and Peace
and also a protest against the escalating war in Vietnam.
West Coast rock seemed to flourish throughout the year, with further San Francisco-based bands such as Country Joe & The Fish and Big Brother & The Holding Company, with singer Janis Joplin, appearing at the biggest outdoor festival of 1967 – the Monterey Pop Festival in June.
The word 'hippie' was a term derived from the jazz form ‘hip’ – to be aware of what’s going on. They comprised mainly white middle-class youngsters in their teens and early twenties, who rejected the ‘rat race’ and quest for material gain. They dressed in colourful clothes, wore their hair long, were pacifistic by nature and loved dancing and rock music.
They were part of a drug culture who believed that marijuana was less harmful than alcohol. They also took LSD, although they rejected hard drugs such as heroin. The hippies were also known as 'flower children'. Their spiritual home was a district at the intersection of Haight and Ashbury Streets, which was the centre of their counter culture lifestyle.
Monterey Pop Festival 1967
Friday 16th June
The Association, The Paupers, Lou Rawls, Beverly,
Johnny Rivers, The Animals, Simon and Garfunkel
Saturday 17th June
Canned Heat, Big Brother & The Holding Company,
Country Joe & The Fish, Al Kooper, The Butterfield Blues Band, Quicksilver Messenger Service, Steve Miller Band,
The Electric Flag, Moby Grape, Hugh Masekela, The Byrds,
Laura Nyro, Jefferson Airplane,
Booker T and The MG's, Otis Redding
Sunday 18th June
Ravi Shankar, The Blues Project,
Big Brother & The Holding Company, The Group With No Name, Buffalo Springfield, The Who, The Grateful Dead,
The Jimi Hendrix Experience, Scott Mackenzie,
The Mamas & The Papas
|There was music in the streets, widespread use of LSD and pot, with bearded youths and pretty girls in colourful clothes arriving from all parts of America. ‘Head Shops’ sprung up which sold hand-made jewellery, leather and bead wear – and also pipes, roach holders and other accessories for drug users. The media descended on the area and it became commercially exploited and over-run with tourists. There were even bus trips called ‘Hippie-hop'. Disillusioned, the hippies held an official ceremony ‘Death of Hippie’ on 6th October 1967, a date that also saw the first anniversary of LSD being made illegal – the party was over!|
|The year, on both sides of the Atlantic, was dominated by controversy over drugs. There were numerous drug busts of the famous and an organisation called 'Release' was formed in London to provide legal aid for those busted for drug offences. The main drugs in question were marijuana and LSD. LSD stood for lysergic acid diethylamide 25, a colourless, tasteless, odourless synthetic drug first synthesised in 1938 by Dr Albert Hoffman, a Swiss chemist. Timothy Leary became noted as an LSD guru and coined the phrase ‘tune in, turn on, drop out.’ A former Harvard professor who began administering LSD to his students, he was dismissed. Leary was later sentenced to a one to ten year prison sentence for possession of marijuana and fled to Algeria.||
|In Britain, further attention was given to the drug when Paul McCartney of the Beatles admitted publicly to taking LSD. The high-profile drug bust of the year took place in February when police raided Redlands, the home of Rolling Stone member Keith Richards. Also present at the Sussex house were Mick Jagger and his girlfriend Marianne Faithfull and Brian Jones. Jagger and Richards were charged with drug possession and the police also raided Brian Jones’ London flat, resulting in charges against him. The trial took place in June and Jagger and Richards were both found guilty and sentenced to three months and one year in jail, respectively. The media were outraged by what they regarded as an unduly severe sentence and The Times printed a famous editorial in their defence, ‘Who Breaks a Butterfly On A Wheel?’ Their sentences were quashed the following month. In October Brian Jones was sentenced to nine months imprisonment, although the sentence was revoked the following month.|
was a momentous year for the Beatles, which began with the release of their
single ‘Penny Lane’/’Strawberry Fields Forever’. In June they released what
is generally regarded as the greatest pop album ever made – ‘Sgt Pepper’s
Lonely Hearts Club Band’. The same month they appeared on ‘Our World’, a
spectacular television production that was transmitted live throughout the
world by satellite, with the largest television audience ever up to that
time – 400,000,000 people. The Beatles contribution was to perform their
new single live – ‘All You Need Is Love’. The group met up with the Maharishi
Mahesh Yogi and joined his ‘Spiritual Regeneration’ movement.
The Maharishi, born in 1919, had developed a way of making an ancient form of meditation more palatable and marketable for the West in the shape of Transcendental Meditation. He had originally arrived in London in 1959 to found the International Meditation Society and by 1967 the movement boasted 10,000 British members. Tragically, within days of meeting the Maharishi, the Beatles received news that their manager Brian Epstein had been found dead. In September they travelled round the South of England in a multi-coloured coach filming ‘Magical Mystery Tour’ which, when screened on television in December, was universally panned by the critics, the first critical mauling the Beatles had ever received. Meanwhile, in America, Elvis Presley married his sweetheart Priscilla in Las Vegas.