MIND BENDING MUSIC OF THE 70s
When the Beatles captured the airwaves, a lot of seniors during the 60s were scandalized. Here was a group who defied conservatism, shouting and giggling in their songs then literally making their hair down and it ushered an age where the boys had their hair almost as long as that of girls.
The music accompanied a stretch of liberalism. It promoted metallic and decibel bursting sound from every conceivable musical instrument. The lyrics would have nothing to do with poetry. Cadence would even skip and stride. It would be a theme that encouraged abuse and violence. Matt Monroe’s ballads suddenly became a baby sitter melody. Elvis Presley, Toni Bennet and company would be reduced as cry babies.
Every youth, at that time, experimented on booze, even abused their limits to the point of addiction, changing their lifestyle and introducing marijuana as standard smoke and drugs of varying hues and effects. There was LSD or “acid” a hallucigenic capsule which many believed could have inspired a musical piece of the Beatles “Lucy in the Skies with Diamond.” There were numerous versions of opiates predominating the youth market which eventually led to crack and then cocaine.
The fab four naturally would deny any drug use. Nonetheless, drugs permeated into the mainstream of youth consciousness and became an iconic drug culture. Even the lowly cough syrup would have its hayday among the psychedelic generation.
And it would be through music that it would find a ready mantra for extreme liberalism. The musical event, the outdoor rock festival “Woodstock” would cement this situation and would usher a period of crass open-mindedness among a cross section of the youth in the civilized world. It was a time for the socalled “flower-people” , the unforgettable hippies. It was their three-day week end (August 15-18, 1969) which featured a ton of great music from 30 great artists in the era. It was a statement of peace and music, a great story in itself.
There was the WHO which rendered “My Generation” featuring the guitar heroics of Pete Townsend. Followed by the band Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young with their Suite: Judy Blue Eyes”. And there was Sly and the Family Stone with their nerve wracking hit “I want to Take you Higher.”, Joe Cocker’s compleat mannerisms in “With a Little Help from my Friends.” And the great Jimi Hendrix.
And who will not forget Santana’s flawless instrumental “Soul Sacrifice. They prefaced the 70s quest for a generation that would define the succeeding ones.
Their immediate descendants were the music of Jim Morrison of DOORS, Terry Keith of Chicago, Mick Jagger of Rolling Stones and Frank Kappa of Led Zeppelin. Their music can only be appreciated when the mind is altered by substances.
It’s a pity that I was clueless during the period. My peers were in everything they could hold on. They had everything, well, almost, and they have felt everything wonderful. I was merely reduced into an observer. I would just be a recorder of what they had gone through. I could not, for the life of me, connect the dots.
There was a situation where my friends would get into substance abuse and were happy about it, if only to complain of headaches later. I thought that I would never get into it since I hate headaches. There was a situation when my peers would even cry after touching through their minds the unfolding of several colors as soon as they have ingested mind blowing drugs. I skipped those moments because I hate crying.
On the whole, I could only appreciate the time from the prism on how my colleagues would collectively undergo the whole shebang. And I was happy for them.
For the boys during my time, music bent the mind, reformed our will, made us creative, principled and heroic. It was an era, a specific situation which idealists would call as an ideal period. That generation made the succeeding ones pulsate with intelligence never before heard in the past.
And I was lucky though, like most of those in their senior years, to have come from its woodwork.