Tune in, turn on, and...

January 31, 2017
Ray Heigemeir
TIe dye

…drop by the Music Library to view seminal albums from the Summer of Love! LPs include works by the Jefferson Airplane, the Mamas & the Papas, the Grateful Dead, the Doors, and Big Brother & the Holding Company.

The Grateful Dead, Haight-Ashbury, 1967
The Grateful Dead, Haight-Ashbury, 1967

1967 began with the Human Be-In, a rally held on January 14 at the Polo Fields in San Francisco's Golden Gate Park. It was, in part, a peaceful protest against the criminalization of LSD use and a follow up to a similar rally, the Love Pageant, held in October 1966. The Be-In, with music by the Grateful Dead, the Jefferson Airplane, and others, attracted national media attention to the 'flower children' of San Francisco, their alternative lifestyles and new philosophies. Featured speaker Timothy Leary implored the crowd to “tune in, turn on, and drop out.”

The Stanford Daily archive is rich with contemporaneous articles about LSD, the counterculture, hippies, and popular music. In January 1967, the Daily sponsored a discussion series at Tresidder Union on the merits of LSD use

The American Experience: Summer of Love captures the world's fascination:

The Monterey International Pop Festival, held in June, strove to elevate pop music to the level of appreciation and respect enjoyed by jazz and classical genres. It was perhaps the most influential music festival of the 20th century, bringing together such diverse performers as the Mamas & the Papas (who also helped organize the event), Simon & Garfunkel, Big Brother & the Holding Company (featuring their new lead singer, Janis Joplin), the Who, Jimi Hendrix, Otis Redding, and Ravi Shankar. While it was an international gathering, the zeitgeist was the counterculture of the San Francisco hippie movement.

Janis Joplin in 1969
Janis Joplin in 1969

The end of the Summer of Love came early. Disaffected youth, flowers in their hair, swarmed the Haight by the thousands. The "gentle people there" could not sustain the influx, and the community built on peaceful coexistence, free love, and unfettered self-expression began to suffer the effects of unemployment and poverty, malnutrition, drug abuse, and crime. A funeral procession for "The Hippie" was held in October. Coincidentally, October also saw the premiere in New York of the "American tribal love-rock" musical titled Hair, based on themes co-opted from the counterculture movement. Hair made it safe to embrace the hippie lifestyle, if only for an evening and in the comfort of a theater seat. Coming full circle, the national tour of Hair arrived at San Francisco's Geary Theater in 1969. The LA Times review said that it "...not unexpectedly, blew the mind of the vivid assortment of Flaming Creatures and Beautiful People invited to dress the occasion. More significantly, the squares in the second balcony loved it too."

Find more:

Summer of love (American Experience, DVD)

Summer of love : art of the psychedelic era

Summer of love : the inside story of LSD, rock & roll, free love, and high times in the wild West / Joel Selvin

The summer of love : Haight-Ashbury at its highest / written and photographed by Gene Anthony ; with foreword by Michael McClure

And, a tribe of resources on the hippies

Finally, no Summer of Love experience would be complete without hearing Jefferson Airplane's "White Rabbit"