Are you hip to changes?

Changes. What I want to know is, what did people mean when they talked about “going through” them? Where did this idea come from anyway?

I can’t say when the word started popping up in hipster conversation, but sometime in the mid 1960s it was apparently a current thing. Some examples from 1966: an album by folkie Erik Anderson called “'Bout Changes and Things”. Another album by Richard and Mimi Farina, dedicated to, among others, Plasticman “for hipping us to changes”. And an album called “Changes” by Johnny Rivers, which was all cover versions and as far as I know the word didn’t appear in any of them, but just goes to show how pop culture was picking up on the concept if a commercial guy like Rivers was using it.

From the way it was used you can guess it wasn’t a positive thing: “You put me through too many changes!”. Something you didn’t ask for and are having trouble coping with. See also “dues”.

Some guesses as to its origin: 1) Beat literature - Kerouac or one of those guys. I never did finish “On the Road”. 2) Eastern religion or philosophy. 3) A jazz term, as in “let’s do changes on Stardust”. Does someone know the real answer?

The 1960’s were the era of huge cultural changes.

Black Equality is a pretty huge change.

The Red Scare also peaked around that time. Life was no longer worry free - you could die instantly from something far beyond your control.

Rock and Roll was a drastic change in music styles and made a few generation gaps seem bigger.

But the world has been changing at an increasing rate since the Industrial Revolution kicked in, until that point change happened at a snails pace - or a horse’s pace. But once travelling miles became something anyone could do, communication became instantaneous and Television showed us what the truly cosmopolitan world looked like, cultural change kicked into high gear.

Its safe to say that no era saw a more drastic change in the speed of change than the decadese following world war II. In america the average family started to own their own home, their own car and their own television. The could see the better idealized world of television and had the means to not only strive for those standards but attain them.

America would not see such a drastic change in culture again until the advent of cheap Cell phones and widespread access to the internet - 30 years later.

How safe is it to say that? Many of the inventions that provided the catalysts for social change were invented from the late 1800s into the early 1900s. Automobiles, aeroplanes, radio/television, etc. were all pre-WWII inventions.

And it took years for those inventions to become widespread.

Cars and Planes were really only widespread and accessible to the average joe after WWII.

But you also had things like World War I that destroyed several dynastic, multinational empires that had lasted centuries, you had the October Revolution, the creation of a plethora of sovereign nation-states. Medical advancements, the introduction of more universal voting in many countries, there are lots of things one could cite in the era before WWII that undermine your assertion about the rate of change post-WWII.

Everything you said about WWI was true about WWII.
The major difference is that the world emerged from WWI into a brief era of prosperity followed by the depression.
The world emerged from WWII into decades of mostly economic good times, a world with nuclear weapons and Television.

No, this ain’t what I meant at all. Of course in the 60s the times, they were a-changin’. I meant changes in a much more personal sense. Here’s the Firesign Theatre (quoting from memory) “Well I can’t knock success, [Nick] Danger, but ya still put me through too many changes.” It was used in hip parlance to mean something along the lines psychic realignment, as likely caused by another person’s unpredictable behavior as by any seismic cultural shift.

I’m more interested in the word itself - where this sort of usage originated.

I think you are confusing the world with the United States of America.

I don’t think there is a difference between the personal “changes” you are looking for and the cultural changes. I suspect the personal changes are simply a becoming aware of the cultural changes and jumping on the train rather than watching the changes train go by, taking the world with it, while you complain about commies and negros.

We’re talking an age of very poetically metaphoric lyrics, but the gist of the songs in the culture described above was usually about learning to deal with the changing world.

“hipping someone to changes” is simply making someone aware and comfortable with the changes going on in the world. Which to a counterculture musician usually implied the changes they hoped would happen, some did, some were happening and some were just happening in the counterculture. But from the poet/musician’s perspective, these were the changes they saw happening.

Nick Danger was a comedy character of the Firesign Theater, Crossing A Noire style detective with counterculture humor group isn’t going to provide us with an example of contermporary word usage. In that particular usage it’s simply about the fact that Bradshaw had to change his mindset trying to keep up with Nick and realize he wasn’t guilty. For what it’s worth, that album is from 1969. One of Bradshaw’s other lines:

All right, hold it right where you are! I’m Lieutenant Bradshaw with a piece of advice for you. Now, here in the studio it’s all knuckles and know how. But when that red light goes off, I’m just plain Harry Aames: citizen, weekend father. (background – “See ya tomorrow.” “Goodnight, Harry” “Bye Harry”) Now take a tip from a cop who does; radio work can be just as dirty and exciting as hunting down public enemy Number One. So when I get home, my old lady knows what I need, and how! A warm, heaping bowl full of Loosener’s Castor Oil Flakes—with real glycerin vibrafoam! It doesn’t just wash your mouth out—it cleans the whole system, right on down the line! So, come on you little rookies! Tell your mom to get on it, and do it everyday! Just remember what the guys down at the precinct-house sing…

Since WWII the world and the united states, in economic terms are inseperable. What happens in the US affects the world in a similar manner. After WWII the reconstruction opened markets everywhere for US owned companies to globalize. Since then other companies from other countries have followed suit.

WWI ends - Germany goes into possibly the worst depression the world has ever seen.

WWII ends - Japan one of the oldest empires in the world is out of power.
Reconstruction in Europe is a time of economic growth - even if that’s only because the economy only had the one direction to go.

Worldwide there is a brief recession in the late 50’s, but it’s just a blip.

Japan has been a fairly steadily growing economy since 1946 - its economy very tightly tied to the economy of the U.S.

Sorry Pan, not what I’m looking for. A definition of the concept may be up for grabs, but I want to know who came up with this meme or whatever it is, as associated with beat and psychedelic culture. You never heard Ozzie Nelson accuse his old lady (that would be Harriet) of putting him through changes. And by the late 70s the expression was quite passe. So, again, where did it come from?

I never heard anyone use the phrase either and I grew up in the 70s. Of course Chicago was never on the cutting edge of slang. I do know Olivia Newton-John wrote a song called “Changes,” about divorce, and she liked it enough to have it put on her “Greatest Hits” (1977) album even though it was never a single.

Changes was a specifically 60s term and did refer to personal change more than societal change, although the two, like quarks, can’t really be pulled apart.

Mostly it meant the change from being a square, crew-cut or beehived youth to growing one’s hair long, donning bell bottoms or miniskirts, adding beads, living in a commune, finding drugs, and becoming one of the Love Generation with all that meant.

That era lasted far less time than it seems from a distance. I’ve argued that the true Hippie era ended with the Summer of Love, which is when the rest of the country first picked up on it. After that came a quick descent into harder drugs, Nam, protest, breakups, and paranoia. Changes encompassed all the bad things as well as the good. The usage didn’t survive much longer.

I think that’s the way that Firesign Theatre meant it, as a parody of contemporary hip talk set back into the 40s, but those guys might have meant 32 other things at once.

Johnny Rivers, BTW, lead the house band at the Whiskey a Go Go. That was the epicenter of LA hip.

Changes is a horrible word to try to search on, so I’m not coming up with anything on a quick search of word sites. I’m just giving my memories plus a lot of reading about the decade since.

I have children. I had completely un-hip parents. I do not wish to be embarrassed in the same way. Now I am a parent who is aware of changes but is too cool to take advantage of them. It’s surprisingly effective.

>Johnny Rivers, BTW, lead the house band at the Whiskey a Go Go. That was the epicenter of LA hip.

No disparagement of Johnny Rivers intended. Even he went through changes, we all did.

Still hoping someone can source an origin: Ken Kesey, Tuli Kupferberg, the Book of the Dead - any takers?

70s references - both released in 1972:

Ch-ch-ch-changes (turn and face the strain)
David Bowie

I’m going through changes
Black Sabbath

Are we looking for something that predates Dylan’s The Times They Are A Changing?

Apparantly he’s not looking for anything related to that usage of Changing

The Hippy dictionary defines:
Going through Changes:* To have a transforming experience. A negative
experience. “My parents are putting me through changes” *

I can find this usage in poetry and lyrics from 1966 to modern day.

But I can’t pinpoint the origin. If I had more time, I’d read up on some beatnik books to look for a source, but the source might just be the mind of of one of those poet/songwriters of the 60’s.