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?