Well, this might take me a few posts to shake off the cobwebs for a few decent flashbacks.
I remember gathering around our black and white TV to watch the Beatles on Ed Sullivan. I also remember listening to the first Cassius Clay (Muhammad Ali) vs Sonny Listen fight, gathered around our radio in the kitchen. That radio put out enough heat, from the tubes inside, to toast a slice of bread. We always unplugged it when we didn’t have it on, just as a precaution.
JFK was assassinated in November of '63. I remember school getting out early and walking home thinking we were about to get bombed, like in the war movies I would see on TV about France and Germany during WWII. The entire country closed down for about a week. We watched the funeral procession on our black and white. Our TV would get 3 channels if the weather would cooperate, and their wasn’t a plane flying nearby. I remember the TV repair man coming by to swap out bad tubes and put new ones in their place.
I can’t remember much happening before JFK was assassinated, just doo-wop music. Songs like Blue Moon, Yakety Yak and Duke of Earl. We had a record player that played 45s, people didn’t buy albums too much back then, maybe an Elvis album. The first album we had was Elvis’ Golden Records. We still bought 45s when the Beatles came on the scene. But soon it was clear, you had to own Beatles albums.
So the Beatles showed up in early '64. It was kind of a breath of fresh air because the JFK tragedy was still lingering on. Soon everyone was wearing Beatle boots, and letting their bangs grow out down to their eyebrows. Young and old, male and female, everyone loved the Beatles, it was Beatlemania. When the movie HELP came out, me and my sister went to the matinee at the theater and watched it 4 times in a row.
My town was still pretty much a bunch of doo-wop greasers. As late as '68 if you had long hair in school the greasers would make your life miserable. Between '65 and '69 everybody was in a band. If you didn’t know an instrument you sang, if you couldn’t sing, you played the tambourine. Everybody wanted to be the Beatles. I was in a band in '68 and '69. By then we were getting into the more modern stuff, like the Doors and Creedence. We still did a few Beatles songs though, that was a requirement.
I lived in a college town, so we were witness to all of the social unrest of the late '60s. I saw some cars being tipped over and set on fire. The civil rights movement was the violent one, the Vietnam protests I went to were mostly big pot parties that broke up as soon as any sign of resistance showed up. I had my hair parted in the middle, it was shoulder length, and I usually wore a thin psychedelic headband. We were barely in high school when all of this was going on, but we would go out to the college and hang out with the hippies.
About the time Magical Mystery Tour came out, lots of people were into hard drugs, tons of hallucinogenics. There were tabs, and barrels, and micro-dot, and windowpane, and blotter, and … The Vietnam war was still raging on, but that kept the drugs coming in from overseas. Lots of great pot from Thailand and Africa, and hashish from the Mideast.
Then '69 and '70 rolled around. Hendrix died, Joplin died, seems like every day someone was dying in the late '60s. Woodstock happened, Charley Manson happened, the moon landing happened, the Beatles broke up, it just all came to a head. In the early '70s things kept rolling along a bit, there was still lots of hippie stuff going on then. I would say right around '74, or when we pulled out of Vietnam, things all seemed to change. People were out of college getting jobs and having families. There wasn’t much to look forward to, except disco.
Peace and Love.