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The 1960’s hippie counter culture movement
involved a variety of social concerns and
beliefs. The hippies’ primary tenet was that life
was about being happy, not about what others
thought you should be. Their “if it feels good,
do it” attitudes included little forethought nor
concern for the consequences of their actions.
Hippies were dissatisfied with what their
parents had built for them, a rather strange
belief given that their parents had built the
greatest booming economy the world had ever
Hippies rejected middle class values, opposed
nuclear weapons and the Vietnam War. They
embraced aspects of eastern philosophy and
sought to find new meaning in life.
Hippies participated in alternative arts and
street theater and listened to folk music and
psychedelic rock as part of their anti-
establishment lifestyle. They opposed political
and social violence and promoted a gentle
ideology that focused on peace, love, and
personal freedom. Some hippies lived in
communes or aggregated communities of other
hippies. Some described the 1960’s hippies
movement as a religious movement.
Hippies were often
vegetarian and believed
in eco friendly
Hippies created their own counter culture
founded on psychedelic rock and the
embracement of the sexual revolution. Drugs
such as marijuana and LSD were
tightly integrated into their culture as a means
to explore altered states of consciousness.
Contrary to what many believe, hippies tended
to avoid harder drugs such as heroin and
amphetamines because they considered them
harmful or addictive.
Hippie dress, which they believed was part of the
statement of who you were, included brightly
colored, ragged clothes, tie-dyed t-shirts, beads,
sandals (or barefoot), and jewelry, all of which
served to differentiate them from the “straight” or
“square” mainstream segments of society. Their
aversion to commercialism also influenced their
style of dress. Much of their clothing was often
purchased at flea markets or second hand shops.
Hippie men wore their hair long and typically
wore beards and mustaches while the women
wore little or no makeup and often went braless
It has been estimated that 100,000 people
travelled to San Francisco during the summer
of 1967. The media followed the movement of
the hippies casting a spotlight on the Haight-
Ashbury district where many of the
psychedelic bands lived and played. In the
hippies’ eyes, they had become freaks and little
more than a sideshow for the amusement of
visiting tourists. Many began to flee Haight in
search of calmer, more remote settings.
Hippies use music to express themselves emotionally,
spiritually, and politically. Music can make a statement, give
voice to a movement, even unite us. As hippies explore their
inner world, music guides them along in their quest for
meaning. Without drugs it can get you high. With drugs,
well, let's just say, music can be a religious experience. The
early sixties saw music becoming more than just
entertainment. It was now music with a message. And the
messages our poets sang helped us identify with important
issues and events that concerned us all. They spurred us to
action. These songs had an impact on the consciousness of
not just hippies but all society. Some of these songs also
broke new ground musically. One way or another they hit
us deeply, made us think, made us dream, made us feel as
When the Beatles came to America in 1964 it really was
an invasion of new music, style and attitude. They not
only turned the music world upside down with their
electric guitars, their happy harmonies, long hair and
mod fashions, but suddenly music was fun like it
hadn't been since Elvis. We boomers couldn't get
enough of them, as Beatlemania swept the country.
With fame and fortune theirs, they realized they could
do anything, and decided to experiment with new
sounds, new electronic techniques, and new drugs.
What followed was the most innovative music the
world had ever seen. The Beatles got serious about
their music and the messages it conveyed. After all
they are the biggest band ever and their influence was
Jim Morrison still lives on as a rock icon. His
sensuous voice, defiant attitude and
iconoclastic lyrics along with Ray Manzarek's
great keyboard work propelled the Doors to
the top of the charts. Jim defied the authorities,
pushing the envelope especially during his live
performances. A passionate poet, he touched
those most sensitive areas of our collective
In the early 60's Bob Dylan transformed folk
music into protest music with tunes like
"Blowin' in the Wind" and "The Times They
Are A-Changin'". These songs influenced a
whole generation and just about everyone who
calls himself a musician. Bob the poet reminds
us that words and music can be a potent force.
No can be unmoved by the urgency and power
of his lyrics. Bob's continuing metamorphoses
keep everyone guessing what he'll do next.
Jimi Hendrix was one of those rare talents that
appears once in a lifetime. Like a saint he walked
among us to remind us that there are greater
things than we can possibly understand. Through
his music he let us hear and see these wondrous
things. Whether in the studio, at Woodstock,
Monterey, the Isle of Wight or the Fillmore, Jimi
fed his heart and soul into his music. The result
was music that could lift you so high you could
"Kiss the Sky" or plunge you into a 'Manic
Depression'. His influence on rock music was
profound. Jimi's legend lives on now that some
new releases are out.
No one sang the blues like Janis. She could put
more feeling into one song, than many people
put into their whole lives. We feel your pain,
Led Zeppelin defined heavy metal music. The
hard rockin' blues of Robert Plant and Jimmy
Page and their live concerts are the stuff of
legends. Plant's extraordinary vocal range and
Jimmy's mastery of the guitar are a great
combination. Exotic influences permeate their
sound sending us back in time to distant lands.
If you get a chance check out their movie "The
Song Remains the Same" to see their
remarkable live performance.
John's legacy and his inspired songwriting
lives on in some new releases. Lennon's
influence goes far beyond his music, as we've
all been touched by his magic and spirit.
Since 1964, The Stones always seemed to be the
best music to play at a party. Their infectious
tunes got everyone up and dancing. The lack of
current hits hasn't hurt their popularity any. As
long as Mick, Keith and Charlie can still stand I
guess we'll have more to look forward to.
Carlos Santana and company managed to
define a whole genre back in the early '70s. His
great performance at Woodstock made him a
legend. And today he's back on the charts with
a new hit. Their pioneering funky, latin, soul,
rock sound is unmistakable. Carlos'
mesmerizing lead guitar playing is your ticket
to nirvana. It's nearly impossible to sit through
this music. Dance, sister dance!
At the end of summer 1967, The Diggers declared the
“death” of the hippie movement and burned an effigy
of a hippie in Golden Gate Park. The Haight-Ashbury
scene had deteriorated dramatically. The Haight
Ashbury district simply could not accommodate the
influx of hundreds of thousands of hippies. Many
hippies, some no older than teenagers, took to living on
the street, panhandling, and drug dealing. Problems
such as malnourishment, disease, and drug addiction
grew prominent in the Haight community. Crime and
violence in the area skyrocketed as homeless drug
addicted hippies stole to survive and drug dealers
moved in to control the drug trade. By the end of 1967,
many of the hippies and musicians who initiated the
Summer of Love moved on, leaving many misgivings
about the hippie culture, particularly with regards to
their drug abuse and lenient morality.
The gap that existed between the hippies and
mainstream society widened. In August 1969,
500,000 people attended the Woodstock Music and
Art Fair in Bethel, New York. Bands at the event
included Joan Baez, Janis Joplin, Grateful Dead,
Creedence Clearwater Revival, Crosby, Stills, Nash
and Young, Carlos Santana, The Who, Jefferson
Airplane, and Jimi Hendrix. The Wavy Gravy Hog
Farm provided security for what was a mostly
peaceful event. The mainstream public was treated
to visuals of drug using hippies covered in mud
and exhibiting bizarre behavior.
Though 40 years have passed since the original
hippie culture first decided to rebel and fight
convention, there are still strong threads
running throughout today’s hippie scene.
Totally like my teenage cousin named Idriss El
Kheiri who lives in Casablanca