It was 40 years ago today…wow. Think about that for a second. The music world is going through its back pages to wax nostalgic for something that happened 40 years ago. Is there another moment in music history that gets that kind of, well, love that is showered on the Summer of Love? No, but there is a good reason for that. Most music revolutions affect one genre of rock (grunge, punk, new wave, disco). The Summer of Love, meanwhile, changed everyone. Blues bands, jazz hounds, pop boys, soul sisters and hard rockers were all in attendance for this party, and none of them were the same afterwards. We even have an eyewitness account to prove it.
"I would drive from San Jose, where I was attending college in 1967, to be in San Francisco on weekends,” Stu Cook, bassist for Creedence Clearwater Revival, told us. “It was like a candy store. The excesses of a new culture were like the sirens calling me to come and play.” And while a generation of revisionists would like to have you believe otherwise, if you had to sum up the Summer in one slab of vinyl, the choice is unanimous:
“Without a doubt, for me the two biggest music memories of 1967 were the Beatles album Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band, and Aretha Franklin's album Respect.”
– Stu Cook
“The best thing for me that came out of (that summer) was Sgt. Pepper, which, of course, influenced us and changed us all.”
– Graham Gouldman,
“Sgt. Pepper is possibly one of the most influential records of all time, which has influenced us and probably every band directly or indirectly since its release.’
– Richie James Follin,
So yes, the Beatles were indeed the big dogs in 1967, just like the history books say. But they were by no means the only game in town. Bullz-Eye takes a look at some of the seminal albums from that fateful summer (along with a few that came later in the fall), and unleashes the writers to cover the Summer from any angle they wish, which produced some topics miles removed (thousands of miles, in one instance) from free acid and sloppy sex.
Monterey Pop: The Summer of Love's earth-shattering climax
Mojo Flucke discusses the pop music festival that started it all. Got a buck? Come on in. Really.
Summer of Love: Bands with Balls
Una Persson takes a look at the bands that were smashing their instruments while everyone else wore flowers in their hair.
Don’t you want a Summer of Love? Don’t you need a Summer of Love?
David Medsker examines what impact, if any, the Summer of Love has on bands of today and whether there is anything left to be learned from the songs and the scene.
The Not-So-Velvety Summer of Love
Jason Thompson eschews the stoned hippies for the leather-clad speed freaks of New York and examines an altogether different movement from 1967: the Velvet Underground.
Bullz-Eye takes a look back at the seminal albums of the Summer of Love, along with a few released before June and after August, to see if they still pass the acid test, or if the people who praised them as classics were just on acid.