D.R.: 1967’s legacy for us
I’m listening to “Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band,” having just read the latest Rolling Stone. The magazine is celebrating its 40th anniversary in this issue by looking back at 1967, the “Summer of Love.”
I was all of 10, so I was clueless about the hippies, Andy Warhol, LSD, Detroit burning, Woodstock, Dylan, Vietnam.
And the kings of the time, the Beatles.
It was a rich time. And definitely odd. Flower power bloomed just as Californians elected Ronald Reagan governor and the conservative juggernaut was beginning. Paradox fit the times as squarely as psychedelica.
Then, this Beatles album was considered ground-breaking, seminal even, for the music to come. Listening to it now, it fits the paradox. Some songs are so, well, normal. And others must have seemed very strange. It has “When I’m 64” AND “A Day in the Life,” “Lovely Rita” and “Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds.” The title song sounds pretty much like a marching band, with a couple of twists, of course.
The clash of cultures highlighted in 1967 still plays strongly today. The thread is the Baby Boomer generation, whose leading edge was leading the youth movement of the day. The Yuppies bridged the generation gap, taking a bit of the worst from the Boomer and the Greatest generations. As in greed AND drugs.
On balance, though, I believe America is the better place for the generational showdown symbolized by the Summer of Love.
We’re more creative, less racist, more tolerant, less constricted by convention, more educated. We’re a smarter, better people despite our depressing fascination with celebrity and other silly things. Despite our wasteful habits, heavy footprint on the environment, and all that.
That’s not to discount the excesses of liberty, the recent excesses of a Bible-toting White House, the large, large problems that remain in our nation and world.
Oh, and Paul McCartney reached 64.
On balance, there’s plenty to give us hope for the future. That, for me anyway, is the legacy of 1967.