来源:VOA 2019-02-04



Remembering the Summer of Love

The summer of 1967 forever changed American culture.

It was a summer of anti-war protests, peace movements, love, flowers, drugs and rock and roll.

It became known as theSummer of Love.”

Scott McKenzie sang what would become one of the summers theme songs:

If youre going to San Francisco, be sure to wear some flowers in your hair…”

Fifty years ago, thousands of people gathered in San Francisco, California. They heard new music by groups that went on to write songs that are still famous today. And they protested the U.S. involvement in the Vietnam War, saying, “make love, not war.”

Singer Grace Slick shot to fame with her band Jefferson Airplane.

Dont you want somebody to love? Don't you need somebody to love?”….

Slick spoke with VOA Learning English about life there during the summer of 1967.

Now 77, and a painter, Slick says she and others did not call it theSummer of Love.” They were just doingstuff,” Slick says -- creating art and music and making jewelry and other things.


It was actually just a whole bunch of people playing music and hanging out and having fun. It was pretty much that simple.”

Jefferson Airplane, along with the Grateful Dead, Jimi Hendrix, Janis Joplin and others, started what is known as psychedelic rock music. One of that summers best-known songs was SlicksWhite Rabbit.”

One pill makes you larger and one pill makes you small and the ones that mother gives you...”

Grace Slick says her idea forWhite Rabbitcame from the bookAlice in Wonderland,” by Lewis Carroll. The story is about a girl who finds herself in a strange place. Slick says living in San Francisco in the 1960s was, for her, similar to Alices Wonderland.

She went from very proper Victorian England down the 'rabbit hole' into this nut, you know, wonderland, which is just crazy. I went from very proper (19)50s, United States, into the (19)60s, which is very similar to her experience.”

Dennis McNally was the long-time publicist for the Grateful Dead. The band started in San Francisco in 1965. He helped put together a new exhibit calledOn the Road to the Summer of Loveat the California Historical Society in San Francisco. The exhibit is part of the citys 50th anniversary celebration of the Summer of Love.

McNally says two big things led to the Summer of Love: psychedelic drugs and rock music. The psychedelic drug of choice was LSD, also called acid. It causes people to hallucinateto see things that seem real, but are not.

And rock and roll? He says the 1964 introduction of The Beatles helped start the rockrevolution.”

"She loves you yah, yah, yah..."

San Francisco has a tradition of being open to new ideas and different lifestyles. Fifty years ago, it was not todays costly, high-technology center. Housing costs in the 1960s were low inthe Haight”— the neighborhood around Haight and Ashbury streets.

In January of 1967, bands and poets threw a party called theHuman Be-In.” Around 50,000 people went to the event, held in Golden Gate Park. Psychologist Timothy Leary, who supported the use of LSD, repeated his famous line to the young crowd. “Turn on. Tune In. Drop out.” The saying was about taking LSD, tuning into ones self, and dropping out of the mainstream lifestyle of the time.

When American media began covering what was happening in San Francisco, young people from all over the country started coming to the city by the thousands. Many of them were high school- or college-aged, McNally explains.

People without a lot of resources, emotional, not very worldly showed up. And a lot of them saidtake care of meand they did, and it worked.”

Suddenly, San Francisco became one big social experiment. It also becamehippie central.”

Bright colors were everywhere. Pictures, posters, clothes, and even houses and cars, were painted in new bright psychedelic colors and patterns.

Hippies -- both the men and the womenhad long, flowing hair. They worelove beadsaround their necks. The women wore flowers in their hair. They desired peace instead of war.

Area musicians who once played quiet folk music started playing electric instruments -- loudly.

People experimented with new ways of living, too. They lived in groups called communes. They shared housing, money, food and sex.

Such experiments became known as thecounter-culture.” And they changed the way young people lived.

It was genuinely a challenge to American mainstream thinking about materialism and how you are supposed to live your life.”

Grace Slick says they didnt call it socialism, butmore or lessit was. They lived together and tried to help each other.

Womens rights

In the summer of 1967, the womens equal rights movement was about to take off. She says that many women wanted a different life from the one their mothers lived in the conservative 1950s America.

"So a lot of us look at it and went, ‘too flat. Let's make it a little more interesting.’ And in our each individual way that's what we were trying to do.”

Some women began burning their bras at marches to protest womens oppression.

Slick says more work still needs to be done. And she says that if women want to get ahead, they should study.

Same thing a man has to do, only we have to do just a little bit more.Still. And we get paid less so were still pushing.”

Protest songs

Also in the summer of 1967, the Vietnam War was raging. More than 480,000 American soldiers were fighting in Vietnam. That year, over 11,000 of them were killed in action.

Musician Country Joe McDonald is known for his anti-war songs. He formed a band called Country Joe McDonald and The Fish.

I-Feel-Like-I'm- Fixin'-To-Die Rag" is his most famous protest song:

"And it's one, two three four, what are we fighting for? Don't ask me I don't give a damn, the next stop is Vietnam..."

McDonald was different from other musicians in California at the time. He had served in the U.S. military before the Vietnam War. He says the experience influenced how he wrote his protest song.

The unique thing about the song is that it does not blame soldiers for war, it blames politicians.”

Many young people in the late 1960s were critical of the U.S. government.

The leadership of America was completely out of touch with the problems and desires of the youth of America at that particular time.”

Spreading the music - and the message

Both McDonald and Slick shared good memories of playing to large crowds that summer, like the Monterey Pop Festival in June. The festival introduced the counter-cultures music to a wider audience.

Dennis McNally says many of the movements and ideas that began 50 years ago in the Summer of Love still live on today.

If you do yoga, youve been influenced by the summer of love, if you eat organic food, if you are concerned about the environment, if you are part of feminism or almost any kind of challenge to the most traditional gender roles, youre influenced by the summer of love.”

He says the 2016 U.S. presidential elections set the country back. McDonald and Slick agree.

Even today, Americans are generally divided between those in support what happened during the Summer of Love and those who oppose its message tomake love, not war.”

So, is another Summer of Love possible in America? Grace Slick hopes so.

"Yeah, I was going to say probably not with me. I'll probably be dead by the time they do it again. But let's push for that again. Stop war; open up to each other; appreciate different races, different religions, different styles different colors. Open it up.”

She says, “Lets do it again!”

"C'mon people now, smile on your brother, everybody get together try to love one another right now.. ."

I'm Anne Ball.

Anne Ball wrote this story for Learning English. Ashley Thompson was the editor.






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