psychedelia n.
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  1. psychedelia 1966-1969

  2. i. The summer of love: June-august 1967 • Several events signaled the breakthrough of psychedelia into mainstream pop culture • Emerging hippie culture and flower power in San Francisco • Scott McKenzie’s “San Francisco (Be Sure to Wear Flowers in Your Hair)” • Large outdoor rock festival in Monterey, California • The Beatles released Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band • The most influential album by that band • The Beatles were one of the most influential bands in rock music

  3. Scott McKenzie’s “San Francisco” • Genre: Folk-Rock

  4. Jimi Hendrix performed a virtuosic show at the Monterrey Pop festival • Stunning musical performance • Set his guitar on fire at the end of his set • Emergence of psychedelic music is an outgrowth of trends begun in the 1950s • Rock and roll entering the mainstream in 1955 • Beatles and British Invasion settling into place by 1965 • Origins are in an underground movement centered in both London and San Francisco • Only people in those areas knew about it (Bands, clubs, shops, and newspapers) • Psychedelia moved into the mainstream pop culture in the mid 1960s • Psychedelic bands acquired major label contracts • Established bands adopted psychedelic concepts in their music • By 1969, psychedelia had influenced rock music through music of several bands (Grateful Dead, Jefferson Airplane, and Pink Floyd to name a few)

  5. ii. What is psychedelia? • The Doors of Perception: Ken Kesey, Timothy Leary, and LSD • Exploring new ways to experience the world • 1960s young adults thought the 1950s was too focused on normalcy • They challenged middle-class values with alternative lifestyles • 1960s young adults became suspicious of American institutions such as: government, schools, churches, big business, the military, and the police

  6. Reasons for this increased suspicion: • Civil rights movement encouraged this • Resistance to the Vietnam War • Youth culture of the 1950s was built around separation from adult culture • 1960s youth were more assertive with this same attitude • The “Establishment” became the term for authoritative institutions in the 1960s • Young people began to believe everything they heard from the “establishment” was a lie • Drugs were added into youth culture during the 1960s • They were a means of attaining a new perspective on the world (Marijuana & LSD)

  7. LSD (lysergic acid and diethylamide) was developed in 1943 • Discoverer Swiss scientist Albert Hoffmann was working on a cure for migraine headaches • In the 1950s the CIA tested mescaline and LSD as a truth serum • Psychiatrists used LSD as a treatment for alcoholism • Some people in major cities in the U.S. and UK used LSD recreationally • Two prominent adult figures advocated the used of LSD as a means of rejecting establishment values • Ex-Harvard professor Dr. Timothy Leary • Author Ken Kesey • They proposed that taking hallucinogenic drugs unlocked the “doors of perception”

  8. Leary advised people to “turn on, tune in, and drop out” • This became the catch phrase of the 1960s • “Dropping acid” meant taking LSD • College-aged young adults embraced the new counterculture • They experimented with drug use • They embraced radical philosophy • They explored Eastern religion and philosophy • Many believed LSD was a magic pill that led to a higher consciousness • A state of awareness known to mystics and spiritual visionaries • Allowed one to see new possibilities • Would open the mind to new modes of understanding • Allowed one to suppress the falsehoods and misinformation disbursed by the establishment

  9. The psychedelic experience • Leary connected Eastern spirituality with LSD in 1964 in his book The Psychedelic Experience • Offered a guide to LSD use based on the ancient Tibetan Book of the Dead • Co-authored with Ralph Metzner and Richard Alpert (Alpert changed his name to Ram Dass) • Ram Dass popularized Eastern religion among the hippies • In 1966, John Lennon based “Tomorrow Never Knows” on The Psychedelic Experience • In 1967 the Beatles studied transcendental meditation with the Maharishi Mahesh Yogi

  10. The Byrds’ “Eight Miles High” hit the U.S. charts in the summer of 1966 • An early sign that drug use was becoming a central part of rock music and youth culture • Words that play on the double meaning of “high” • Spacey atmosphere using a saxophone riff borrowed from jazz musician John Coltrane’s “India” • Radio stations stopped playing it when a radio tip sheet claimed it was about drugs The Byrds’ “Eight Miles High” Genre: Psychedelic Rock

  11. The connection of Eastern philosophy and psychedelics became central to the hippie worldview • Quest for higher consciousness • Eastern gurus sought truth through spiritual discipline • Hippies sought truth through the use of LSD • Philosophies blended aspects of eastern spirituality and drug use • Avant-garde (new or experimental) art was sometimes included • Radical and utopian politics (impossibly ideal conditions of social organization)

  12. iii. Psychedelic approaches to music • Music in a secondary role to drugs • The important thing is the drug experience itself • The music is only a kind of soundtrack to the trip • Provoked response with novel and unfamiliar sounds • Did not itself provide a trip in the absence of drugs • The Grateful Dead in the San Francisco underground scene • Pink Floyd in the London underground scene • Music itself as a trip • The music is a kind of aesthetic drug • Aural journey that may be enhanced by the use of drugs • The music is the primary aspect • The Beatles and The Doors are examples of this approach

  13. Essential in both cases are the trip and the quest for higher consciousness • The difference is in whether the music is primary or secondary to the trip • Musicians were becoming more experimental and ambitious about (writing, performing and recording) • Music had to move beyond the two- to three- minute AM radio format to enhance the trip • Music became more ambitious • Tracks became longer and more esoteric (difficult to understand or make sense of)

  14. iv. The beach boys and the beatles • Both bands were on the same label in the United States • This led directly to a sense of friendly, respectful competition • Beatles were actually signed with EMI in England • Capitol was a subsidiary in the US contracted to distribute Beatles records • Beatles had less sense of competition with the Beach Boys than the Beach Boys had with them • Beach Boys were already having hits when the Beatles arrived

  15. End result was that both had to compete with each other on two levels • For the attention of the audience • For the attention of executives in their own record label • The means of competition had a profound influence on music styles • Songs became increasingly more sophisticated • Both bands pursued new approaches to creating songs that had impact on rock music • Lyrics addressed more serious topics • Wider range of instrumentation was used • Harmonic language became more innovative • Standard formal types were modified or abandoned • Greater time was taken in the studio in recording • Tracks were often not reproducible in live performance

  16. The Rubber Soul-Pet Sounds phenomenon • Brian Wilson admired Rubber Soul (1965) from a conceptual standpoint • The way the songs seemed to hang together as an album • Wilson saw the album as a whole as being greater than the sum of its parts • This inspired Wilson to think of Pet Sounds (1966) as an album of related songs • Paul McCartney admired the production and songwriting on Pet Sounds • On Revolver (1966), the song “Tomorrow Never Knows” introduces the concept of psychedelia • The lyrics refer to the same source as Leary’s The Psychedelic Experience • Studio manipulation of sounds resulted in abstract sonic environments • The Beatles created this song and the rest of Revolver before Pet Sounds was released

  17. v. “good vibrations”: brianwilson’s “pocket symphony” • Considered by Wilson and many others to be his finest achievement • Most studio time and budget expended on a single song in popular music history • The structure varies within the song • Begins by using a contrasting verse-chorus approach • Continues with three sections that were recorded separately, then cut-and-pasted together later • The middle pasted sections all consist of contrasting musical material • Section 1 has voices, tack piano, Jew’s harp, bass harmonica, bass, tambourine, sleigh bells and organ • Section 2 has voices, organ, bass, and percussion—closing with a sustained “ah” • Section 3 begins with a part of the chorus, then introduces new vocal counterpoint and harmony

  18. The contrasting musical ideas assembled in this song represent a departure from pop songwriting • “Good Vibrations” by the Beach Boys • Genre: Surf Rock

  19. vi. Sgt. Pepper’s lonely hearts club band • Beatles stopped touring in August of 1966—they couldn’t perform recent songs live because the audience wasn’t listening—just screaming. John Lennon’s remarks about Christianity initiated threats against them • Original intent was an album of related songs about their Liverpool childhood • The first two songs were about Lennon and McCartney’s childhood • John Lennon’s “Strawberry Fields Forever” • Paul McCartney’s “Penny Lane”

  20. Lennon’s “Strawberry Fields Forever” began the new approach to creative songwriting • Lyrics describe a fantasy-like place from his childhood • New instruments used to create a dreamlike ambiance • Cellos, inside-the-piano playing, reversed-tape sounds, Mellotron • Mellotron: an early sampling keyboard that uses taped sounds to create orchestral sounds • Strings, choral voices, and a recorder ensemble • Studio tape manipulation techniques were used to create backward sound • Two different takes were recorded and spliced together using variable tape speed techniques • The song ends, then fades back in with a backward segment that fades back out

  21. John Lennon’s “Strawberry Fields Forever” • Genre: Psychedellic Rock

  22. Paul McCartney’s “Penny Lane” is more straightforward musically • Employs the use of a piccolo trumpet in the solo section and other places in the song • Lyrics center around everyday life and people in Paul McCartney’s childhood neighborhood • EMI demanded a single from the band so they released those two songs as a double-A-side single • Paul McCartney suggested an album about an imaginary band • The imaginary band could write imaginary songs about imaginary people and situations

  23. The rest of the songs are united by their introduction of a wide variety of styles • British dance hall • Classical arrangements • Avant-garde techniques—particularly in the aleatoric (chance) orchestral section • “A Day in the Life” utilizes an orchestral buildup of randomly executed pitches • “Being for the Benefit of Mr. Kite” includes randomly spliced sections of tapes of organ sounds • Album cover design also serves as a unifying feature • The band appears in costumes on the cover, not their usual suits with ties • The back cover featured all of the song lyrics—a first for commercial music

  24. No singles were released from the album • This placed emphasis on the album as the sales unit rather than the single song format • After this, pop music would split into two categories • Single-oriented teen pop would be the focus of AM radio Adult and college-age oriented music would be the focus of FM radio

  25. vii. Brian wilson’ssmile and smiley smile • The 1967 follow-up to Pet Sounds was Wilson’s most ambitious project yet, titled Smile • The original was never released, but in 2005 the album was re-recorded and released by Wilson • An example of the approach that was apparent on Smiley Smile was “Heroes and Villains,” which has separately recorded sections spliced together like “Good Vibrations” • The Beach Boys reacted against Wilson’s new songs • They argued that it wouldn’t be popular with their fans • During subsequent years they worked at simplifying their sound

  26. Overall, the psychedelic era had a negative effect on the Beach Boys’ career • They were dismissed as too old fashioned • Jimi Hendrix described them as a psychedelic barbershop quartet

  27. viii. The beatles after sgt. Pepper’s lonely hearts club band • The albums that followed Sgt. Pepper’s were built around concepts • The 1967 project Magical Mystery Tour was built around a road trip: McCartney’s idea was to rent a tour bus and travel the English countryside and film it • In 1968, they went to India to study meditation with the Maharishi Mahesh Yogi: They wrote many songs there that became the basis for Beatles (The “White Album”)

  28. During that time an animated feature film was produced with them as the main characters: A surrealistic adventure in Pepperland became Yellow Submarine • In 1969, McCartney suggested a documentary-style film on the Beatles in the creative process: It was originally called Get Back, but much animosity arose between band members eventually causing George Martin to walk out, and the project was shelved. • The band reunited with Martin in mid 1969 to produce their last studio album Abbey Road • The film and music tracks from Get Back were salvaged and reassembled as Let It Be—Martin was not involved as producer so Phil Spector was brought in to finish the project

  29. Paul McCartney was disappointed with Spector’s arrangements of some songs • Spector added orchestral tracks and choir tracks • It was done without the band’s knowledge or approval • This freedom was extended to underground bands developing the new psychedelic style • Apple Records • Beatles manager Brian Epstein died in the summer of 1967 • Group decided to handle their business affairs themselves by creating a company called Apple • Apple would promote their own work and other artists considered uncommercial • The company lost money and professionals were called to salvage it

  30. The band was ready to break up by late 1969 • They made it official in 1970 • The band members successfully continued on with solo careers • The later Beatles work proved to be more influential on later musicians than their earlier work • Competition between the Beach Boys and the Beatles had an important consequence • Beatles developed the stylistic and compositional range of rock music • They proved that rock could stand on its own as music and thus be taken seriously • Their success at this prompted Capitol records to allow them more freedom to create • This freedom was extended to underground bands developing the new psychedelic style

  31. ix. The san francisco scene and haight-ashbury • The emergence of hippie culture in San Francisco • The psychedelic scene had been developing since mid 1965 in the San Francisco area • Grew out of the area’s Beat movement of the late ’50s and early ‘60s • A bohemian scene celebrating the poetry of Allen Ginsberg and the prose of Jack Kerouac • Gathered in North Beach City Lights Bookstore of Lawrence Ferlinghetti • Ginsberg, Michael McClure, and Gary Snider mentored the hippie movement • Many similarities between beats and hippies, notably their nonconformist stance

  32. A difference was in musical taste: beats liked jazz, hippies liked rock music • Ginsberg, McClure, and Snider helped organize the Human Be-In • The Human Be-In was held in San Francisco’s Golden Gate Park in January 1967 • The event was advertised as a “gathering of the tribes” • A day of poetry, spirituality, and music • Music was provided by local bands • The Grateful Dead and the Jefferson Airplane were among the bands featured • The Human Be-In and the San Francisco hippie movement drew national media attention

  33. The New Mexico-San Francisco connection • In 1965 a group of people in Virginia City, NM began hosting LSD-oriented music performances • These took place at a restored western-style bar called the Red Dog • A band of San Francisco musicians called the Charlatans were the house band • These psychedelic “happenings” became the model for similar events in San Francisco • The San Francisco area happening was in October 1965 • Organized by a group calling itself the Family Dog • It took place at the Longshoreman’s Hall and was called “A Tribute to Dr. Strange” • Featured the Charlatans, Jefferson Airplane, and Great Society

  34. The next happening a few days later was called “A Tribute to Sparkle Plenty” • The Charlatans provided music • The Loving Spoonful (from New York) also played

  35. Ken Kesey and the Acid Tests • During the same time period novelist Ken Kesey was organizing the “acid test” • Kesey celebrated the liberating effects of LSD • He wanted to share the drug as broadly as he could • Kesey and friends, the Merry Pranksters, produced LSD multimedia events called acid tests • They provided unpredictable stimulation to acid test audiences under the influence of LSD • The purpose of the acid test was to intensify the LSD experience using light and slide shows, bizarre sound effects, and rock music • Kesey’s first acid test was in Santa Cruz in November 1965; the cost to enter the acid test was $1

  36. Two months later Kesey held an acid test in San Francisco at the Fillmore Auditorium • 2,400 people attended • The house band was the Warlocks • The Warlocks changed their name to the Grateful Dead • By 1966 the hippie underground movement in San Francisco had settled into the Haight-Ashbury district—an old Victorian neighborhood adjoined to the east end of Golden Gate Park • Concerts, news, the Psychedelic Shop, and FM Radio • Psychedelic evenings of LSD and rock music were a regular feature in the Bay Area • Kesey’s acid tests became the model for psychedelic events is San Francisco • Bill Graham began organizing shows at the Fillmore • Chet Helms promoted shows at the Avalon Ballroom

  37. Ron and Jay Thelin opened their Psychedelic Shop in the Haight-Ashbury district • Local bands rented houses in the Haight-Ashbury district for rehearsal space • The San Francisco Oracle became the first hippie newspaper in September 1966 • Rolling Stone Magazine published its first issue in November 1967

  38. Tom Donahue developed a new approach to FM radio programming in April 1967 on KMPX-FM • Longer tracks placed back-to-back • More freedom was given to the disk-jockey • Up to this time FM was only for classical, Jazz, college lectures, and foreign language shows • A few months later Donahue was running a rock FM station in Los Angeles as well • FM rock stations quickly sprang up all across America • The Grateful Dead—formerly the Warlocks • House band for the Kesey acid tests, the band changed its name to the Grateful Dead members: Jerry Garcia (guitar), Ron “Pigpen: McKernan (organ), Bob Weir (guitar), Bill Kreutzmann (drums), and Phil Lesh (bass) • As the Warlocks, the band played a lot of Rolling Stones-style American electric blues

  39. When playing at the acid tests, they began developing an improvisational style • Some songs were extremely long and could last over an hour • The band signed with MGM records but disagreements led to the first album not being released • They signed with Warner Brothers records and released an album of short songs • Their second album Anthem of the Sun was based on improvisation including recordings from live shows and studio performances • The album was mixed using chance elements similar to avant-garde electronic compositions • The album was mixed to intensify an acid experience

  40. Subsequent albums explored a wide range of styles in inventive ways • Their 1970 album Live/Dead was recorded live in the recording studio • It contained a 20-minute version of the song “Dark Star” by poet Robert Hunter • “Dark Star” exemplifies the band’s extended improvised instrumental solos • Simple chord progressions and modal scales • “Workingman’s Dead” and “American Beauty” are less exploratory. They are shorter songs with more country and folk-oriented tracks • The Grateful Dead was one of the most successful live American bands in the 1970s and 1980s

  41. “Dark Star” by The Grateful Dead • Genre: Psychedelic Rock

  42. Jefferson Airplane • One of the first psychedelic bands in the San Francisco area influenced by folk music and blues with occasional elements of Indian music and some references to modal jazz • Formed by singer Marty Balin and guitarist Paul Kantner in mid-1965, the band also included Jorma Kaukonen (guitar), Signe Anderson (vocals), Jack Cassady (bass), and Spencer Dryden (drums) • Their first album on RCA, Jefferson Airplane Takes Off, only reached 128 on the charts in 1966 • They changed singers: Anderson left and was replaced by Great Society singer Grace Slick

  43. The next album, Surrealistic Pillow included two Grace Slick songs • “Somebody to Love” • “White Rabbit” • The Jefferson Airplane released several hit albums during the late 1960s • After Bathing at Baxter’s • Crown of Creation • A live album, Bless Its Pointed Little Head • Volunteers featuring politically inspired lyrics • “White Rabbit” • The lyrics refer to Lewis Carroll’s Alice in Wonderland stories • Clear reference in lines like “feed your head” refer to the use of psychedelic drugs • Music is based on Spanish bolero—particularly in the guitar solo introduction

  44. Slick was inspired by Miles Davis’s jazz album Sketches of Spain • Dynamic shape is similar to French composer Maurice Ravel’s orchestral piece Bolero • A gradual build from very quiet to a violently loud climax • “White Rabbit” is much shorter than Ravel’s piece but it accomplishes the same effect • This song is yet another example of psychedelia drawing from classical music • “White Rabbit” by Jefferson • Airplane • Genre: Psychedelic Rock

  45. Big Brother and the Holding Company and Janis Joplin • Big Brother and the Holding Company was inspired by classical music • They performed a piece by Norwegian composer Edvard Grieg • “In the Hall of the Mountain King” from Grieg’s Peer Gynt orchestral suite • They embraced avant-garde conceptual art as well, contemplating a piece called “Bacon” • Bacon would be placed on a hot plate on the stage near a microphone • They would freely improvise until the bacon was cooked • They embraced blues as a basis for improvisation

  46. They were interested in introducing a new style of music called “Blues in Technicolor” • Elements of blues forms used as base for improvisations • Avant-garde approach to the sonic and overall conceptual experience • The avant-garde aspects would appeal to those taking LSD • Janis Joplin came from Port Arthur, Texas and was heavily inspired by female blues singers Bessie Smith, Big Mama Thornton, and Ma Rainey • Joined Big Brother and the Holding Company in 1968 • Their first album went to number sixty on the charts • Their second album, Cheap Thrills, proved that Joplin helped launch their success • They had a hit single “Piece of My Heart”

  47. Joplin went solo in 1969 • The album I Got Dem Ol’ Kozmic Blues Again Mama! Reached number five • She recorded a second solo album in 1970: Pearl • A single from that album also went to number one: “Me and Bobby McGee” • Joplin didn’t live to see it. She died of a drug overdose on October 4, 1970 • “Me and Bobby McGee” by Janis Joplin • Genre: Psychedelic Rock

  48. x. Country joe and the fish, quicksilver messenger service, and other important san francisco bands • Country Joe and the Fish • Country Joe (McDonald) and Barry “The Fish” Melton were involved in UC Berkeley activism • The radical politics surrounding U.C. Berkeley was seen as too intense to many hippies • The hippies seemed too spaced out to be a part of radical political activism • Country Joe and the Fish seemed to find a common ground between these clashing ideals