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1967: A Complete Rock Music History of the Summer of Love Hardcover – 7 Apr 2017
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"Packed with new interviews with principals like Carlos Santana, Michelle Phillips and Roger McGuinn,  gives month-by-month accounts of the scenes in London, San Francisco, New York, and even Australia, where the Bee Gees were scoring their first hits. The result breathes new life into a wide-open cultural moment."--Rolling Stone
About the Author
Harvey Kubernik, a lifelong resident of Southern California, is a veteran music journalist, as well as a record producer and noted documentary film and radio interview subject and a former West Coast director of A&R for MCA Records. He lives in Los Angeles.
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"On our first U.S. tour we were in cities where all the kids came in prom gowns and tuxedos. Then we came back to Iowa a year later and they were having nude love-ins and everybody had their faces painted." Paul Kantner.
"In Los Angeles all the superficiality is right on the surface and depth is beneath the surface, In San Fransisco it's just the opposite." James Cushing, KEBF-FM.
"If you do not believe, please wipe your eyes and see." Human Be-In press release, 1967.
Well, it's been 50 years since we all danced around in tie-dye and beads, banging our tambourines, waving incense, and passing out flowers to strangers. A true case of "that was then-this is now" if I ever saw one. But this book puts things in some kind of loose order that gives the reader an idea of what it was all about back then. 1967 was a pivotal year. Both the beginning and end of something new and exciting--in music, radio, clothing, TV, film, books, art, and attitudes. The author, Harvey Kubernik (of "Canyon Of Dreams...", "A Perfect Haze...", and "Turn It Up!") has again focused on a period when "change" and "new" were the watchwords for a whole generation. Five "stars" for both a book that comes close to the ideas of that time, and a bit of nostalgia on my part. Some people may see this book as an attempt to cash in on the "Summer of Love" nostalgia and/or interest by those who missed it--to each his own on that.
The format of the book uses one chapter for each month of 1967. The lengthy Prologue sets the scene beginning at the end of 1966 with a broad view of different scenes (music, the arts, etc.) and gives a good idea of what to expect in the rest of the book--both in the text and visually. Besides a running commentary of the period covered in each chapter, there's many quotes from a cross section of people who were there--Marty Balin, Paul Kantner, Ray Manzarek, Bill Walton, Mary Wilson, Pete Townshend, Lou Reed, Gary Duncan, Jerry Garcia, Steven Van Zandt, Alan G. Watts, David Ruffin, Roger McGuinn, Jac Holzman, Bill Ham, Timothy Leary, Chris Darrow, Carlos Santana, Marshall Chess--you get the idea--and if some of these names are new to you, you'll like this book even more. Kubernik conducted a very lengthy list of original interviews--pieces of which are all through the book. But the real killer here are the b&w and color visuals--photos, posters, flyers, ads, artwork, etc. Just look at the end papers for a blast of psychedelic printing reminiscent of that era.
Kubernik has wisely included side bars with topics like Tower Records, Hugh Hefner and Playboy Magazine, "The Beat Roots of the Summer of Love", and lesser known subjects like "Sundays Would Never Be The Same: Gary Pig Gold Drives Down His Summer of Love", and other subjects that tie in with '67. But I have to stress that it's the visuals that really make this book what it is. And taking nothing away from the many pertinent comments and observations of the many people included, along with music, 1967 was truly a visual year. The focus is primarily on S.F. and L.A., but also includes other regions (the South, New York City, London, etc.) that were swept up in all the hoopla of the "Summer of Love".
Also included is a Playlist that focuses on particular songs/artists (mostly well known but a few surprises), and a separate list of pertinent albums that any fan of the late '60s will know. There's a list of sources used (extensive) and an Index that might come in handy depending on how deeply you get into the book. This is a fairly heavy, good quality, well made book. The covers are thick and substantial, and as I previously said, the visuals will set you back with how nicely they're reproduced. The only irritant is that some of the lettering in many of the captions didn't print clearly. Whether it's an attempt to be "arty" or an actual printing error is open to debate.
If you've read the books listed above you have a good idea of this books style and format. The text is entertaining and sometimes informative--depending on how much you already know and/or if you were there back then. Kubernik has touched on many topics and put them in an easy to read style. And when you see the visuals alongside the text it's hard not to get sucked in. This book will bring back memories if you were there, or it will give a sharper, more cohesive and concise idea of those weird, mostly wonderful times if you missed 1967. But I have to say that nothing takes the place of being there when all this was happening--what a time. But this book is a good entry into 1967 and the "Summer of Love".
And if you're a deep fan of The Zombies and the album "Odessey and Oracle" (sic), check out the new book "The Odessey--The Zombies In Words and Pictures", just published. Plus, another cool book just published is "Psychedelia 101 Iconic Underground Rock Albums 1966-1970", by Richard Morton Jack. The book covers well known albums along with quite a few lesser known albums that are worth hearing, plus, the color printing of the album covers is very well done--crisp and as accurate to the original as possible. Then there's "Summer of Love: Art, Fashion, and Rock and Roll", which is actually a catalog of an exhibition in S.F. of the hippie era. One of the better books on the subjects in the book's title. Check them out.
I don’t object to picture books about pop music. I do object to false advertising. This book is not a “complete history” of anything. It includes bits and pieces of history but coverage is superficial. It doesn't offer the detail or depth to qualify as a serious or comprehensive history. Mostly, it’s a collection of pictures with discussions. It's like a hundred different short articles like you might find in pop music magazines. Fine, if that’s what you’re looking for. It’s not what I was looking for.
For an informative and highly enjoyable history about rock music of the 60's counterculture, I recommend “Summer of Love: The Inside Story of LSD, Rock & Roll, Free Love and High Times in the Wild West” by Joel Selvin. This is what I was looking for.