How many memories do you have of 1967’s Summer of Love?
PUBLISHED: 12:53 23 July 2017 | UPDATED: 13:56 23 July 2017
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From turbulent politics to psychedelic drugs, mellow music and hippies – The Summer of Love celebrates its 50th anniversary this year. Here are 25 key (and no doubt very groovy) moments that occurred during that long, hot summer to play homage to this iconic time.
1) The Beatles’ Sgt Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band is released
When this album was released in May 1967, it spent 27 weeks at the top spot and reportedly over 30 million copies have sold worldwide since then. It remains one of the best-selling studio albums in UK chart history. So it won’t come as a surprise that this album was back at number one last month during its anniversary year.
2) Jimi Hendrix at Panhandle Park
Guitar legend Jimi Hendrix performed a free concert in the Panhandle Park in San Francisco in June of 1967. Crowds journeyed from far and wide to listen to music, protest against the Vietnam War and take drugs.
3) The anthem of the Sumer of Love
Written by John Phillips of the group The Mamas & Papas, San Francisco (Be Sure to Wear Flowers in Your Hair), sung by Scott McKenzie, was an instant hit when it was released in May.
But by July, it had topped the charts and stayed put for four consecutive weeks.
Produced by Phillips and Lou Adler, this track became the unofficial anthem of the summer, which the pair used to help promote the Monterey International Pop Music Festival held in June of the same year.
4) The first pop festival is held in California
Described as one of the first festival’s of its kind, the iconic Monterey International Pop Festival was held over three days and included legendary bands such as The Animals, Moby Grape, Jefferson Airplane, Booker T and the MG’s, Big Brother and the Holding Company (with Janis Joplin). Simon and Garfunkel, Ravi Shankar, The Who, Otis Redding, the Grateful Dead, The Mamas and The Papas and Jimi Hendrix, among others.
5) Barbra Streisand performs in Central Park
It’s hard to believe that this American singer-actress is 75. But a key moment in her career occurred during 1967 when Barbra Streisand recorded her album, A Happening live in concert in Central Park, New York, for free in front of an audience of 135,000 people. It peaked at number 30 in the US charts and has sold over 500,000 copies.
6) Mick Jagger and Keith Richards in court
Some of us may remember when rock stars Mick Jagger and Keith Richards appeared at Chichester Court in June 1967. Jagger was charged with possession of amphetamines, whereas Richards was charged with allowing his house to be used for the smoking of cannabis resin.
However, by July 31, the London Appeal Court, quashed Keith Richards’ conviction and Jagger was given a conditional discharge.
7) Jimi Hendrix plays with The Monkees
In summer of 1967, The Jimi Hendrix Experience joined The Monkees for a number of their concerts, which was quite surprising at the time, given the artist’s completely different styles and sounds.
Hendrix joined the band on their first date in Jacksonville and continued to play with them for another six shows, but left the tour in July.
However, not long after Hendrix decided to leave, his tracks, Purple Haze and Are You Experienced went up in the charts.
8) A ‘Legalise Pot’ Rally held in London’s Hyde Park
Hippies gathered together in Hyde Park for a ‘Legalise Pot Rally’ held at Speakers’ Corner on Sunday, July 16. It included speakers at the time such as Allen Ginsberg, Alexis Korner and Clive Goodwin, among others.
9) Stunt man Evel Knievel
Legendary motorcycle stuntman Evel Knievel created a name for himself at this time for his mighty jumps and his remarkable recoveries.
In May 1976, Knievel successfully cleared sixteen cars in Gardena, California, but when he attempted the same jump on July 28, 1967, in Graham, Washington, he experienced a serious crash, unfortunately landing his cycle on the last vehicle. He was thrown from his bike and suffered a serious concussion.
But never one to let people down, he was back to his antics just a month later and returned to Graham on August 18 to finish the stunt.
10) Decriminalisation of homosexuality
Fifty years have passed since the decriminalisation of the homosexuality in the UK, a law which helped pave the way in gaining the equality that the LGBT community somewhat has today.
Back then, the law decriminalised homosexuality with the age of the consent set at 21, but it wasn’t until 94 that the age was reduced to 18. It was another six years before it was lowered to 16 in 2000.
11) In the Heat of the Night
In this intense detective thriller, based on John Ball’s 1965 novel of the same name, Virgil Tibbs, a black police detective from Philadelphia becomes involved in a murder investigation in the little town of Sparta, Mississippi during a hot summer.
The film was pretty controversial at the time with its non-white lead acting role played by Sidney Poitier and it couldn’t be filmed in the Deep South.
Nevertheless, it managed to be nominated for seven Academy Awards and won five in 1968.
12) Pink Floyd release The Piper at the Gates of Dawn
In August of the Summer of Love, rock band Pink Floyd released their debut studio album, The Piper at The Gates of Dawn, which was made under founding member Syd Barrett’s leadership.
The kaleidoscopic cover photo of the band was taken by Vic Singh and the release was timed with their US tour.
Since then, it has made it on to numerous charts for being iconic including Rolling Stone magazine’s list for being one of the greatest albums of all time.
13) T. Rex form in 1967
English rock band, T. Rex was formed in 1967 by singer-songwriter Marc Bolan. Initially known as Tyrannosaurus Rex, the band released four psychedelic folk albums using this name, but in 1968, the band changed its acoustic sound to an electric one when the band’s name was shortened the year after.
14) The Beatles’ All You Need Is Love goes to number one
After the success of Sgt Pepper, The Beatles were more popular than ever. They were even selected to represent the nation on a television broadcast.
All You Need Is Love spent three weeks at the top spot during the excitement of the Summer of Love.
15) Bonnie and Clyde released
This 1967 groundbreaking American crime film was directed by Arthur Penn and starred Warren Beatty and Faye Dunaway as Clyde Barrow and Bonnie Parker.
The film was controversial at the time because of its violent ending.
16) One Hundred Years of Solitude
In this landmark 1967 novel, Colombian author Gabriel Márquez tells the story of the Buendía family, as well as the rise and fall, birth and death of a mythical town of Macondo.
Since it was first published, the novel has been translated into 37 languages and has sold more than 30 million copies.
17) Race riots in Detroit
The events of the race riots in Detroit in 1967 saw a violent disturbance which broke out in early hours of Sunday, July 23.
It’s thought the trouble was sparked after a police raid of an unlicensed, after-hours bar, with the trouble lasting five days.
To end the disturbance, the Michigan Army National Guard was called and President Lyndon B Johnson also requested both the 82nd and 101st Airborne Divisions.
The riots resulted in 43 dead, 1,000 people injured and over 7,200 arrests, as well as more than 2,000 buildings destroyed.
18) Aretha Franklin releases R-E-S-P-E-C-T
Although 1967 saw widespread unrest during the race riots, soul queen Aretha Franklin released her much-loved album I Never Loved a Man the Way I Love You, which contained a cover of Otis Redding’s Respect.
However, Aretha transformed the song, giving it a feminist and civil rights edge. She also added the version R-E-S-P-E-C-T to the chorus, as well as the backup singers’ refrain “sock it to me”.
19) Ode to Billie Joe
Written and recorded by American singer-songwriter Bobbie Gentry, this 1967 track was an instant hit when it was released in July. It also went on to become a big international seller.
Bobbi penned the song for Billie Joe McAllister, who is said to have tragically jumped off a bridge.
20) You Only Live Twice
The fifth spy film in the James Bond series was released in 1967. Featuring Sean Connery as the fictional agent James Bond, the film’s screenplay was adapted and written by Roald Dahl, and loosely based on Ian Fleming’s 1964 novel of the same name.
The film features Bond who is dispatched to Japan after an American and Soviet manned spacecraft disappears in orbit.
21) Stevie Wonder’s I Was Made to Love Her
Soul musician Stevie Wonder released this hit single in 1967. The song was written by Stevie, his mother Lula Mae Hardaway, Sylvia Moy and producer Henry Cosby. The single peaked at number two on the Billboard Pop Singles chart in 1967, but was held off the top spot by Light My Fire by The Doors.
22) Van Morrison’s Brown Eyed Girl
Northern Irish singer and songwriter Van Morrison released Brown Eyed Girl in June 1967 on the Bang label. It peaked at number 10 on the Billboard Hot 100.
The track has since been covered by hundreds of bands since its release.
23) Belle De Jour
This 1967 French film, directed by Luis Buñuel starred Catherine Deneuve and was based on the 1928 novel of the same name, by Joseph Kessel. The film features a young woman who spends her afternoons as a prostitute while her husband is out at work. The original won the Golden Lion and the Pasinetti Award for Best Film at the Venice Film Festival in 1967.
24) Schaefer Music Festival
The first Schaefer Music Festival was held in 1967 in Central Park. The line-up consisted of Len Chandler, The Young Rascals and The Jimi Hendrix Experience. A number of notable performers took part in the festival each year, which ran until 1976.
25) The Doors banned from The Ed Sullivan show
Towards the end of the Summer of Love, The Doors appeared on The Ed Sullivan Show and performed Light My Fire where the line “girl we couldn’t get much higher” was reportedly requested to be changed, but Jim Morrison decided to perform it the original way, which resulted in The Doors being banned from the show.