I am putting together an “Index” of the top/most important/influential Hippie culture books, people and places.
Not ranked in any particular in order,here is what I have so far….
Be Here Now is one of the first guides, for those not born as Hindus, to becoming a yogi, by a person himself not born a Hindu. For its influence on theHippie movement and subsequent spiritual movements, it has been described as a “countercultural bible”. The book has, in addition to introducing its title phrase into common use, influenced numerous other writers and yoga practitioners, including Wayne Dyer and Michael Crichton among others.
The book was referred to in a study on daydreaming by Matthew Killingsworth, a doctoral candidate in psychology at Harvard University, which suggested that “[people] thinking about something other than what they’re doing […] doesn’t take them to a happy place”.
Jerry Garcia was an American musician best known for his lead guitar work, singing and songwriting with the band the Grateful Dead. Though he vehemently disavowed the role, Garcia was viewed by many as the leader or “spokesman” of the group.
One of its founders, Garcia performed with the Grateful Dead for their entire three-decade career (1965–1995). Garcia also founded and participated in a variety of side projects, including the Saunders-Garcia Band (with longtime friend Merl Saunders), Jerry Garcia Band, Old and in the Way, the Garcia/Grismanacoustic duo, Legion of Mary, and the New Riders of the Purple Sage (which Garcia co-founded with John Dawson and David Nelson). He also released several solo albums, and contributed to a number of albums by other artists over the years as a session musician. He was well known by many for his distinctive guitar playing and was ranked 13th in Rolling Stone’s “100 Greatest Guitarists of All Time” cover story.
Timothy Francis Leary (October 22, 1920 – May 31, 1996) was an influential American psychologist and writer, known in particular for advocating the therapeutic benefits of psychedelic drugs. A controversial figure during the 1960s and 1970s, he defended the use of the drug LSD for its therapeutic, emotional and spiritual benefits, and believed it showed potential in the field of psychiatry. Leary also popularized the phrases “Turn on, tune in, drop out” and “Set and setting“. Both proved to be influential on the 1960s counterculture. Due to his influence in this field, he was attacked by conservative figures in the United States, and described as “the most dangerous man in America” by President Richard Nixon.
The Diggers took their name from the original English Diggers (1649–50) who had promulgated a vision of society free from private property, and all forms of buying and selling. During the mid- and late 1960s, the San Francisco Diggers opened stores which simply gave away their stock; provided free food, medical care, transport and temporary housing; they also organized free music concerts and works of political art. Some of their happenings included the Death of Money Parade, Intersection Game, Invisible Circus, and Death of Hippie/Birth of Free.
The Farm was established after Ina May Gaskin and friends led a caravan of 60 buses, vans, and trucks on a speaking tour across the US. Along the way, they checked out various places that might be suitable for settlement before deciding on Tennessee. After buying 1,064 acres (4.1 km2) for $70 per acre, the Farm began building its community in the woods alongside the network of crude logging roads that followed its ridgelines. Another adjoining 750 acres (3.0 km2) for $100 per acre was purchased shortly thereafter.
From its founding through the 1970s, Farm members took vows of poverty and owned no personal possessions, though this restriction loosened as time passed. During that time, Farm members did not use artificial birth control, alcohol, tobacco, man-made psychotropics, or animal products.
Lacking any form of government, distribution of wealth and housing allocation often fell to Gaskin and the more ‘popular’ members of the Farm.
The Human Be-In focused the key ideas of the 1960s counterculture: personal empowerment, cultural and political decentralization, communal living, ecological awareness, higher consciousness (with the aid of psychedelic drugs), acceptance of illicit drug use, and radical liberal political consciousness. The hippie movement developed out of disaffected student communities around Stanford and Berkeley and in San Francisco’s beat generation poets and jazz hipsters, who also combined a search for intuitive spontaneity with a rejection of ‘middle-class morality.’ Allen Ginsberg personified the transition between the Beat and hippie generations.
The Human Be-In took its name from a chance remark by the artist Michael Bowen made at the Love Pageant Rally. The playful name combinedhumanist values with the scores of sit-ins that had been reforming college and university practices and eroding the last vestiges of entrenched segregation, starting with the Woolworth’s lunch counter sit-in of 1960 in Greensboro, North Carolina. The first major teach-in had been organized by Students for a Democratic Society at the University of Michigan, 24-25 March 1965.
The Haight Ashbury neighborhood became the center of the San Francisco Renaissance and with it, the rise of a drug culture and rock-and-roll lifestyle by the mid ’60s. College and high-school students began streaming into the Haight during the spring break of 1967. San Francisco’s government leaders, determined to stop the influx of young people once schools let out for the summer, brought additional attention to the scene, and an ongoing series of articles in local papers alerted the national media to the hippies’ growing numbers. By spring, Haight community leaders responded by forming the Council of the Summer of Love, giving the word-of-mouth event an official-sounding name.
The mainstream media’s coverage of hippie life in the Haight-Ashbury drew the attention of youth from all over America. Hunter S. Thompson labeled the district “Hashbury” in The New York Times Magazine, and the activities in the area were reported almost daily. During that year, the neighborhood’s fame reached its peak as it became the haven for a number of the top psychedelic rock performers and groups of the time. Acts like Jefferson Airplane, the Grateful Dead and Janis Joplin all lived a short distance from the intersection. They not only immortalized the scene in song, but also knew many within the community as friends and family
The Woodstock Fesitval of Music and Peace created an influx to the rural concert site in Bethel and a massive traffic jam. Fearing chaos as thousands began descending on the community, Bethel did not enforce its codes. Eventually, announcements on radio stations as far away as WNEW-FM in Manhattan and descriptions of the traffic jams on television news programs discouraged people from setting off to the festival. Arlo Guthrie made an announcement that was included in the film saying that the New York State Thruway was closed. The director of the Woodstock museum discussed below said this never occurred. To add to the problems and difficulty in dealing with the large crowds, recent rains had caused muddy roads and fields. The facilities were not equipped to provide sanitation or first aid for the number of people attending; hundreds of thousands found themselves in a struggle against bad weather, food shortages, and poor sanitation.
On the morning of Sunday, August 17, New York Governor Nelson Rockefeller called festival organizer John Roberts and told him he was thinking of ordering 10,000 New York State National Guard troops to the festival. Roberts was successful in persuading Rockefeller not to do this. Sullivan Countydeclared a state of emergency.
Living the Good Life: How to Live Simply and Sanely in a Troubled World was co-authored by Scott Nearing and his wife Helen. The book, in which war, famine, and poverty were discussed, described a nineteen-year “back to the land experiment”, and also advocated a modern day “homesteading”.
In the winter of 1956-57, Scott and Helen Nearing toured Canada, Southeast Asia, the Middle East, and Europe, generating a book about their experiences called Socialists Around the World. The following winter, with their passports issued in 1956 nearing expiration, Scott and Helen Nearing embarked upon a trip through the Soviet Union and the People’s Republic of China. They returned home to Maine to write a book of their experiences, entitled The Brave New World. The pair visited Leningrad, Moscow, Stalingrad, Baku, Taskent, and Irkutsk, touring schools and universities, apartment buildings in the process of construction, factories, and collective farms in the course of their trip.
Janis Lyn Joplin (January 19, 1943 – October 4, 1970) was an American singer, songwriter, painter, dancer and music arranger. She rose to prominence in the late 1960s as the lead singer of Big Brother and the Holding Company and later as a solo artist with her backing groups, The Kozmic Blues Band and The Full Tilt Boogie Band. At the height of her career she was known as The Queen of Rock and Roll as well as The Queen of Psychedelic Soul. Rolling Stone magazine ranked Joplin number 46 on its list of the 100 Greatest Artists of All Time in 2004, and number 28 on its 2008 list of 100 Greatest Singers of All Time.
Thoughts? Ideas? Omissions?
I’ll be doing lists for Activists and Squares as well…
Update: A reader has suggested including Arlo Guthrie’s “Alice’s Restaurant.” Also nominated… “Cheech and Chong.”