SUMMER OF LOVE PROCLAMATION-1967
“There are moments in time when a word or thought has such power it changes history; a generation so involved in the moment it becomes unstoppable; a spiritual awakening so profound that its very conception shatters perceptions, halts the world and makes people from all nations take notice.”
Love is in the air in San Francisco again, or perhaps it’s just the memory of a love long past.
The 50 year Golden Anniversary of the Summer of Love, the counterculture movement that transformed San Francisco’s international reputation, looms on the horizon.
This is Jimi (you know, Hendrix!) in the Panhandle area of Golden Gate Park. Playing for free in front of a sea of flower children.
By photographer Jim Marshall.
Marshall captured images of rock-’n’-roll greats like Jimi Hendrix and the Grateful Dead on San Francisco streets in 1967. But his collection also showcases everyday scenes in the Haight.
The city cops closed Haight Street so the Dead could play for us for free (of course!)
Looking at this photo, I can smell the eucalyptus-scented air, and feel the insistent caress of pure bliss. Ecstasy and joy.
It was uncanny. It was beautiful. It was real.
See these girls? Inspired and filled with hope. Can you tell?
I spent plenty of days in the park doing just what these lovely loving ladies are doing. I’d fill a basket and skip off to distribute my flower chains to tourists, policemen and friends. But then, everyone was a friend in that Time Of All Times. There were no strangers.
100,000 young people flocked to San Francisco that year, transforming the previously nondescript Haight-Ashbury neighborhood into the de facto counterculture capital of America.
Local filmmaker Peter Coyote calls it “a heady experience from which I have never recovered. Sitting down to dinner with 20 people, making music every night.”
Drugs were a sacrament. A nod and a smile to another flower-child on the street meant something you couldn’t put a name to.
It began with a simple four-letter word. LOVE! In the 1960s this word became synonymous with a generation and a city called San Francisco. It was a concept, a belief deep in the hearts of all who were there (and those who wished they were).
Small communities of like-minded individuals and their “families” of communal creativity focused on poetry, art, folk music, jazz, and rock ’n roll, demanding to be free of societal restrictions, restraints and hang-ups.The message was clear – the world was uniting behind one principle and one thought. LOVE! and its affirmation of PEACE, COMPASSION and UNDERSTANDING.
The word was brought forth by musicians such as Arlo Guthrie, Peter Paul & Mary, Donovan, Bob Dylan, Joan Baez, Janis Joplin, The Grateful Dead, and Jefferson Airplane and many many more. It was carried on by English musicians like Eric Clapton, The Beatles, and The Rolling Stones. The list is too long to attempt here.
Oh, but I have to add more, can’t help it. The Byrds, Cream, The Youngbloods, The Lovin’ Spoonful, Procol Harum, The Moody Blues, Van Morrison, The Chambers Brothers, Traffic, Scott McKenzie, The Mamas and The Papas, The Turtles. These are just a sampling. These were our prophets.
The international community was in awe of the explosion of creativity. All this started with that simple word, that simple thought: LOVE! And, a generation of freethinking people who were willing to stand up and be counted while proudly proclaiming their willingness to be different.
This period of change was commemorated by celebrating the SUMMER OF LOVE.
It Stood For:
• Our right to refuse to fight without judging those who did.
•Creativity, love and respect for all things. Our right to make a difference.
•Our right to think independently. Our willingness to share with others.
For me and I’d not hesitate to say for everyone in Haight Ashbury that summer, this was
I’ll be keeping track of the upcoming celebration plans. Not sure that I will go. I am afraid it could break my heart. Some things there are that cannot be duplicated. Honored, yeah, but not recreated. I gave it my best shot by writing my book, Under A Tie Dye Sky. You know, available at amazon.com and The Country Bookshelf on Main Street. This is a perfect time to visit my story, enter into the pages, time travel. I’ll take you there. Promise!
Maybe this last picture does the best job of transporting me personally “home” to The Time Of All Times. Yes, I do believe this is the one.