02 June 2017

The 60s, man. The 60s.

The 60s, man. The 60s.
O'Neil De Noux

It was never the best of times and often it was the worst of times. It was the time of assassinations - JFK, RFK, MLK, Medgar Evans, Malcom X, Sharon Tate, 60,000+ Americans dying in a little elbow of a country called Vietnam. And the guilt we veterans had for surviving and living into the next century. It was a time of anguish, of irreverence, of learning just how bad we could be led by bad politicians.

It was another decade in American History where we lost our innocence. Again.

It was a time to drop out of society. Just live. Just survive. Love and hope the man doesn't come for you, tap you on the shoulder with a telegram that began: Greetings. Your friends and neighbors have selected you for military service ... because you knew there was a rice paddy out there with your name on it. We lost so many.

As I grow older, decades seem to slip by. But not the 60s. Never the 60s.

Was their anything good? Yes. The music. Oh, the music. From Bob Dylan through the The Beatles and the rest of the British invasion and the home grown sounds of the Mamas and the Papas and Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young and The Beach Boys and Hendrix and The Doors and Joanie Mitchell and Joan Baez and Simon and Garfunkel and Ray Charles and Motown. Stevie Wonder, Marvin Gaye - man, oh, man. Jefferson Airplane.

Listen to the haunting voice of Grack Slick signing WHITE RABBIT. Turn the volume up first. Let her take you down the rabbit hole.
LINK: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dyMtIwobqbI

Grace Slick of Jefferson Airplane

How about that little irreverent number we knew by heart when I was in the army. LINK: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9HVACPv_KFw

   Country Joe and the Fish

And a parting shot of the song often called the anthem of the 60s. Check it out:


www. oneildenoux.com 


  1. Great post, O’Neil. The 60s were a difficult time in a lot of ways but, as you say, there is always – and still – the music! And today is the 50th anniversary of the US release of the Sgt. Pepper album to put an exclamation point on your post.

  2. Is there anyone from our generation who doesn't remember where he or she was when they heard the news of JFK's assassination? Or Bobby's or MLK? And the music reflected the turmoil. The Beatles appeared on Ed Sullivan less than three months after JFK was killed, and it gave us something more upbeat to look at.

    There were great strides, too. Civil Rights took center stage, too. A generation of kids (us, as a matter of fact) became more politically involved, and some of those lessons carried over.

    Yeah, Jefferson Airplane, Country Joe...The Grateful Dead and blues bands, too. I saw Muddy Waters open for Martha and the Vandellas in late '66 and bought my first guitar two months later. So much for the Monkees and Paul Revere & the Raiders...

  3. Isn't it strange how the music of one's late teens and early twenties is forever after THE MUSIC, at least the pop music.

  4. When I think back on the 60's I remember the music, of course, but also the passion: we got out there and protested, marched, danced, hiked, made music, made love, did everything we could get our hands on, and lived so much in the PRESENT, right then. I had a GREAT time, much of which I can even remember. I pity the young of today, hunched over the cell phones 24/7, distracted to the point that I'm not sure that they even know they're alive, and who probably won't remember that much of their youth, either - but I'd rather have my reasons for memory loss than theirs... (Can you tell that I'm getting old and cranky?)

  5. What wonderful memories. Grace Slick and "White Rabbit"?--I know every word in the lyrics. For some reason the summer of '67 stands out in my mind: "The Letter," "Light My Fire," "Little But o' Soul," "White Rabbit," "Ode to Billie Joe," "Thank the Lord for the Nighttime," "Windy," "San Francisco," "Soulfinger," etc., etc. Where'd I put that guitar . . . ?

    And Janice, you hit the nail on the head: the music of our late teens stays with us forever.

  6. I agree with every previous comment. Your column takes me back to a time of turmoil and yet in many ways, a time of joy. And yes, the music! When down, I play sixties music to lift my spirits. Thanks for refreshing the memories.

  7. O'Neil, congrats on your Shamus nomination!

  8. And then there were The Animals with "We Gotta Get Out of This Place" and The Rolling Stones with "Paint It Black."

    Like Rob said, congrats on your nomination with Hold Me Babe.

  9. Your post brings back a lot of memories, O'Neil. I especially remember going to visit a high-school friend at her house one day. As soon as she opened the door, she grabbed my arm, pulled me up to her room, put on a record, and said, "You've gotta hear this--I've never heard anything like it before." It was "The Sound of Silence."

    And yes, congratulations on the Shamus nomination!

  10. Somehow I managed to pass along my love of the music of my teenage years to my daughter. On her own, when she was a teenager herself (she's now 36) she went out & bought the Beatles white album, Jimi Hendrix & others from that era. When she went away to college she took *all* of my Otis Redding CDs & I was forced to replace them.

  11. Thanks for all the congratulations. So proud of that nomination.

    And y'all are right - the music stays with you. Added anecdote: as my children grew up, I always had an oldies station on the radio. They were tolerant until one group came on. They always said, "Turn that one up." Never failed. Slow song. Fast song. If it was by that group, they liked it. They grew up to love song from the Beatles, because, come on - it was the Beatles.

    After she grew up, my daughter called me one night. She'd just seen a movie I HAD TO SEE. It was ACROSS THE UNIVERSE. She was right.

  12. Smart lady, your daughter. Across the Universe is fantastic.

  13. Love White Rabbit, such fascinating lyrics. kind of the opposite of In a gadda da vida on that front.

  14. Sadness, happiness, anger, the anger…

    Congratulations, O'Neil!


  15. Oh yes, The Doors! Music is important...


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