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TY Lives in the Far North, Giving an occasional new perspective.

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It’s almost that time again. 49 Years Since Monterrey

Monterrey 49 Years After: apologies to Alvin Lee & Ten Years After.
Where were we then? Are we There yet? Where are we now?
The Original ‘Summer of Love’.

I had promised to post this once more. It paid $12.50. I learned much more doing the research than I’d be willing to pay in Cash.
I plan on doing a paper on the 27 Club. You’ll see what I mean.
Monterrey 49 Years After: Apologies to Alvin Lee & Ten Years After
Where were we then? Are we There yet? Where are we now?
AC Submitted (Summer 1967 was known as ‘The Summer of Love’. Flowers, hippies, psychedelic sounds. Now considered a tipping point in music culture as well as an awakening in youth culture this retrospective highlights some long forgotten landmarks. )
Summer 1967 was known as ‘The Summer of Love’. Flowers, hippies, psychedelic sounds. The Beatles Sgt Pepper was that summer. The Doors were becoming known outside of LA. It was just a weekend concert that few expected to mean much outside of the Bay Area and LA, let alone draw the talent that did actually perform. Now considered a tipping point in music culture as well as an awakening in youth culture this retrospective highlights some long forgotten landmarks.

June 16 – 17 – 18 1967
Monterrey International Pop Festival was the first of the free (free in that the artists played for free) public concerts with big name acts. The performers’ expenses were paid by the foundation. The Isle of Wight was in August 1968. 1969 was Woodstock, a whole different animal, but monumental partly because of the Monterrey results.
Lucky enough to have obtained a boxed set 10 years ago; the requisite amount of time was spent wading through the Friday thru Sunday sessions. What an education. If you lived through those times, you are familiar with the old saw ‘If you tell me you remember, you couldn’t have been there’. In this spirit the actual order of appearance is a little foggy in some cases, forgive.
The original program listed matinee seating from 3 to 5 dollars USD. The evening show admission was 3.50 to 6.50 USD. For a dollar admission to the grounds you could camp outside the main area . The organizers didn’t even prohibit these ‘poor folk’ from watching and listening. There was sanitation and food vendors on site along with security. By Sunday the Sheriff decided things were peaceful enough that he released most of the extra officers that had been brought in. Police departments from all around the Bay Area had contributed personnel.
Beforehand no one, not even the organizers, were sure how big and/or rowdy the crowd might be. The song ‘If You’re Goin’ To San Francisco’ sung by Scott McKenzie, written by John Phillips of The Mamas & Papas, was written due to McKenzie’s concerns that the urban unrest of the previous summers might infect the festival, therefore the suggestion ‘be sure to wear some flowers’.
The music of that weekend was a great mix of international musical styles, a mix unheard of today that would mark a cultural sea change, a transition from Top 40 AM ’45 singles’ to FM and album sales.
This was the beginning of the end for ‘Tin Pan Alley’ dominated music, that which was produced and distributed by producers and record companies using writing teams on contract, to eventually be replaced by artist – performer – band written songs and albums. These new artists would still need record companies, but the need for non-performing song writers was diminished, as someone eventually mentioned, ‘Jefferson Airplane’ didn’t need the ‘Lieber and Stoller’ stable of writers.
The detonation is still echoing through the ramparts and all along the watch tower. Where were we then? Where are we now?
Friday evening the opening act was The Association, a group hard to find even on Oldies Radio lately. To keep on with the mix, Lou Rawls was there, a great voice from the 60’s and to start the international flavoring, Eric Burdon and The Animals. Burdon later wrote a hit for himself, ‘Monterey’ based on his immersion in this weekend at the beginning of ‘The Summer of Love’. Other performers on that Friday evening were The Paupers and Johnny Rivers with the closing act, Simon & Garfunkel playing until 1:30 AM Saturday morning.
Saturday, the campers slowly woke to beautiful weather, green grass and that mellow atmosphere of ‘Peace, Love & Flowers’. Those who had opted for Hotel camping came back for the early show in the afternoon kicked off by Canned Heat, probably not used to performing that early. Saturday also was the nervous, self conscious beginning of a legend as a Bay Area Band called Big Brother & The Holding Company with their anglo female blues singer performed.
This may have been the first time Janis Joplin had been heard outside of the Bay Area, and as they say, ‘The Rest is History’. Among other cultural anomalies begun in that summer of love, Janis was singing with a style of Blues previously heard only from Hallmark Black Blues singers on the order of Bessie Smith and ‘Big Mama Thornton’. Janis stunned everyone who was unfamiliar with her style, greatly impressing other well known vocalists such as Mama Cass of the Mamas & Papas and Grace Slick of Airplane, Starship etc. Janis impressed enough people that Big Brother & The Holding Company did another set on Sunday.
More Bay Area music setup the afternoon with Country Joe and The Fish. Blues was the mode for the rest of the early set with Al Kooper, Paul Butterfield’s Blues Band, Quicksilver Messenger Service, The Steve Miller Band and Electric Flag. Electric Flag was not a well known band, but it was made up of some quite well known music legends, Mike Bloomfield, Buddy Miles, Harvey Brooks, Barry Goldberg and others. They finished off the early show. Many of these bands had heard of and/or worked with each other, Bloomfield had recently left Butterfield’s outfit. Throughout the weekend a type of competition would evolve.
Saturday evening had originally been scheduled to open with the Beach Boys, but they were forced to back out as Brian Wilson was facing possible draft evasion charges and didn’t want to chance public exposure. So the late set began with Moby Grape, an eclectic mixture of jazz, country and blues. The international flavor went into jazz mode as Hugh Masekela and his band from South Africa, featuring horns with a fantastic conga player known as Big Black, played some original numbers. The band is best known in the US for a pop hit, ‘Grazin’ in the Grass’.
The Byrds flew in, judging by Crosby’s infamous rap about the Kennedy Assassination multiple gunman theory, they may have been flying higher than most. The Byrds performance was slightly strained. The tensions between McGuinn and Crosby that eventually caused their split were evident. This split soon evolved into CS&N and later Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young.
For a change in tempo, writer performer Laura Nyro did a couple of her tunes, the jury is still out on that one. Flying even higher, Jefferson Airplane came onstage with the light show used at the Fillmore, a music venue in San Francisco. Much of their set had the band in shadow with the psychedelic light show behind them, dominating the visuals.
The closer for the night began with Booker T & The MG’s with the Mar-Keys doing some Blues. The Mar-Keys were the horn section for Booker T. Joining Booker T, who’s band was the house band for Stax Records was a top Stax artist, Otis Redding who gave one of the 4 greatest performances of the weekend. Finishing in a light rain, Otis Redding was the essence of ‘Always leave them wanting more’, and Saturday was over.
Talk about international, there was a new interest in Eastern Music, Religion and Philosophy in the late sixties with The Beatles and other celebrities dabbling in Transcendental Meditation. That being said, Sunday afternoon belonged to Ravi Shankar. For 3 hours, Master of the Sitar accompanied by Tabla And Tamboura entranced the crowd. He had worried that the afternoon sun would be bad for the handmade instruments, but it remained overcast until they were done. For a centuries old Sitar piece, he asked that there be no pictures or smoking. The crowd complied and returned a standing ovation lasting many minutes. Ravi Shankar was the only artist paid for performing. He had signed on before the producers decided to make it a free benefit.
Sunday Night The Blues Project opened. The schedule called for them to be followed The Impressions, but schedule changes brought in Big Brother & The Holding Company again, with Janis Joplin. Buffalo Springfield setup, but was still working without Neil Young who had left in a dispute with the groups’ managers. Stephen Stills had invited David Crosby to fill the spot and the new combination worked well for a very professional set.
The Who came up next having won the toss deciding whether they or Hendrix would play first. Neither wanted to follow the other. The Who’s frenetic destruction at the close of their set has become legendary and inspired Hendrix’s equally impressive show later that night. It would be hard to follow The Who, but The Grateful Dead of course pulled it off. Very few recordings of The Dead that night remain, a true tragedy. [Update 2016: it was found that Pennebaker required a release for an act to be part of the Video, or Audio recordings released. The Dead, being solidly Counter Culture, refused to sign. This also influenced the decision to have Joplin and Big Brother perform twice.]
Brian Jones of The Rolling Stones did not perform on this weekend, except in his role as an ‘Psychedelic Edwardian Peacock’, but it was on his suggestion that the next performer was invited to play and Jones did the introduction for The Jimi Hendrix Experience. This is historically billed as the Hendrix US Debut, but actually he was from Seattle having worked as a backup guitarist for many R&B and Soul acts. Having been ignored as a solo artist in the States he left for England in 1966, working there for most of a year, to return as a musician much respected by the British guitar greats in 67.
The last of the 4 greatest performances of the weekend was to follow: the other 3 being Janis Joplin’s ‘Ball& Chain’ on Saturday afternoon, The Who and Otis Redding, all of which are legends of Rock. Hendrix’s immortal set culminated in the burning and smashing of his Stratocaster after dazzling the crowd with unbelievable guitar playing and acclaimed covers of some of Bob Dylan’s best landmark compositions. Dylan was impressed enough with the Hendrix cover of ‘All Along The Watchtower’ that he adapted that arrangement for his own performances later.
The Closers for the Festival were The Mamas & Papas. Since John Phillips had been an organizer of the festival along with Lou Adler, and Michele Phillips was deeply involved during the operation, the band had virtually no rehearsal time for their performance, but pulled it off anyway. The group started with ‘California Dreaming’, in the words of Cass Elliot, ‘the song responsible for our great wealth’, and worked through a few of their hits and album cuts. The Mamas & Papas and The Monterey International Pop Festival finished with a cover of a Motown hit written by William “Mickey” Stevenson and Marvin Gaye, performed originally by Martha and the Vandellas. We’ve been ‘Dancin in The Streets’ ever since.
ARTISTS – INVITED (Not all Accepted) and some of their futures
Al Kooper
Association, The
Beach Boys – decided to be scarce, kept away by possible draft evasion charges against Brian Wilson
Beatles – Rumored, but had already decided against any more public performances.
Big Brother and The Holding Company – Janis Joplin died October 4, 1970, 27 Club*
Blues Project
Bob Dylan – invited, but was still recuperating from motorcycle accident at the time.
Booker T & The MG’s with the Mar-Keys
Buffalo Springfield
Butterfield Blues Band
Byrds, The
Canned Heat
Chuck Berry – wanted to be paid
Country Joe and The Fish
Dionne Warwick
Donovan Leitch – on the board but didn’t perform.
Electric Flag
Eric Burdon and The Animals
Grateful Dead – Ron “Pigpen” McKernan died March 3, 1973 Founding member of the Grateful Dead, 27 Club*
Hugh Masekela
Impressions, The
Jefferson Airplane
Jimi Hendrix – American Debut, died in 70 – Born 1942, 27 Club*
Johnny Rivers
Laura Nyro
Lou Rawls
Lovin’ Spoonful – decided to be scarce, kept away by drug charges
Mamas & Papas – as of this writing in 2007, Michele Phillips is the only survivor.
Moby Grape
Otis Redding – Was killed in an aircraft accident just before his first Number 1 hit, ‘Dock of the Bay’, was released.
Paupers, The
Quicksilver Messenger Service
Ravi Shankar
Rolling Stones – kept away by drug charges
Simon & Garfunkel
Smokey Robinson – Backed out, though he was on the board of the Foundation.
Steve Miller Band
Tiny Tim
Who, The – Keith Moon died in 1978, John Entwistle died in 2002
Interesting comparison.
Population of Monterey in 1967 26,000.
Estimated attendance over 3 days 200,000.
Non-performing attendees:
Brian Jones – died 3 July 1969, 27 Club*
Clive Davis – President Columbia Records
Goddard Lieberson – Chairman Columbia Records
Jerry Moss – The ‘M’ in A&M Records
Jerry Wexler – Atlantic Records
Mo Ostin – Warner Bros.
Tommy Smothers – Emcee, didn’t perform music.
*The 27 Club is comprised of artists who have died around age 27, quite often with mysterious overtones.
Where were we then?
Middle Class kids were still discovering the world from which they had been sheltered during the Eisenhower Years, a world that was creeping into the evening news, music, entertainment and everyday life for many.
Hard to believe, but LSD had not been declared illegal yet, or dangerous for that matter. It may have enhanced Jimi Hendrix’s guitar performance; still amazing to any avid guitar follower, without the wild side show.
How many were wasted on the way, just like those ‘Knights in White Satin’.
And so it begins.
The following are current web sites.
The 27 Club entries are from
Monterey International Pop Festival Foundation –
D. A. Pennebaker –…/…/film/the_monterey_pop_festival/

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