Saturday, July 9, 2011

This is 1966....

"History teaches everything including the future." - Lamartine

Who we are now has a lot to do with who we were. This is the second part of a look... an inventory, of the center of what some scholars are calling the "Long Sixties" - the period of 1955 to 1975 in which the cultural revolution of "the sixties" played out.

January 3, 1966. The first Acid Test is conducted at the Fillmore, San Francisco, when tubs of regular and high test Kool Aid are set out for the masses. Also in January, Robert C. Weaver becomes the first African American Cabinet member, by being appointed United States Secretary of Housing and Urban Development. A B-52 bomber collides with a KC-135 Stratotanker over Spain and drops three 70-kiloton hydrogen bombs near the town of Palomares, and one more into the sea. Ooops. Young singer David Jones changes his last name to Bowie to avoid being confused with Davy Jones of the Monkees. Carl Brashear, the first African American United States Navy diver, is involved in an accident during the recovery of a lost H-bomb which results in the amputation of his leg; Brashear would later be portrayed by Cuba Gooding, Jr. in the film Men Of Honor (2000). January 1966 also saw Indira Gandhi elected Prime Minister of India and Simon & Garfunkel release "Sounds of Silence," which hit #1 on Billboard charts. Albums released in January 1966 include Them Again by Them, Ballads of the Green Berets by Staff Sgt. Barry Sadler, Just Like Us by Paul Revere & the Raiders and Jealous Heart by Connie Francis.

In February 1966, West Germany welcomes some 2,600 political prisoners from East Germany. The unmanned Soviet Luna 9 spacecraft makes the first controlled rocket-assisted landing on the Moon. The National Hockey League expands to twelve teams. A military coup in Syria replaces the previous government with a Ba'athist regime. The Australian dollar is introduced at a rate of 2 dollars per pound, or 10 shillings per dollar. On 19 February, Jefferson Airplane and Big Brother and the Holding Company with Janis Joplin perform at the Fillmore auditorium in San Francisco (LSD-25 is still legal at this time). In February 1966 Wayne Shorter releases Adam's Apple; Boom by The Sonics; The Best of The Animals on MGM; Boots by Nancy Sinatra; She's Just My Style by Gary Lewis & the Playboys; The Sonny Side of Cher; Take a Ride by Mitch Ryder & the Detroit Wheels.

In March 1966, the Soviet space probe Venera 3  crashes on Venus, becoming the first spacecraft to land on another planet's surface.  The Ba'ath Party takes power in Syria.  In an interview with London Evening Standard reporter Maureen Cleave, John Lennon of The Beatles states that they are "more popular than Jesus now."  The U.S. announces it will substantially increase the number of its troops in Vietnam.  An Irish Republican Army bomb destroys Nelson's Pillar in Dublin.  The Texas Western Miners defeat the Kentucky  Wildcats with 5 African-American starters, ushering in desegregation in athletic recruiting. The Labour Party under Harold Wilson wins the British General Election, gaining a 96-seat majority (a great improvement upon the five-seat majority gained at the election 17 months earlier).  The Soviet Union launches Luna 10, which later becomes the first space probe to enter orbit around the Moon.  On March 3rd, Neil Young, Stephen Stills and Richie Furay form Buffalo Springfield in Los Angeles, California. The Young Rascals, Gordon Lightfoot, the Mamas and the Papas and The Fugs all release their debut LPs; the Rolling Stones release their pre-psychedelic "greatest hits" collection, Big Hits (High Tide and Green Grass); Barbra Streisand releases Color Me Barbra; Chet Atkins Picks on the Beatles and Phil Ochs in Concert are released.

In April 1966, Lyndon Johnson signs the 1966 Uniform Time Act, introducing daylight saving time. Bobbi Gibb becomes the first woman to run the Boston Marathon.  On April 21st, an artificial heart is installed in the chest of Marcel DeRudder in a Houston, Texas hospital.  On April 24, 1966, uniform daylight saving time is first observed in most parts of North America.  U.S. troops in Vietnam total 250,000. In San Francisco, the Church of Satan is formed by Anton Szandor LaVey. Haile Selassie visits Jamaica for the first time, meeting with Rastafarian leaders.  In April, 1966, Herb Alpert & the Tijuana Brass set a world record by placing five albums simultaneously on Billboard's Pop Album Chart, with four of them the Top 10. Their music outsells The Beatles by a margin of two-to-one... over 13 million recordings.  On April 12th, Jan Berry, of Jan and Dean, crashes his Corvette into a truck that is parked on Whittier Boulevard in LA. Berry suffers total physical paralysis for over a year as well as extensive brain damage.  The bands Love and The Seeds release debut albums.  The Rolling Stones release their strongest LP to date, Aftermath.

On this one day, May 16, 1966, the Communist Party of China issues the 'May 16 Notice', marking the beginning of the Cultural Revolution, and the albums Pet Sounds by The Beach Boys and Bob Dylan's  Blonde on Blonde are released (Dylan's "official" release date; the actual release was delayed until late June).  And in New York City, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. makes his first public speech on the Vietnam War.  Also release in May 1966, Up-Tight (Stevie Wonder); Midnight Ride (Paul Revere & the Raiders); Small Faces (Small Faces); Black Monk Time (The Monks); Strangers in the Night (Frank Sinatra).  On May 17th, Bob Dylan and the Hawks (later The Band) perform at the Free Trade Hall, Manchester, England. Dylan is booed by the audience because of his decision to tour with an electric band, the boos culminating in the famous "Judas" shout.

In June, the final new episode of The Dick Van Dyke Show airs (the first episode aired on October 3, 1961).  Civil rights activist James Meredith is shot while trying to march across Mississippi. Topeka, Kansas is devastated by a tornado that registers as an "F5" on the Fujita Scale, the first to exceed US $100 million in damages. On June 13th, the Supreme Court of the United States delivers its ruling in the case Miranda v. Arizona and establishes the rule that the police must inform suspects of their rights before questioning them.  Also in June of 1966, the National Organization for Women (NOW) is founded in Washington, DC.  Released in June 1966, Paradise, Hawaiian Style (Elvis Presley); Gettin' Ready (The Temptations); Yesterday and Today (The Beatles, featuring the infamous "Butcher" cover art); Animalisms (The Animals UK); Animalization (The Animals US); The Impossible Dream (Jack Jones); The Incredible String Band's debut LP; and, on June 27th, the first two "double LPs" in rock music history: Blonde on Blonde (Bob Dylan) and Freak Out! (The Mothers of Invention).

1966 is only half over.

In July 1966, President Johnson signs the Freedom of Information Act, which goes into effect the following year. Richard Speck murders 8 student nurses in their Chicago dormitory. He is arrested on July 17. Also in July, groundbreaking takes place for the World Trade Center; Martin Luther King Jr. leads a civil rights march in Chicago, during which he is struck by a rock thrown from an angry white mob; Caesars Palace hotel and casino opens in Las Vegas; the Beatles release the legendary Revolver album in the UK;  race riots occur in Lansing, Michigan. In the People's Republic of China, Mao Zedong begins the Cultural Revolution to purge and reorganize China's Communist Party.  Syrian and Israeli troops clash over Lake Kinneret (also known as the Sea of Galilee) for 3 hours.  In July of 1966, the Beatles become the first musical group to perform at the Nippon Budokan Hall in Tokyo and Bob Dylan has his motorcycle accident in Woodstock, NY.  Albums by The Byrds (Fifth Dimension), John Mayall (Blues Breakers with Eric Clapton), The Association (And Then... Along Comes the Association) and Beau Brummels '66 are released.

On August 16th, the House Un-American Activities Committee starts investigating Americans who have aided the Viet Cong, with the intent to make these activities illegal. Anti-war demonstrators disrupt the meeting and 50 are arrested.  On August 17th, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Republic begin negotiations in Kuwait to end the war in Yemen. On August 24th, the Doors record their self-titled debut LP.  On August 29th, the Beatles end their US tour and their concert career with a performance at Candlestick Park in San Francisco, California. Sniper Charles Whitman kills 13 people and wounds 31 from atop the University of Texas at Austin Main Building tower, after earlier killing his wife and mother.  In August, the Beatles Revolver (in the US), The Paul Butterfield Blues Band's East-West and James Brown's It's a Man's Man's Man's World all see their original release.

On the first day of September, 1966, while waiting at a bus stop, Ralph Baer an inventor with Sanders Associates, writes a four-page document which lays out the basic principles for creating a video game to be played on a television.  On September 8th, Star Trek, the classic science fiction television series, debuts on NBC-TV.  The first episode of The Monkees is broadcast on NBC on September 12th. On September 14th, George Harrison travels to India for 6 weeks to study sitar with Ravi Shankar.  Debut LPs by The Monkees and Jefferson Airplane (Takes Off) are released days apart. Also in September, British folk guitarist, Bert Jansch, (Jack Orion) and Donovan (Sunshine Superman) release new LPs.

In October 1966, Bobby Seale and Huey P. Newton found the Black Panther Party.  Toyota Motors introduces the Toyota Corolla. An experimental reactor at the Enrico Fermi Nuclear Generating Station suffered a partial meltdown when its cooling system failed.  The Soviet Union declares that all Chinese students must leave the country before the end of October.  The Baltimore Orioles defeat the Los Angeles Dodgers in Game 4 of the World Series, 1–0, to sweep the series for their 1st World Championship. President Johnson signs a bill creating the United States Department of Transportation.  The AFL-NFL merger is approved by the U.S. Congress. Grace Slick performs live for the first time with the Jefferson Airplane.  Simon & Garfunkel release Parsley, Sage, Rosemary and Thyme, The Kinks release Face to Face, and in New York City on October 8, 1966, WOR-FM becomes the first FM rock music station, under the leadership of DJ Murray The K.

In November, 1966, former Massachusetts Attorney General Edward Brooke becomes the first African American elected to the United States Senate since Reconstruction.  The actor, Ronald Reagan, is elected Governor of California.  On November 9th, John Lennon meets Yoko Ono at the Indica Gallery.  On November 24th, the Beatles begin recording sessions for their Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band album.  Charley Pride is signed by RCA, and the Centre d'Etudes de Mathématique et Automatique Musicales (Centre for Automatic and Mathematical Music) is founded in Paris by Iannis Xenakis. The Psychedelic Sounds of the 13th Floor Elevators, one of three albums released that November to use the word "psychedelic" to refer to the sounds within, is released (the other LPs were The Blues Magoos' Psychedelic Lollipop, and The Deep's Psychedelic Moods).

In December of 1966, Walt Disney dies while producing The Jungle Book, the last animated feature under his personal supervision. The first Kwanzaa is celebrated by Maulana Karenga, founder of Organization US (a black nationalist group) and later chair of Black Studies, at California State University, Long Beach.  Among the LPs released in December 1966 were debuts by Buffalo Springfield, Cream (Fresh Cream) and Tim Buckley.

The Top 40 songs of 1966 were:  "The Ballad Of The Green Berets" Sgt. Barry Sadler. "Cherish" The Association; "(You're My) Soul And Inspiration" Righteous Brothers; "Reach Out I'll Be There" Four Tops; "96 Tears" ? & The Mysterians; "Last Train To Clarksville" Monkees; "Monday Monday" Mamas and Papas; "You Can't Hurry Love" Supremes; "Poor Side Of Town" Johnny Rivers; "California Dreamin'" Mamas and Papas; "Summer In The City" Lovin' Spoonful; "Born Free" Roger Williams; "These Boots Are Made For Walkin'" Nancy Sinatra; "What Becomes Of The Brokenhearted" Jimmy Ruffin; "Strangers In The Night" Frank Sinatra; "We Can Work It Out" Beatles; "Good Lovin'" Young Rascals; "Winchester Cathedral" New Vaudeville Band; "Hanky Panky" Tommy James & The Shondells; "When A Man Loves A Woman" Percy Sledge; "Paint It Black" Rolling Stones; "My Love" Petula Clark; "Lightin' Strikes" Lou Christie; "Wild Thing" Troggs; "Kicks" Paul Revere & The Raiders; "Sunshine Superman" Donovan; "Sunny" Bobby Hebb;  "Paperback Writer" Beatles; "See You In September" Happenings; "You Keep Me Hangin' On" Supremes;  "Lil' Red Riding Hood" Sam The Sham & The Pharaohs; "Devil With A Blue Dress On & Good Golly Miss Molly (Medley)" Mitch Ryder & The Detroit Wheels; "Good Vibrations" Beach Boys; "A Groovy Kind Of Love" Mindbenders; "You Don't Have To Say You Love Me" Dusty Springfield; "Born A Woman" Sandy Posey; "Cool Jerk" The Capitols; "Red Rubber Ball" Cyrkle; "B-A-B-Y" Carla Thomas; "Walk Away Renee" Left Banke.

Bands that first formed in 1966 include Buffalo Springfield, Cream, Eric Burdon & the Animals, The Jimi Hendrix Experience, and The Monkees.

In film, a list of the six films that grossed over $10 million dollars gives an insight into how wonderfully varied the media was at the time.

1. Hawaii (Julie Andrews and Max von Sydow) $15,553,000
2. The Bible: In the Beginning (Michael Parks, Richard Harris, Ava Gardner) $15,000,000
3. Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? (Elizabeth Taylor, Richard Burton) $14,500,000
4. The Sand Pebbles (Steve McQueen and Candice Bergen) $13,500,000
5. A Man For All Seasons (Paul Scofield, Wendy Hiller, and Robert Shaw) $12,750,000
6. The Russians are Coming, the Russians are Coming! (Alan Arkin and Carl Reiner) $10,164,000

1966 also saw the release of: Blowup, directed by Michelangelo Antonioni; Fahrenheit 451, directed by François Truffaut; Masculine-Feminine, directed by Jean-Luc Godard; Torn Curtain, directed by Alfred Hitchcock; The King of Hearts; Our Man Flint; The Wild Angels.  1966 saw the film debuts of Michael Douglas, Harrison Ford and Christopher Walken.

On TV... The Academy Awards air in color for the first time, on ABC.In a post-fight interview, Howard Cosell honors Muhammad Ali's wishes to no longer be referred to as Cassius Clay, contrasting with the approach of most other sports reporters of the time. Patrick McGoohan quits the popular spy series Danger Man (aired in the US as Secret Agent) after filming only two episodes of the fourth season, in order to produce and star in The Prisoner, which begins filming in September.  The 1951–1953 CBS sitcom Amos & Andy is pulled from syndication broadcast due to complaints from civil rights organizations.  New series of 1966 include Batman, The Green Hornet, The Girl From U.N.C.L.E., Star Trek, Dark Shadows, The Newlywed Game, The Monkees, Mission Impossible, The Hollywood Squares and The 700 Club.

In 1966 Cindy Crawford, Rachel Dratch, Edie Brickell, Greg Maddux, Stephen Baldwin, J. J. Abrams, John Cusack, Sinéad O'Connor, and Mike Tyson are born.

Buster Keaton, Hedda Hopper, Sophie Tucker, Maxfield Parrish, William Frawley, Bobby Fuller, Montgomery Clift, Bud Powell, and Lenny Bruce died.

In or about this year, one person returning to Haiti from the Congo is thought to have first brought HIV to the Americas.

Sunday, July 3, 2011

This is 1965....

"If you would understand anything, observe its beginning and its development." - Aristotle

The years 1965 and 1966 represent a sort of peak in popular music, bound up in a kind of homogeneity that would never happen again; shattered by a gradual crawl toward fragmentization and the compartmentalization that defines contemporary popular culture. It is also across these two years that pop begins to morph into rock and lose it's status as ephemeral teenage fascination. As the performers in the post-British Invasion second age of rock and roll travel through their twenties, they begin to take more and more control of the processes that had traditionally been the realm of the "suits" who packaged and marketed the music. In 1965, pop performers are all still well ensconced in "the show business", but the signs are there of something larger lying just ahead.

The fans, too, are growing up, leaving high schools and heading to universities, and in never-before seen numbers. The "baby boom" that was wearing Beatle wigs and screaming at the Ed Sullivan Show just a year ago is now becoming politicized by the perfect storm of the draft and Vietnam, and using the added gravitas of the civil rights and anti war movements to become conscious of itself as a generation in a manner that rarely happens. These things would all reach a boil in the period of 1967-1969, but the seeds of it all are present in the period of 1965-1966.

Sometimes my head gets stuffy with facts.  Names, dates and places all jumble together and I occasionally need to stop and gain a better purchase on what things correspond to what things, and what other things are years apart.

As 1965 begins, LBJ, who will be sworn in for his own full term as President on January 20th, first uses the phrase "The Great Society" in his State of the Union address on the 4th. On January 24th, as if ringing a large bell to announce the start of a new era, Sir Winston Churchill dies as "Downtown" hits #1 and makes Petula Clark the first British female performer to top the charts since the arrival of The Beatles. In February, The Rolling Stones Now! and John Coltrane's A Love Supreme are released, and Malcolm X is assassinated in Manhattan.

In March, civil rights demonstrators clash with state troopers in Selma Alabama while some 3,500 US Marines become the first American combat troops in Vietnam. A Russian cosmonaut becomes the first person to ever walk in space while the bill that will become the Voting Rights act of 1965 is introduced to Congress. Also in March, the Temptations have their first hit, "My Girl" while the Supremes have their fourth number one single, "Stop! In The Name Of Love" and Mick Jagger, Keith Richards, and Bill Wyman are fined five pounds for urinating on the wall of a London gas station. Albums released in March 1965 include Kinda Kinks, The Beach Boys Today!, Buck Owens' I've Got a Tiger by the Tail, Elvis Presley's Girl Happy and Bob Dylan's Bringing It All Back Home.

In April, the US launches the world's first space nuclear power reactor. The Houston Astrodome opens. The 100th anniversary of the end of the American Civil War is observed. My Fair Lady wins 8 Academy Awards, Mary Poppins wins 5. Richard Hickock and Perry Smith, convicted of murdering 4 members of the Herbert Clutter family of Holcomb, Kansas, are executed by hanging at the Kansas State Penitentiary for Men. The West German parliament extends the statute of limitations on Nazi war crimes. The first SDS march against the Vietnam War draws 25,000 protesters to Washington, DC. Among the albums released are My Funny Valentine by Miles Davis and Whipped Cream & Other Delights by Herb Alpert and the Tijuana Brass. The New Musical Express poll winners' concert takes place featuring performances by The Beatles, The Animals, The Rolling Stones, Freddie and the Dreamers, the Kinks, the Searchers, Herman's Hermits, The Anita Kerr Singers, The Moody Blues, Wayne Fontana and the Mindbenders, Donovan, Them, Cilla Black, Dusty Springfield and Tom Jones.

In May 1965, forty men burn their draft cards at the University of California, Berkeley, and a coffin is marched to the Berkeley Draft Board. The largest teach-in to date begins at Berkeley, California, attended by 30,000. The first skateboard championship is held. Muhammad Ali knocks out Sonny Liston in the first round of their championship rematch. Alan Price leaves The Animals. Keith Richards and Mick Jagger begin work on "Satisfaction" in their Clearwater, Florida hotel room (Richards came up with the classic guitar riff while playing around with his brand new Gibson "Fuzz box"). Bob Dylan performs the first of two concerts at London's Royal Albert Hall, concluding his tour of Europe. Audience members include The Beatles, and Donovan. Albums released include What's Bin Did and What's Bin Hid by Donovan, Maiden Voyage by Herbie Hancock and My Name Is Barbra by Barbra Streisand.

In June 1965 the first contingent of Australian combat troops arrives in South Vietnam. Gemini 4 astronaut Edward Higgins White makes the first U.S. space walk. In the Battle of Dong Xoai, about 1,500 Vietcong mount a mortar attack, overrunning the military headquarters and the adjoining militia compound. A planned anti-war protest at the Pentagon becomes a teach-in, with demonstrators distributing 50,000 leaflets in and around the building. In Algeria, Houari Boumédienne's Revolutionary Council ousts Ahmed Ben Bella, in a bloodless coup. Producer Tom Wilson records a heavy backing band onto the song "The Sounds of Silence", without the knowledge of Paul Simon. The Supremes have their fifth consecutive number one single,"Back In My Arms Again." The Beatles are made Members of the British Empire (MBE) by the Queen. The albums The Angry Young Them, Beatles VI and Mr. Tambourine Man by The Byrds are released.

And we're half way through 1965.

Turn on the radio and pop music is one loud contradictory swirl of sound rushing out of every AM car radio and hand-held transistor, all playing the same sounds day in day out. The Billboard Top 40 songs of 1965 include "Wooly Bully" Sam The Sham and The Pharaohs; "I Can't Help Myself (Sugar Pie, Honey Bunch)" Four Tops; "(I Can't Get No) Satisfaction" The Rolling Stones; "You Were On My Mind" We Five; "You've Lost That Lovin' Feelin'" Righteous Brothers;  "Downtown" Petula Clark; "Help!" The Beatles; "Can't You Hear My Heartbeat" Herman's Hermits; "Crying in the Chapel" Elvis Presley; "My Girl" Temptations; "Help Me, Rhonda" Beach Boys; "King of the Road" Roger Miller; "The Birds And The Bees" Jewel Aikens; "Hold Me, Thrill Me, Kiss Me" Mel Carter; "Shotgun" Jr. Walker and The All Stars; "I Got You Babe" Sonny and Cher; "This Diamond Ring" Gary Lewis and The Playboys; "The "In" Crowd" Ramsey Lewis Trio; "Mrs. Brown You've Got a Lovely Daughter" Herman's Hermits; "Stop! In The Name Of Love" Supremes; "Unchained Melody" Righteous Brothers; "Silhouettes" Herman's Hermits' "I'll Never Find Another You" Seekers' "Cara Mia" Jay and The Americans; "Mr. Tambourine Man" Byrds; "Cast Your Fate To The Wind" Sounds Orchestral; "Yes I'm Ready" Barbara Mason; "What's New Pussycat?" Tom Jones; "Eve of Destruction" Barry McGuire; "Hang On Sloopy" McCoys; "Ticket To Ride" The Beatles; "Red Roses For A Blue Lady" Bert Kaempfert and His Orch.; "Papa's Got A Brand New Bag" James Brown and The Famous Flames; "Game Of Love" Wayne Fontana and The Mindbenders; "The Name Game" Shirley Ellis; "I Know a Place" Petula Clark; "Back In My Arms Again" Supremes; "Jolly Green Giant" Kingsmen; :Hush, Hush, Sweet Charlotte" Patti Page; "Like a Rolling Stone" Bob Dylan.

In July 1965 the spacecraft Mariner 4 flies by Mars, becoming the first spacecraft to return images from the Red Planet. Edward Heath becomes Leader of the British Conservative Party. President Johnson announces his order to increase the number of troops in South Vietnam from 75,000 to 125,000, and to more than double the number of men drafted per month - from 17,000 to 35,000. Later in July the President signed the Social Security Act of 1965 into law, establishing Medicare and Medicaid. On July 25, Bob Dylan plays Newport Folk Festival, is booed for playing electric set with The Paul Butterfield Blues Band. Joan Baez and Donovan also play sets. In July, the albums For Your Love by The Yardbirds, Summer Days (and Summer Nights) by The Beach Boys and Out of Our Heads by The Rolling Stones are released.

In August, cigarette advertising is banned on British television. President Johnson signs the Voting Rights Act of 1965 into law. The Watts Riots begin in Los Angeles California. The Jefferson Airplane debuts at the Matrix in San Francisco, California and begins to appear there regularly. The Beatles perform the first stadium concert in the history of rock, playing at Shea Stadium in New York. Casey Stengel announces his retirement after 55 years in baseball. At the Auschwitz trial in Frankfurt, 66 ex-SS personnel receive life sentences, 15 others smaller ones. The Beatles visit Elvis Presley at his home in Bel-Air. It is the only time the band and the singer meet. The Small Faces release "Whatcha Gonna Do About It", their first single. The Beatles release the soundtrack to their second movie Help! The Paul Simon Song Book, a solo LP by Paul Simon, is released in the UK (but not in the US). Bob Dylan releases Highway 61 Revisited, the second LP in his 1965-66 "trilogy."

In September 1965 Pakistani troops enter the Indian sector of Kashmir, while Indian troops try to invade Lahore. Islamic Republic Of Pakistan observes its Defence day. Hurricane Betsy roars ashore near New Orleans, Louisiana with winds of 145 MPH, causing 76 deaths and $1.42 billion in damage. The Tom & Jerry cartoon series makes its world broadcast premiere on CBS. Sandy Koufax pitches a perfect game against the Chicago Cubs. Donovan appears on Shindig! in the U.S. and plays Buffy Sainte-Marie's "Universal Soldier". The Animals release Animal Tracks and Otis Redding releases Otis Blue.

In October 1965 John Coltrane releases Om, the Paul Butterfield Blues Band's first album is released, Donovan releases Fairytale, and Frank Sinatra releases September of My Years. Jimi Hendrix signs a three year recording contract with Ed Chaplin, receiving $1 and 1% royalty on records with Curtis Knight (an agreement that later causes continuous litigation problems with Hendrix and other record labels). The Animals make their fourth appearance on The Ed Sullivan Show. Fidel Castro announces that Che Guevara has resigned and left the country. Anti-war protests draw 100,000 in 80 U.S. cities and around the world. In Washington, DC, a pro-Vietnam War march draws 25,000. The University of California, Irvine opens its doors.

November 1965: Republican John Lindsay is elected mayor of New York City. Pillsbury's world-famous mascot, the Pillsbury Doughboy, is created. Man of La Mancha opens in a Greenwich Village theatre in New York and eventually becomes one of the greatest musical hits of all time. Bob Dylan weds Sara Lowndes. The Pentagon tells U.S. President Lyndon B. Johnson that if planned major sweep operations to neutralize Viet Cong forces during the next year are to succeed, the number of American troops in Vietnam will have to be increased from 120,000 to 400,000. The Supremes have their sixth number one record, "I Hear A Symphony", for Motown Records. Arlo Guthrie is arrested in Great Barrington, Massachusetts for the crime of littering, perpetrated the day before Thanksgiving in the nearby town of Stockbridge. The resultant events and adventure would be immortalized in the song "Alice's Restaurant". Among the albums released in November are Having a Rave Up with The Yardbirds, The Kink Kontroversy, Do You Believe in Magic (The Lovin' Spoonful), E.S.P. (Miles Davis), Farewell Angelina (Joan Baez) and Going To a Go-Go (Smokey Robinson & the Miracles).

December 1965: The Who release My Generation, The Beatles release Rubber Soul, The Byrds release Turn! Turn! Turn! and The Rolling Stones release December's Children (And Everybody's). The Beatles also release their double A-sided single "Day Tripper / We Can Work It Out." Meanwhile, Charles de Gaulle is re-elected as French president and Ferdinand Marcos becomes President of the Philippines. A Charlie Brown Christmas, the first Peanuts television special, debuts on CBS. The Soviet Union announces that it has shipped rockets to North Vietnam. David Lean's film, Doctor Zhivago, is released.

Some of the bands that formed for the first time in 1965 include: The Doors, Grateful Dead, Jefferson Airplane, Los Jairas, Velvet Underground, and Pink Floyd.

Among the other records released in 1965 were: At The Golden Circle Vol. 1 & 2 by Ornette Coleman. Bleeker & MacDougal by Fred Neil. Catch Us if You Can by The Dave Clark Five. Celebrations For a Grey Day by Richard Farina and Mimi Farina. Country Willie: His Own Songs by Willie Nelson. Creation by John Coltrane. The Fugs First AlbumThe Heliocentric Worlds of Sun Ra, Volume 1 & 2. Hoodoo Man Blues by Junior Wells. I Ain't Marching Anymore by Phil Ochs. Jackson C. Frank. Live at the Regal by B. B. King. Odetta Sings Dylan. Skip James Today! The Transfiguration of Blind Joe Death by John Fahey.

In television, Today on NBC goes color. The Huntley-Brinkley Report on NBC goes color. CBS airs the first color broadcast of an NFL football game, a Thanksgiving Day matchup between the Baltimore Colts and Detroit Lions. My Mother, the Car premieres on NBC. CBS debuts Lost in Space and Green Acres. Meanwhile, on ABC, The Big Valley premieres, and NBC launches I Spy. The Wild Wild West and Hogan's Heroes premiere on CBS. I Dream of Jeannie premieres on NBC, and so does Get Smart.

At the Academy Awards, The Sound of Music takes Best Picture, and Lee Marvin (Cat Ballou) and Julie Christie (Darling) win Best Actor/Actress. The Palme d'Or at the Cannes Film Festival goes to The Knack …and How to Get It, directed by Richard Lester. Other films from 1965 include: Alphaville, (Alphaville, une étrange aventure de Lemmy Caution'), directed by Jean-Luc Godard; Bunny Lake Is Missing, directed by Otto Preminger; Faster, Pussycat! Kill! Kill!, directed by Russ Meyer; For a Few Dollars More, directed by Sergio Leone; The Ipcress File, directed by Sidney J. Furie; What's New Pussycat?, directed by Clive Donner.

In addition to Winston Churchill, Albert Schweitzer, Alan Freed, Nat King Cole, Spike Jones, Stan Laurel, Margaret Dumont, T.S. Eliot, Edward R. Murrow, Edgard Varèse, Sonny Boy Williamson and Jeanette MacDonald died in 1965. Rob Zombie, Dr. Dre, Trent Reznor, Courtney Love, Shania Twain, Slash, Björk, Moby, Andy Dick, Robert Downey, Jr. and Rodney King were born.

Friday, July 1, 2011

Meanwhile, 17 years later....

This book was written eighteen years ago, published in 1994.  I just went back and started to read it for the first time in at least 15 years and was struck by the very first page and how much what we were describing then seems like, with very few changes of names and places, a perfectly lucid description of today.

I'm not at all sure of my point here, I don't think it's anything as simple as "nothing changes" since there is clearly an abundance of evidence to the contrary. Perhaps it is more in keeping with what has become one of my favorite Mark Twain quotations: "History doesn't repeat itself, but it rhymes."

"There is an unmistakable irony in watching the United States offer itself as role model to the various projects of democratization unfolding throughout eastern Europe even as the very activities inherent to notions of participatory democracy (e.g., voter turnout, literacy, etc.) continue their steady decline inside our borders. For those striving for social change, there is an experience of tangible depression in witnessing the growing power of neoconservative ideology. The borders and boundaries of this ideological cultural formation are marked by numerous signposts: the renewed attacks upon the hard-won rights of women (in the holy name of morality), racial and ethnic minorities (in the name of a mythological meritocracy), and gays and lesbians (in the timeless name of nature); the steady increase of corporate and state power; the continued melding together of the state, the market and the media, and the corresponding erosion of an ever-diminishing democratic public sphere; the conflation of the corporate and the public into one vague and amorphous collective philosophy of money and nostalgia; and the declamation that recent gains in multicultural education represent little more than the thinly veiled virus of political correctness (which in a twisted Orwellian logic has as its goals the restriction of free discussion and the subversion of a stable and coherent canon of Western culture). Finally in the face of all of this, the political left has been weakened by a spiraling fragmentation and factionalization into a complex yet redundant theoretical melange of suffocating identity politics and reactionary and nihilistic postmodernisms" (p. 1).