The Transcendent Yes

!Read me First


Underground in the Fifties

The Angry No

The Transcendent Yes

Alternative Life Styles

The Tug of Gravity:Co-option, Absorption, and Shlock Rock

Artiness, Absurdity, and Excess

The Seventies: Looking Back, Looking Ahead

Suggested Recordings

Music Quiz

Suggested Links

"You think too much. That is your trouble. Clever people and grocers - they weigh everything."
- Zorba, in the movie Zorba the Greek

The Woodstock Music and Art Fair has become in retrospect "the greatest event in counter-cultural history". Half a million people in the steady rain came to hear major and soon to become major musical talents, to share their food and the limited toilets and a lot of dope and love and comfort, and to survive without violence or crime.

Max Yasgur WAVMax Yasgur sound clip (235 KB) Owner of Woodstock farm
See suggested links for more Woodstock sound bytes

Three deaths, four births. No riots, no disasters, no hassles despite the traffic jams that extended for miles. Flower children had their paradised regained.


We are stardust
We are golden
    And we've got to get ourselves
    Back to the garden
    -- Joni Mitchell, "Woodstock"
The yes of the sixties, very different in almost every particular from the angry no, was just as compelling. Rooted in idealism, this affirmation could overlap and encompass both protest marches and liberal politics; yet it also transcended them.

The yes of the sixties was a romantic yes; they adored youth, excess, the eccentric and exotic. This romanticism can be seen in the sixties chidren choosing Maharishi Mahesh Yogi to Billy Graham, Che Guevara for John Dulles, Mao Tse-tung to Eisenhower. Ho Chi Minh became an American cult hero.

"Hope I die before I am old" -- The Who

Anyway WAVThe Who sound clip (184 KB) rare variation of a song

Sixties people were disorganized probably because they were so wrapped up in themselves. They could not abide schedules, plans, structures. Their work often showed embarassingly rough edges and imperfections. This disorganization annoyed their elders, especially parents and professors, and it no doubt has its liabilities.

It was no wonder that rock music with all its roughness was the music of the sixties, the music of now, the music of the moment, the music of youth. As it developed, rock also came to incorporate much of the musical, social and cultural past. They stole from Bach, Brecht and the Beatles stole even from the French national anthem. There was a nostalgia for the past and for the common man.

"Let's drink to the lowly of birth." - The Rolling Stones,"Salt of the Earth"

Stones WAVThe Rolling Stones sound clip Mick introduces band (865 KB)

And in the end the flower children looked for reciprocity.

"And in the end the love you take is equal to the love you make." -- the Beatles

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