Alternative Life Styles

!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

"My advice to myself and to everyone else, particularly young people, is to turn on, tune in, and drop out." -- Timothy Leary, Ex-Harvard prof and hippie

Hippie Chick "Playboy style" Playboy Hippie
The sixties felt the typical young, American, Western, post-Rennaisance itch to try something different, look at something new, search out another chance, another place to start. The compulsive need to experiment in alternatives underlay Easy Rider, the great sixties quest after an America transformed by pot, sex, hippie communes, and travel. It underlay John Kennedy's New Frontier and Lyndon Johnson's Great Society. It explains the middle class kids who tossed over their parents' affluence for (usually temporary) poverty in San Francisco, the Peace Corps, or rural communes; it explains acid and acid rock and perhaps even the protest demonstration. Politically and socially they looked for an alternative, all vaguely disaffected with established patterns of doing things.

"One generation abandons the enterprises of another like stranded vessels" -- Henry David Thoreau

One of the many alternatives explored by the sixties was dope. The mind expanders dropped, licked, smoked, popped, snorted, ate -- marijuana, peyote, LSD, STP, mescaline, Nembutal, to break through the inhibitions of some 25 centuries of western thought, to make you see things, for the first time, to make you sensitive to touch and feel and sound and smell. "LSD equals love". When sixties heads talked dope, they were talking about emotional and sensory liberation from the prison of intellect.

"I am and, for as long as I can remember, I have always been a poor visualizer," -- Aldous Huxley

High priest of the movement was Timothy Leary, who began sixties as a Harvard Professor, respected, up-and-coming...Leary ended the decade in a California jail on what could have run into a ten-year sentence for possession of Marijuana.

Generally speaking, sixties drug songs saw dope as a means of personal liberation rather than a mere kick or a reward.

An Old Handbill Jeff Airplane hand bill
The Airplane's, "White Rabbit" (1967) is typical. "One pill makes you larger"(uppers, and a reference to one side of the caterpillar's mushroom) "and the other makes you small" (downers, the other side of the mushroom).

The Beatles' "Lucy in the Sky" is another trip song - what with taxi and train and boat, and the tangerine trees and marmalade skies, and the loss of time and the distortion of normal proportions. Drug songs that were drug songs came in several varieties.

Another major area of sixties liberation was sex. Granted, the sexual revolution is now a commonplace - recorded, quantified, tabulated, sloganized and established. The seeds of the sexual revolution was already sown. First was the sexual awareness that burst into middle-class consciousness in fifties rock-n-roll music, second, there was a general exploring of Bohemian attitudes in the folk music flowering of the early sixties. Third, was the Playboy magazine. It was an accepted, widely circulated publication devoted to preaching sexual liberation. We were approaching the day when either sex could honestly say, "I love you" Or, "Let's f***".

Crosby,Stills, Nash & Young CSNY
"Set the night on fire", suggested the Doors in 1967
"Why don't we do it in the road?", said the Beatles
" Witness the quickness with which we get it on", said Stephen Stills of Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young

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