Chapter 7 Summary

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27 Mar 2012

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Week 8
Textbook: pg.260-303
CHAPTER 7: Psychedelia
- June, July and August of 1967 is referred to as the Summer of Love
There is the release of “San Francisco (Be sure to Wear Flowers in Your Hair)” by The
Mamas & the Papa, which obtained substantial radio play
The Beatles released their concept album, Sgt. Peppers Lonely Hearts Club Band
Jimi Hendrix performance at Monterey festival
- The summer of love marks the breakthrough of psychedelia into mainstream pop culture, a
genre which had largely been underground in London and San Francisco in the 50-60s
- The ideas of the underground made their way to the mainstream either because groups
themselves were major psychedelic acts, or because major acts adopted psychedelic ideas.
Drugs and the Quest for Higher Consciousness
- Psychedelic movement was concerned with exploring new ways people could experience the
- A counterculture developed with alternative approaches to life and culture, largely influenced
by the civil rights and increasing resistance to the Vietnam War
- Drugs (LSD and marijuana) played a central role in providing the basis for the new worldview
that the counterculture desired
- Radical philosophies and eastern religions were also explored all in the hopes of opening the
mid to new knowledge and modes of understanding – a higher consciousness
- The Beatles further demonstrated the association of drugs with eastern philosophy with the
release of their concept album
- There are two psychedelic approaches to music:
1. Music has a secondary role to drugs, enhancing the drug trip. The important thing is the
drug experience itself (music is secondary as a soundtrack for the trip).
2. Music itself as an aesthetic drug, taking the listener on a journey that may be enhanced by
drugs (music is primary, and is itself the trip)
Psychedelic ambition: The Beach boys and the Beatles
- As rock became more psychedelic, it became more ambitious, and tracks became longer,
requiring more than the 2-3 minute radio format provided by AM radio
- The music of the Beatles and Beach Boys became increasingly complicated in the 60s
- Beatles abandoned professional craftsmanship (Brill Building aesthetic) for a more self-
conscious artistic stance
- The Beach Boys also became increasingly experimental
- Both these bands shared the same label (Capitol) and this sparked a rivalry with the bands
competing for public attention and attention of their label
- The bands inspired and influenced one another
- The way these bands applied themselves to develop the stylistic, timbral, and compositional
range of rock music was a model for other groups
- Rock music was to be taken seriously
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The Beach Boys – “Good Vibrations
oBegins using a contrasting-verse chorus approach
oRecording techniques and experimentation by Brian Wilson created the song
oEach of the three sections introduces new musical material.
1. Employs a tack piano, a Jew harp, and then bass harmonica and sleigh bells as well
as voices, bass, tambourine and organ
2. Quieter with only organ and percussion, ending with vocal “ah:
3. Three part vocal counterpoint passage
The Beatles – “A Day In the Life
oCompound ABA form, with both A and B sections using simple verse form
oTwo songs stitched together by an interlude
oEmploy strings in an avant-garde manner, creating a strange growing rush of sound that
gets repeated at the end of the song
oRhythm section: acoustic guitar, piano, bass, maracas, strings, brass, alarm clock lead
oChance techniques (aleatoric) is evident
-Sgt Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band
Often cited as the first concept album, organized around a central idea or story
Extremely important album that marked changes in rock music
Complete lyrics for all the songs were printed on the album cover, showing that the lyrics
were central to the experience and were worth reading on their own
Borrowed techniques from avant-garde music
Brings together a variety of genres of music
Created a new focus on the album as opposed to the single and this “album-as-basic-unit”
idea served as a model for future rock
The San Francisco Scene and Haight Ashbury
- A psychedelic scene had been developing underground in the mid 60s in San Francisco and
grew out of the Beat movement of the late 50’s and 60s.
- Despite the many similarities between the beats and the hippies, there was a significant
difference in music taste, with the beats preferring jazz and bebop musicians, while the hippies
favoured rock music from the Stones, Beatles, and Bob Dylan
- Haight Ashbury, a Victorian neighbourhood in San Francisco, became the center of the
American psychedelic scene, with evenings of LSD and rock music
- Acid tests to the public were made available and were hugely popular
- Psychedelic music later presented itself on FM radio (KMPX-FM)
San Francisco Psychedelic Artists:
- The Grateful Dead:
House band for the Kesey acid tests
Free-form style with extended improvised instrumental solos
Mixed their albums with the goal of intensifying the acid experience.
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