One event started what later became the SUMMER OF LOVE. Fifty-one years ago today, it was the celebration entitled “the HUMAN BE-IN” at Golden Gate Park in January of 67, an idea of MICHAEL BOWEN the avant-garde artist and co-founder of THE ORACLE, a premier “underground” newspaper which kicked off everything. This”Be-In”inspired the play HAIR: The American Tribal Love -Rock Musical by Rado and Ragni. Also, TIMOTHY LEARY asked the attendees to “turn on,tune in,drop out”.About 30,000 attended.
The mainstream media picked up the story, highlighting Tim Leary, the drugs (LSD and mushrooms), the clothing and the music. These photos and images were shown on the nightly news. TIME magazine ran a cover story on THE HIPPIES and even CBS NEWS had a special report that August.This influx of “flower children” arrived to the 25 square block area of San Francisco with the cross streets , the intersection of it all HAIGHT-ASHBURY.
With psychedelic music and drugs prevalent, one could only predict that the future of THE HAIGHT would not be so rosy or happy. Homelessness, drug abuse, poverty became rampant. The BEE GEES even wrote a song, MASSACHUSETTS, in response to what was happening in SAN FRANCISCO, a ditty about someone who lost the vision, the hope, and was homesick.
Yet, the SUMMER OF LOVE despite its misgivings gave us a great soundtrack for that time and for years to come: THE WHO, JIMI HENDRIX, BIG BROTHER and THE HOLDING COMPANY, COUNTRY JOE and THE FISH,THE ELECTRIC FLAG,QUICKSILVER MESSENGER SERVICE,STEVE MILLER,MOBY GRAPE,HUGH MASEKELA,THE BYRDS,LAURA NYRO,JEFFERSON AIRPLANE,BOOKER T and THE MG’s,OTIS REDDING, THE BLUES PROJECT,BUFFALO SPRINGFIELD and the organizers of Monterey Pop THE MAMAS & THE PAPAS.