History of the Summer of Love — 1967: Part 1 — Sex, Drugs, and Rock & Roll

Haight Ashbury, San Francisco

Predecessors

America had seen a couple of post-WWII counter-culture movements that later became mainstreamed: Jazz, and the Bohemians, the Beat Generation, or what were called beatniks. The first focused on music, the second on literature. The Summer of Love saw this and more personified in “hippies.”

Hippies

The hippie movement was different in that it encompassed not just music and literature, but also art, fashion, liberal politics, sexual liberation, weed, psychedelics, Eastern philosophy and spirituality, naturalism, ecology, organics, communes, long hair, and youth. It was also characterized by what they were opposed to: the Vietnam War, Nuclear weapons, the Establishment, Middle-class values, and orthodoxy. This was usually articulated by concepts of peace, love, freedom, and flower power.

Music

Janice Joplin, Big Brother and the Holding Company

LSD

Golden Gate Park

Berkeley

University of California at Bancroft and Telegraph Avenue, Berkeley

Hedonism

The beginning of the “sexual revolution” did not start in 1967, but it had been fomenting through the ’60s. Former Esquire magazine journalist Hugh Hefner had been promoting the “Playboy philosophy” since 1953 with the publication of his first magazine. The ’60s saw the opening of several Playboy Clubs in major cities in the US and internationally.

Involvement

As Steve Jobs (and others) have famously quipped

Next

Some call it a cultural and social phenomenon. Others call it the orgiastic excess of privileged and spoiled Baby Boomers. In the following three articles I’ll discuss what the Summer of Love meant to sex, drugs, and rock & roll.

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