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Name: margalit
Location: Massachusetts, United States Professional writer, educational advocate, opinionated ultra liberal mother of 18 year old twins, living life in the slow lane due to hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, congestive heart failure, and diabetes.

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Friday, June 01, 2007

It was 40 years ago today...

Sargent Pepper was released 40 years ago today. I'd bet most of you weren't even alive then, but I was turning 16 and at the height of my teenage rebellion. Forty years ago today, I skipped school for the bazillionth time, went into Hollywood so I could get the album first, before anyone else had it. I was already experienced in doing this, both cutting school and getting records in Hollywood before they were released elsewhere. Always being a resourceful person, I would take the bus to school, then get the car that my brother had driven in early for his marching band practice (I know... it was mortifying) wait in the student lot for my friends to show up, and then we'd head off. Mostly we hit the beach, but sometimes Hollywood called, and we just had to go shopping in the seediest area we knew. We were cool like that.

Back then, owning a new LP was a huge thing. And being the first to have it gave you big bragging rights. Albums were incredibly cheap. I think I paid $4.99 for albums back then. My collection was rocking. I had pretty much every album by the Beatles, Stones, and other bands. I was moving my interests to American bands like Jefferson Airplane, Jimi Hendrix, and Janis Joplin. This was going to be the summer of love, although we didn't know it at the time.

We did know that things were changing, and they were changing fast. We knew that being a teenager in 1967 was about as good as it gets. Our parents were bewildered by what was going on. It was so different than when they were teens in the late 30's and 40's. Money was much more available, kids had so much more freedom, and of course growing up in Southern California didn't hurt. I had an older sister that was living in San Francisco and I got frequent updates on the be-ins and the concerts and the bands. It all was just so fresh and interesting and exciting. So freaking exciting. Drugs were everywhere. LSD was legal and very available. Pot was coming up from Mexico by the bales, and it was cheap. $90 a pound! Everyone was carrying lids with them because it was so available and cheap. Drugs weren't dangerous yet. They were just fun and experimental.

Life was all about the music you listened to. My brother, a perennial geek, was into jazz. He completely missed out on the entire experience and didn't even realize it until he went to college. By then it was too late. He's forever marked by his geekiness.

It wasn't all good. Sometimes people reacted badly to the drugs. My cousin Lonnie dived off the 16th floor balcony of his apartment on Lake Shore Drive in Chicago. It wasn't intentional suicide. It was drug related.

But as most teenagers in the 6o's can related, it was a time of great change. Hair grew long and wild. Clothing changed from perky 1950's styles to ripped and tattered bell bottom jeans and shirts worn sans bras. Beads were everywhere. We exchanged them with the people we loved. We wore flat sandals and toe rings. All these things came back in the past few years and I look at them with bemusement. Crocheted vests and ponchos? Done. Hip hugger jeans. Done. Gypsy shirts. Done. Nothing that is stylish now is different, it's all influenced by the late 60's.


My high school was a large suburban school in Los Angeles. It was filled with kids playing flutes (Steve Bartek of Oingo Boingo was the flute player we loved in our class) and wearing flowers in their hair. The Maharishi Mehesh Yogi, the Beatles guru, came to our high school for a visit. We all gave him love beads. It was groovey, man. Check out the list of alumni on the Wikipedia site. Yes, I went to high school with Marsha Marsha Marsha!

Sometimes it's hard for me to believe that it was all so long ago. I have a hard time thinking that it will soon be 40 years since I graduated from high school. It's been such a long road, filled with so many different paths I've taken. But I'm always incredibly thankful that I was lucky enough to be alive and participating in the summer of love. It's a time that I would never want to forget. I feel like it forged who I am, what I believe in, and how I raise my children. I would have been a very different person had I not experienced this first hand. Even though my parents wavered between clueless and horrified, it was, for me, the crowning point of my childhood.

And I still hate bras!

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5 Comments:

Blogger Thumper said...

Way trippin'...

40 years ago I was 5...and I kinda think I missed out on a lot. I grew up on the music of the 60s thanks to my sisters, and it's the foundation for what I like even now. I'm not sorry I missed out of the drugs (well...pot maybe, tho we had plenty around when I was a teen ;) ) but the whole vibe...

My generation...we had disco. 'Nuff said.

Here via michele's today :)

2/6/07 6:48 PM  
Blogger Mr. Althouse said...

What a long strange trip it's been! Like Thimper, 40 years ago I was five (well almost... I was four going on five). I always felt I was born a half-generation too late. My roots grow from the music of the late 60s and early 70s and the beatles were right up there.

It's funny how this time of year brings me back. Through life and seemingly coincidence of events, the wat-back machine has been in overdrive. This morning I covered the Class of 2007 high school graduation in tiny Colfax, CA - population about 900. It was strikingly different from mine and the Class of 81, yet earily similar.

Then I got to shoot a Tesla concert last Thursday where they were promoting their new album "Real to Reel." It's all cover tunes of bands from the late 60s and early 70s. And now this post of your's. Weird, uh?

Michele sent me,

Mike

2/6/07 8:14 PM  
Blogger The Mistress of the Dark said...

I wasn't born in 1967, but I remember at 13 celebrating the 20th anniversary of that album. I've always been a huge Beatles fan. I can't wait to get the new McCartney album.

Oh and Michele says hello :)

2/6/07 9:07 PM  
Blogger sage said...

40 years ago, I was 10--but I still have Sargent Pepper--it's been replaced with a CD version--times have changed haven't they.

When I was in my early 30s, a friend decided that he'd date no woman born after Sargent Pepper came out (he later broke his promise and married a woman who's close to 20 years younger)

2/6/07 9:38 PM  
Blogger OldOldLady Of The Hills said...

Well I'm ancient by comparison to everyone who has commented so far...40 years ago I was 35, almost 36 years old(Birthday coming on the 27th of this month...scary how old the number sounds---76...Help Me!)....And I knew that Sgt. Pepper was a Great Great Album, back then. I remember Betty G. and I just lying on her living room floor--(Larry, her husband in the bedroom reading..) and listening to this superb fantastic Album....We were both blown away....I was a "latebloomer" where the Beatles were concerned...it took me a few years to "get" how truly talented they were and how special their songs were....I think the song that made me stop and really listen was "Yesterday"...But if you had half a brain and some heart, too...you knew "Sgt. Pepper" was a gem of an album, in every way....Even us 'older folks' knew...Well, some of us did...lol!

3/6/07 4:52 PM  

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