The '60s were revolutionary in practically every human sphere, from politics to music. Here are 10 songs that'll bring out your hippie side.
By Raquel GV
The '60s were a period of change across the world. There was an economic boom in many nations and mass media was starting to get really good at connecting people with events almost in real time. Technological advances brought us long-lasting records, we witnessed artistic revolutions, such as Andy Warhol and pop art, education improved in many fields, and women's rights started to gain a new wave of due victories.
Despite these positive changes, conflict abounded. Capitalism reached its peak in the U.S. and throughout Western Europe, while communism rose quickly in Eastern Europe and the Soviet Union. The two ideologies clashed violently, with both sides fanatically defending their own position and trying to spread it around the world. The Cold War increased tensions to its most dangerous levels, the Vietnam War took place, racial discrimination ran rampant, gender inequality was all too common, and authoritarian regimes sprung up in almost every continent. All of this led to the birth of social movements which defended the notion that we should all "make love, not war." Their purpose was to promote peace, non-violence, and free love.
It was in this atmosphere that the hippie movement was born, represented by bright colors and vibrant flower crowns. Men and women sported long hair, shaggy t-shirts and jeans, and basically walked around barefoot. More than a fashion trend, it became a lifestyle—a whole way of living in which pacifism merged with music and psychedelics. During this time, we got some of the most iconic musicians in recent memory, including Jimi Hendrix, Janis Joplin, The Doors, Bob Dylan, The Who, and, of course, The Beatles. All of them marked a turning point in the history of music.
The world also celebrated the first outdoor music festivals as we know them today, like Summer of Love and Woodstock, where youth and music got together in the name of peace and love. Though the movement's momentum ended almost as quickly as it began, it left its mark around the planet and throughout the decades—and many of its tenets still resonate to this day. That's why it's only fitting to think back and give you a list to commemorate the spirit of a great time. Here are 10 songs that will bring out your hippie side.
San Francisco was written by John Philipps and performed by Scott Mckenzie to promote the Summer of Love festival in 1967. It captures the life in the colorful city of San Francisco during the 1960s, and it's definitely a must if you ever visit this place.
“For those who come to San Francisco, summertime will be a love-in there."
Reflections of My Life
This song became an instant hit in the U.S. right after it was released, arguably because the public could easily relate to the lyrics at the time. The song explores several dimensions of daily life, and delves into the sadness involved in walking up to find a terrible world. "Reflections of My Life" was written by guitarist Junior Campbell and singer Dean Ford.
“The world is a bad place a bad place, a terrible place to live. Oh, but I don't wanna die."
The Mamas & the Papas
Thanks to the enormous success of this song, The Mamas & the Papas suddenly became one of the most representative groups of the entire hippie movement. Its upbeat melody certainly has an amazing quality to it, as pretty much any of its many versions and covers can never fail to make people dance and sing along.
“All the leaves are brown, and the sky is grey. I've been for a walk on a winter's day."
Do You Believe In Magic
The Lovin' Spoonful
This song took little time to reach the top of the Billboard list, and for good reason. It evokes happiness in a magical life, and makes us believe that through music we can feel emotions lighten our bodies, as well as help us keep a positive attitude in the face of adversity.
“Do you believe in magic? In a young girl's heart. How the music can free her, whenever it starts.”
Somebody to Love
"Somebody to Love" was originally recorded by the folk band Great Society. In 1967, it was performed and popularized by Jefferson Airplane, who took it upon themselves to show us that when everything seems to be going wrong, love is the single strongest feeling to get you through it.
“When the truth is found to be lies, and all the joy within you dies, don't you want somebody to love?"
Silence Is Golden
The song was written by Bob Gaudio, from the rock band The Four Seasons—the original performers. However, some time afterwards, it became a single by The Tremeloes, whose version reached the top spots across the UK. "Silence Is Golden" reminds us just how valuable silence is when words can hurt more than anything else in the world.
“How many times will she fall for his line? Should I tell her or should I keep cool?"
Bad Moon Rising
Creedence Clearwater Revival
Written by John Forgety, this rock & roll song (with a touch of country) catapulted Creedence Clearwater Revival to fame, making it one of the most famous rock bands of the decade. Though the tune is pretty upbeat overall, its lyrics foresee dark times ahead.
“I hear hurricanes a-blowing, I know the end is coming soon, I fear rivers overflowing, I hear the voice of rage and ruin."
You Really Got Me
When this single was released in 1964, it quickly rose to number one in the UK singles chart—giving the band a spot in history in the process. "You Really Got Me" is a perfect song to dedicate to your loved one, for sure.
“Oh yeah, you really got me now. You got me so I can't sleep at night."
The Beach Boys
Composed by Brian Wilson, with lyrics by Mike Love, Good Vibrations still does a good job of transmitting the good vibes from the '60s, as its melody can easily get anyone to jump up and dance to the psychedelic rhythm.
“She's giving me excitations, I'm pickin' up good vibrations."
Sunshine of Your Love
Eric Clapton dazzles fans with his legendary guitar solo in "Sunshine of Your Love," the single most famous song by Cream. It certainly positioned the band as a quintessential '60s group, as they passionately sing to pure love in the most authentic rock style of all. Plus, their style and rhythm is as sensual as they come.
The '60s marked a whole generation of musicians and music fans, and developed different ideologies whose effects are still incredibly relevant today. New generations keep looking to these bands as inspiration in order to create new movements, both musical and social.
Oh, and here's a little bonus by one of the best artists of all time, whose song perfectly captures the revolutionary spirit of the decade.
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