“If it feels good, do it.” This line seemed to be what the hippies lived by. Everything the did, went along with their “if it feels good, do it” attitude. The hippie counter-culture is best described as rejecting “the man,” rejecting middle class values, their use of psychedelic drugs, and the motto of peace and love. The article “The 1960’s Hippie Counter Culture Movement” gives in inside look at the history of the hippies dating back to 1950’s with the beatniks, flourished through California in the sixties, and ends with the monumental Woodstock music festival in 1969.
Many say that the beatniks were the start of the hippie movement. Around the 1950’s a group of fringe writers came about and were considered the “beat generation” due to that generation describing their era as “tired” or “beat down”(Haddock). The beatniks spent their time experimenting with drugs and different sexuality. They also focused on eastern religion and rejecting the materialism things in life. The beatniks celebrated impromptu creativity and non-conformity. During the late 1950’s a lot of the beatniks picked up from New York City and moved to San Francisco to become apart of the upcoming hippie movement (Haddock).
Due to the beatniks making their way to California, they influenced the cofounder of Cabale Creamery club in Berkeley, Chandler A. Laughlin II. Chandler decided to create a family-like group of people recruiting talented acts such as The Charlatans, Iron Butterfly, Jefferson Airplane and Grateful Dead. Together they all opened the Red Dog Saloon in Nevada, which became a known place for drugs and music festivals (Haddock). Around 1956 many of the red dogs made their way back to San Francisco and created a new collective named “The Family Dog.” They hosted multiple psychedelic rock shows including the famous January 22, 1966 Grateful Dead performance where over 6,000 people attended and were given spiked punch with LSD while a light show was performed. In late 1966 California became the first state to declare LSD as a controlled substance and confirmed it illegal (Haddock).
The hippie era ultimately ended with the music festival known as Woodstock. In August of 1969, hundreds of thousands of people attended the Woodstock Music and Art Festival in New York. Many bands played at the event including The Who, Grateful Dead, Creedence Clearwater Revival, Jefferson Airplane Jimi Hendrix and many more (Haddock).
After the Woodstock festival quite a few counter culture catastrophes happened. Later in that month Charles Manson, that people identified as a drug-crazed hippie murdered Rosemary LeBianca, Leno and Sharon Tate. 18-year-old African American, Meredith Hunter was stabbed repeatedly and killed during the Rolling Stones performance at the Altamont Free Concert in December of 1969 (Haddock). Not long after in 1970 the hippie movement began to slow down. With the death of the young boy at the Altamont Concert and the overdoses deaths of Jimi Hendrix, Janis Joplin and Jim Morrison. Members of youth subcultures such as punks, athletes and greasers were physically attacking hippies in the streets.
The hippie movement overall had a good and bad impact. The movement influenced popular television, literature, film, the arts and most importantly popular music. The music industry flourished and received an explosion in sales that is still continuing to this day. Many other things changed too such as the acceptance of cultural, religious, and sexual diversity (Haddock). However, along with the good also come the negative changes. Some believe that by embracing spontaneity and the worship of the “primitive” turned us towards violence and mindlessness.
I thought this article was awesome because it gave me a more in depth view of what the hippie era was like. I really enjoy learning about all the musical aspects of the hippie generation. They really turned away from traditional ways of music and created their own kind because “it felt good.” This generation has interested me the most mainly because of their care free attitudes and the way that they only do things that will make them happy and don’t worry about what other people think. This article was a great way to get an in-depth look at the hippie era.
Haddock, B. "The Hippie Counter Culture Movement (1960’s)." Mortal Journey. Mortal Journey, 9 Mar. 2011. Web. 3 Dec. 2014. .