Friday, 11 August 2017

Summer of Love (1967) Protest Song



Outburst of sunshine songs, hippies, flowers in our hair, long flowing tresses and dresses, sandals, psychedelic artwork, freedoms, revolutionary dreamers,….
Perhaps it wasn’t all just a fantastic dream?

Music art, fashion and politics collided against the ‘straight’ world – seeking cultural change and new forms of expression. Maybe it was deluded – but it was also full of life affirming, youthful hopes.

"Strawberry Fields, Whiter Shade of Pale, San Francisco, Itcho Park, flowers in the Rain, I Can See for Miles, Light my Fire, Sweet Home Alabama, and of course Sergeants Peppers Lonely hearts club band….."

Incredible String Band, the Byrds, Jimi Hendrix, the Small Faces, the Animals, The Beatles, Cream, Jefferson Airplane, the Move, Traffic, Procal Harem, the Beach Boys, Bee Gees.

The summer of 1967 love went along with the protest song, dreamers and activists and marchers. Political discussion though was not as effective a personal testimony or televised action. Mohammad Ali for instance refused to fight Vietnam; Martin Luther King spoke passionately of peaceful protest and his dream. Hippies searched for more spiritual answers then there can ever be in capitalism, materialism and the suburban sprawls.

Today requires visionaries and artists, those who see the future and not only the day to day. King proclaimed ‘I may not get there with you to that promised land, where all men might be free”. When we march for Scottish independence, its not about flag waving, I hope we are making it clear that we march of fairness, equality, and mostly democracy and about who owns Scotland – and we need to make this clear to no voters. Scotland has suffered 300 years of suppression and fear, so its no easy task! 

The summer of Hippy love was a time when dreamers dreamed of peace and love, and when marchers marched for civil rights and against war. Lennon wrote ‘Imagine’ and Dylan wrote ‘Blowin in the Wind’, when give peace a chance was the song. It was too soon though and the forces that be of the established rich too strong to overcome. Perhaps now 50 years later we may have some clearer ideas. We no longer wear long skirts, long hair or wear flowers in our hair, but we still dream of new horizons and a better way, where all men might be free…

(And without Scottish independence, we’ll have no choices at all!)