In Search of the Lost ChordPosted: September 21, 2020
In Search of the Lost Chord: 1967 and the Hippie Idea
Akashic Books (June 6, 2017), 280 pages
Kindle edition $10.99, Amazon paperback $13.92
Danny Goldberg sees 1967 as the apex of the hippie era. Before that the movement was not fully mature and the following year brought an end to those ideals in the minds of many. That’s because the year 1968 brought us the assassinations of both Robert Kennedy and Martin Luther King, Jr., the riots at the democratic convention in Chicago, and the nomination of Richard Nixon to head the Republican presidential ticket.
Goldberg covers culture, politics, and music. He talks about the original hippie be-ins, a hippie spoof of the civil rights sit-ins and the antiwar teach-ins on college campuses. He points out that “like much hip language, the device had a short shelf life before going mainstream,” with the advent of the irreverent television program Laugh-In.
He writes about a group called the Diggers, who were a sort of a luddite group, but who provided food and other services to the poor. He discusses political activists such as Jerry Rubin, and documents the criticism of hippies by many, including by quite a few on the left, who felt they were doing nothing to improve society. Goldberg describes how musical groups such as the Grateful Dead were mostly non-political, whereas a group such as Country Joe and the Fish was the exact opposite.
Goldberg was born in 1950, three years before me, so he came of age in the midst of all this. Although he at times documents his own involvement in this world, for the most part he objectively describes the era, even if it is obvious where is biases lie.