By the time 1969 rolled around, Jim Morrison would be busted for exposing himself at a concert in Miami. The dreams of Woodstock would give way to the horrors of the Stones at Altamont. A year later, the Beatles would break up, and Morrison would be dead, as would Jimi Hendrix and Janis Joplin. The innocence was pretty much gone.
And now with the passing of Ted Kennedy this past Tuesday, so too is Camelot. Although I'm not at all sure there ever really was a Camelot.
Certainly there was the idea of such a thing, and although the music of the period certainly helped to change things over time, the political dreams of JFK and RFK were never to be fully realized. For all of his own accomplishments as one of the greatest legislators of the past century, Ted Kennedy's own dreams of Camelot were pretty much jettisoned after a fateful night in 1969 off a bridge at Chappaquiddick.
And what of the soundtrack to Ted Kennedy's chapter in this story? Is it disco? Punk rock? Eighties new wave? What music will we think of when we remember his death? The Black Eyed Peas? Kings Of Leon? Coldplay's Viva La Vida? Springsteen's Working On A Dream?
Because music today doesn't quite carry the same resonance — at least not in the same way that it did in the '60s — we may not remember any songs at all. On the other hand, there are artists who haven't yet been discovered, and songs which haven't been written.
If Camelot in fact does live on, it will do so through them. And through the legacy of Ted Kennedy.