The Summer of Love is said to have begun on January 14, 1967 at the Human Be-In that occurred at Golden Gate Park in San Francisco. The Human Be-In focused the ideas of personal empowerment, cultural and political decentralization, ecological awareness and of course, consciousness expansion.
These ideals became the 1960’s counterculture. What the Be-In did was allow the mass media to focus in on this counterculture and what was happening in the area around what was the corner of Haight- Ashbury streets.
This fed the counterculture media such as The San Francisco Oracle and other publications. By spring break of 1967, college and high school students began pouring into the Haight area. City and government leaders, intent on stopping the flow, only added more media fuel to the fire. Haight community leaders formed the Council of the Summer of Love, branding the movement and giving it an official sounding name.
According to rumor, it took John Phillips only 20 minutes to write the song “San Francisco (Be Sure to Wear Flowers in Your Hair)” which contained the lyrics:
“If you’re going to San Francisco, be sure to wear some flowers in your hair…
If you’re going to San Francisco, summertime will be a love-in there.”
The song was then recorded by Scott McKenzie and subsequently released in May of 1967. Originally intended as a song to promote the Monterey Pop Festival, it became an instant hit and between the song and the festival — the first of it’s kind and attended by over 200,000 people — the movement to San Francisco was on, as was the Summer of Love.
Summer of Love: The Hits of 1967 is essentially a time-capsule to that summer forty years ago where over 100,000 young people from around the world flocked to the Haight-Ashbury district. Well packaged and distributed on two CD’s, and a DVD including massively detailed liner notes, Summer of Love: The Hits of 1967 contains 40 songs on the two CD’s and 14 videos on the DVD.
Disk one is AM Music and contains the hits that were heard on the mainstream AM radio formats of the day. Here you have songs like the one that started it all: “San Francisco (Be Sure to Wear Flowers in Your Hair)” and the syrupy sweet “The 59th Street Bridge Song (Feelin’ Groovy),” which is my least favorite.
You also have some really great music such as “Gimme Some Lovin” from the Spencer Davis Group, and “A Whiter Shade of Pale” from Procol Harum.
On disk two: FM Music, you have the more progressive music of that summer leading off with “I Feel Free,” from Cream, the psychedelic “I Had Too Much to Dream (Last Night),” from the Electric Prunes, and the hard driving “I’m A Man,” from the Spencer Davis Group.
The DVD is from a 1995 documentary called My Generation: The History Of Rock ‘n’ Roll, which takes us from The Human Be-In in January 1967 through Woodstock in 1969. There is footage and interviews from both the 1967-1970 period as well as some from 1995 when the film was made.
If you don’t remember 1967, they say if you can remember the 60’s, you weren’t really there. Summer of Love: The Hits of 1967 may just help you to refresh your memory. If you want to find out what it was all about, you’ve come to the right place!
Disc: 1 – AM Music
San Francisco (Be Sure to Wear Flowers in Your Hair) — Scott McKenzie
Happy Together — The Turtles
Windy — The Association
Creeque Alley — The Mamas & the Papas
Gimme Some Lovin -– The Spencer Davis Group
Incense and Peppermints -– Strawberry Alarm Clock
Little Bit O’ Soul — The Music Explosion
The 59th Street Bridge Song (Feelin’ Groovy) — Harpers Bizarre
The Letter — The Box Tops
Heroes and Villains (Single Version) — The Beach Boys
Reflections — Diana Ross and the Supremes
Let’s Live For Today — The Grass Roots
Darling Be Home Soon — The Lovin’ Spoonful
I Was Made To Love Her — Stevie Wonder
Pleasant Valley Sunday — The Monkees
Carrie-Anne — The Hollies
Talk Talk — The Music Machine
Sunday Will Never Be The Same — Spanky and Our Gang
Kind of a Drag — The Buckinghams
A Whiter Shade of Pale — Procol Harum
Disc: 2 – FM Music
I Feel Free — Cream
So You Want To Be A Rock ‘N’ Roll Star — The Byrds
Somebody to Love — Jefferson Airplane
I Had Too Much To Dream (Last Night) — The Electric Prunes
Get Together — The Youngbloods
I’m A Man — The Spencer Davis Group
Brown Eyed Girl — Van Morrison
Friday on My Mind — The Easybeats
San Franciscan Nights — Eric Burdon & The Animals
(We Ain’t Got) Nothin’ Yet — Blues Magoos
Season of the Witch — Donovan
Wake Me, Shake Me — The Blues Project
Down on Me — Big Brother & the Holding Company
You Keep Me Hangin’ On (Single Version) — Vanilla Fudge
Not So Sweet Martha Lorraine (Single Version) — Country Joe & The Fish
Paper Sun — Traffic (Feat. Stevie Winwood)
Pushin’ Too Hard — The Seeds
It’s A Happening Thing — The Peanut Butter Conspiracy
Mary, Mary — The Paul Butterfield Blues Band
Stroll On — The Yardbirds
Disc: 3 – DVD
A Communal Experience
The Human Be-In
An Interactive Event: The Grateful Dead
Getting Real Experimental
Going Against The Grain
Cream: Challenging Musical Landscapes
The Who: A Distinctive Sound
Images of Woodstock
Rock ‘N’ Roll’s Power
Crosby, Stills & Nash Add a Fourth
Bad Vibes At Isle Of Wight
The Pressures On Janis Joplin
All My Friends Are Dead