“The Summer of Love” – that watershed moment when the hippie youth culture became a potent force in American society – turns 50 this year. Music then, as now, was a cultural driving force. 1967 was the year the Beatles recorded “Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band,” and the year of debut albums from The Doors, Jimi Hendrix, The Velvet Underground, the Grateful Dead and Janis Joplin.
Parents who want to introduce their tweens to the music of 1967 can explore two local exhibits, one primarily about ’67 and the other more tangentially so.
The Grammy Museum (www.grammymuseum.org) is hosting “Monterey International Pop Festival: Music, Love, and Flowers, 1967” through Oct. 22. The exhibit offers a fascinating look at this influential music fest that sowed the seeds for the iconic, and better known, Woodstock Festival. While Monterey Pop took place in Northern California, organizers John Phillips and Lou Adler were L.A.-based. In fact, Phillips (of The Mamas & The Papas fame) wrote the song “San Francisco (Be Sure To Wear Some Flowers In Your Hair)” to promote the concert.
Another musician who helped organize the festival was Art Garfunkel, and the Skirball Museum (www.skirball.org) hosts an exhibit on Garfunkel’s longtime collaborator Paul Simon through Sept. 3. “Paul Simon: Words & Music” presents a terrific (“Kodachrome”) snapshot of Simon’s long, illustrious career and has some cool interactive features. It also reminds us that 1967 was the year Simon and Garfunkel’s song “Mrs. Robinson” was a centerpiece of the film “The Graduate” and helped changed the way music was used in movies.
And if your kids think 1967 was an eternity ago, consider this. Music from 1967 remains popular today, but how many people in 1967 do you think were listening to music from 1917?