‘Twas the Summer of ’69 – The Best Days of Our Lives?



Happy 50th Anniversary of the Woodstock Music Festival!

This Bryan Adams tune, written, I believe, in the 1980’s has sentimental implications for those of us alive in the late 1960’s.

I was eight years old, going on eighteen. Standing on my own parents’ porch, I thought the good times would last forever. My dad had a simple job but was well paid. We weren’t rich but never worried about money if something broke or we needed to visit the doctor. My mother stayed at home with me.

Certainly, Viet Nam and the drug problem were downers, but we were on our way to a society of equality for all, enjoying the high point in the tide of mid-twentieth-century postwar prosperity for the burgeoning middle class.

1969 was one of the most happening summers in our history. Young people were politically active, prolifically promoting agendas focused on love and peace.

I remember hearing about Woodstock on the radio. It sounded cool to eight year old hippie, me. Too bad the “Aquarian Exposition” celebrating peace and music turned into such a mess, on the field and in the crowd.

I wouldn’t have loved the mix-ups, the mud, the mayhem, but I still celebrate the music and the movement to create a world without war, with rules fair to all.

I never dreamed America would change so much by this time in my life. I’m not yet even a senior citizen but . . .

When I was a kid – we were told that each generation of the middle classes that followed would be more prosperous than the one before it.

The opposite trend is true today. Income inequality is rampant, thanks to unbridled corporate greed. Few are standing up for the rights of the average working citizen.

Woodstock didn’t really accomplish a lot but the spirit of the movement inspired the young to become active in the promotion of peace and individual freedom.

Perhaps you’re too young to remember this hippie music festival but would like to learn more about it? Or maybe you were around at the time but wish to review the details? Either way, here’s a description of the way the event played out.

I don’t recommend some of the behaviors exhibited by the hippie activists, but today, we are much in need of a movement headed by young people, an idealistic, organized effort to promote peace, equality, philanthropy, fair hiring practices and pay scales.

Citizens in their twenties and thirties must begin to vote, communicate with leaders, run for office. Only by a renewed sense of activism, can the middle class lifestyle we once took for granted return as a reality for the majority of workers.

Service industry positions are just as important as corporate management, yet a great chasm exists between the lifestyles of those who call the shots, and those who repair plumbing, remove trash, wait on tables, stock shelves.

It wasn’t my intention to digress from celebrating a half-century-old music fest. But when I reflect upon the happenings of the summer of ’69, I channel the sense of security that filled the streets where factory workers relaxed on weekends, see the lovely, stylish ranch houses with payments modest in comparison to incomes.

I travel down country lanes in memory, recalling the small farms where neighbors earned a modest but sufficient living, enjoyed a peaceful existence.

In addition to Woodstock, there were many intriguing happenings – both positives and negatives, but all definitive, over that 1969 summer.

The moon landing, the Met’s winning streak, Slaugherhouse Five by Kurt Vonnegut, the Stonewall protests, the Manson murders .  .   .

But most of all, I recall my favorite pair of orange shorts, paired with my sky blue and white striped sleeveless top, shiny yellow sandals, the canary colored waist tie I took from my dress and made into a headband the week of Woodstock, complete with a magic-marker-drawn peace sign, and the word “love” written in bubble letters.

I remember that time now, as though it were a fantasy, the department stores that sold quality merchandise for the new American lifestyle – where my mom bought things for our new ranch house.

The fast food chains were moving in and every weekend Dad would drive us to the latest. We would sit outside in the shade, me asking for a rock station, while he tuned in an Indians baseball game.

Today our small town lives are stressed and uncertain in comparison, but during this fair summer season let us celebrate the golden anniversary of that monumental year by playing the music and planning for change.

Lets start a modern day movement to create a better future for everyone, inspired by peace, love, and the music of Woodstock.


Love is Like a Rock – Evening Drive with Donnie Iris

What a great evening drive tune for today. I don’t recall hearing this song back around 1981 when this concert took place, – in my  home state. Lyrics are pretty timeless – can’t depend on your teacher, preacher, doctor, lawyer . . . I hear the tune all the time now. That’s good because they don’t make many (any) new great classic rock tunes much these days.


Jukebox Hero – Inspiration from my Morning Drive

What a cool tune, passionate performance. So neat to hear this story of a young teen inspired by music, who climbed the ladder to success. It could happen in the sixties. Talent, practice, places to play live, and shares of songs by local DJ’s could launch careers. I’m afraid in today’s world it takes a little more to make it big.

But, still, inspiration is the spark of creation. I’m spurred to strive harder at the things I do by songs like this.

Paul McCartney Stands Up for Start Up Musicians

Big business and political policies are stifling would be start-ups in all industries these days.

A recent Billboard article details the plight of small pubs and venues in Britain where The Beatles among a myriad of other “garage bands” some of which eventually made it to the big time honed their skills and tested the waters with the public.

Many of the locations, especially in London, are under threat of loss due to pressure from unscrupulous developers, with little protection from local or national government.

Paul McCartney is one of the prominent musicians speaking out about the issue:

“ . . . without grassroots clubs, pubs and music venues, my career could have been very different,” said McCartney, pledging his support to the Music Venue Trust’s #FIGHTBACK campaign.

“Artists need places to start out, develop and work on their craft and small venues have been the cornerstone for this. If we don’t support live music at this level, then the future of music in general is in danger,” said Paul, according to Billboard Magazine.


Thanks Paul and thanks to all the other successful musicians who stepped up to assist in keeping this opportunity for fledgling artists to play for the public.

As the late, great, Tom Petty so eloquently detailed in his ballad “The Last DJ”, we’ve already lost local dj’s in every small town who used to hold the freedom to determine their own play-list, where new bands could offer their records for public play. Let’s not lose these small venues too.

So now, I ask, where are the self-made industry and retail leaders who appreciate the opportunities that helped them rise in their field? Current conditions prohibit individuals with great ideas from going into business unless they already possess cash and connections.

Today’s industry leaders don’t seem to have the heart of artists like Paul who want to see others succeed.

What are your thoughts? Feel free to comment –

Keep Calm and Read On


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