Thursday, January 14, 2016

50 Years Ago this Month - Let's Go Trippin'

“Trippy, man” … and that’s how we began January, 1966 ~ 50 Years Ago this Month!  

Life is trippy even without LSD – better known as “Acid” – the hallucinatory craze of the late ‘60s. Well, I didn’t need any of the “Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds” to ride the whirlwind of life which threw me into a new location on New Year’s Day.

And before I could even get my bearings, the dreaded cold bug invaded my senses – ‘twas the season, ya know? All better now though, and ready to tackle an exciting New Year of pioneering Rock & Roll Radio DJs. How about you? Let’s get at it then – January, 1966 began … 

With New York City at a standstill, public transportation workers went on strike January 2nd and remained off the grid until the 13th. Meanwhile, recent high school grads were called up for a different kind of duty … 
The Face of Battle (AP/Horst Faas) by
Andrew H. Talkov

8,000 US soldiers landed in South Vietnam on January 18th, bringing the total number to 190,000. It would be a brutal year for our fresh-faced high school buddies. RIP

How did we deal with it? We listened to KYA/San Francisco’s now-legendary DJs, Emperor Gene Nelson, Johnny Holliday and the others, spinning “safe” sounds of James Brown, the Righteous Brothers, and Simon & Garfunkel. But that was all about to shape-shift into wild, vibrant, swirling colors ...

A good many chose to escape into the land of the Caterpillar and the Toadstool as one of the first large public “Acid Tests” took place over three hazy days, January 21-23, at San Francisco’s Longshoreman’s Hall.
Ten thousand Hippies and Hipsters gathered for the three-day Trips Festival (with a thousand would-be trippers turned away each night). A weekend of tuning out with LSD and tuning into mind melds featured the psychedelic music of such soon-to-be greats (not even on radio charts yet), Grateful Dead, Big Brother and the Holding Company, Jefferson Airplane, and The Loading Zone. 

As a provocative vintage poster reads, “The audience is invited to wear Ecstatic Dress. Bring your own toys.” Nuf said!  

Featured Radio Survey(s): KYA/San Francisco’s January 1, 1966 chart appeared in its weekly BEAT newsrag. This month marked the winners of their first International Pop Music Awards. Topping the chart and the awards were the Fab Four who would discover their mind trips later in the year. For now, "Day Tripper" – a relative misnomer – shared top billing with their “We Can Work It Out.” (And in and around, and through … still trippin’!) 

Celebrate this month 50 years ago and … Enjoy the moment … again!
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