Monday, August 17, 2009

Musical Monday-Ten Years After

I haven't done a Musical Monday for a while, because - well, because I don't think most readers really listen to it. Which is fine! But in honor of the 40th anniversary of Woodstock, I'm adding Alvin Lee and Ten Years After to my jukebox. And, as an afterthought, I'm also putting on the youtube video.

With all the hoopla of the 40th anniversary, I've been thinking back to that period in my life, 1969. I was 21 years old and in the first year of my first marriage. I had just started smoking pot recreationally at this point, but we were most definitely not hippies! Not even hippy wannabes! He was in college and then the army, and I was an office worker. We were listening to the Beatles, Bob Dylan, and ... hmmm. I really don't remember right off the top of my head. He was mostly into the Rolling Stones, and I was probably listening to John Denver type music.

I didn't go to Woodstock, and it wasn't really on my radar until I watched the 1970 documentary so many times that one could have had false memories of having been there. Actually, I don't think I even watched it until early into my second marriage in 1973. (I sometimes get things mixed up with the two husbands in that time period.)

Back in the day, when we were young and stupid, we did the occasional dabbling in drugs, mostly pot and very rarely acid or mushrooms. (I know, I know, I shouldn't really admit that, but it was what it was. And yes, I know that's probably why I get my husbands mixed up in that time period.) So most times when we watched the movie or listened to the album, we were high on something. The music and the viewing of the performances themselves was just riveting and exciting, and opened up a whole new musical world for me. (Remember, this was pre-MTV!)

Everyone has their Woodstock favorites, and mine (at the time) were Joe Cocker, Janis Joplin, Richie Havens, Country Joe and The Fish, and Santana (with that drummer, hair flying and drumsticks moving so fast you couldn't keep track of them!).

If you've seen the movie (and I'm sure there are some, especially if you're younger, who haven't), you may remember that the Ten Years After's song, 'I'm Going Home', went on forever (9min25sec). Alvin Lee was hypnotic, and the beat ... the beat itself, high or not, if you close your eyes you will instantly be inside the beat, you'll be the beat. I have a particular memory of sitting in a room of one of my houses and being high, and all of a sudden I saw a ball of fire jumping from speaker to speaker to the beat. Seriously, people, it was the most awesome musical thing that I've ever experienced!

What's so funny about this story is that if you met me today, you'd see that I'm a white bread person. I'm a soft rock/country/oldies person. I don't do things out of the box, I don't do things to rock the boat, I don't do things illegal or things to damage my reputation, integrity, or health. But at that period of my life, like most that age, I was still looking for who I was, was experimenting with music/looks/ideas. And I was trying to 'fit in' and 'be cool'.

And to this day, 40 years later, we still talk about Woodstock and our own experiences surrounding it, even if it was only owning the movie and sound track album! We're still talking about how it was a defining period in our individual and collective lives. Even my second husband and I (David, the 35 years and counting husband) still talk about it as if we we're in our middle twenties and listening to it for the first time (well, actually, he still is listening to it in one form or another!). The only one I truly followed after the initial Woodstock period was Joe Cocker, and the father/daughter dance at Melody's wedding was his 'You Are So Beautiful to Me'.

Anyway, in a few weeks the remembrances of Woodstock will have died down, and we'll be back to the age of the aging baby boomers, the generation that brought about possibly the biggest change in musical history ever, reliving their youth every 20/30/40/50 years thru the resurrection of a movie and a time that won't fade until the last of us is gone.
If you're of the age that you remember Woodstock, did it influence you in any way, or was it just a blip on the news to you? Who or what was your favorite artist or music?


Midlife Jobhunter said...

This is such an incredible post - so honest and the perspective you add shows your emotion from that time so well. I was a a few years later than Woodstock, rather intimated by what I heard of it when it occurred. But in college, when I stretched my own wings, I so wished I could have participated. I think it is our experiences from youth that shape us, turn us into who we are today as we continue to explore, albeit in different way.

Great post. Thanks for sharing.

glnroz said...

i was doing music at the time, but was out of step with the Woodstock movement. I think I have tried over the years to get back in step. :) I was at the Dairy Queen.. lolol

Wendy said...

I'm not old enough, but boy I wish I could have been there. It's funny how people keep trying to create that event, but it was so different then it seems like. I have big time 60's envy!

Missy said...

I was 5 years old so I don't remember it. What I do remember is that I was afraid of hippies! I love the music from that era, and sometimes feel as though I should have been born earlier, so I could have experienced the 60's as a teen.

Great post!

Timoteo said...

I suppose Hendrix doing the national anthem was the most stirring thing...but Richie Havens "Freedom" still strikes me as being the "anthem" of the festival...that's what it was all about, right?
You should see Taking Woodstock--I don't think you'll be disappointed.