Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Actual 60's

See, this is why we go to primary sources.  When people write about the 60's, they cherry pick data and bleed in some 70's.

As I did nearly a year ago when I went looking for music, just because I haven't put any up there for awhile, I searched Shindig at YouTube.  The concentration of stars per weekly lineup is amazing, and I reflected on why the shows failed.

Ben is doing a thorough examination of nominated videos for "Most 90's Song Of All Time."  (It's clear which child got my OCD, list-making tendencies.  Hope he uses them better than I.)  It occurred to me that this would not only be a more difficult, but an impossible task for the 60's.  And yet, there may have been more variety in the 90's.  We may be hitting a paradox here, where the very similarity prevents distinctiveness, and thus representativeness.

My head hurts.  Forget that, it's deeply unimportant.

I would propose instead that one of the distinctives of the era would be bands appearing in a lineup.  Hullabaloo and Shindig, Where The Action Is, and the lesser-known Happenin' 68 all had that format, a modified form of American Bandstand.  Festivals - Folk, Pop, Blues, Jazz, and Rock - were crowning events of their seasons.  Church basements had coffee houses with an array of people playing sets, and highschools or cities sponsored a Battle of the Bands.  Interesting to wonder what effect that may have had on Boomer groupthink, and how that highlighting of the importance of hipness and awareness became - and still is - a form of social control.  I don't see any conspiracy about it.  You don't have to teach a cat to catch mice.  But perhaps it did distill that value, even if it did not create it.

Now your head hurts.  Forget that, it's deeply unimportant.  What's important is that it had a good beat and the kids could dance to it.  I gave it a 95.  Here's a good representative:

The commercial jingles are still locked in my head: That's self-styling Adorn. A-dorn.

Trivia question:  What dance do they break into at 4:13 (and 4:29)? Discuss.

As usual, you can't eat just one.


Earl Wajenberg said...

In science fiction and fantasy, over the last ten, twenty years, the Victorian era has become a popular setting. It can be the real Victorian era with magic or weird science secretly salted in, or a parallel Victorian era with the weird variations reigning openly.

I have often wondered when the time might be ripe for the Sixties to become a fantasy adventure era. Moon shots, Cold War conspiracies, psychedelics... Perfect hooks, it would seem, to hang fantasy adventures on.

But maybe you can't do that sort of thing while there are still people around who remember that time.

Steve Sailer said...

I was on Shindig when I was 6 or 7. An episode was filmed at the local park and all us little kids were filmed going up and down the slides, which was then shown in fast motion like in a Beatles audience. I think Paul Revere and the Raiders were the musical guests.

Sponge-headed ScienceMan said...

I always like Gerry & the Pacemakers. When they were an established British sensation, the up and coming Beatles just hoped they could catch up to the Pacemarkers' level of fame & fortune.

Michael said...

That drummer for Manfred Mann is a hoot and I have no idea what dance they broke into, but they certainly were the most entertaining of the three acts. Don't Let the Sun Catch you Crying - a staple of local bands everywhere in the 60's and a favorite slow dance for those in attendance. Shindig was worth getting home from school quickly to see (it was on in the afternoon, wasn't it?)

Sam L. said...

I recognize the arm motions. but I didn't dance then. I was not social.

Sponge-headed ScienceMan said...

I'm with you, Sam L.

Texan99 said...

I always thought of it as the "monkey."

I agree, the Manfred Mann drummer was a hoot. I always think of Bill Murray leading the troop in that song, such a good one.

My very first record was Herman's Hermits. I bought it for $5 at the local mall.

Assistant Village Idiot said...

Dingdingdingding! It is indeed, The Monkey. A fairly stupid-looking dance, but dramatic at a distance. It was less popular at school dances because of the amount of space one takes up with it. (See also, The Freddie, an even more stupid dance. White people trying too hard.)