“In Search of the Lost Chord: 1967 and the Hippie Idea” by Danny Goldberg— The Year That Was

Goldberg, Danny. “In Search of the Lost Chord: 1967 and the Hippie Idea”, Akashic Books, 2017.

The Year That Was

Amos Lassen

Danny Goldberg takes us back to 1967 and gives us a complete and panoramic look at the culture, politics, media, music and mores of the year and he shows us what an important year it was here in America. His research is serious and he conducted many interviews and to cite one example, his chapter on underground media is thoroughly detailed. But then again, he was there in 1967 and he knew people that were involved so therefore he gives us his personal take. Because of this we get an intimate look and we see that ’67 was a year of activism and resistance. We see the “lasting resonance of the hippie era.”

That year was the Summer of Love and the release of Sgt. Pepper and the Summer of Love as well as the beginning of a culture that we still have today. Goldberg weaves together colorful and disparate narratives and reminds us how the energies and aspirations of the counterculture were linked to and part of protest and reform. Even though this is a personal history, it is also a subjective history of 1967. Goldberg graduated from high school in ‘67 (I received my masters and moved to Israel) and he tells us that this is “an attempt at trying to remember the culture that mesmerized me, to visit the places and conversations I was not cool enough to have been a part of.” Goldberg gives us a refreshing and new analysis of the era. He looks at not only the political causes, but also the spiritual, musical, and psychedelic movements of that year.

Aside from the aforementioned “Sgt. Pepper” and the Summer of Love, 1967 was the year of

debut albums from the Doors, the Grateful Dead, Jimi Hendrix, Janis Joplin, among many others. It was also the year that “millions of now-illegal LSD tabs flooded America; Muhammad Ali was convicted of avoiding the draft; Martin Luther King Jr. publicly opposed the war in Vietnam; Stokely Carmichael championed Black Power; Israel won the Six-Day War, and Che Guevara was murdered”. Hundreds of thousands of protesters vainly attempted to levitate the Pentagon and the word “hippie” died, and the Yippies were born.

Goldberg gives us interviews with Allen Ginsberg, Timothy Leary, Ram Dass, Tom Hayden, Cora Weiss, and Gil Scott-Heron (one of many of Goldberg’s high school classmates who entered the culture) and taken as a whole, “In Search of the Lost Chord” is a record of seminal moments in the psychedelic, spiritual, rock-and-roll, and political protest cultures of 1967. Goldberg uses the year to explore what led up to it and what’s happened since.

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