Wouldn’t it be groovy to own your own private island where you can do your thing and live by your own laws and rules with no interference from the outside world?
It’s not an impossible dream, at least for the Beatles and their families, and they’ve tentatively selected a lush isle in Greece’s wine-sparkl’d Aegean Sea and an isolated island off Ireland’s rocky coast, one for winter and one for summer. The latter will have a custom-built recording studio to experiment with strange forms of artistic expression and spin their new musical magic.
Inhabitants of the islands will be trusted servants, caretakers, teachers and professional aides. Visitors will be screened to keep out the press snoops, spies, busybodies, and bores, who bring trouble and disharmony with them like carriers of a plague.
Flying in from all over the world will be invited guests: famous composers, actors, producers, poets. painters, philosophers and a mixed bag of personal friends, all beautiful people. There will be week-end or week-long parties when music, love and laughter rule the island kingdom of the Beatles, but there will also be times for peace and meditation, study and concentration, family communion and complete serenity by the murmuring seas amid terraces and trees in the whispering breeze,
The Beatles do not intend to drop out from society. The islands will be their haven but they also intend to roam elsewhere. John and Ringo stay close to home with the families. Paul and George with Patti dig the California scene so much they intend to come out here about twice a year.
On their recent trip here, George and Patti were all-out hip in dress, ornament, talk, thought and companionship. Hip is heavy with the Harrisons.
Naming some of the pop people he likes and dislikes, George said he digs the Hollies among others—“but not Graham Nash.”
“What’s wrong with him?” we asked.
“Oh, he’s a johnny-come-lately to the hip scene,” George replied. “He should have been one with us long time ago.”
Although he didn’t explain this curious comment, we figured out what he probably meant. Before Graham repented and changed his ways to keep cool, he was hung up on money-making commercialism and gung-ho success. Hip is a state of mind based on a new culture of universal love, sharing of gifts, turned-on creative force and rejection of ancient hates, prejudices, pressures and ego games.
“Don’t judge the Way of Hip by the bummer elements in the movement,” advises Johnny Rivers.
The Bel Air hippies here are a tribe of long-hair self-made millionaires who live in palatial pads, drive Rolls Royces, wear $100 hand-stitched Italian boots with custom-made threads to match. They are the makers and creators of high fashion and modern modes in music, movies. art and design.
Hippies of this tribe include Art Garfunkel, Paul Simon, Dino Martin, Desi Arnaz, Jr., Billy Hinsche, Nancy Sinatra, Johnny Rivers, John and Michelle Phillips, Cass Elliott, Denny Doherty, Cher and Sonny Bono, record producer Lou Adler, talent managers Charlie Green and Brian Stone. The Beach Boys have gone the Establishment route and Elvis Presley, part-time Bel Airer, is still a pre-hip cat.
Credit the Beatles with starting the world-wide movement. Though the word hip, flower power, etc., hadn’t yet been coined, the loverly lads from dear old Liverpool indeed originated the current styles of hair, clothes and music plus attitudes of honesty and frankness that flowered into the present love era.
In the early days of the rock revolution, the riots and rumbles perpetrated by music-maddened maidens were accepted by the stars as rituals of mass worship which inflated their egos and fattened their bank accounts. Beatlemania was a fan-tastic phenomena which other groups tried to generate for themselves. Broken bones, busted heads, stolen instruments, torn clothes, wrecked cars and imprisonment in hotel rooms were considered hazards of the profession.
But enough’s enough. They’ve had it, man. They now realize it’s no flattery when audiences scream throughout their act, hurl heavy objects at them on stage, chase and trample them underfoot; in fact it’s downright insulting to their persons and their art.
One by one the top song groups are copping out on package tours and one-nighter stands. The Beatles, Rolling Stones, Beach Boys, Mama’s and Papa’s, the Association, Hollies and most of the headliners have served notice of quitting the pop shows. Henceforth they will restrict their public performances to places where audiences are known to be non-screaming, non-violent types.
“After awhile the hysterics, chases and attacks get to you.” said Carl Wilson. “You can’t take it any more. The Beach Boys may never go on another tour. If we ever perform again we’ll pick and choose our spots carefully.”
The Beach Boy concert in Honolulu was their last. Brian Wilson who stopped touring with them three years ago, performed there on an organ.
“No more package tours for the Hollies,” Graham Nash promised. “I’m personally fed up with the screamers and molesters. We put a lot of work into our songs which they don’t even listen to.”
The Association are now being booked into expensive adult and junior adult supper clubs such as the elegant Cocoanut Grove in Los Angeles. The Mama’s and Papa’s will perform only two or three times a year at most. We recall Mick Jagger’s sharp retort when asked by a reporter what he thought about going to jail.
“A cell wouldn’t be much worse than a hotel room in Minneapolis,” he declared.
Eric Burdon added, “I wish audiences would remember they are at a music concert, not a football game.”
However, Paul Revere will still drive the Raiders on rides around the country and play anywhere the loot is. The Monkees, between TV and recording studio sessions, will continue personal appearance tours.
Whatever they have or don’t have, the labels are spending bread like water to hoist their highs on the charts, and make the “San Francisco Sound” an international trend.
RCA-Victor’s massive publicity drive for the Jefferson Airplane paid off. The Airplane won its first gold disk for Surrealistic Pillow. White Rabbit is also nearing the million mark. Columbia Records lit rockets under the Moby Grape, a fine fivesome whose music is both hard and soft, danceable and listenable, poetic and joyful, featuring pretty tunes and romantic ballads as well as hard rock. Warner Brothers entered the Grateful Dead in the S.F. pop sweepstakes. Janis Joplin with her Big Brother and the Holding Company were one of the outstanding hits of the Monterey Pop Music Festival.
Musical miscasting of the century: Jimi Hendrix Experience with the Monkees on the same stage tour! After a couple of performances, Jimi was pulled off and sent out with a more mature package show. Jimi agreed it was a no-go show. No matter how hard he tried to hold down his act, it was still too sexy and flippy-trippy for junior audiences.
The cover of the latest Seeds album, Future, designed by Sky Saxon and executed by artist Sassin deserves the Grammy Award as the Best Cover of 1967. It’s an artistic masterpiece worthy of framing. Lyrics of the Seeds songs are printed on page three of the jacket against a background of lilacs, poppies, sunflowers and blood-red blooms. The lyrics are perfect marriages of words and melodies… Sky Saxon, wearing a cast on his arm, had a very dull explanation: “I fell downstairs.”
What did Billy Joe and the girl throw off the bridge? Bobbie Gentry won’t tell. Some things are not discussed in public. She did explain that “Billy Joe jumped because things were too much for him. I don’t say he died.”
Like the white girl in Janis Ian’s Society’s Child, Billy Joe’s girl was pressured by prejudiced parents to break it up because he was of a different religion and came from Choctaw Ridge, the “wrong side of the tracks,” so to speak.
Bobbie was surprised that the tragic Ode To Billy Joe was a super hit. “Most of the songs on my album are happy,” she says. “They deal with life in the South around my home which isn’t a depressed area.”
If it’s true, as some say, that teenagers want better film fare than they are usually fed, then the picture to see is the British-made Privilege, starring Paul Jones, former Manfred Mann head vocalist, now on his own. Mike d’Abo replaced Paul at the MM mike.
Privilege has a power-packed screen script and a series of swinging songs that should grab not only teenagers but all-agers. It’s a musical actioneer about a young idealistic pop singer who falls into the hands of cynical money-hungry promoters who change him into a Bible-pounding, gospel-shouting, hymn-singing crusader for Christ who never gets the money from the collection plates. The sound-track in an upcoming album could be a No. 1 tally-hopper.
Acting-singing-harmonica-playing Paul Jones, now 25, owns and operates a pair of sea-green eyes, a shock of long wheat-colored hair, a six-foot frame, a bright brain and a three-ply talent that won’t stop. Son of a British naval officer, Paul became an Oxford University drop-out in revolt against the upper-middle class conformity programmed for him by the family. Free to starve or else, he went to work as a railway porter, store clerk, boat hand and waterfront roustabout before he began earning his bread with Manfred Mann.
“I feel a strong bond of sympathy with the hippies,” he told an interviewer. “After all I dropped out of school but I don’t agree with the hippie tendency to drop out of life. I’m all for action and I’ve cast my lot with the young people who want to change the world and make it a better and more honest and beautiful place to live.”
A new quartet, the Jefferson Handkerchief, has recorded a zing-zow ding-how song about the pretty little flower girl—who is allergic to flowers.
The Canned Heat are getting hot on the top tallies with their Liberty album and single, Rollin’ and Tumblin’, a great old Muddy Waters blueser. Though all five are Californians they are all-gone-out on the sounds of Mississippi and New Orleans blues. If you’re tired of squirty runts and dig big guys for a change, lead singer Bob Hite is your meat. He weighs 300 lbs.
Murray Wilson, Beach Boy dad, donated $5,000 to an organization to help fight drug addiction among young musicians. The worst of the addictive youth-favored narcotics is methadrine, known in the junky’s jargon as “speed” or “crystals.”
Mr. Wilson was the first Beach Boy manager but he was a too strict disciplinarian and the boys broke away. More recently the Sunrays quit his management, and now he’s looking for a new group to promote, sponsor and manage.
Dino, Desi, & Billy are turning on fans more and more with their concert appearances. In Hawaii with the Raiders and the Beach Boys their sound was greater than ever.
Girl singers with all-male bands are a new trend. Being women they do enjoy feminine spats and jaw sessions. Overheard between two thrushes backstage at the Hullabaloo, “If you can’t say anything nice about her, I want to hear every single word of it.”