Recalling the Sounds of the Sixties

I’ve been watching The Vietnam War, a new PBS documentary series about the war the Vietnamese refer to as “The American War.” Having lived through the tumultuous 1960s, I was fortunate never to have been forced to fight. Already, it was a time of such convulsive change with the anti-war movement, hippies, drugs, birth control and everything else that was going on. I was mostly a big jazzhead (and still am), but hearing the songs featured in the excellent PBS series’ soundtrack reminds me of some of the music that I listened to back then. Anyhow, I thought I’d share some of my favorites in this 1960s-themed Spotify playlist. (Warning: The Fugs track includes explicit language.)

  • “The End” by The Doors: At the age of 19, I moved into my own tiny flat and decided I would try my first-ever joint. Before taking the first hit, I turned on my color wheel, thinking I’d get the full effect. Instead, the smoke felt uncomfortable in my lungs because I had never even smoked a cigarette. So there I was, listening to “The End,” while lying on a mattress on the floor of my apartment, waiting for something to happen. But nothing happened.
  • “Pushin’ Too Hard” by The Seeds: I feel like this song really captured a lot of the restless energy felt by my generation during the 1960s.
  • “Mellow Yellow” by Donovan: I admit, I was one of the scores of idiots who tried to bake, scrape and smoke themselves high with banana peels. Stupid, I know. But it was the 1960s, and I was young and adventurous. I blame Donovan. Needless to say, the dried banana peels didn’t work either.