The sixties were such a halcyon time: no stupid wars to serve the economic desires of the military-industrial complex; no social and civil injustice to drive people into the streets to protest their mistreatment,; everyone just being happy and trying to, in the words of the recently deceased Rodney King, “just get along.”
Ah, good times.
As we all know, the above is a load of crap. The sixties were a violent, turbulent decade where a lot of terrific people spoke truth to power and paid a high price for their honesty – like getting shot, for instance. It was a decade that saw hundreds of thousands of young men sent off on foreign interventionist windmill tilts that got tens of thousands of them killed. A decade that saw some Americans treat other Americans in ways that suggested the lessons of WWII that they’d learned were those taught in Berlin.
It was the decade where we learned to “tune in, turn on, and drop out” – and created the drug culture that’s fucked so many good people up so that some goddamned criminals could get rich.
Like the guy above, Brian Wilson, today’s birthday boy.
He’s 70 – the same age as Tuesday’s birthday boy, Paul McCartney. They were born within 48 hours of each other.
Yeah, you can use that old sixties expression: Like, wow….
Look in the dictionary for the term”shattered genius” and you’ll likely find a picture of Brian. If there was ever a fragile personality who didn’t need to take acid, he was it. It took him a couple of decades to make it out from the self-imposed mad house he went into to be cool.
That he has survived and continues to make great music is a testament to – something, hell I don’t know what. Dope got Jimi – and Janis – and Morrison – and Mike Bloomfield – and Kurt – and, no, I don’t know where I’m going with this, I’m just mad about a lot of shit like wasted genius and lives ruined by bad stuff that some asshole claimed was cool – I’m looking at you, Kesey, and you Leary, and you, and me, and all our friends, I guess – well hell.
The only thing to do is mellow out and listen to some Beach Boys.
One more thing, though. I dream sometimes I’m walking down a street in Manhattan and a limo pulls up to the curb and a well groomed sleaze bag by the name of Jann Wenner (the Rolling Stone founder) steps out. And I grab him by his Armani lapels and say, “Hey, Wenner, you know how your rag claims the greatest single of all time is ‘Satisfaction’? Well, it’s not – and you know it. It’s this. “
And I slap some head phones on him and hit “play” on my iPod. And he hears this: