It was hot in London in July 1969. Brian Jones had been found lifeless, floating in his swimming pool at the House on Pooh Corner. The Beatles were breaking up. Brian Epstein was dead. The Stones were being hotly pursued by Scotland Yard. The Vietnam war was becoming a worldwide issue, spreading as far as the Arts Lab in London, where international artists, musicians and politicos gathered to protest in a mass demonstration outside the American Embassy in Grosvenor Square, memorialized in "You Can't Always Get What You Want." Down at the Chelsea Drugstore, we were lining up for American hamburgers and talking about this summer festival that was going to take place in upstate New York. Friends were booked to play: Jimi, Graham and his new band with David Crosby and Stephen Stills, playing together publicly for the first time, The Who - it seemed a little disorganized, but the chance of going to America was always attractive, so with everything else that was going on, it almost seemed like a good excuse to get out of London, oppressive and ominous after Brian Jones' death.
The London scene was spinning to a stop, but something else was in the air. Leaving Jagger to mourn Brian with butterflies, poetry readings and a concert in Hyde Park, we boarded various international flights and came to look for America. For some of us, it was Woodstock, and for some it was Los Angeles or San Francisco. But that was when it started; like somebody threw a switch, or blew on the smoldering fire. No longer was it just rock 'n' roll. It was a movement, out of which arose a class of music and a unique class of musician. As world wide events shook the foundations of civilization, the musicians became the commentators and sometime prophets. Paul McCartney once likened the Beatles to lookouts in the crow's nest of the ship that we were all in together. The role of the musician/singer/songwriter of the 60s and 70s was societally more important than it had ever been, and possibly ever will be again.
Ironically, Woodstock also marked the beginning of the end. Juxtaposed against the Kent State massacre, the seriousness of what it appeared that Nixon wanted to do to "hippies," the continuing slaughter of America's young men in Vietnam and the resultant migration of draft dodgers to Canada, the Manson slayings, the deaths of Jimi Hendrix, Janis Joplin, Jim Morrison, the mess at Altamont, the depradations of the LAPD on the Sunset Strip, decimating the freewheeling peace and love parade, Woodstock seemed like a final party before the sun began to go down. What went wrong? Why did the gold turn to glitter, and the glitter to dust? Sex? Drugs? Rock 'n' roll?
If you listen to the music, you will learn more than reading all the history of the times. Not only from the words of the great lyric poets like Bob Dylan, Lennon-McCartney, Jagger-Richards, Pete Townshend, Joni Mitchell, the Motown artists and writers, but also from the purely emotional music of Hendrix, Clapton, Page and their peers.
This site is a testament to some of those artists. We began with a random selection of musicians who were great influences on the contemporary music of the time. We will continue to add artists every month or so, until we have a solid database representing the music that continues to influence generations.
Please let us hear your suggestions, let us know what you'd like to see, and any ideas you may have to make this thing work! Check out our links, let us know if there's anything we should link to, send us links that you like. Please visit the message board, and let us know about any new music you like, too. We'll have some contests going in the near future, so stand by on that. Check out our affiliates, too, and our Rockphiles store. If you make a purchase, it helps to keep us going.
But, in the meantime, welcome to Rockphiles! And don't forget -it's all about the music.