Music’s always been part of my coping mechanism in life. My family could tell my mood by the songs I played. If I’d had a good day, you would hear Simon and Garfunkel, Steely Dan, Jethro Tull or The Beatles coming out from under the door. A more melancholy me would sit in the dark and listen to Pink Floyd, Jackson Browne, America or the Eagles. One night my son wanted to borrow the car. I heard my wife tell him, “You better not go in there son, he’s playing Cat Stevens. My son called his friend for a ride.
1969 started on a Wednesday and ended on a Wednesday. We should have known something unusual was about to happen when Richard Nixon (later to become the infamous ‘Tricky Dicky’) crawled out of political oblivion to capture the presidency from Humphrey and Wallace. You can understand how he squirmed past us. We were still smack dab in the middle of the Vietnam War. Women inequality and racial discrimination ran rampant through the crew cut heads of white supremacy know as the government. Every street corner became a soap box and every town meeting a cry for revolution.
Things were about to come to a head when down in Hampton, Georgia Chris Cowing, Robin Conant and Alex Cooley had a brilliant solution. They would give us a release from the stress of it all by just giving us the things we did best. So we all traveled to the outskirts of the cities to commune with nature and enjoy some loud Rock and Roll music, lots of marijuana and free love. Thus, on July 4th was born the Atlanta International Pop Festival.
Now I know what you’re saying right
now, “wait a minute ‘Backyard’ we all know that 1969 is known for two things…”That’s
one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind” and “Woodstock.” Yes, what
Neil and Buzz accomplished has never been topped for sure. But there were so
many other, and if I might add, more successful concerts across our great
nation. August 30th’s Wight
Festival, September 13th Toronto Rock and Roll Revival and the famous
Don’t get me wrong, not everything was peace, weed and sex. 1969 had its low points too. The biggest blow to the music industry came in early 1969 when the Beatles played their last show atop the Apple Studio in London. So unfortunately, if for some reason, you hadn’t had a chance to catch them in concert, it was now too late. Meanwhile, out in California, some weird shit was going down. Crazy ass Charles Manson and his merry band of loonies were running around murdering people in their sleep. While back east one of the white male elite senators drove his 67 Olds right into the Pouch Pond Inlet and left Mary Jo Kopechne trapped in the car to drown. Eddy ‘Ted’ Kennedy just goes home and crawls into bed like nothing happened. He gets two months suspension and elected to the senate in every race until his death in 2009.
On the bright side, the Supreme Court ruled that we could keep our porn. Canada’s Montreal Expos joined MLB along with the Padres, Royals and the renowned Seattle Pilots. Also, ATM’s get their foot in the banking door while ARPANET starts the internet race. Oh yes, the US Government declared that there are no little green men visiting us. But come on people, we were all so stoned that there was no way we could come up with the internet, Supersonic jets and ATM’s. We were too busy thinking about the important things like; “Man, you ever wonder if maybe the earth is just a speck of dust floating around in somebody’s living room?” Hell, the little green guys probably flew off across the universe laughing their asses off at how screwed up humans are.