Boomers Liked the Psychedelic Music of 1967

Every now and then Mister Boomer is asked why he doesn’t post his favorite top 10 lists more often, such as: Top 10 Inventions of the Boomer Years; Top 10 Fashion Trends: Top 10 Colors of the 1950s; and of course, Top 10 Music Lists. His answer, especially when it comes to music, is how could you stop at just a Top 10? Music was so varied lyrically as well as musically, even within each year of the boomer era, let alone across the span of 30 years. Nonetheless, favorite of-the-moments arise for all of us. In Mister B’s case, he has a hankering to hear certain things in a sort-of-cycle. One week he may really want to delve into Del Shannon and Buddy Holly tunes. Another, it may be anything that features vocals by Grace Slick or Aretha Franklin. Still another, it’s all about soul and R & B. Currently, psychedelic music has taken a priority on his playlists, and in particular, the psychedelic music of 1967.

Like all musical genres, psychedelic characteristics edged their way into the various sub-genres of rock & roll, from folk to pop, rock to acid. Most historians agree songs with psychedelic characteristics began appearing somewhere around 1965. This coincided with the spread of mind-altering substances, particularly LSD, known as Acid, and Psilocybin, otherwise referred to as Magic Mushrooms. Psychedelic music was said to have been influenced by these drug trips, or best appreciated under the influence of such hallucinogenics. The music often contained dreamy, surreal and sometimes literary-based lyrics. The musicality of psychedelic music was often played with the addition of non-traditional rock instruments, such as the sitar and tabla, with changing time signatures that could encompass extended instrumental portions within the song. Electric keyboards also played an increasingly important role in the melody.

In 1964, Ken Kesey set out in a bus with a group of followers named The Merry Pranksters to experiment and promote the mind-altering — some said mind-expanding — properties of LSD. The group would host Acid Test parties that included music. Kesey’s favorite band at the time was The Warlocks, later known as The Grateful Dead. Hippies embraced the Native American cultural links to various forms of hallucinogenic “trips,” and combined it with a growing appreciation for Eastern Spirituality, to influence rock music in the U.S. and United Kingdom.

Dr. Timothy Leary, a psychology professor at Harvard, conducted experiments with LSD and other hallucinogens as early as 1962. The University — and the CIA, who reportedly kept a governmental eye on him — did not approve of his work, and in 1963, Harvard dismissed him. In 1967, Leary told a mostly Hippie crowd at a San Francisco Human Be-In to “Turn on, tune in, drop out.” It was a new slogan for a new generation still discovering its way. Music that day was provided by the Grateful Dead, the Jefferson Airplane, Moby Grape and Big Brother and the Holding Company.

Mister Boomer has mentioned previously that he did not partake of the drug culture of the boomer years. Nonetheless, he really dug a song with a great electric organ hook and wailing guitar. That brings us to 1967, an unbelievably creative and prolific year in the world of rock music, which included psychedelic rock music. Here are some key psychedelic releases from that year (in no particular order). Many are now considered classics, and synonymous with the genre:

• The Beatles recorded both the Sgt. Peppers Lonely Hearts Club Band and Magical Mystery Tour albums, the most psychedelic and experimental of their records (which included A Day in the Life and Strawberry Fields Forever)
• Jimi Hendrix released Are You Experienced? in the U.S., (which gave us Foxy Lady and Purple Haze)
Time Has Come Today by the Chambers Brothers
Light My Fire by the Doors
I Can See for Miles by The Who
Incense and Peppermints by Strawberry Alarm Clock

Can’t Seem to Make You Mine by the Seeds
Hey Grandma by Moby Grape
Mellow Yellow by Donovan
Somebody to Love by Jefferson Airplane
• I Had Too Much to Dream (Last Night) by the Electric Prunes
I’ll Be Your Mirror by The Velvet Underground
A Whiter Shade of Pale by Procul Harum
(We Ain’t Got Nothing) Yet by the Blues Magoos
She’s A Rainbow by The Rolling Stones
When I Was Young by Eric Burdon and the Animals
Flight from Ashiya by Kaleidoscope
Nights In White Satin by the Moody Blues
See Emily Play by Pink Floyd
Strange Brew by Cream

See the quandary? Of course, there was a slew of other top hits in 1967 that were not of this genre. Even still, how can anyone slight psychedelic music from 1966, like Norwegian Wood by the Beatles or Psychotic Reaction by Count Five; or A Question of Temperature by Balloon Farm and Nature’s Way by Spirit in 1968?

At the right time, it’s all good, boomers. So, make your Top 10 lists if you want. Mister B is content to listen to all of it, whenever he wants. Isn’t that what the freedom of on-demand music brings us? How about you, boomers? What 1967 psychedelic hits are drifting through your head these days?

Some Boomers Lived With Multi-Generational Housing

In times before the Boomer Generation, it was fairly common for multiple generations to live in one household. Multi-generational housing is defined as adults over the age of 25 sharing the same home, often consisting of grandparents, their children and grandchildren. It makes perfect sense, since many parents or grandparents of boomers were immigrants who needed a home base to start. Then, of course, the Great Depression arrived and forced a lot of families under one roof out of financial necessity.

After the War, returning soldiers went home and lived there until they were married. As the parents of the Boomer Generation had families of their own and moved to the suburbs, the number of people of different generations sharing the same home began to drop precipitously. A study by the Pew Research Center states that by 1950, that number was just over 32 million people in this living arrangement. Ten years later, that number dropped to around 27 million. The implications are obvious: the dream of Boomer families was to have their own space, not shared with parents, grandparents, or both. This downward trend continued until the 1980s.

In Mister Boomer’s experience, it was fairly common to have friends or family who lived in multi-generational households. Mister Boomer’s family is an example of how this housing arrangement came and went at various times for various reasons. His grandparents, when they were married in the early 1900s, moved in with his grandmother’s sister and father. Her mother had died five years earlier, so it was expected that the daughters would take care of their father. When he passed away in the 1920s, Mister B’s grandparents bought a home of their own. Over the next decades seven children and Mister B’s great-aunt lived in the house. By the time the War ended, all but two of the children (Mister B’s aunts) had moved to homes of their own. Two of his aunts remained for several years, having been married and had children of their own. When his paternal grandfather passed away in the early 1960s, his grandmother sold the family house and moved in with her son’s family, creating another multi-generational home-away-from-home.

Mister Boomer had neighbors who lived in multi-generational households, also referred to as extended households. The common denominator for all these situations was that the boomer children were either first or second generation Americans. Statistics show then, as now, the closer the family is to their immigration date, the greater chance they will share a household with multiple generations.

Frankly, it did not seem strange to Mister B growing up around this family living arrangement. He feels, at this point in his life, it only enriched his upbringing by having his grandparents, great-aunts and great-uncles living with other relatives. The family traditions he knows all came from those interactions.

In the post-recession days of the late 1980s-early 90s, the number once again began to rise. As in earlier decades, new immigrants to the country accounted for a good percentage of those households. However, as hard economic times fell on many families, the necessity of shared housing became a major force in the trend. Today, after a year of pandemic living, that number is the highest it has ever been, with an estimated 20 percent of the population living in multi-generational households.

What’s more, the fastest growing age groups for people living in multi-generational households are either aged in the 25 to 40 group or 85-plus. That tells us that college graduates are moving back in with their parents, and family elders are moving in with their children. According to AARP, this does not bode well for our future housing needs. The estimate is that by 2030, one of every five Americans will be over the age of 65, so we boomers have a front-row seat at the prospect of a severe shortage of affordable housing in our golden years.

How about you, boomers? Did you have a grandparent or great-grandparent living with you in your boomer years? Do you have a parent or grown children living with you now?