The late 1960’s was America’s revolution of peace that flourished and spread through the rest of the world, even though we were trapped in a grueling war. The children of the revolution were commonly known as hippies, a term many say now with a lick of disdain. It was happy, free, rebellious, and any other term with positive meaning behind it. For myself, being too young, I did not get to experience this era.
And quite oddly enough, the idea I associate most with the love, peace, freedom movement is Donovan--the boy that everyone accused to be a Dylan imitator, and later, to the British government, a leading figure in drug use. But in most households today, as I’ve observed, Donovan is a forgotten legend.
When I first discovered Donovan (my interest spiked after I saw 200 Motels where they mentioned him and associated him with the hippies), my dad regarded my interest as dumb since Donovan was a man of few hits. How could you aspire to make it in music if your idol was barely successful in music himself?
My dad made the bold mistake of reducing the man to a no-name (such as The Starfires, who mysteriously fell off of the Earth after a 45 that everyone searches and pays large sums of money for). In reality, though, Donovan has made hundreds of great songs, has had his run with the best of the bests, and can probably be given partial credit to bringing Led Zeppelin together [Page, Jonesy, and Bonzo played together on “Hurdy Gurdy Man.” Later Plant would appear on “Barabajagal” with the Jeff Beck Group, but this didn’t happen until 2 years after the formation of Zeppelin.]
Joe Meek is a genius...even today his music still floats. His music drifts into the general consciousness of humanity, blowing minds away, and gracefully waltzing out as if nothing happened.
I can only name one of Meek’s songs if asked, although I listen to I Hear A New World on a daily basis (“It’s good for the soul,” I tell my mother). The one track I can name is “I Hear a New World” because it is the title track, and the name is repeated over and over again throughout the song. The main reason behind me not being competent enough to name the song would probably be because I view the album as a concept album. Thinking of the album as one huge song enables me to invent my own meaning behind it, without the definitive boxes of song titles.
It’s not really a huge concept album, though. The songs still remain in the average “50’s/60’s Pop” standards never breaking four minutes. So unlike, Roger Waters’ albums for Pink Floyd that bring the listener on an epic journey through the human psyche, Meek takes the listener through space which proves to be about 15 minutes shorter than the average Waters album takes us. Not to say that’s a bad thing because it allows me to listen to it in one sitting (when it comes to music my attention span magically increases).
Meek's songs still shock me. It amazes me to even fathom that an album such as this could have been produced in 1960. The album still makes me think as if I’m on a new planet in another galaxy of space; it utilizes the basic idea of endless possibilities.
In this day and age, punk rock is dying in little underground bars that only wish they could be compared to CBGB's. What’s surprising is the garage-rock revival--the closest label we now have to punk rock. The garage-rock revival is made up of several indie bands ranging from the Yeah Yeah Yeahs to Jet, with roots centered more in synth-punk than their founding fathers of the 60’s.
Of course, there are obvious exceptions to the “average” synth-punk based garage-rock band. Take Jack White’s bands—The Raconteurs and The White Stripes—both of which have strong blues-based roots behind them ( “My Doorbell” by The White Stripes, and “Carolina Drama” by The Raconteurs). Yet,in most of today's garage revival groups one can hear inspiration from the early days of Joy Division rather than the 13th Floor Elevators or the Electric Prunes.