San Francisco, 1967: The Summer Of Love And The Grateful Dead

By | November 29, 2016

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Left: Hippies at the corner of Haight and Ashbury Streets on May 4, 1967. Left: Cover art for the Grateful Dead's self-titled debut album, released 1967. Sources: Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images; Amazon

The summer of 1967 was the "Summer of Love," an explosion of hippie spirit and groovy ideals that occurred in San Francisco and sent shockwaves outward for the years that followed. The Summer Of Love's epicenter was the Haight-Ashbury district, and its house band was the Grateful Dead.

The hippie movement had been picking up steam as more and more young Americans began to question authority and convention. Why dress as our parents tell us? Why follow their rules? What if there's a better way of living and higher consciousness to be discovered? Their questionings and explorations led them to create new art, ponder taboo ideas, and indulge in plenty of sex and drugs. San Francisco became a Mecca -- people traveled from across the United States and even Europe to take in the Haight Ashbury scene.

Gathering Of The Tribes For A Human Be-In

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Poster for the Human Be-In by Stanley Mouse. Source: Pinterest

A key event leading up to the Summer Of Love occurred in January 1967, the Gathering Of The Tribes/Human Be-In rally held in San Francisco’s Golden Gate Park. The rally communicated ideas of the '60s counterculture such as cultural and political decentralization, personal empowerment, dropping out, and ecological awareness. Why was this even held in San Francisco in the first place? Well, this hippie movement came about from the dissatisfaction of student communities around the University of California, Berkeley and Stanford University. Thousands showed up, fostering a spirit of unity among these young, questing adults.