The 60s Official Site Blog

Dedicated to the memory and history of the 60s from a personal and historical point of view.

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Tuesday, June 17, 2014

One Groovy Summer

Fun during the summer of 1968 is the theme of the latest book I just finished. "One Groovy Summer" is about two young men looking and finding fun that leads to adventure during the summer of 1968.  I found the book by Rocky Gregory enchanting and and full of many of my memories of summer, especially in 1968.  The story follows two high school friends after high school with concerns of the draft, Vietnam War, and their college plans once summer ends. 

Their adventure results in meeting hippies during this Hippie Movement period of time and other characters that make this book well worth reading.  The onslaught of the Sexual Revolution was just beginning and the music of the sixties was making its bend towards a more psychedelic sound .

It begins and ends as a groovy adventure which I think all baby boomers would love to read so grab the book and start groovin'.

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Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Al Sussman Transports Us Back to the 101 Days That Shaped a Generation

I highly recommend "Changin' Times" by Al Sussman  for all you sixties buffs and baby boomers.  The author takes a look at 101 days that shaped our generation.  

On November 22, 1963 we grieved the loss of our young president as the Beatles were preparing the release of their second LP in England. These 101 days (November 22, 1963 - March 1, 1964) had their impact on the entire world.

I know most everybody can remember where they were when they received the news John F. Kennedy has been assassinated.  The nation was grieving  and in shock and remained so throughout the holiday season. What continued to happen during the next 100 days following the death of our president shaped a nation and generation.

Read this historical book on how these 101 days not only affected our entire generation but the world as well. Beginning with the assassination of  JFK through the Beatle Invasion.  What pulled us up and made us to look at our TV in a different way? 

Al Sussman looks at all events during the 101 days and leaves no stone overturned.  Indeed "the times are a changin.."  Enjoy this look back as Al Sussman masterly weaves the events in those 101 days.

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Monday, February 24, 2014

My Observations and Fret

I recently returned from about a month vacation in Florida.  I definitely had to escape the cold weather coming down from the north to Texas. Anything below 50s is too cold for me! Two weeks of that time my wife and I spent with my best childhood friend, Ron and his wife who vacationing in Florida from Ohio. Loads of fun as we relived old times and shared the laughter of the shenanigans and situations we got ourselves in while we were in elementary and high school.  He hasn't changed much except less hair and more wrinkles. The sense of humor was still there and the smile and laughter I remember remained.

While just he and I  were hanging around together shooting pool or something we not only talked about politics, but how different growing up in the 50s and 60s was as compared to today. As we  looked around the resort where we were staying, most folks were not really socializing with one another but had their phones in their hands, surfing the net, texting and doing whatever you do on today's cell phones. The same thing in the restaurants we visited. Couples together having dinner each engaged on the phone instead in of one another.  I was a little shocked. The cellphone is now taking place of social conversation.

The same goes with today's teens and young adults. Numerous studies found that our young people are not developing the social skills necessary to adequately compete in today's world and that scores on aptitude tests have fallen over the past 5 years. Many psychologists have concluded it is the result of the technology age we live in.  The technology has made our lives better for the most part but it is now taking charge of us instead of vice versa and that is why I am dismayed.

Just yesterday while my daughter and my granddaughter were visiting I tried to engage a conversation with my granddaughter and she had her head buried in her I-Phone so it is on my home front as well.  These are  kids that are not engaged in what is going on around them but the social media the cellphone brings and that concerns me because they will lead our nation sometime in the future.

Of course our parents and grandparents had the same concern with we baby boomers that we would be upcoming leaders so am I fretting over nothing?

I am Carl Hoffman of The 60s Official Site.  Please visit the largest and most visited 60s site on the web.

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Wednesday, November 20, 2013

JFK Assassination

In my 60s Official Site newsletter I asked my subscribers where they were on November 22, 1963, when they received the news of President John F. Kennedy's assassination . The response was enormous as I continue to receive emails telling me where and what they remembered.  Each week since the first week of November I have published many of their memories. I even received one from a young man who was only one year old at the time so he asked his mother where was she when she received the news.  Emails from the UK and Canada were received also as many people world wide remembered just exactly where they were. It is so amazing after 50 years how well we all remember the exact place when we received the tragic news.

I too recall it vividly where I was and how my classmates of Circleville High School received the news.  I  was in Mrs. Wachs English class during my sophomore year in high school.  We actually were marched to the gymnasium for a basketball pep rally where we sat with our class.  The pep rally was unexpectedly interrupted  by our principal. He walked solemnly to the mike and announced the tragic news.  We were immediately dismissed and school did not resume until after Thanksgiving.

During that weekend after JFK's death I recall the rock 'n roll station we listened ceased to play rock music.  Classic music was substituted during that time in honor of our fallen president.  I just as countless other remained glued to our black 'n white TV set and watched the tears fall down my mother's face as John Kennedy Jr. saluted the flag draped coffin as it passed. 

It has been 50 years now and I will never forget that day.

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Friday, August 23, 2013

"50 Years On: The Albums Of 1963 That You Should Have In Your Collection" by Lisa Plumtree


1963 was a simply great year for music lovers. Automatically, our thoughts might turn towards some of the more well known records of the time – particularly the Fab Four’s album “Please Please Me” (more on that later), but alongside this release, as important as it was, it was a musical year of great contrasts and interests. You may be someone who was brought up in the era, who knows and loves the sounds, but equally you may be someone who is coming to the music as a youngster, with a keen ear and willingness to learn. Here are just a few of the wonderful albums released during that year and why you should have them in your collection.

Dave Brubeck Quartet – Live At The Carnegie Hall

Undoubtedly the live setting suited Brubeck and his musicians more than a studio one. This album showcases the best of their sound and is unusual in that it is a full and complete recording of an entire concert, in one take, with hardly any edits applied afterwards. The band were worried that no-one would turn out to see them play. There had been a newspaper strike in New York so advertising for the concert was few and far between. The fears never came to fruition as the hall was packed and this performance rewards the listener with a taste of pure jazz that’s hard to beat.

Davy Graham – The Guitar Player

This virtuoso guitarist and folk hero is someone that everyone who loves to tinker on the guitar or play more seriously should add to their collection. This album is a prime example of a shining talent. Worth it just for the glorious sound of “Anji” alone, Graham’s technique is something that many musos aspire to and his mastery of the folk guitar is rarely equalled or bettered.

Lee Hazelwood – Trouble Is A Lonesome Town

This is included due to the recent reworking of the songs for an album entitled “Thriftstore Masterpiece Presents Lee Hazelwood’s Trouble Is A Lonesome Town” which includes many new acts recreating his original country masterpiece (albeit in a more modern style) from 1963. The original record though was Hazelwood’s first solo effort and came to fruition after a partnership with Duane Eddy and work with Nancy Sinatra was completed. It’s a record of stories and tales rich in folk history, containing many meandering ambles through dark subject matter, but one that should be a great collectible intro to country music for anyone that is not sure or doesn't know where to start. A worthy peer of Johnny Cash, but a musician who rarely gets mentioned.

The Beatles – Please Please Me

An album that still sounds as fresh today as it ever did; this is an astonishing work, full of energy and vibrancy. The original works show how the Fab Four took simple ideas and made them sound complex, whilst the cover versions inject a raw rockiness to the proceedings. Coincidentally, this album is now proving to be a hugely coveted collectible item, particularly in vinyl. For any lover of the band it would make a great collectible gift or present, though be prepared to stump up as much as $4,000 for a copy in stereo sound, whilst a mono copy of the album will still be worth $1,200! Copies of the record with a gold and black label on them are also sought after by fanatics. This is because they were pressed shortly before Parlophone records changed their branding to different colors. After these initial pressings, the labels were changed to yellow and black, therefore earlier ones are always going to be worth much more.

Never Grow Old – The Maytals

Ska was a genre that had found its roots in Jamaica during the 1950s and The Maytals capitalized on a US market’s increasing thirst for it during the 1960s. “Never Grow Old” is a worthy addition to your collection – with lyrics written by the legendary Toots Hibbert and back up from The Skatalites, this is worth it alone for the wonderful “I’m Gonna Sit Right Down And Cry (Over You)”. Many favour The Wailers over The Maytals, but they shouldn’t be forgotten.

The Beach Boys – Surfin’ USA

Surf-rock, a genre that intrinsically makes you think of The Beach Boys and this album, a collection of twelve all-American songs inspires nothing but thoughts of hot sunshine, good friends and wonderful times. It’s notable for it’s unique use of harmonies and the use of a technique called Double Tracking, which made the vocals sound all the more rich and varied. At the time of its release it spent seventy eight weeks in the Billboard chart and is still regarded by many music critics as one of the greatest albums of all time.

It truth, this is all about loving music of an era that produced so much rich and varied talents, genres and styles. Starting or adding to your collection is something that can give a great amount of joy, with treasured memories being rekindled and forgotten sounds remembered.



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Tuesday, July 09, 2013

"My Summer on Haight Street," a novel by Robert Rice Jr.

As many of you know I enjoy reading, especially books that relate to the baby boomer era, the sixties.  Recently I had the pleasure of reading the pre-publication galley of the book "My Summer on Haight Street," a wonderful piece of reading from Robert Rice Jr.  I picked it up one afternoon and finished that evening as it kept me riveted to each page and I could not put it down.

The story follows a recent high school graduate from Milwaukee  in his final year of  high school and his trip to San Francisco to the Haight Street district after graduating.  The story is a fictional account woven around real events and real people as we get to enjoy those promiscuous times of the sixties and the memories of the music of the era. 

The Vietnam War was raging and gearing up and as many did faced the probability of being drafted and with the  undecided choice of attending college for a deferment. This entire book is an adventure during the summer of love  that you don't want to miss.  It was  page turner for me which I didn't want  to end.

I recommend you read it and discover as I did what I missed during the sixties.  Definitely add this one to your summer reading.

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Tuesday, May 07, 2013

Inside the Songs of the Sixties

I just finished reading Brian Forsythe's book Inside the Songs of the Sixties.  Through thorough research and interviews,  Brian Forsythe has mastered  the art of removing the fallacies, myths, and contradictions concerning the artists and music of the 60s. I found it to be a book not easy to put down once you began reading. It is loaded with facts and trivia concerning the artists and their music,  some  which you  have read before but so many more that you have not.  This book is a great reference for connoisseurs of the 60s and its music. It is now a definite reference for The 60s Official Site.

After reading Inside the Songs of the Sixties  I discovered that I didn't know as much as I thought I did about 60s music.  If there is any downside to the book, which is very minor, would be a need for a quick reference index broken down by artists or songs but I definitely highly recommend you grab this one.

You can purchase this book by clicking here.

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