For many, as we’ve already noted, the hippie experience revolved around its music. Just think of Woodstock and the many ways it was the explosion that spread the movement across America and the globe.

Each of us likely has a musician or band we most identify with the era. Maybe it’s tracing the Beatles in their evolution to “Lucy in the Sky With Diamonds” and beyond, including the individual paths after the breakup, or the Rolling Stones or, of course, the Grateful Dead.

I think, too, of Crosby, Stills, and Nash whenever I turn to the jam sessions depicted in my Hippie Drum novel.

Personally, it’s Sly and the Family Stone, Jethro Tull, and the Incredible String Band who most embody the hippie sound in my ear. Maybe with Leonard Cohen, James Taylor, and Leo Kotke or Leon Redbone thrown in. Whatever happened to those folks around me who introduced these musicians, anyway?

Whether you were there or came along much later, there are probably a few favorites of your own. Were they at Woodstock? Did anyone else even know of them? What memories do they stir up? Please fire away in the comments section here!

I’m hoping we got that list of top musicians started yesterday. But there’s more than a list to consider. Get busy. Fire away. And we’ll listen.



  1. Music certainly is central to and evocative of memories – second only to fragrances, probably. You’ve certainly got it and your post began to bring on memories, too. Loved it.! Thanks for LIKING my fun – I hope you’ll continue to enjoy the daily photos from my own true vintage closet. . . . . . . . . . .

    • Now you have me wondering what a list of hippie scents would include. I could start with patchouli, sandalwood, gardenia, Dr. Bronner’s peppermint, the interior of a Volkwagen Beetle, and, ultimately, that distinctive marijuana twang. The list goes on, of course.

      • Don’t forget tobacco and wood. A great 1970s music store in Minneapolis was The Podium: a tobacconist upstairs, a (mostly) acoustic guitar shop downstairs. I have never smoked tobacco, but the combination of scents from the various (unburned) flavors upstairs and the mahogany, rosewood, and spruce in the guitars was out of this world!

        Sandalwood, of course. Grass (both kinds). The smell of machine oil on a typewriter, and of bananas/Duco cement if you had to fix anything (though not hippie-specific). For me, the smell of beer (again, perhaps not specific). The smell of a room full of OLD overstuffed furniture and coffee (from The Coffee House Extempore in Minneapolis). Certainly the smell of leather that comes from hand-crafted items.

        Remember Maude’s scent machine in Harold & Maude?

      • Let’s add some of the aromas from the natural foods store, too. That mixture of herbs, spices, and grains in the air. The one I’m especially remembering was an old place with big, sunny windows.
        Oh, yes, camomile tea and maybe even red zinger.

      • Oh, yeah. Red Zinger! One of the graduation presents I received from my best friends in college (along with a caricature of me wearing a button that said “Reincarnate Lennon!” was a sampler of herbal teas. I never liked “Roasaroma” but definitely got into the Zinger and Sleepytime! And while I know it’s commercial deception, I still like the pseudo-hippie quality of CS’s boxes.

  2. Two mornings ago, I watched a woman jump out of her car, dancing to the music of Sly and the Family Stone. Yeah! She was moving to a new remix of “Everyday People”. And, of course, I joined her in dancing, even though were in a parking lot.
    Does that make us hippies?

  3. It’s interesting that you choose Tull. I tend to think of them as the most successful of three folk/rock bands of the period. Along with Tull, I would include Fairport Convention (my personal favorite–a little more rock and rough) and Steeleye Span (a little more traditional and polished). And yet, when I was in England in 1983, I could not find a music shop person who knew of Fairport! I didn’t look all that hard, but still!

    • I heard him in the Village one winter night. He must have spent an hour on “Here Comes the Sun,” and by the time we were headed to Staten Island, where we were visiting, it was dawn already. What a night!

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