The 1960s were a moment to remember. Music, fashion and drugs converged to create a decade that would change the course of history. The number of pioneers engendered by the “Swinging Sixties” is staggering. Ranging from The Beatles and The Rolling Stones to Vidal Sassoon and Andy Warhol, there was no end to the inspirations he gave us. The past 50 years wouldn’t have been the same if it hadn’t been for this pivotal decade.
A major part of the 60s was the countercultural or hippie movement. He informed the social mores of young people challenging the old and established order. Via music, drugs, politics and fashion, alternative lifestyles have really taken off. If you were to remove any of the aforementioned conditions from the equation, it would have seriously damaged the whole situation, as all of them had an equal role to play in rejecting the old world chains.
When you think of the 60s and its new bohemian style, a few things come to mind. Grateful Dead, Country Joe and the Fish, the Vietnam War, Martin Luther King, the Manson family and the Summer of Love all existed in the colorful but imperfect menagerie of flower power.
However, two of the most notable things were The Beatles and LSD. Liverpudlian icons have changed the face of music forever. Their impact on culture was so great that it needs no explanation. Then we come to LSD, the ubiquitous drug of the day. It permeates the most significant aspects of creation during this very prolific period. It acted as the lubricant that took the Beat Generation to the hippie via Dr Timothy Leary and Ken Kesey. Considering the psychedelic color scheme of the day, the revolutionary sound boom, and even the murderous infatuation of the Manson family, they all came from LSD in some way. Even John Lennon’s first wife Cynthia blamed their marriage breakdown on the psychoactive note.
The Beatles have become famous users of LSD. Since the years 1965 Soul rubber, the group’s work was increasingly influenced by LSD. The convergence of the Beatles and drugs has given us some of their best moments, including Revolver in 1966, and Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Group one year later.
While we are not advocating drug use, as many victims of the era have been attributed to excess, it makes us wonder how the Beatles came to take such a transformative substance. After all, it greatly affected their careers. We wouldn’t be crazy to claim that without LSD we wouldn’t remember The Beatles the way they are today.
It also led to their individual spirituality, which resulted in George Harrison’s belief in God and John Lennon’s meeting with Yoko and renouncing his past violence and chauvinism. In a 1987 interview with the iconic but now defunct Cream magazine, former Beatles guitar hero George Harrison recalled the days when he and John Lennon first experimented with Lysergic Acid Diethylamide.
Recalling his mind, Harrison said, “Let me tell you what happened: I had a dentist who invited me, John and our ex-wives to dinner. He had this acid he had taken from the guy who ran Playboy in London. And the Playboy guy had made it, you know, the people who had it in America. What’s his name, Tim Leary. And this guy had never had it himself, didn’t know about it, but he thought it was an aphrodisiac and he had this girlfriend with huge tits. He invited us over there with our blond women and I think he thought he was going to have a scene. And he put it in our coffee without telling us, he didn’t take it himself.
The “Quiet One” continued, “We didn’t know we had it, and we had made an arrangement earlier. After having dinner, we would go to this nightclub to see some friends of ours who were playing in a band. And I was like, ‘OK, let’s go, we have to go’, and this guy kept saying, ‘No, don’t go, finish your coffee’. Then 20 minutes later or something, I say, “Come on John, we better go now.” ‘We’re going to miss the show’.
Harrison then remembered that the unknown dentist had finally revealed to his guests that they shouldn’t leave because he had doped them with LSD. Harrison said, “I had heard of LSD, but it was before all the panic, everyone was saying heaven and hell and stuff. So luckily I didn’t care.
Eventually, Harrison drove him, his wife, and the Lennons to the club they had planned to be. They ordered a drink and everything was fine until something “suddenly happened”. He recalls, “I just had this overwhelming feeling, I couldn’t understand why this was happening. But it was like I was so in love with everything. I felt so good that I wanted to hug everyone and tell them how much I love them.
Things were going to change quickly for the newly ordained psychedelic Argonauts: “Suddenly the room started to move around a bit and stuff like that, and the next thing I remember was like World War III was unfolding. “
In what looks like a drastic turn of emotions, Harrison added, “Bombs were falling, all kinds of things, and I finally gathered my senses and realized the club had closed. “
Harrison remembers leaving that club and then going to another, the Ad Lib Club, with Lennon. He said the fateful evening “lasted forever”. In the classic, laid-back style of George Harrison, he concluded: “We had heard about it, but we never knew what it was and it was maliciously put in our cafe. So it really wasn’t us who were transforming each other or the world or anything – we were the victims of stupid people. “
After this significant experience, it left John and George with pressing questions, in particular, “Hey, how the hell are we going to tell others? “Because” there is no going back after that. It’s like you can never go back to what you were before, luckily.
The six-string Beatles maestros opted for what they saw as the only solution: “We have to get more and give them.”
On the next Beatles tour, the duo managed to get their hands on some of the mind-blowing chemicals, but waited until they got to Los Angeles. Here in the counterculture realm where LSD reigned supreme, they were like, “OK guys (laughs), you’re gonna need this stuff.
For the Beatles, the rest was history. Without this pivotal moment, we wouldn’t have had some of our favorite albums from the past six decades. Moreover, during this Cream interview, Harrison mentioned subsequent trips with Jim McGuinn and David Crosby of Byrds fame and also “what’s his name? – Peter Fonda – who suddenly introduced himself”.
Watch Harrison talk about his first bizarre LSD trip, below.