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Author Danny Goldberg on Searching for the Truth Behind the Hippie Myth

 

In mid-1967, at the tail end of the Summer of Love, Berkeley freshman Danny Goldberg went down to Haight-Ashbury to check out the scene. The neighborhood was buckling under the weight of 100,000 new hippie inhabitants, but a sign in a store window told Goldberg all he needed to know; it read simply “Nebraska Needs You More.” “It couldn’t possibly survive the attention it got,” says Goldberg of the San Francisco counterculture. “It was dead.”

Goldberg may have arrived late, but 1967’s transformational spirit stayed with him as he navigated through the music industry in the coming years, first as vice president of Led Zeppelin’s Swan Song Records and eventually as Nirvana’s manager. In recent years, Goldberg has taken on a side career as a historian. His newest book, In Search of the Lost Chord: 1967 and the Hippie Idea, explores and fuses together the musical, political and spiritual revolutions of the time into a narrative about a moment when “there was an instant sense of tribal intimacy one could have even with a stranger.”

Goldberg’s primary goal for the book was to tell the actual story of 1967, not what he calls the “cartoonish” version that has flourished for decades. He goes deep on less-discussed topics like the short-lived but influential underground newspaper San Francisco Oracle, and psychedelic scenemakers like the Fugs and the San Francisco Mime Troupe. “There was a real flash of idealism … and inner exploration,” Goldberg says, “and it created something I think is worth remembering.”

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Author Danny Goldberg on Searching for the Truth Behind the Hippie Myth

 

In mid-1967, at the tail end of the Summer of Love, Berkeley freshman Danny Goldberg went down to Haight-Ashbury to check out the scene. The neighborhood was buckling under the weight of 100,000 new hippie inhabitants, but a sign in a store window told Goldberg all he needed to know; it read simply “Nebraska Needs You More.” “It couldn’t possibly survive the attention it got,” says Goldberg of the San Francisco counterculture. “It was dead.”

Goldberg may have arrived late, but 1967’s transformational spirit stayed with him as he navigated through the music industry in the coming years, first as vice president of Led Zeppelin’s Swan Song Records and eventually as Nirvana’s manager. In recent years, Goldberg has taken on a side career as a historian. His newest book, In Search of the Lost Chord: 1967 and the Hippie Idea, explores and fuses together the musical, political and spiritual revolutions of the time into a narrative about a moment when “there was an instant sense of tribal intimacy one could have even with a stranger.”

Goldberg’s primary goal for the book was to tell the actual story of 1967, not what he calls the “cartoonish” version that has flourished for decades. He goes deep on less-discussed topics like the short-lived but influential underground newspaper San Francisco Oracle, and psychedelic scenemakers like the Fugs and the San Francisco Mime Troupe. “There was a real flash of idealism … and inner exploration,” Goldberg says, “and it created something I think is worth remembering.”

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