Hard to imagine, at least to those of us “of a certain age”, that it will be 50 years since 1968 first visited us. The year started off with lots of promise and hope. We were still questioning life and why things were the way they were. There was High School, and for some, there was college – and maybe you were too young; just getting started and it’s all a blur and the best you can remember is the smell of baby powder. But if you are of that “certain age”, when life was unpredictable, but thoroughly possible, and getting stoned and falling in love were two of the most important parts of your life, there was a lot to look forward to. 1968 could very well be the best year of your life.
So here we are, in Fresno California and it’s February 1968. Fresno is a quiet place, mostly – all the action has been going on further to the South in Delano with the Grape Strike that’s been going on forever. If you were in High School, you were thinking a lot and you wanted to become involved. If you were a Senior in High School, you had the draft hanging over your head, and that meant Vietnam – and maybe you were for the war or maybe you were against the war; you heard stories about the Draft Board. But no matter what, this would be your last February of being a kid.
And as with every passage of time and rite associated with that passage, there is a musical accompaniment attached. Consciously or unconsciously, music factored into your catalog of feelings and thoughts; got in there and somehow influenced you, and makes you smile or cringe, even to this day. That’s the imprint Music has on people whether they know it or not.
And while FM is creeping into the vocabulary, there is still AM and Top-40 occupying your consciousness. And as much as you hate to admit it, there are times when the first few notes of Simon Says by The 1910 Fruitgum Company snaps you into a place and time that feels like yesterday. Sadly, those imprints aren’t selective, and as much as we’d like to associate falling in love with How Does It Feel, by Jefferson Airplane, the likelihood of Bubble Gum being the soundtrack winds up being more likely.
Try as you might, being a hopeless romantic has a mind of its own – and in 1968, it was scattering everywhere.
So as a reminder that music has the power to create an involuntary and indelible association, here is KYNO in Fresno, with Lee Duncan from 8:00 am to 9:00 am.