Summer of Love: The Hits of 1967

Summer of Love: The Hits of 1967

(Time Life)

First Appeared in The Music Box, August 2007, Volume 14, #8

Written by Douglas Heselgrave

Sun August 19, 2007, 05:45 AM CDT


With all of the hype surrounding the 40th anniversary of the Summer of Love, there probably are a lot of people who are so thoroughly sick of 1967 that they just wish the year would be wiped clean from the publicís collective memory. Among the many reminders, there have been highly publicized parties for the anniversary of The Beatlesí Sgt. Pepperís Lonely Hearts Club Band, a commemorative issue of Rolling Stone magazine, and an onslaught of television specials and re-released albums. Itís hard to believe that anyone interested in the music from 1967 doesnít have multiple copies of all the songs they like from the era, considering the array of formats in which they already are compiled. Therefore, itís understandable that Time Lifeís announcement of a newly commissioned two-CD, one-DVD boxed set entitled Summer of Love: The Hits of 1967 would be met with an enormous amount of trepidation. Nevertheless, once the music begins to play, an irresistible spell is cast upon the listener. No matter how many times a person has heard these songs, itís impossible to take issue with the selected material, which runs the gamut from Cream to Stevie Wonder, from The Spencer Davis Group to The Mamas and The Papas. There havenít been many other years like 1967. In fact, only 1977 ó which featured crucial releases from Sex Pistols, Talking Heads, Bob Marley, and The Clash ó even comes close.

What makes Summer of Love: The Hits of 1967 stand apart from many of the other quirky re-releases that are available is the obvious care and attention that went into every aspect of the setís production. The music speaks for itself. The 40 selections that were culled for Summer of Love: The Hits of 1967 truly are representational of everything that happened during this landmark year. One certainly could quibble that there are no songs from The Beatles or the Rolling Stones featured on the endeavor, but licensing issues surely had some influence over what was included. Regardless, the collection is stronger for it. Instead of the aforementioned mega-groups, listeners can hear lesser known acts, such as Strawberry Alarm Clock (Incense and Peppermints), The Seeds (Pushiní too Hard), and The Grass Roots (Letís Live for Today). The tracks were sequenced with care, and the tunes flow seamlessly throughout both discs.

Summer of Love: The Hits of 1967ís DVD is a real treasure trove that includes footage of Haight Ashbury and the Human Be-In. Also featured on the set are early performances from the Grateful Dead; Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young; Jimi Hendrix; and Janis Joplin. For fans of the Grateful Dead, there are hilarious and often priceless interviews with Jerry Garcia, Bob Weir, and Mickey Hart. The booklet that accompanies the collection also is well produced, and vintage photographs are tucked amidst the reminiscences by Jorma Kaukonen and others.

In the end, Summer of Love: The Hits of 1967 is the best overview that is available of the music and cultural revolution that typified the year 1967. No matter how many times these songs have been heard, they still provide a delicious trip down memory lane for anyone of a certain age. As for those who are too young to remember 1967 firsthand, they will come to understand what the fuss is all about. starstarstarstar

Summer of Love: The Hits of 1967 is available from Barnes & Noble.
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1 Star: Pitiful
2 Stars: Listenable
3 Stars: Respectable
4 Stars: Excellent
5 Stars: Can't Live Without It!!


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