“Second of two in a row from Love‘s 1967 masterpiece Forever Changes, because it really is an album (as opposed to a collection of songs). Or as an ex-DJ friend once put it – ‘I find it hard to put tracks from Forever Changes in a mix, because they always work best next to each other, as part of the intended flow.’ And these songs aren’t exactly out to take prisoners, not obviously anyway. They’re just content to work a warm and consistent and slightly hazy (perhaps smoggy) LA vibe of heartbreak and beauty and colours forever changing and whatever else it is that Arthur Lee‘s singing about. With titles like Maybe the People Would Be the Times or Between Clark and Hilldale, he’s clearly singing about everything. But love most of all.” (Philip Random)
“I don’t believe I heard Love’s Forever Changes until at least the 1990s. Not consciously anyway, because it is the kind of album that might’ve just slipped by. Not for any inherent weakness so much as its subtlety and, I guess, its timelessness – its strings and horns and multicoloured melodies and mysteries. It may have come out of Summer of Love Los Angeles, but heard in the background at a café or from the next room at a party, it could be almost any decade (since the 1960s anyway). As for Alone Again Or, it’s all in the title, I guess. Not so much a love song as a lack of love song, yet there is still hope. It is 1967 after all.” (Philip Random)
“More proof that when it came to a certain kind of sunlit psychedelic sweetness (which it seems was only ever achieved by anybody in and around 1966-67) the singer songwriter (some called him a poet) known as Donovan had no peer. Yes, Bob Dylan’s poetry went deeper and destroyed more fascists, and Donovan did on occasion get lost in hippy dippy wormholes, but its damned hard to argue with the mystical magical stuff of Sunshine Superman (the album) a song like Legend of a Girl Child Linda in particular … whatever it’s about. Because I never really seem to be able to track it all the way through, the trance takes me, like I’m stuck in someone else’s dream, and sumptuous it is, all cascading crystals, hillsides of velvet, valleys of flowers.” (Philip Random)
“Yeah, Jim Morrison was an asshole, who died for his own sins, nobody else’s. But damn, the Doors were a strong band, and yet they were pretty much nothing without him. And that first album in particular – well, somebody had to do it. 1967. Summer of Love – offer at least a hint that there was a darker side to things even as it was rocketing to the top of the charts. Soul Kitchen makes the list because it’s remained mostly well hidden over the years, and thus, no allergies.” (Philip Random)
In which the Velvet Underground remind us that in NYC, the so-called Summer of Love was more about coolness and shadows and shiny boots of leather than the hippie sh** that was so popular elsewhere. Music so driven, angular, dark that it made you want to grab a whip and get to cracking it in time. Based on a rather pivotal 1870 novella of the same name that explores themes of sadomasochism and dominance, it hits like a wrong door, the kind you open without really thinking about it, but once you have, whatever’s going on in there – it has you, it won’t let you go. Which perhaps begins to explain how it ended up being used to sell tires.
“I find I generally don’t have much to say about the Beatles (and they do have quite a few selections on this list) — probably because so much has already been said. And yet, there’s always someone new coming along who needs to be reminded. They Changed Everything Forever. With a bunch of help from their friends. Western man couldn’t even see in colour until they came along – not with his third eye anyway. I believe Love You To was the first time a sitar graced a Beatles tune. 1966, final seeds being sown for the summer of love about to erupt.” (Philip Random)
In which Echo + The Bunnymen pay homage to Liverpool local heroes of two decades previous by shambling through an at least half-assed, half-cynical, half-brilliant reimagining of one of the essential summer of love classics. “And the thing is, it f***ing works. At least it did for my psychedelic soul one hot summer day, well into the 1990s. What the hell was I even doing tripping well past my thirty-fifth birthday? Why was I alone in that dank hole of an apartment? What was the fucking point of anything in my misplaced life beyond mere survival, which is the ultimate losing game anyway? And so on. I was on a slippery slope, pitching fast into a darkstar. But then there was Echo + his BunnyFriends in the background, from a random mixtape … reminding me. You’re never really alone, never truly beaten, or doomed. All you’ve got to do is find something to give.”