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November 20th, 2013

I do remember the 60's...

As we will hear all too often this week, everyone who was alive fifty years ago, on November 22, 1963, remembers where they were when they heard the news. (I was 11 years old.) No big deal. My parents can do that for December 7, 1941; younger folks here do that for the Challenger, or 9/11.

What about more pleasant there-I-was memories?

Late summer of 1965, my brother (in high school, three years older than me, and the unspoken arbiter of cool for me, though I would never admit it to him) and I are in the car with mom, going down Eight Mile Road (in Detroit), coming home from the dentist's office. (We had moved to Birmingham but still went to our old dentist in Harper Woods.) My brother makes us stop talking, to listen to the new Bob Dylan song that they're playing on the radio. It's strange. It's rock. It's long! I always thought Dylan's voice was weird but someone you couldn't not listen. And now he's singing with an actual rock-and-roll band. Ha! Like my older sister, I was an unrepentant folkie and sneered at rock and roll; but my brother was willing to accept Dylan with rock. The words puzzled me... did Dylan really mean to imply that he wanted to be a member of the Rolling Stones?

The first weekend of June, 1967, we were up at our summer cottage on Lake Huron, and my brother (he was 18, just graduated from Seaholm high school) had just bought the new Beatles album. It was a cold, rainy weekend. We spent a lot of time indoors, listening to that record on my sister's cheesy portable stereo system. (She was still away at college.) It sounded like nothing I had ever heard before. And were The Beatles really changing their name to Sergeant Pepper's Lonely Heart's Club Band? I was so confused. It was really rather frightening. But I wanted to hear it again...



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