The Flower Power era broke every conventional rule, led by individualist mavericks who challenged and redefined long-held norms on fashion, food, lifestyles, inequality, social justice and especially music. And they did it with style, flair and individuality. So many of these innovators will be on the Flower Power Cruise next March. Here is just a sampling of how they forever changed the world and our minds.
When The Beach Boys released “Pet Sounds” in 1966, the band had little inkling that its remarkably complex songs would go on to influence The Beatles’ “Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band” and reshape pop music for decades to come.
Blood, Sweat & Tears helped to define a new musical genre, “jazz-rock.” The group’s compositions took rock, pop and blues and deftly mixed them with improvisational jazz (and even a little classical).
When we hear The Lovin’ Spoonful’s songs like “Do You Believe In Magic” and “Summer in the City,” it’s easy to get caught up in their perfect sing-a-long choruses and not notice the masterful songwriting behind them. None of the group’s hits sound alike, a revolutionary concept, with each embracing different musical genre – ragtime, country, folk-pop and hard rock.
The Yardbirds have long been credited with starting psychedelic rock, not to mention launching the careers of Eric Clapton, Jimmy Page and Jeff Beck.
Big Brother & the Holding Company built one of the greatest psychedelic albums in history, “Cheap Thrills,” their last album that featured a lead singer they recruited a couple of years earlier named Janis Joplin.
The Family Stone broke new ground when it became the first multi-racial and multi-gender rock band in America. It also redefined R&B music by championing psychedelic soul, a mix of funk, pop, soul, rock and psychedelic.
Peter Asher is known for being the first half of Peter and Gordon, but it’s his work behind the scenes that influenced the sound of multiple eras and genres of music. After signing James Taylor to the Beatles’ Apple Records, Peter went on to produce records by Linda Ronstadt and Bonnie Raitt.
Cheech & Chong redefined comedy with their comedy that embraced the peace-and-love spirit of the Flower Power era and brought cannabis culture to the mainstream.