By the time I came over to San Francisco as an adult to sample what was left of the Counter-Culture movement, the area known as the Haight-Ashbury District still had a "funky-vibe" to it some fifteen years after the fact of The Summer of Love. Of course there was the inevitable "gentrification" around the neighborhood and in the near-by environs---the result of the real estate boom of the 1970s which sadly replaced a lot of the low-income housing with condominiums, trendy restaurants with cloth napkins and dishes that the US/Euro-jet crowd could enjoy. Those lucky enough to benefit from the city rent-control laws still made it a mixed-income neighborhood so older and wiser refugees from Consumer America could still gather at local saloons and hear poetry and folk music or enjoy a reinactment of sorts of the free concerts that were held "on the green" from time to time at near-by Golden Gate Park.
Whereas some had come to in 1967 to "tune in, turn on and drop out" to use Dr. Timothy Leary, Godfather of the LSD movement, now it seem the drop-outs were more society outcasts than itinerant seekers of truth--the homeless and the destitute looked bereft of hope and just wanted food and a warm place to sleep in a doorway or in the parks. This was the fall-out from the handy work of first Governor and then President Ronald Reagan, a leader with an uncanny knack for stigmatizing people and emptying state mental health facilities of people who were far from equipped to deal with the unkinder and harsher America he and his proponents decided was the cure for an imaginary lack of morals among the young and the workers and veterans who didn't see things the new establishment way. I suspect some of these people wound up in the nihilistic cults of the 70's that climaxed with the frightening figure of the Reverend Jim Jones of the People's Temple who took 900 people out of San Francisco and into the jungles of Guyana on his paranoid race to perpetuate one of the greatest acts of mass murder-suicide in November of 1978. I was living in the Bay Area at the time and I vividly recall the utter terror of what a single human soul was capable of--so far from the liberating melodies of the best of the artistic community in the former decade.
Then there came a new group of folks around the Haight area--the "neat-niks", those slumming youngsters from the post "Flower power" era, most armed with money who came into San Francisco and dressed down to hide their wealth from trust funds or the fresh money they had made in the real estate and computer industry boomlets in the outlying parts of the Bay Area, especially the San Jose/Santa Clara/San Mateo County area south of of the wind-swept City by the Bay. These folks begat a new generation of faux counter-culture types who were more urban hipsters than revolutionaries of either material or spiritual values. I suppose it all had to end (and I felt more of a tourist myself than a part of any movement). But it was nice while it lasted and the music lives on, as does a spirit that might not have quite caught on in Middle America, USA, but still inspires millions in and out of San Francisco even four decades and more later.
Before they became "The Grateful Dead", the group that became world-famous and typified the loosely-defined San Francisco Sound were known as "The Warlocks". Jerry Garcia didn't have his trademark facial hair yet, but the music a lot of their music was still infectious.The Grateful Dead began their career as the Warlocks, a group formed in early 1965 from the remnants of a Palo Alto, California jug band called Mother McCree's Uptown Jug Champions. The band's first show was at Magoo's Pizza located at 639 Santa Cruz Avenue in suburban Menlo Park, California on May 5, 1965. They were known as the Warlocks although at the same time the Velvet Underground was also using that name on the east coast. The show was not recorded and not even the set list has been preserved. The band quickly changed its name after finding out that another band of the same name had signed a recording contract (not the Velvet Underground who by then had also changed their name). The first show under the new name Grateful Dead was in San Jose, California on December 4, 1965, at one of Ken Kesey's Acid Tests. Earlier demo tapes have survived, but the first of over 2,000 concerts known to have been recorded by the band's fans was a show at the Fillmore Auditorium in San Francisco on January 8, 1966. Later on that month, the Grateful Dead played at the Trips Festival, an early psychedelic rock show.
Above, Grace Slick and Janet Joplin.
Of course there were a lot of bands that didn't rock the world so to speak but they are certainly
worthy of recall. Below here you can find Craig "Butch" Atkins and his band The Count Five, a "one-hit wonder" group that was formed in my home town of near- by San Jose, thirty miles south of San Fran.
From Wikipedia" "The band was founded in 1964 by John "Mouse" Michalski (born 1948, Cleveland, Ohio) (lead guitar) and Roy Chaney (born 1948,Indianapolis, Indiana) took over bass duties, two high school friends who had previously played in several short-lived outfits. After going shortly under the name The Squires, and several line-up changes later, the Count Five were born. John "Sean" Byrne (1947-2008, born Dublin, Ireland) played rhythm guitar and lead vocals, and Craig "Butch" Atkinson (1947-1998, born San Jose, California) played drums. The Count Five gained distinction for their habit of wearing Count Dracula-style capes when playing live.
"Psychotic Reaction", an acknowledged cornerstone of garage rock, was initially devised by Byrne, with the group refining it and turning it into the highlight of their live sets. The song was influenced by the style of contemporary musicians such as The Standells and The Yardbirds. The band members were rejected by several record labels before they got signed to the Los Angeles-based Double Shot Records. "Psychotic Reaction" was released as a single, peaking at #5 in the U.S. charts in late 1966. The band got along for about another year, but dropped out of view altogether when their only hit had fallen from public memory. Another setback to a potential career in the music business was the decision of the five members (who were between the ages of 17 and 19) to pursue college degrees."
And no doubt some of those degree-seekers were trying to get deferments to stay out of the disaster that was the Vietnam War, a war without clear purpose that held a pall over the whole era.