During 1967-8, The Lovin’ Spoonful, The Animals, The Who, Richie Havens, Jefferson Airplane and the Iron Butterfly, performed in the gymnasium at the small, liberal arts Drew University in suburban New Jersey. Turns out, this experience was not unique to Drew. College campuses across the country were essential for the growth of popular music, and of rock music in particular in the mid- to late-sixties. The music industry took notice as booking agents, record shops, pop music promoters, radio stations, and industry magazines and newspapers all began to place more emphasis on the opportunities provided by the nation’s colleges.
While we know a great deal about activism on college campuses during the sixties, we know little about that same environment and its relationship to the growth and development of rock culture. This essay will explore the relationship between the growth of rock culture, the college campus, and the broader sixties experience. The college campus proved crucial in the development of rock music as student tastes determined “rock culture.” Folk, pop, soul/R&B, folk rock, hard rock, and psychedelic/acid rock, thrived simultaneously on the college campus from 1967 to 1970, precisely the period of significant change in popular music.
In 1968, undergraduate Greg Granquist spent the opening weeks of the fall semester at Drew University in northern New Jersey being busier than usual. Elected chair of the Social Committee earlier that year, his job involved providing entertainment for the student body of about 1,200. Granquist kept busy putting together the pieces of an ambitious plan to bring a rock band to campus in early October. With little guidance or experience booking entertainment but with a little advice from a fellow student, he contacted a talent agency in New York, arranged for the band, and agreed on a date and the cost. As that date approached, he and another student, David Marsden, scrambled to advertise as much as possible, fearing the whole thing would flop and lose money. In addition to ads in the student newspaper, The Acorn, the two students promoted the event well beyond the campus. In a recent interview, Granquist described how he advertised the concert:
I promoted the hell out of it. I set up ticket sale outlets at record stores in Dover, Morristown, Madison, Millburn, Westfield. I contacted high schools. Dave Marsden and I went on nearly daily poster runs going door to door to place bright yellow and red placards in store fronts.
The students’ efforts worked. It didn’t hurt that the band was the Jefferson Airplane, then riding the wave of two hits songs, “Somebody to Love,” and “White Rabbit,” now anthems of the psychedelic rock era. The concert, held on 4 October in the campus gymnasium, “was a great success. It paid for itself and then some,” Granquist recently told me, still relieved it went so well.1
Booking an iconic rock band like the Jefferson Airplane to perform at a small, liberal arts college in suburban New Jersey in 1968 seems improbable, and maybe it is. More improbable are numerous other iconic bands and artists, such as The Lovin’ Spoonful, The Young Rascals, The Animals, The Who, Richie Havens, and Iron Butterfly, performing at the college in 1967-8 alone. As it happened, though, this experience was not unique to Drew. College and university campuses across the country were becoming essential for the growth and development of popular music in general, and of rock music and its attendant culture in particular in the mid- to late-sixties. The music industry took notice as well. Booking agents, record shops, pop music promoters, radio stations, and industry magazines and newspapers all placed more emphasis on the opportunities provided by the nation’s colleges, if only grudgingly and slowly. A 1965 music industry editorial declared, “There’s more money on college campuses than there is in Las Vegas”2
The role of the college campus in the growth and spread of pop music expanded swiftly during these few years, reflecting growing numbers enrolled in college as well as important changes in student preferences. While classical and jazz once ruled the college scene, they were being eclipsed by other popular forms. According to industry research in 1965, 17 percent now preferred pop vocalists, 16 percent folk, and 14 percent rock ‘n’ roll, reflecting the overall growth in pop and rock music over the previous year. Additionally, students spent on average 22 hours listening to records—more than a third of their leisure time, and the typical student owned 61 singles and 36 albums.3 More than two-thirds of them purchased those singles and albums at the local record shop near campus. A year later, the nation’s college students exerted even greater influence on pop music. As their numbers ballooned to nearly 6 million, they now constituted one of the most important and dynamic markets for popular music concerts and an increasing percentage of all concerts took place on a college campus.4
At the time Greg Granquist began to play the part of rock impresario at Drew University, the relationship between rock and the popular music industry was in a state of flux and had been for several years. Unknown to him, and others cast in similar roles, the networks, managerial infrastructure and concert circuit either did not exist or were in their infancy. Starting about 1966, these circumstances served as the parameters within which rock music culture developed, with the college campus becoming a key feature of, and site for, that development.
We know a great deal about activism on college campuses during the sixties, about dynamic student life, protests, marches, walk-outs and occupations.5 We know little, however, about that same environment’s relationship to the growth and development of rock culture within the broader sixties culture. Rock culture of the late sixties wasn’t merely the hazy, drug-fueled trip of aimless rebellion depicted in subsequent popular culture, nor was it limited to Woodstock, Altamont, or San Francisco’s Haight-Ashbury district. While each of those venues matters, rock culture also developed in not-so-visible places and spaces, and its participants, shapers, and innovators could be and were earnest and sober. Rock music took shape in virtually every region of the country where it could gain traction, find an audience, and sell enough tickets to pay for travel to the next gig. Its emergence after 1965-6 paralleled the development of an accompanying infrastructure and culture. The experience at Drew University during 1967-8 exemplifies the relationship between the growth of rock culture, the college campus, and the counterculture sixties experience.
The story of concert promotion at Drew confirms Keir Keightley’s argument about rock music culture’s “stylistic eclecticism” and shows how one of the origin points of this noted eclecticism was the college campus with its built-in diversity of musical performance/taste, its unique relationship with the surrounding communities, and its reliably rotating student population. Michael Kramer has added to rock’s eclecticism the idea that the counterculture and its accompanying soundtrack, rock music, “fostered an efflorescence of civic engagement…to invent modes of citizenship” appropriate for difficult and changing times.6 At the same time, the recent work of David Farber and Joshua Davis, as well as their ideas about “right livelihoods” and “activist entrepreneurs,” respectively, has contributed to a historiographical trend away from the movement leaders, marches, and mass protests of the counterculture narrative, toward a focus on “the countercultural project,” in Farber’s apt words. This essay continues that effort by placing relatively typical college students at the center of the earnest exploration of the rapidly changing world of the mid- and late-sixties, the advent of rock music culture, and the counterculture.7 More particularly, we should take notice of how, informed by the milieu of student activism in the civil rights movement and making the most of new ideals of freedom in higher education institutions, an organic entrepreneurialism turned away from hierarchical corporate structures of business culture to embrace a “do it yourself” style of music promotion and activity.
The ironies were thick here. While popular music was a mass-produced commodity, the students creatively participated in the making of a rock culture. That entrepreneurial spirit pervaded many aspects of campus life at Drew, where student leaders enjoyed a great deal of autonomy in their decision making. The private, liberal arts college, small with about 1,200 undergraduates, had for years engaged in a variety of progressive causes, hosting Martin Luther King, Jr., in 1964 and Roy Wilkins the same year, as students marched with the NAACP leader through the town to protest the so-called “barbershop incident,” in which local barbers refused to cut the hair of blacks. With a mostly white student body made up overwhelmingly of the sons and daughters of working- and middle-class families, the undergraduates embodied the changes taking place around the country. The campus provided an ideal space for entrepreneurialism—a culturally and politically savvy enterprising spirit. With little to no faculty or administration involvement or direction, students were free to make their own choices and to take lead roles in shaping campus life and to use the campus as a vehicle to engage the rapidly changing world beyond its walls. In this case study, entrepreneurialism on the campus flourished in the space between the existing music industry and the pre-corporate, artisanal music experience, especially rock music culture.8 This in-between space is crucial to understanding how rock culture and the counterculture emerged during the 1960s.
Taking organizing and promoting rock music on campus seriously broadens our understanding of what it meant to be an activist during this era. Student concert promoters were driven by an entrepreneurial spirit to assert independence and to reinforce and perpetuate values and experiences they found worthwhile, while avoiding or rejecting those they did not. To engage, to organize and attend concerts, to play the music is activist; to do so on a large scale, to invite thousands of others, to spread the culture’s influence through live performance is very much so. While never intending to turn rock into an industry, the student promoters played their part. Although they were unaware of or never intended to play a particular role in the formation of rock culture, college campus impresarios did so as part of the simultaneously developing rock music industry and counterculture. These impresarios engaged with the world around them, giving rise to the wonderfully eclectic culture of rock music.
Histories of rock music, the counterculture and higher education have all missed the significant role the college campus played in shaping rock music as it developed following 1966. Specifically, the college campus experience gave rise to “rock culture,” an unstable and eclectic mix of genres encompassing folk, rock ‘n’ roll, R&B, gospel, pop vocalists, country & western, blues, and even jazz. Only later, in the 1970s, did rock music become a consolidated sound and genre. Likewise, only later did the counterculture, in which rock music played a key part and helped to shape, turn into a more static social symbol and style.
“Collegians Shape the Nation’s Musical Tastes”9
One of the most far-reaching changes of the post-World War II period in the U.S. was the growth of education in general, and higher education in particular. Well documented by historians, this growth resulted from the war’s end, specific legislative efforts, such as the G.I. Bill, the massive “baby boom,” and unprecedented prosperity during the ensuing fifteen years.10 Total college enrollment expanded by 49 percent in the 1950s, and by 120 percent in the 1960s.11 Leading industry magazine Billboard began publishing its annual special issue “Music on Campus” in spring 1964, opening with an editorial on the scope and importance of the college campus as a market for popular music. Its author pointed out that more than 4.5 million students had enrolled in 2,140 colleges and universities around the nation and that the number was growing. Marketers of various kinds scrambled to understand them. While there was no single type, research of 2,000 students at 42 campuses yielded some intriguing data. Reflecting diverse musical tastes, 15 percent preferred folk, followed closely (at 12 percent each) by classical, jazz, and rock-and-roll. With 46 percent holding jobs, college students had considerable spending money, and on average, each purchased more than five albums and three singles a year, or 18,000,000 albums and 6,000,000 singles collectively. Additionally, nearly 70 percent of college students owned their own phonograph at school. All of this directly affected the growth, spread, and sales of music. An artist performing on a college campus could expect increased radio play and a spike in record sales in the area. A kind of hothouse for the development of all facets of popular music, from radio DJs, program directors, and concert promoters, to managers and the artists themselves, college campuses were “turning out the tradesters of the future.”12
Billboard began listing many of the campuses, along with particulars important to the industry, such as lighting and audio facilities, the names of college newspaper editors, campus bookstores and their managers, and local record shops. The magazine published these details in an effort to improve the “lines of communication” between the industry and what was fast becoming not only the major market for sales, but the major site influencing pop music.13Billboard’s research found a slight majority preferred rock ‘n’ roll, highlighting the value for the industry in establishing a better relationship with the nation’s campuses.14 By 1967, a lead editorial declared, “The aloofness of the Ivory Tower was attacked, stormed and conquered during the past year by rock and roll.” One estimate claimed that 80 percent of the entire concert market was now the college campus.15
Meanwhile, all indices suggested continued growth for popular music across the country. Sales of music and musical instruments grew by 7 percent in 1967, topping $6 billion. Sales of guitars alone climbed to more than 2 million units. “Americans will play, listen to and spend more money for music in 1967 than ever before in their history,” according to the president of the National Association of Music Merchants.16 Business boomed across a wide variety of pop music. One of every five dollars spent on recreation was spent on music—more per capita than the rest of the world combined.17 The growing enthusiasm for music among Americans reflected both the diversity of and rapid changes in popular music. And while the industry enthusiastically embraced the new-found musicality across the country in terms of sales, its leaders did not necessarily comprehend the changes then taking place.
Most in the business viewed rock as a distraction; and one that wouldn’t be around for long. The music, viewed as amateurish, just wasn’t to be taken all that seriously. One of those insiders who did anyway was Frank Barsalona. Barsalona grew up on Staten Island and went to work for GAC Talent in New York booking rock bands, or at least attempting to do so. He soon found himself working in an industry that did not take the new rock music seriously; people at GAC didn’t even understand it. Like many other talent agencies, GAC placed more emphasis on TV. The company, and the music business in general, believed rock music “was this bastardized part of show business that was going to be over in a couple of years. There was no future;” “it was the asshole of show business, lower than the rodeo,” Barsalona said.18
Fired from GAC in 1964, and coinciding with the “British invasion,” Barsalona started his own talent agency in New York, Premier Talent, specializing in rock acts. In these early days, the rock music industry was in its infancy and something of a mess. Little if any managerial talent or infrastructure existed to promote it. Bands and artists came and went, as did agents and other impresarios bent on making a quick buck. Almost no one thought rock worth any long-term investment.19 Very few venues catered specifically to rock, but those that did proved crucial for the development of rock culture and the budding relationship between the rock industry, such that it was, and the college campus, amid the growing influence of pop music. Barsalona understood that unless the college circuit was developed, the new rock would likely die out as a live form.20
Rock ‘n’ roll had also changed significantly from its origins in the mid-fifties. Historians and other chroniclers of rock ‘n’ roll’s storied past identify this transitional period from the end of the fifties into the mid-sixties, during which “rock ‘n’ roll” died and “rock” was born.21 A number of works have also framed rock culture in terms that highlight its intrinsic complexities. Musician and historian Elijah Wald frames rock culture as adult and serious, if also problematic and contradictory. Using The Beatles as a foil to mark the destruction of rock ‘n’ roll and the advent of the more serious rock, Wald argues rock music’s fans continued to hold fast to rock ‘n’ roll’s pioneers, such as Chuck Berry and Little Richard, seeing the new rock as evolutionary and including the “oldies,” rather than seeing it as a rupture or break from the earlier forms.22 Rock could and did include folk, country & western, gospel, R&B, blues, and “hard” rock influences. This “stylistic eclecticism,” as historian Keir Keightley calls it, was a holdover from the Top 40 and Hit Parade fashions of earlier years and continued to influence rock in the late sixties.23 No one sound, band, or performer determined what was “rock.” Consequently, it was many things, depending on a variety of factors, popular tastes being paramount. This eclecticism helps explain the continued presence and popularity of folk artists, such as Judy Collins and Phil Ochs, alongside (and often performing with) rock acts, such as Jefferson Airplane or Country Joe & the Fish. Rock music culture reflected broader changes in late sixties America, as many, especially young people, contended with issues of authenticity, the public square, and personal or collective meaning. The result, as Michael Kramer and others argue, was a highly problematic, unstable and unusually eclectic cultural phenomenon tied in inextricable ways to the broader counterculture. The year 1967, with the “summer of love,” the Monterey Pop Festival, and The Beatles’ Sgt Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band album, marked the full flowering of both.24
To be clear, rock music did not simply or suddenly emerge fully formed and universally popular. While growing numbers of young people and the underground press embraced rock, others remained skeptical or unconvinced. Mainstream press accounts often swung between the celebratory embrace of rock music and snarky condescension. A lengthy Time cover story in 1965, while reporting on the music’s dramatically rising popularity among those older than 20, told its readers, “For the past ten years, social commentators, with more hope than insight, have been predicting that rock would roll over and die the day after tomorrow,” and “many cannot take rock ‘n’ roll, but no one can leave it.” At the same time, Life magazine sneered, “Ninety percent of the 130 million single records sold last year were of this big sound [rock ‘n’ roll]. Although much of the music is imitative trash.”25
Beyond the ambivalence of the mainstream press lay the hostilities of local authorities to the opening of rock venues. Town leaders and law enforcement officials often linked rock music culture with loud noise, drug use, and general debauchery. When Ray Riepen attempted to open one such venue in Boston, he was “told by everybody there was no way to get this done because of the police. They were not going to open anything for rock and roll—that meant dope.” Although Riepen eventually prevailed, opening The Boston Tea Party Ballroom in January, 1967, spaces and places for rock music performance remained scarce.26 For all the youth-based ferment around rock music and the counterculture of the late sixties, it is important to remember its adherents and participants remained a small minority of the population. Likewise, it wasn’t singularly rock music, or psychedelic rock, or even folk rock that dominated the commercial charts. Rather, Billboard’s top singles and albums charts of 1967 and 1968 had R&B/Soul, Motown, and pop artists dominating, even while the magazine’s artist of year for 1968 was Jimi Hendrix.27
So, when in 1969, David Hinckley, editor for Drew University’s student-run newspaper, The Acorn, wrote, “Rock now has a history,” he captured this element of rock culture in a review of a recent Ricky Nelson concert at the Boston Tea Party. Writing of “nostalgia rock,” Hinckley astutely pointed out the complex overlapping and intermingling among various styles that formed rock music culture. The trend reflected the sustained popularity of earlier rock ‘n’ roll music as a raft of contemporary rock bands included a few “oldies” in their performances. According to Hinckley,
Rock is now old enough to have a history, and current fans find all sorts of delights in digging Big Sister’s records out of the closet. More serious types realize that Chuck Berry, Jerry Lee Lewis, Little Richard, The Coasters, The Moonglows, and countless others of the 1950s helped shape the 1960s, from the Beatles on.28
Artists performing the “oldies” served to remind everyone, according to Hinckley, that “it was Chuck Berry, not Jimi Hendrix, who first played his guitar all over the stage,” and it was acts such as The Coasters who’d shown the way through dancing as they played, a practice “so many local bands copy so wretchedly today.” Using a pseudonym for the name of the drummer for The Band, a group understood to be conscious of rock traditions, the undergraduate student and budding journalist then signed the review, “Levon Helm.”29
The college environment played a key role in nurturing rock music culture’s persistent eclecticism. A few shrewd observers noticed the trend at least by 1966. In November of that year, Billboard’s Hank Fox reported, “Rock ‘n’ roll music is now the major form of entertainment on the nation’s college campuses.” Booking agencies devoted increasing energy and resources to the college scene. Ed Rubin, an agent with Ashley Famous, said the growth in rock’s popularity on campus had been swift and “an amazing thing. Over the past year, it’s grown 400 percent.” Though the precise numbers varied by agency, performer/artist, and region, the story remained the same. Other agencies, such as William Morris, having paid little attention to rock, now devoted additional resources to campuses. A good act could make a living playing weekends on campuses, and many acts played dozens of shows there annually. One group, The New Christy Minstrels represented by Ashley Famous, played 250-300 college shows each year. While the big names, such as The Beatles and The Rolling Stones, had priced themselves out of the college market, the vast majority of bands and artists could still do quite well there. Thus, the college campus had become the venue of choice for agents and promoters like Barsalona’s Premier Talent. Because colleges welcomed rock ‘n’ roll, folk-rock, and R&B, they “are the biggest market today for the contemporary record artist,” he said.30
Record company “rack jobbers,” who filled racks in campus bookstores, were among the first to see and exploit the trend. As reported in Billboard in early spring 1967, store racks had been completely taken over by rock. Purchases of rock ‘n’ roll albums accounted for 75 percent of all sales. Folk artists still sold well, but behind such acts as Simon & Garfunkel, the Byrds, the Animals, the Monkees, and Herman’s Hermits. For Simon & Garfunkel, well over 90 percent of the duo’s contact with the record-buying public came with college performances. Reflecting an important shift, R&B artists saw significant growth in sales in the college market. According to Hank Fox, in Billboard, “The upswing of record sales [for R&B] on campus has been aided substantially by a more liberal and realistic attitude of bookstore managers.”31 In other cases, the students insisted upon it. In at least one case, a bookstore “told us not to stock any rock and roll,” said one rack jobber. “The manager insisted that college tastes were not compatible with this type of music. But within one week the bookstore was so deluged with requests that he called us to revise its entire inventory.”32
Throughout the previous year, rock music sales on campus eclipsed all others. Billboard’s ranking of Top Artists on Campus listed The Beatles, Jefferson Airplane, The Doors, The Rolling Stones, Aretha Franklin, The Mamas and the Papas and The Temptations all in the top ten.33 Hundreds of college campuses hosted music concerts of a wide variety, with rock the most prominent. And, strictly judging the commerce of popular music, it was now big business, with totals for records and tapes sold topping $2 billion, more than the revenue for all films and more than the total revenue for all sports. Importantly, most of this revenue, nearly 80 percent by the closing of the decade, came from rock music.34 By the later sixties, the college campus became the site for much change as youth embraced rock music culture and led the changes of the era. The opening editorial comment in Billboard’s 1968 Campus Attractions inaugural issue placed the college student at the forefront of change in the country:
Today’s collegians can no longer be considered the leaders of tomorrow. In a large sense, they are the leaders of today. Much of the social and political ferment this nation is experiencing may be traced to the campus. Campus leaders are speaking out on issues, and their elders are listening. In many cases they are following. Collegians no longer fall into molds cast by their fathers. They are creating their own molds. And collegiate tastes in music…are setting the pace.35
Considering the fluidity of popular music’s genres during the post-war years, only clumsily captured by such marketing categories as rock ‘n’ roll, R&B, country & western, folk, folk rock, and so on, numerous clubs/venues catering to each came and went. It is worth noting that only the college campus consistently hosted them all. Not coincidentally, a few enterprising Drew University students began to organize and promote rock concerts on campus in 1967, thus beginning what is in retrospect a remarkably rich experience with and role in the evolution of rock music culture.
‘Between our generation and the young adults there is a tension—an electric guitar string that vibrates only to rock music’36
By the time Drew University’s president uttered the above words to the parents of new students as part of the fall 1969 orientation, the campus had become a hotbed of rock music and sixties happenings, but the practice of bringing rock music to campus really began just two years earlier in 1967 with one student, Glenn Redbord.37 When Redbord arrived at Drew as a freshman in 1964, he brought with him a rich experience from his high school summer job, booking bands for shows on Long Island. First working for someone else and then on his own, Redbord organized shows at area beach clubs for acts such as The Platters and The Shirelles. Arriving at the small, private liberal arts college in suburban Madison, New Jersey, he saw an opportunity to bring that experience to campus.38 The vehicle for this was the Social Committee, in reality never more than two or three students. Redbord chaired the committee beginning in 1966, and he and the students working on its behalf enjoyed “total” autonomy. The university administration had little interest in or knowledge of what they were doing. For instance, when Redbord informed Dean of Students Alton Sawin The Animals concert would cost $2,500.00, “he could not relate to that amount for one group for one night.” Nonetheless, the students proceeded, “with very little oversight,” he added. “Dean Sawin really didn’t relate to what we were doing. Nor did he relate to us or to the other kids on campus.…He didn’t understand, he didn’t even know who these groups might have been.” Asked if the students felt any pressure for accountability, Redbord responded, “Absolutely none. There was no accounting.”39 Well-funded post-war universities overflowing with baby boom enrollees and fairly open, tolerant administrations helped to spawn the promotion of rock culture.
In 1967, Redbord organized several concerts at Drew. He booked the English pop duo Chad & Jeremy in the fall and, reflecting larger shifts in popular music, turned more toward rock acts beginning in the spring with The Young Rascals, whose hits included “Groovin’” and “Good Lovin’.”40 A full-page ad in the 17 February 1967 issue of The Acorn announced Eric Burdon & the Animals for 3 March.41 With a string of hits including “House of the Rising Sun,” “Don’t Let Me Be Misunderstood,” and “We Gotta Get Out of This Place,” this latest iteration of The Animals marked a departure from previous bands. The Lovin’ Spoonful closed out that spring term with a concert in May. Both bands performed to enthusiastic crowds, and subsequent reviews in The Acorn lauded the events, while also reflecting a serious engagement with rock music. For instance, a review of The Animals highlighted the strength of Eric Burdon’s vocals in defining the band’s sound, while also informing readers that “the New Animals have dropped the blues distinction” for which the original group gained notoriety in favor of “common electric rock.” Nevertheless, the review, wrapped around various photos of the concert, extolled the quality of both bands, along with their dynamism and sound, even writing of Lovin’ Spoonful’s front-man John Sebastian, that he “stands with Bob Dylan and Art Garfunkel among popular writers who are making a serious contribution to mass music,” and, promoting the up-coming show for readers, urged, “They shouldn’t be missed.”42 Within that academic year and as a result of Redbord’s efforts, rock concerts became an established practice on campus, reflecting the growing presence and importance of rock music. At Drew, rock music was just one manifestation of numerous experiences whose parts added up to a larger whole. Some elements of that experience related explicitly to the sixties and counterculture, while others did not or did so only implicitly. The final event of the spring 1967 term is a case in point; for “Spring Weekend” Drew hosted a series of diverse acts. Folk artist and activist Carolyn Hester performed in concert on Saturday afternoon and rock band The Lovin’ Spoonful performed in the gym that evening. Rock band The Bit a Sweet, from Long Island, NY, performed at a dance at 10 p.m. the same day. The following day, Beat poet and sixties activist Allen Ginsberg held a poetry reading on campus.43
Though these names sound uneven when strung together today, owing to varying degrees of fame, celebrity, and relative weight in the privileging of certain elements of the sixties at the expense of others, they co-existed seamlessly during the period. Hester, for instance, had been a regular feature of the folk-revival scene in New York for years; one historian called her “the leading lady of the folk circuit.”44 The Bit a Sweet, a psychedelic garage rock band on its way up, signed with major record label MGM and released two singles in 1967, although long-term success did not follow, and the band broke up within few years. The Lovin’ Spoonful, another rock band with local roots, formed in New York’s East Village in the early sixties. Releasing hit singles “Do You Believe in Magic,” “Daydream,” and “Summer in the City,” among others, the band enjoyed major commercial success. By decade’s end, however, the band split, and front-man John Sebastian did a solo, walk-on set at Woodstock.45 Finally, Allen Ginsberg moved remarkably fluidly between the cultural and political tides of the era. A frequent companion of Dylan, The Beatles, and many others, and a regular presence at rock concerts and festivals of the era, Ginsberg’s role was always both political and cultural to a degree that makes the distinction meaningless.46 So, these performances at Drew on that weekend were both disparate and part of the same thing, which was remarkably diverse or eclectic, particularly in light of subsequent categorizations such as “folk,” “psychedelic rock,” and “counterculture,” all too often treated as separate things.
To emphasize the point, that fall the Social Committee brought folk artist Judy Collins (September) and Detroit’s “Motown sound,” pop/soul band The Four Tops (November) to campus, and, in between, avant garde artist Andy Warhol made an appearance (October) that, perhaps intentionally, disappointed and angered nearly everyone. Warhol, invited under the auspices of presenting “pop art in action,” a thing for which he was famous, proved controversial. He evidently sat in silence on the stage, surrounded by an entourage, refusing to engage with the audience for an hour. Afterward, outraged students confronted him on stage. The students accused Warhol of violating the contract and organizers threatened to suspend payment.47 Eclecticism came almost naturally to the college as multiple student-run groups arranged and brought to campus a wide array of artists, intellectuals, musicians, and political figures of the era.48 This eclecticism reflected not merely the discerning judgment of the students, although no doubt it played a part, it also reflected the larger cultural and political milieu in which the students operated.
At the same time, the music could not be separated from that larger context any more than could the cultural and political reality. Nowhere is this clearer than in the pages of the student newspaper, The Acorn. Alongside concert announcements and reviews (with particular attention to shows at Fillmore East following its opening in early March 1968), album reviews, and artist profiles, the paper routinely featured the full range of late sixties politics, mirroring the underground press.49 The paper covered the unfolding disaster in Vietnam, provided tips for avoiding the draft, carried advertising for a moratorium on the war and student walk-outs, teach-ins, and marches, students campaigning against Richard Nixon, ran favorable commentary on the civil rights movement and critical commentary on racism at the university, essays/editorials on the death of Martin Luther King, Jr., a full-cover tribute to Janis Joplin and Jimi Hendrix immediately following their deaths, a similar tribute to Malcolm X, and a broad range of subversive and countercultural commentary and “comix.”50 Especially after 1968, when The Acorn became a member of the Liberation News Service, the national syndicate for the emergent underground press in the U.S., content tilted more toward the radical and countercultural.51 Notably, female students found opportunities as writers and editors at the paper. Frances Edwards served as editor for 1968, while Jean Holt and Ann Green were news editors, Lynn Lillis was advertising manager, and Julie Wilson and Marilyn Benjamin were circulation managers. At the same time, of the technically ten students on the Social Committee, half were female.52 Taking over as editor of The Acorn in 1969-70, Ken Schulman, citing the free love and free speech movements, and the Yippies, said these changes at the school and at the paper were very much a response to larger changes happening across the country and around the world. As editor, and feeling a sense of substantial engagement with those changes, he was “very interested in reporting in an activist and provocative way.”53
An interesting hybridity of politics and culture characterized much of rock culture, as well as the atmosphere at many campuses. Keir Keightley argues, for instance, one hallmark of the new rock music culture was its seriousness and oppositionality to mainstream culture. Rock was unique in that it was “arguably the first ‘oppositional’ form of popular culture to be born within the mainstream” and, importantly, it drew its oppositionality from its seriousness, “rather than the reverse.”54 In other words, seriousness itself functioned as opposition. Michael Kramer pushes this notion further in arguing that rock music culture, and the counterculture, ushered in new notions of citizenship through the building of a “problematic collectivity” of participants and adherents and the related transformation of the public square. Highly problematic and unstable, the new rock culture “provided an arena in which participants could consider the dilemmas of mass culture from within mass cultural life.”55
In 1968, rock music and its attendant cultural implications were facts of life for millions of Americans, but especially for youth, and students at Drew actively engaged that culture. In booking and promoting bands and artists on the campus, the students were tapping into and becoming part of the rapidly developing East Coast rock infrastructure centered on New York City in general and the East Village in particular. This infrastructure consisted of talent agents, a vibrant underground press and the counterculture. Both Redbord and Granquist discovered or chose acts based on availability—which bands or performers were on tour or otherwise moving through the region. Booking agencies in the city handed out packets, with lists and prices for artists.56 The students then negotiated terms and signed a contract. Fortuitously, contracts for gigs at Fillmore East, which opened in spring 1968, included the proviso that bands couldn’t perform any place else within 50 miles of the club during the few weeks around the Fillmore show. The only exception to this rule was colleges. Bill Graham clearly did not see these concerts as competition. Small schools such as Drew directly benefited from this restriction. The arrangement also highlights the overall haphazard nature of the developing scene and circuit. The whole process required entrepreneurialism, more the enterprising and risk-taking than the profit-seeking kind—phone calls, negotiations, paperwork, lots of back-and-forth, promotion, and money. To do it well required a good deal of pluck and time, and several of those involved repeatedly shared examples of how the commitment to arranging and promoting the concerts, alongside their commitments to the anti-war and Civil Rights causes, delayed graduation by a semester or two.57
One of the bands available in early 1968 was The Who, and Granquist booked the popular British group for an early spring show as his first concert.58 Embarking on their first U.S. tour, The Who was not a household name at the time, which made him a little hesitant with the recommendation from Redbord. “The price was $4500 for one show with an option of $500 for a second show. I was dubious—the price was high—but I wanted to have a concert, and I was familiar with their hit ‘Happy Jack.’”59 An ad for the show ran in The Acorn, and the students printed and distributed posters around town. Both Fentsermacher and Granquist remember the concert as very loud and complete with the equipment/guitar smashing theatrics for which the band soon became famous. Though both viewed it as a good show, it did not sell out, and they ended up losing money. Granquist believed that “most Drew students were not ‘hip’ enough in 1968 to turn out for an English rock act.…And I was not yet experienced enough in promoting off campus to tap the Morris county teen population. We only used about two-thirds of the Baldwin Gym's capacity.”60 As it turned out, Drew was the only college gig during The Who’s U.S. tour. Perhaps more importantly for Granquist, the budding rock impresario learned from this experience and ultimately altered his booking and promoting tactics accordingly. He put it more bluntly: “I blundered my way through as far as being a promoter.”61
A concert with Richie Havens in May turned a small profit.62 As a folk artist/singer-songwriter, Granquist believed, Havens was “more in line with Drew student tastes.” In what might be an apocryphal tale, Havens arrived for his performance at Drew only a few weeks following a performance at an impromptu jam session billed as a wake for Martin Luther King, Jr., amid the national reaction to that tragedy.63 Havens seemed to echo the seriousness of the times, delivering an impassioned performance, which student organizers and attendees remembered fondly even decades later.64
As the spring term came to an end and the student body departed campus, Granquist hung around: “I worked at Drew during the summer as a night security guard and got a head start on planning” for the fall concerts. One of the lessons he’d taken away from his experience was simply the mathematical problem facing a small college attempting to book expensive acts. Drew’s gymnasium could only hold about 1,500 people, and the bigger bands cost around $10,000, most of his yearly budget, for one show. At that time, no one was going to pay the $8 or $9 ticket price needed to cover the costs. So, he gambled. “I took a big risk and attempted a ‘first-time-ever, two-shows-in-one-evening’ event…I was inspired by Bill Graham's Fillmore East, where the format was routine.”65 Soon after its opening in March 1968, a number of Drew students made the trek to the venue in New York’s East Village to check out the latest rock acts. Within a few months, the Fillmore was the place on the East Coast for rock concerts, and Bill Graham, having honed his skills as a promoter on the West Coast (at Fillmore West), blazed the trail, offering two shows per night, three nights per week.66 Granquist decided Graham’s model was the only way to pay for a band like the Jefferson Airplane.
Along with simply being budget-minded, Granquist’s decision also fostered a particular kind of audience. Most of those interviewed believe the students made up only about half of the audiences for the concerts; the other half, or so, came from the broader public. Blanketing area towns with broadsides, stacks of tickets deposited in local business, and lots of word-of-mouth, the students tapped into and helped spread rock music culture. For each show, several hundred students mixed and mingled with several hundred others from about half a dozen towns, and even from New York City, to enjoy the music, now twice in a single evening. For those area residents, there was nothing else like what was happening at Drew in terms of rock music performance. This hybrid audience model especially sustained the rock concerts by paying for more expensive acts, bringing them to campus, spreading rock music across the student body, and out into the surrounding area.
By mid-1968, Jefferson Airplane was one of the hottest acts in the country and, following an appearance at Fillmore East in July, the band left for Europe, bringing psychedelic or “acid” rock to a much wider audience. Life magazine added to the band’s growing influence with its June issue, which included the group’s four members on the cover.67 With that, the band “had broken through the psychedelic haze,” in its rise to stardom.68 Returning to New York from a string of gigs in Europe, the band taped The Ed Sullivan Show in late September, held a free concert in Central Park the following day, played the Whitney Museum in the city on 3 October, followed by Drew’s gymnasium the next day.
The concert ad in The Acorn a week earlier announced two shows, at 7:30 p.m. and 10:15 p.m., with opening act Earth Opera, another psychedelic rock band.69 These bands, more than the others brought to the campus to that point, represented the cutting edge of rock and the counterculture. Even allowing for some experience in booking bands and staging rock shows, this was “a big effort for a Drew event,” according to Granquist, and “a financial gamble, too. The Airplane was $7,500, and $500 for the opening act. That's over half the yearly Social Committee budget for a show in early October. I loved the Airplane's music though and felt confident they would sell.”70 He was right; the show sold out. The concert was a huge success, for both organizers and attendees, and the two-show format became the norm.71 The band put on a quintessential psychedelic rock concert, complete with lightshow by Glenn McKay’s Headlights, by then a staple of the band’s visual performance. By all accounts, the show was loud and the psychedelic elements obvious, while the band’s musicianship and vocal performance earned plaudits in a review in The Acorn. Much had changed in the world of rock music since the band’s formation only three years prior. Rock music was now global and the San Francisco sound, or psychedelic rock, occupied a central place in the culture.
The Social Committee closed out a busy 1968 by booking the rock band Iron Butterfly for a 16 November show.72 The band stopped at Drew on the way to a two-night stand at Fillmore East a week later. Granquist again chose the band for its provocative performance. With hit singles, such as the now-iconic “In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida,” the band represented an early example of “heavy metal,” and Granquist wanted to showcase something different. As he said recently, “I recall getting some complaints from students that we were having too many psychedelic shows, and why didn't we get somebody like The Fifth Dimension instead. Whatever. I wanted to push the envelope.”73 Iron Butterfly certainly promised that. The announcement in The Acorn informed readers the band “is a four-man electronic rock group. Their music is between pop and blues, and has been called ‘strange and heavy.’”74
“We were feeling good about it. This was gonna be an easy show because they [the band] were already here,” in a local hotel, Fenstermacher remembered.75 About half an hour prior to show time, someone informed him and Granquist of a problem. One of the band members, no one can recall exactly which, lay naked in a bathtub of ice back at the hotel, as his bandmates struggled to bring him out of a drug-induced stupor. As Fenstermacher rushed over to the hotel to check things out, Granquist remained “anchored to the gym,” pleading with the opening act, The International Silver String Submarine Band, to keep performing as he stalled for time. The delays piled up and the opening band continued performing, outstripping their material and improvising the rest. As Granquist said,
They were heroic. They performed three sets to hold the audience. I hunkered in the Baldwin Gym basement, trying not to think about the difficulties of refunding ticket sales, suing the Butterfly, and general disgrace. Periodically, the floor would rumble from stamping feet. In between acts I would have to announce a further delay, ask for patience, and dodge thrown objects.76
Meanwhile, Fenstermacher, at the hotel, helped lift the naked, and very cold, band member out of the bath, clothe him, stuff him into a car, and race him back to campus for the show, now several hours late.77 As they prepared to take the stage, Granquist continued to placate the increasingly raucous crowd, trying a bit of levity, “Well, we have three Butterflys here but there’s one Butterfly that’s just not quite here yet.” Outside, Fenstermacher consoled and held back a pressing crowd, who’d already managed to break some of the plate glass at the gym entrance. “I was tryin’ to be Bill Graham or something,” in dealing with angry concert goers.78
Ultimately, when Iron Butterfly played, nearly four hours late, they “did a really ripping good show,” according to Granquist.79 The subsequent review in The Acorn echoed this sentiment, describing with high praise each musician and their individual contribution to the overall sound, which was “deafening,” and “worth waiting for.” The concert ended with a “tour de force” performance of “In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida,” lasting 25 minutes, culminating “in several controlled fires in front of the group,” and a light show, which produced “a stupefying effect on the already hopped-up audience, which cheered madly as the group walked off stage.”80 The show, and the whole “strange and heavy” evening, finally came to an end well after 1 a.m.
By the close of that fall term, the Social Committee at Drew had transformed into a kind of concert booking and promotions agency.81 This process centered on the students, acting with much autonomy to organize, promote and otherwise engage with the rapidly developing/emerging world of late-sixties rock culture. Their role and the degree of autonomy they enjoyed stand out. Alongside the work directly associated with arranging for the entertainment, the committee also groomed successors in an apprenticeship-like fashion. Granquist learned the basics of booking bands from Redbord. The former then began cultivating Dave Marsden, who followed Granquist as social chairman. Marsden then apprenticed and handed it off to another student, Don Orlando, who was followed by Jeff King, and so on. This process for the evolution of the committee likely also accounts for the predominantly white and male make-up of the students directly involved in concert promotion. The students put in place a process that maintained continuity across the years from 1967 to 1971.82
During these years, the Social Committee kept up a steady stream of rock music culture on the campus, bringing musical performances like The Lovin’ Spoonful, along with folk and folk/rock artists from Judy Collins to Gordon Lightfoot and Tim Buckley, “oldies” such as Chuck Berry, blues bands from John Mayall, Canned Heat and “southern boogie” band The Allman Brothers and progressive or heavy rock acts like Blood, Sweat & Tears, and Iron Butterfly. Drew’s campus proved an ideal environment to play host to a wide array of performances amid significant cultural and social change. And this proved true across the country.
Within the few years from 1964, popular music culture had changed a great deal, and the leading industry magazine’s coverage provides a useful window for viewing that change. Where its editorials and articles once equivocated regarding rock and the college campus scene, the tone now made clear the dominance of both. In its spring 1969 special issue of Campus Attractions, Billboard now viewed the college campus as an essential site for the growth and development of popular music:
Many of the important currents of today’s [music] are not only reflected on campuses, but vital movements are begun there. Today’s collegians are in the forefront in challenging society in order to improve it. Students also show a greater receptivity to all forms of art. Diversity of interests can make a string quartet or a jazz band as acceptable as the latest rock, folk or easy listening act. Music trends, especially, are being set on campus. Many of the most important artists in all areas rely heavily on collegiate bookings, while even off-campus concerts are dependent on student appeal for success.83
Rock music now even acted as a leader for all types of pop music. For agents and promoters, the strategy for getting an act onto a college campus now ran through rock bands and artists. These changes elevated the college students and the social chairman impresarios as well.
In the same issue of Billboard, Richard Robinson wrote of the importance of the “college scene” and the effort by bands, artists, and agents to break into “the college circuit.” Viewed as the culmination of a number of changes in and around popular music culture, the article and its treatment of the college impresario is instructive. Bands needed to be serious about the elements required to make the college circuit. Among the most important were the live performance and a hit single because, as Sean LaRoche of Premier Talent told the article’s author, “Album groups are competing with local groups” who were seasoned, practiced, and able to put on a good show. LaRoche continued, “When you go into a particular market you’re competing with local groups who have been on the scene for years and who are getting the same price as you’re asking for your album group. College buyers don’t want to take a chance on an act they haven’t heard.”84 College students, audience and promoters alike, were now “much hipper,” and “can’t be hyped anymore.” Now agents had to put in the work, advertise in the expanded underground press, secure gigs in and around the East Village, and take seriously the college concert promoter, to get “exposure in the hipper college scene.” LaRoche’s variety of experiences working with college promoters included working with Granquist at Drew. Robinson summarized the changed campus scene:
In all, college booking is becoming an art. No longer is a phone call or album and photo mailing going to elicit financial response from college social chairmen. College students are aware of ‘hype’ and of the fact that a group is not necessarily musically competent just because it has recorded an album.…Any group that wants to get into the college market has to gain a degree of professionalism that just was not necessary two to three years ago.85
Highlighting the importance of the college scene, as well as the role of the student promoter, Frank Barsalona himself made the trip to Drew for the Blood, Sweat & Tears show in 1969 to preside over a problem with what was just emerging as a hot commodity in Blood, Sweat & Tears. Granquist had managed to book the band for a real bargain, just as their “You Make Me So Very Happy” hit the airwaves and shot up the charts. The band was suddenly “really riding high,” according to Granquist. “But they weren’t riding high when we got the contract signed.” While the show was underway, those around the band told Granquist the lead singer, David Clayton Thomas, had just been examined by a doctor who’d told him to rest his voice, and they were, for this reason, not going to do the second set. Barsalona showed up to make sure the band didn’t perform the second show. Neither Granquist nor Fenstermacher actually believed the story. Rather, both believe the story was a cover to get out of the gig now that the band was taking off.86
During 1967-1970, the development of the college circuit sustained and nurtured rock music culture in important ways. Within a couple years, however, the level of rock on Drew’s campus dropped to near zero. Although music remained on campus, concerts involving high-profile, chart-topping bands completely disappeared.87 In part, the business had changed. The sheer scale of the rock music business, the money for the bands and the huge audiences and shift to larger arenas, grew to such proportions that smaller operators like Drew, with venues seating fewer than 3,000, simply could not compete for shows. Ultimately, student concert promotion became a victim of its own success. Smaller venues along the East Coast folded one by one. According to Steve Chapelle and Reebee Garofalo’s history of the industry, “the ballrooms all folded in 1970-71,” including Fillmore East and the Boston Tea Party, opened only a few years earlier.88 At the end of that brief period, huge festivals and concerts, and growing consolidation among a few of the companies fundamentally altered the music industry. By the early 1970s, again, according to Chapelle and Garofalo, “only some twenty-odd promoters or promotion companies control more than 90 percent of the money made in rock appearances.” The moment in the history of rock music when a few “dropouts from other parts of the industry,” with little more than a few thousand dollars backing, could launch a successful concert promotion business were long gone.89
The scale now rendered this model wholly inadequate. A weary, increasingly frustrated Bill Graham wrote in 1970, “A few years ago, the giants were making three, four thousand. Five thousand was big money. That goes for the Byrds at the top of their career in ‘65-'66 and the Lovin' Spoonful. Now, $5,000 is made by a group that has number 120 on the charts.” To be sure, rock culture, its aficionados, and the industry that sustained and promoted it had co-existed in a complex tension for years. The Jefferson Airplane’s Paul Kantner explained this tension from his point of view: “The record companies sell rock and roll like they sell refrigerators.…They don’t care about the people who make rock.” Everyone from artists and rock journalists, to agents and promoters, groused about the complicated relationship at one point or other. Toward the end of the decade, as rock became a billion-dollar business, and the money involved grew beyond everyone’s wildest dreams, some concluded rock’s best days had passed. For his part, Bill Graham shuttered both his East and West Coast venues in 1971, following his lament of the “Americanization of rock,” by which he meant the triumph of business over the art.90 Whatever the particular complaint, grievance, and perspective, the business of rock music had changed, and this altered rock music culture in significant ways. But during those few years following 1966, the college campus provided the social and physical space for the growth and evolution of rock music culture.
Interview with Greg Granquist, 1 April 2018. See also, The Acorn, 27 September 1968.
Aaron Sternfield, “There’s more money on college campuses than there is in Las Vegas,” Billboard—Music on Campus, 27 March 1965.
Sternfield, “The College Campus: Record Marketplace, Talent Proving Ground,” Billboard—Music on Campus, 27 March 1965, 7.
Sternfield, “Nation’s College Offer Music Industry Lush Market of 5,900,000,” Billboard—Music on Campus, 19 March 1966, 16. Fifty percent of even classical music tour dates were on a college campus. “Guitarist Key College Concert Classical Artist,” Billboard—Campus Attractions, 13 April 1968, 34.
The literature on this topic is overwhelming, and the works are far too numerous to list here. A few of the most often referenced and/or useful works include Terry Anderson, The Movement and the Sixties: Protest in America from Greensboro to Wounded Knee (New York: Oxford University Press, 1996); Todd Gitlin, The Sixties: Years of Hope, Days of Rage (New York: Bantam Books, 1987); Kenneth Heineman, Campus Wars: The Peace Movement at American State Universities in the Vietnam Era (New York: New York University Press, 1994).
Keir Keightley, “Reconsidering Rock,” in The Cambridge Companion to Pop and Rock, Simon Frith, Will Straw, and John Street, eds. (New York: Cambridge University Press, 2001), 123; Michael Kramer, The Republic of Rock: Music and Citizenship in the Sixties Counterculture (New York: Oxford University Press, 2013), 22.
David Farber, “Building the counterculture, creating right livelihoods: the counterculture at work,” in The Sixties, vol. 6, no. 1, (2013): 3−4. Joshua Clark Davis, From Head Shops to Whole Foods: The Rise & Fall of Activist Entrepreneurs. (New York: Columbia University Press, 2017).
On the barber shop incident, “4 Held in Protest of Jersey Barber,” The New York Times, 14 May 1964.
Sternfield, “Collegians Shape the Nation’s Musical Tastes,” Billboard—Music on Campus, 28 March 1964, 11.
James T. Patterson, Grand Expectations: The United States, 1945-1974 (New York: Oxford University Press, 1996), 68.
Lizabeth Cohen deals with the inexorable complexities and contradictions of these post-war changes expertly. See Cohen, A Consumer’s Republic: The Politics of Mass Consumption in Postwar America (New York: Vintage Books, 2003), esp. ch. 3, 4. See also, “120 Years of American Education: A Statistical Portrait,” Thomas D. Snyder, ed., National Center for Education Statistics, U.S. Department of Education (Washington D.C.: 1993).
Sternfield, “Collegians Shape Nation’s Musical Tastes,” Billboard—Music on Campus, 28 March 1964, 11. Drew University made the list of colleges in this inaugural issue, 94. Each of these annual issues through 1967 listed dozens of colleges and universities, making no distinction between large or small, public or private institutions.
Sternfield, “Nation’s Colleges Offer Music Industry Lush Market of 5,900,000,” Billboard—Music on Campus, 19 March 1966, 16.
Claude Hall, “They’re Rockin’ in the Ivory Tower,” Billboard—Music on Campus, 8 April 1967, 26.
“Music Store Sales Up 7% Reports NAMM President,” Billboard, 16 December 1967, 12. “Music (Played and Listened to) Strikes Happiest Sales Notes Ever in 1967,” Cashbox, 16 December 1967, 7.
“Music Store Sales Up 7%,” Billboard. [page no.?]
Fred Goodman, The Mansion on the Hill: Dylan, Young, Geffen, Springsteen, and the Head-on Collision of Rock and Commerce (New York: Times Books, 1997), 24−5. Frank Barsalona, obituary, The Telegraph, 23 December 2012.
Dave Marsh, “How One Man’s Dream Changed the Industry: Premier Talent: 20 Years of Rock and Roll,” Billboard, 18 August 1984, 36−42. Steve Chapple & Reebee Garofalo, Rock and Roll is Here to Pay: The History and Politics of the Music Industry (Chicago: Nelson Hall, 1977), 124−31, 138−9.
Those few venues included The Boston Tea Party Ballroom, The Electric Factory in Philadelphia, the Winterland Ballroom in San Francisco, Thee Image in Miami, and the Fillmores (East and West). None of these served as exclusive rock music venues prior to 1967-8. Claude Hall, “Hip Rockers Facing 2 Obstacles,” Billboard, 13 July, 1968, 12. For FM radio and the new rock, see “Progressive Rock Play; An Analysis of its Use,” Billboard, 13 July 1968, 16. Even around northern California, the situation was catch-as-catch-can into the late sixties. See Geoffrey Link, “Rock Acts in Search of Nitery as Club Shortage Hits Bay Area,” Billboard, 5 April 1969, 5.
Keightley, “Reconsidering Rock,” 118, 122−30.
Elijah Wald, How the Beatles Destroyed Rock ‘N’ Roll: An Alternative History of American Popular Music (New York: Oxford University Press, 2009), 230−7. Wald also points out the “profound irony” inherent in the new rock as the cultural form for white men to contemplate, perform, and wrestle with important questions on the way toward artistic and intellectual legitimacy at the expense of black artists.
Keightley, “Reconsidering Rock,” 123.
Kramer, The Republic of Rock, 18−22.
“The Sound of the Sixties,” Time, 21 May 21. See “Here That Big Sound,” Life, 21 May 1965.
Goodman, Mansion on the Hill, 23. Also, phone conversation with the book’s author, Fred Goodman, 12 October 2018.
Billboard, 1968 Record Talent Edition, Who’s Who in the World of Music, Section 2, 30 December 1967. Billboard, 1969 Record Talent Edition, Who’s Who in the World of Music, Section 2, 28 December 1968.
Levon Helm, “Rock Now Has a History,” The Acorn, 19 September 1969. Of course, this article wasn’t actually written by Levon Helm, singer/songwriter/drummer for The Band. Rather, it was written by David Hinckley, a writer for and editor of the student-run newspaper at Drew University. He signed the artist’s name as a lark. And, as he told me recently, for lack of faculty supervision at the student-run newspaper: “I look back and cringe at some of the things we were doing.” Interview with the author.
Wald, How the Beatles Destroyed Rock n Roll, 237. See also, “Oldies-But-Evergreens,” Cashbox, 27 April 1968, 3.
Claude Hall, “Rock Big Thing On Campus,” Billboard, 26 November 1966, 1, 30.
Hank Fox, “Rock Takes Over as Colleges’ Mod Look,” Billboard, 11 March 1967, 16. Aaron Sternfield, “College Concert Dates Sell Records,” Billboard, 8 April 1967, 58.
Ibid. See also, “College Bookstore, Golden Opportunity for Rack Jobbers,” Billboard, 8 April 1967, 37−9.
“Top Artists on Campus,” Billboard—Campus Attractions, 13 April 1968, 8.
George Lipsitz, “Who’ll Stop the Rain?,” 161. [First citation had no question mark.]
Sternfield, “Collegians Set the Pace,” Billboard—Campus Attractions, 13 April 1968, 4. Campus Attractions replaced Music on Campus, and this was the inaugural issue.
Drew University President Dr. Robert Oxnam to parents during student orientation, fall 1969, in The Acorn, 19 September 1969, 7.
At about the same time, word of the potential on college campuses moved beyond industry or trade magazines. See, for instance, “Hottest B.O. Scene: Campuses,” Variety, 16 March 1966.
At Drew, Redbord worked with Stan Rubin, who, along with Sean LaRoche, founded College Entertainment Associates (CEA), an agency specializing in booking talent for the college campus. Billboard interviewed Rubin in 1967. See Aaron Sternfield, “Protecting the Callow Undergrad,” Billboard—Music on Campus, 8 April 1967, 42.
Interview with Glenn Redbord. Lack of administration involvement did not mean lack of accountability to the students who ran these programs. Despite little to no administration oversight, the Social Committee made money, and even left a surplus in the budget for the following year, a pattern repeated in the following several years. Additionally, students published the numbers in The Acorn, the student-run newspaper, where a similar autonomy prevailed.
“Chad and Jeremy This Saturday,” The Acorn, 22 September 1966. “Rascals in Concert with Happenings,” The Acorn, 27 January 1967.
The Acorn, 17 February 1967, 8.
The Acorn, 21 April 1967, 8. Stuart Horn, “Burdon Betters Band,” The Acorn, 10 March 1967. Frances Edwards, “New Style Not Enough to Ruin Eric Burdon and New Animals,” The Acorn, 10 March 1967.
“Spoonful to Come in the Spring,” The Acorn, 7 April 1967. “Poet Ginsberg Reads on Reading Week Eve,” The Acorn, 21 April 1967.
C.R. Burns, “Carolyn Hester: Texas Songbird,” East Texas Historical Journal, vol. 51, no. 2, (2013): 67.
Keith Altham, “The Lovin’ Spoonful: Nice, Abnormal Spoonful!,” New Musical Express, 22 April 1966. Chris Welch, “The Lovin’ Spoonful: Spoonful—the Most on the Coast,” Melody Maker, 23 April 1966. Julie Besonen, “An Anthem for Every Urban Summer,” The New York Times, 12 August 2018.
Ginsberg’s biographer writes that “by 1967, he was a national figure…famous for being famous,” and that he had become a “guru to the burgeoning youth movement.” Barry Miles, Ginsberg: A Biography. (New York: Harper Perennial, 1989), 372−3. See Anderson, The Movement and the Sixties, 142.
The ads announcing Judy Collins are in The Acorn, 29 September 1967. For a review of the show, see Penny Peterson, “I Like Judy Collins’ Voice,” The Acorn, 6 October 1967. The ad announcing The Four Tops is in The Acorn, 3 November 1967. Robert Manson, “Tops Turn Audience on ‘Full’,” The Acorn, 14 November 1967. For the ad promoting Warhol’s visit, see “Warhol to Explain His Creations in Action,” The Acorn, 6 October 1967. For coverage of the show and subsequent controversy of Warhol, see Sharon Manitta, “People React to ‘Nothing,’” The Acorn, 13 October 1967; Robert Hancock, “Modern-Day Caesar,” The Acorn, 13 October 1967; Shepard Bliss, “Warhol Another Christ?,” Letters to the Editor, The Acorn, 13 October 1967; “Warhol Show Controversial,” The Acorn Year End Review, 1967, 3, “To Be or Not to Be,” uncredited, The Acorn, 13 October 1967; “Warhol Evokes Disapproval,” uncredited, The Acorn, 13 October 1967; Tom Doremus, “Shaddup and Pass the Coin,” The Acorn, 20 October 1967.
The African-American student government president, Bob Smartt, arranged for infamous South Carolina segregationist Sen. Strom Thurmond to visit. The point was to provoke, in particular to provoke the campus Republicans. Interview with Bob Smartt, 17 August 2018. See also, “Students Heckle at Thurmond Lecture,” uncredited, The Acorn, February 1970. Others visiting the campus during these years included Seymour Melman, Floyd McKissick, Ralph Nader, Ted Sorensen, Dick Gregory, Roy Innis, Sydney Hook, Ralph Ellison, Abbie Hoffman, Nat Hentoff, William Kunstler, Pete Seeger, Jane Fonda and Tom Hayden, Bobby Seale, and William F. Buckley.
John McMillian, Smoking Typewriters: The Sixties Underground Press and the Rise of Alternative Media in America (New York: Oxford University Press, 2011), 36, 71−4. Abe Peck, Uncovering the Sixties: The Life and Times of the Underground Press (New York: Citadel Press, 1991).
The content referenced here is spread out over many articles, letters, editorials, and ads. The Acorn Year End Review, 1967-1968 and The Acorn Year End Review, 1969-1970, provide a useful cataloguing or summaries. See specifically “Campus Politics During Year Mostly Anti-War, Anti-Johnson,” The Acorn, Year End Supplement, 1967-1968, and “Blackness—Our Essence,” The Acorn special supplement, 26 February 1971. In 1967, a group of Drew students boarded a bus and attended the anti-war demonstration at the Pentagon. See Sueann Chase, “Busload from Drew Numbered Among Pentagon Protestors,” The Acorn, 30 October 1968.
Acorn editor Hinckley described a transition, a “huge shift,” at Drew between 1966 and 1970, much like the others I interviewed. Interview with David Hinckley.
Drew University Yearbook, 1968.
Interview with Ken Schulman. [date missing]
Keir Keightley, “Reconsidering rock,” in The Cambridge Companion to Pop & Rock, Simon Frith, Will Straw, and John Street, eds. (New York: Cambridge University Press, 2001), 126−9.
Michael J. Kramer, “The Civics of Rock: Sixties Countercultural Music and the Transformation of the Public Sphere,” (Ph.D. diss., University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, 2006), 12, 19, 28−31.
Granquist managed to hang onto various documents from this process and gave them to me. These “scratch sheets” are from University Attractions, Inc., 200 West 57th Street, New York, N.Y. and College Entertainment Agency, Inc., 300 West 55th Street, New York, N.Y. and range from 1966 to 1968. Originals in the author’s possession. Also, interviews with Greg Granquist and Barry Fenstermacher. [dates missing]
These commitments are also detailed in The Acorn. [date?]
Interview with Greg Granquist, 2 April 2018. “Drew Only School Stop for Who,” The Acorn, 22 January 1968, “Granquist Reschedules: Who Concert, New Movies, Bands,” uncredited, The Acorn, 23 February 1968.
Interview with Greg Granquist, 2 April 2018. “Who Making Their First Tour of U.S.,” uncredited, Billboard, 2 March 1968, 18.
Interview with Greg Granquist, 2 April 2018, “Granquist Says Who Success Despite Deficit of $1500,” uncredited, The Acorn, 4 April 1968.
Interview with Greg Granquist, 27 June 2018.
The Richie Havens show was profitable for a couple reasons. The students booked him for about $2,000 and, related to that lower price, tickets were $2.00, rather than the $3.50-4.50 for The Who. “Richie Havens in Concert Here for Spring Weekend,” The Acorn, 19 April 1968, “Folk Rock Artist Havens Here Spring Weekend,” The Acorn, 26 April 1968, and “Havens: ‘Sing What We All Know,’” uncredited, The Acorn, 3 May 1968.
Although much anecdotal evidence exists for this story, I was unable to verify it with complete confidence. The session took place on7 April 1968 at the club Generation. Other musicians performing at King’s wake included B.B. King, Big Brother & the Holding Company, Buddy Guy, Jimi Hendrix, Joni Mitchell, Paul Butterfield, and Al Kooper.
Conversation with Greg Granquist, Madison, New Jersey, 24 August 2018.
Interview with Greg Granquist, 2 April 2018 and…[date missing]
Bill Graham & Robert Greenfield, Bill Graham Presents: My Life Inside Rock (New York: Doubleday, 1992), 253−7. Patrick Burke, “The Fugs, the Lower East Side, and the Slum Aesthetic of 60s Rock,” Journal of the Society for American Music, vol. 8, no. 4 (2014): 538−66. Paul Nelson, “The Motherfuckers: Occupy Nightclub! A blow-by-blow account of the battle between the owners of the Fillmore East and hardcore hippies,” The Rolling Stone, 15 February 1969.
The Life article, in fact the entire issue, is expansive, covering the Jefferson Airplane, Country Joe & the Fish, Cream, The Who, Frank Zappa & the Mothers of Invention and others in some detail. “The New Rock: Music that’s hooked the whole vibrating world,” Life, 28 June 1968.
Jeff Tamarkin, Got a Revolution: The Turbulent Flight of the Jefferson Airplane (New York: Atria Books, 2003), 173, 175−6.
Cathi Grumbine, “Social Committee exposed—but not too much,” The Acorn, 27 September 1968. For a contemporary review of Earth Opera, see Paul Williams, “The Way We are Today: Earth Opera & Joni Mitchell,” Crawdaddy, 30 August 1968. “Airplane to play for packed house,” uncredited, The Acorn, 4 October 1968.
Interview with Greg Granquist, 2 April 2018.
The show was reviewed as outstanding, in spite of the crowd’s insufficient enthusiasm. Mark Ransom, “Airplane, Opera Excel,” The Acorn, 11 October 1968.
“Iron Butterfly Flying In,” uncredited, The Acorn, 8 November 1968. “Heavy Sound of Butterfly Comes Tomorrow Night,” uncredited, The Acorn, 15 November 1968. “Butterfly Worthwhile,” uncredited, The Acorn, 15 November 1968.
Interview with Greg Granquist, 2 April 2018.
“Heavy Sound of Butterfly,” The Acorn. [date missing]
Interview with Barry Fenstermacher. [date missing]
Interview with Greg Granquist, 2 April 2018. The opening act is listed in The Acorn as the King Biscuit Blues Band. The group shifted its name routinely, according to Granquist. Email from Greg Granquist, 9 September 2018.
Interview with Barry Fenstermacher. [date missing]
Granquist continued, “It's fun to talk about now, but it was a horrific experience at the time.” Interview with Greg Granquist, 2 April 2018 and 27 June 2018.
Ed Duzak, “Butterfly Worth the Wait,” The Acorn, 22 November 1968, “$1,500 Butterfly Payment Held,” uncredited, The Acorn, 22 November 1968.
In addition to the acts/bands highlighted here, the committee arranged for other performances, several per month, for dances and the like. Local bands, such as The International Silver String Submarine Band and Clockwork Orange, as well as national acts, such as The Shangri Las and Sha Na Na, also performed.
Interview with Glenn Redbord, 6 August 2018, interview with Greg Granquist, 27 June 2018, interview with Barry Fenstermacher, 8 May 2018, interview with Don Orlando, 25 June 2018, and interview with Jeff King, 2 June 2018.
Fred Kirby, “Collegians in the Forefront,” Billboard—Campus Attractions, 22 March 1969, 4. See also Eliot Tiegel, “Student Power Leads to Campus Rock Revolution,” Billboard—Campus Attractions, 28 March 1970, 16−22.
Richard Robinson, “Rock Group’s Rocky Road to Campus,” Billboard—Campus Attractions, March 22, 1969, 28. See also, “The Built-in Audience,” Cashbox, November 9, 1968, 3.
Interview with Greg Granquist, 27 June 2018. Interview with Barry Fenstermacher, 8 May 2018.
Although numerous musical acts performed on campus, almost no other well-known, chart-topping band or act performed on the campus until REM in 1985.
Chapelle and Garofalo, Rock ‘n’ Roll is Here to Pay, 141.
Ibid, 142, 147−54.
Michael Lydon, “Rock for Sale,” Ramparts, June 1969: 19−24. Bill Graham, “The Americanization of Rock,” Cue 10 October 1970. On Bill Graham, see also Laura Deni, “Pop Heroes as Con Artists,” Billboard—Rock Now, 14 November 1970, R-49.