February 08, 2009
In 1967 I was 13. I had spent my childhood watching the 1960s unfold
I watched John F. Kennedy's funeral procession and my teacher cried.
Other places had rioting on college campuses. Other places had
hippies and flower power and free love. Other places experienced a
British Invasion of music. It all seemed far away from Muskogee.
Until one day, the music anyway, came to us.
Who remembers when Paul Revere and The Raiders came to Muskogee in concert?
I couldn't find any record but I believe it was 1967-68. Now they
aren't British, but they did wear cool red costumes and sing rock 'n'
roll. I felt very worldly attending that concert. Cool even. They
sang "Hungry for Your Love, Baby" and I probably screamed a little.
You can see some old clips on You Tube, of the band, not me screaming.
Here's the really cool thing, they are still playing and touring.
They have a Christmas CD and recently played in Branson. Their visit
to Muskogee might have played a role in their 1971 hit, "Indian
Reservation." Maybe! It was the closest we came to the British
Invasion, until now.
The impact of the British, mostly The Beatles, on American culture
and music is almost too great to measure. It changed us all. Their
influence on the second generation of music lovers is a testament of
lasting impact. A significant portion of the songs on my son's IPOD
are Beatles music. I recently had the absolute joy of dancing the
night away at another son's wedding to the music of The Beatles. It
was through this music that I came to believe through an individual's
efforts, our world could be made better.
Muskogee has been the origin of some great artists and a variety of
genres. A lot were influenced by this music revolution we call the
British Invasion. Music experts say that the British artists were
actually re-cycling American Blues, especially the Rolling Stones.
The Beatles were influenced more by guitar players like Buddy Holly.
One of the gifts of the British Invasion was encouragement of the
cross-breeding between styles of music and experimentation. The
Beatles are credited with the first "concept" album, "Sgt. Pepper's
Lonely Hearts Club Band."
Through the efforts of the Oklahoma Music Hall of Fame, we have the
opportunity to experience this music and its culture once again. The
pictorial exhibit opens in February. Don't let this history lesson
pass you by. Be sure and include your children. They will enjoy and
you will be surprised how much they know about these artists from 40
years ago. You can get more info at their Web site, www.omhof.com.
If you are too young to remember then you definitely don't want to
miss this chance to experience a taste of the '60's. If you do
remember, then revisiting the time and place is great fun.
Peace and love.