In a piece called “Suddenly That Summer” in the July Vanity Fair, it’s stated that “1967’s Summer of Love” brought the Mad Men era to a halt [with everyone] trading martinis for LSD and cocktail parties for Human Be-Ins.”
True — the warm months of 1967 were when the spiritual transcendence thing that had been percolating in rarified circles in late ’65 and ’66 seemed to kick in big-time. But I thought it was widely understood that the Summer of Love was more of a finale than a peak moment.
May, June and July of ’67 was when Sgt. Pepper brought the current to the suburbs and the minds of the somewhat less hip, and when the Life magazine media mob resultantly began to play up the psychedelic nirvana aspects and how this would be changing — i.e, threatening — the careerist vistas and priorities of college students and 20somethings, etc.
But by August it was over. The bloom was off the rose, and dealers were putting speed into acid to make tripping seem more intense. And then Hollywood jumped in with depictions of acid trips as sexual ecstasy levitations in The President’s Analyst (which came out in December)
I thought the definitive statement about this period had been delivered by Peter Fonda‘s Terry Valentine character in Steven Soderbergh‘s The Limey (’99), to wit: “Did you ever dream about a place you never really recall being to before? A place that maybe only exists in your imagination? Some place far away, half remembered when you wake up. When you were there, though, you knew the language. You knew your way around. That was the ’50s. [pause] No. It wasn’t that either. It was just ’66 and early ’67. That’s all there was.”
I’ll never forget a preppie guy I knew who was into projecting a casual Brooks Brothers vibe. He was always wearing khaki pants (or pressed jeans even) and a pink or yellow Brooks Brothers dress shirt, and driving his father’s Jaguar XKE around. One night we’d all dropped and were at a party, and I remember watching this guy try to smooth-talk this pretty girl when all of a sudden an LSD chest-flutter muscle spasm hit him so hard he almost lost his balance, and the whole collegiate Brooks Brothers aura was shattered in an instant.