Tuesday, October 25, 2016

The Sixties Are Fading Away

by Pa Rock
Citizen Journalist

Two highly significant, yet very different, voices of the 1960's have been silenced, and with their passing the mighty roar from one of the most politically and musically turbulent decades of the twentieth century quietens perceptibly.

Tom Hayden died on Sunday.   Hayden, a founder of the sixty's college radical group, Students for a Democratic Society, was a defendant in the infamous "Chicago Seven" trial of 1969 and 1970.  He and four other national activists (Jerry Rubin, Devid Dellinger, Abbie Hoffman, and Rennie Davis) were convicted in a circus-like court setting of conspiring to cross state lines to incite riots at the 1968 Democratic National Convention.  The case was so mishandled by Judge Julius Hoffman, a former legal partner and crony of Chicago Mayor Richard J. Daley, that all five convictions were later thrown out on appeal.  Two local activists who rounded out the "seven" were acquitted.  An eighth defendant, Black Panther leader Bobby Seale was eventually tried separately and wound up serving four years in prison for contempt of court.

Of the original Chicago Seven, on Rennie Davis and the two local organizers, John Froines and Lee Weiner, survive.  Bobby Seale is also still alive.

Tom Hayden went on to a career in public service as a Democratic assemblyman and state senator in California.  Somewhat ironically, he became ill this summer while attending the Democratic National Convention.  Hayden was married to fellow sixty's radical Jane Fonda for seventeen years, and they had one son, Troy.  Tom Hayden was 76 at the time of his death.

Bobby Vee, a singer who had several hits during the 1960's died on Monday at the age of seventy-three.  Vee, whose real name was Robert Velline, was a native of Fargo, North Dakota, and was only fifteen-years-old on February 3, 1959, when he and his band, The Shadows, were called on to perform at a concert in Moorhead, Minnesota, as a replacement act for Buddy Holly, Richie Valens, and the Big Bopper, all of whom had been killed in a plane crash while heading to the Moorhead concert - an event referred to in pop culture as "the day the music died."  Tragic though the circumstances were, it was Bobby Vee's big break.  Future Nobel Laureaute Bob Dylan was a band member with The Shadows and a close friend of Vee's.

In 2013 Bob Dylan referred to Bobby Vee as "the most meaningful person I've ever been on stage with" and said that he always thought of him as a brother.  Dylan described his friend's voice as having a "metallic, edgy tone" and being as "musical as a silver bell."

Songs made famous by Bobby Vee included his biggest hit, "Take Good Care of My Baby" which was written by Gerry Goffin and Carole King,  and a host of others like "Devil or Angel," "Rubber Ball," "The Night has a Thousand Eyes," and "Come Back When You Grow Up."

And so the sixties continue to fade till little is left to hold but memories - or as Simon and Garfunkel said in the sixties:

Time it was,
And what a time it was
It was . . .
A time of innocence
A time of confidences

Long ago . . . it must be . . .
I have a photograph
Preserve your memories
They’re all that’s left you

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