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Submitted by m3jimphoto on Thu, 07/14/2011 - 6:09pm
Monterey Pop FestivalJimi Hendrix, Monterey Pop FestivalJanis Joplin, Monterey Pop FestivalPaul Simon and Micky Dolenz, Monterey Pop FestivalLou Rawls, Monterey Pop Festival

I  learned so much from Jim about the dark and the light sides of life, living in the moment, taking advantage of what the world presents to you.  Just being in his orbit, I saw how instinctual choices can make all the difference and how one never knows where the next person you meet in life will take you.

Nowhere is Jim’s approach to work and life more evident, in my opinion, than in the way he chose to document the myriad festivals, across all major musical genres, of the ’60s and early ’70s.

While the precise number of people who came will never be known, total attendance for the 3-day event was estimated at 200,000 with a peak of 90,000 on Saturday night.

As I said in last week’s blog, we will be dipping into Jim’s visual highlights from a vast array of those watershed musical and cultural events over the next month or two, and we’ve chosen to start with some lesser known and never-before-seen images from my favorite classic festival (and Jim’s): The Monterey International Pop Music Festival of 1967.

A three-day festival held June 16-18 at the Monterey County Fairgrounds in Northern California, Monterey Pop was organized in seven weeks by some of rock’s LA royalty: promoter Lou Adler, John Phillips of The Mamas & the Papas, producer Alan Pariser, and publicist Derek Taylor.  The goal: to bring together the most eclectic assortment of musical lights to ever grace a stage and elevate rock music’s standing from pop gimmick to world-class, world-changing art form.

The promoters and organizers behind Monterey had a big vision and the savvy to pull it off and, in my opinion, one of the smartest things they did was let Jim have full run of the place.  His pictures, well documented in “Monterey Pop,” the book he did with famed SF music critic Joel Selvin, captures this magnificently.  And while I have no way of knowing for sure, I just bet that if you were somehow able to poll the collectors of Jim’s work, shots made at Monterey would be in the majority of those hanging on walls around the world.  Enough said.

I think Eric Burdon, co-founder and lead singer of The Animals, who performed on the festival’s first day said it best in his classic hit “Monterey”:

The people came and listened
Some of them came and played
Others gave flowers away, yes they did
Down in Monterey
Down in Monterey

Young Gods smiled upon the crowd
Their music being born of love
Children danced night and day
Religion was being born
Down in Monterey

The birds and the airplane did fly
Oh, Ravi Shankar’s music made me cry
The Who exploded into fire and light
Hugh Masakela’s music was black as night

The Grateful Dead blew everybody’s mind
Jimi Hendrix baby, believe me, set the world on fire, yeah
His Majesty, Prince Jones, smiled as he moved among the crowd
Ten thousand electric guitars were grooving real loud, yeah

You want to find the truth in life

Don’t pass music by
and you know I would not lie, no I would not lie,
No, I would not lie
Down in Monterey

Three days of understanding of moving with one another
Even the cops grooved with us
Do you believe me, yeah?
Down in Monterey

I think that maybe I’m dreaming
Down in Monterey
Did you hear what I said?