In words of the musician of the era Carlos Santana –
“The 60s were a leap in human consciousness. Mahatma Gandhi, Malcolm X, Martin Luther King, Che Guevara, Mother Teresa, they led a revolution of conscience. The Beatles, The Doors, Jimi Hendrix created revolution and evolution themes. The music was like Dalí, with many colours and revolutionary ways. The youth of today must go there to find themselves.”
Being the kid of the 90s and born to parents with not much interest in international music my exposure while at school was limited to punk rock band Green Day, the pop boy band called Backstreet Boys, the Spanish pop king Enrique Iglesias, the heavy metal band Metallica and the alternative rock music of Nirvana. The girls swooned over the likes of Britney Spears, Beyoncé and Madonna. But the most loved and influential among the both boys and girls was the American ‘Rap God’ Eminem. We all tried to mug up his songs and tried to emulate his Real Slim Shady alter-ego. ‘Lose Yourself’ was the song through which most of us got introduced to Eminem and never left him ever after.
Only when I joined college and came to Delhi I was exposed to the music of the golden age of Rock with subgenres like blues rock, psychedelic rock and progressive rock. This is the time I realized the influence of music on our little but infinite brains – it changes the way we think and look at the world. Can’t resist a William Blake quote here-
“If the doors of perception were cleansed, everything would appear to man as it is, infinite.”
This is also the quote from where The Doors band got its name. The music of The Beatles, Pink Floyd, Led Zeppelin, The Doors, Bob Dylan, Jimi Hendrix and many others of the same golden age are soul revealing experiences that instantly catch your attention and talk directly to you, telling you to go your own way and get into life. They were not just musicians who created music for entertainment, they were prophets carrying around innumerous hidden messages in their songs like all religious materials do.
“Living is easy with eyes closed,
misunderstanding is all you see.”
Some say they were the forces of nature which swept people away. They sugar-coated the truth and hid it as a song and sent it to the truth seekers of the world. They used the words and phrases that had multiple meanings and the music led to some kind of awakening inside – of the truth, the present and the new perspective. They explain the concepts and complexity of this universe by talking directly to the soul or spirit inside.
What these bands did was thought impossible. 1960s was the time of musical kings, where everyone was great and had their own kind of music. All these bands used obscure instruments, add on sounds, philosophical lyrics and did some strange and different stuffs which had special meanings and spiritual connotations. John Lennon once said –
“When real music comes to me – the music of the spheres, the music that surpasseth understanding – that has nothing to do with me, ’cause I’m just the channel. The only joy for me is for it to be given to me, and to transcribe it like a medium…those moments are what I live for.”
I do not listen to their music to just listen to music, their music is in its own category, I listen to them for the same reason I seek some universal power called GOD. The divine magic is in all good music to some degree more or less because it comes from beyond the mind and exists only in the present.