It comes as no surprise that the sixties are my favorite decade. I, along with other aficionados of the era, look at it with sparkles in our eyes as we marvel over the artistic expression and sexual freedom that was brought to the forefront by this era. Woodstock,Monterey, Joplin, The Who, Hendrix, and ,of course, The Beatles are just a few wonderful things we could say about the era, but too often the haze is so thick we lose sight of some of the horrors of this time and the people in it. I was once reading “Stairway to Heaven”, and had come across a section in which it was mentioned that Brian Jones of the Rolling Stones had gotten into an altercation with someone because he punched a girl in the face. I had to read this section a few times because I could not believe that this person who everyone in the classic rock loving community had seemed to hold in such a high regard had behaved in this way. I know other people had read this book as well, so why is he still plastered all over blogs and heralded as just a guy who had a little bit of problem with drinking and drugs? No, he was pretty violent and if you ask me, kind of a dick.
Unfortunately, this does not just start and end with this era. Many people get a pass for their fame, and it’s bullshit. Jimmy Page, as much as he moves me every single time he has a guitar in his hands, has made me cringe with some of the things that he’s gotten away with doing. Yes, it was a very different time. The seventies were a freedom knockoff of the sixties, and you could drink, smoke, and make love(or something like that) to pretty much whoever gave you their consent. However, Page spent some time with some rather young girls, Lori Maddox who was only 14 for example, during his time as a rock music’s leading man. I’m not sure how that would hold up today, in fact I’m pretty sure that it wouldn’t at all, but I have to say that being a young girl at some time, it feels very predatory. I’m not saying that he’s a pedophile or anything like that, but he clearly knew what he was doing was rather ‘taboo’ as he was very secretive about it. All I’m saying is we should at least keep it in our minds that that’s something he was doing at some point in his life.
I’m all for reveling in the positive side of all our nostalgic guilty pleasures, but we can’t allow it to blind us to what the reality of the time and the people who lived then were up to. Perhaps that’s the upside of looking back on it, that now we can pay attention to the good times. However, I urge you to kill your heroes, and accept the broken pieces of your favorite era. Whether it be the sexist fifties,racist sixties, homophobic seventies, materialistic eighties, or the war-torn nineties, it’s important to remember history for what it was and not simply what we like about it.