Aujourd'hui, ce qui ne vaut pas la peine d'être dit, one le chante.
Nowadays, if something's not worth saying, you sing it.
Pierre-Augustin de Beaumarchais, Le Barbier de Séville, 1775
Between January '67 and June '68, "Ruby Tuesday" turned into "Jumping Jack Flash," to the joy of heads everywhere, who fooled themselves into thinking they were taking over. Business was fine but not that important, in the heady times of Covent Garden all-nighters, the first generation of self-consciously Underground bands (not buskers but the young Mr Floyd and the pre-folkie Fairport), new mags like Oz and the Red Mole, anti-Vietnam demos in Grosvenor Square (hip enough to attract Lennon and Jagger), macrobiotic diets and William Morris wallpaper patterns on men's clothing. Even the busts were ludicrous, with the censorship cases being ridiculed in the straight press and the London Times risking contempt of court to protest the railroading of the Stones.
Meanwhile the Sound of Music soundtrack continued to dominate the British album chart, with 68 weeks at number one, in twelve different runs between Beatles for Sale and the White Album. Yodelay-heehee.
In the year leading up to "Honky Tonk Women," everything got nastier. The pigs harassed Brian Jones to death, possibly with some help from whoever cleaned up his place before the cops got there. The reigning monarchs of music were getting fractious and married. Across the Channel French students and workers were closing down factories and fighting the flics in the street. The Chicago police riot was followed by Judge Julius Hoffman's remarkable performance as he tried to throw the book at a heterogeneous collection of future legislators, social workers, yuppies and coke dealers who were supposed to have organized it. Swingin' London just didn't seem relevant anymore, and that was all it took for the scene to die.
Dope didn't disappear. On the contrary, consumption went right on growing long after the initial fuss began to fade. The phrase 'going up to university' took on new meaning each fall as the freshmen refined their social expectations to include more than the Dean's sherry. Each spring, another crop of siblings badgered their elders for a taste and helped the joys of getting high to percolate down below the mandatory minimum school-leaving age.
Battle lines were being drawn, as the establishment tried to crack down on insurgent youth, and it's hard to imagine a more appealing way for adolescent males to pledge their allegiance than staying up real late, getting high, getting laid, and cranking the volume way past ten. Unfortunately, attempts to crank 120 decibels out of a Woolworth's mono player meant for the sedate reproduction of South Pacific at sub-conversational levels tended to draw unwelcome attention, especially at three in the morning, while getting laid in any traditional sense required the active co-operation of actual female persons, so many of whom seemed to honor the concept of Free Love more in the abstract than the specific. That left not going to bed, which was easy, and getting as stoned as possible, which was a matter of cash and connections.
Hey, Jude, those were the days, half as nice as Blackberry Way. With a little help from my friends the good, the bad and the ugly (Albatross; Ob-la-di, Ob-la-da; Lily the Pink), I heard it thru the grapevine: Get back, get back, there's something in the air and it's making me dizzy.
Yummy, yummy, yummy.