The Beatles initial successes were great pop songs that many youth fell in love with at the same time they themselves were looking to fall in love. She Loves You, I Want to HoldYour Hand, Please Please Me, I Feel Fine, She's a Woman, and We Can Work It Out are all loves songs. Some happier than others. Someone once told me, if it's a happy Beatle song, Paul wrote it; a sad one, John. While a generalization, it's more often true than not.
When I first heard Bob Dylan's "I Ain't Gonna' Work on Maggie's Farm No More" I was only a touch less confused about its lyrics than "Gates of Eden," a song I had no idea what was happening other than Dylan was trying to harmonize with songs the lonesome sparrow sings.Maggie's Farm? Well there's a guy obviously praying for rain, getting terribly underpaid, and whose boss is putting out his cigar on the guy's face. I'd quit too.Of course, that's not what Dylan was saying. He was saying he wasn't going to be the acoustic-folk-protest song-singer too many expected him to permanently be. Quitting. He was going electric. And on July 25, 1965 he did just that at the Newport Folk Festival. Many were displeased.
August 28, 1964
The Beatles had begun their first full American tour on August 18 at the San Francisco Cow Palace. Ten days later they played for 16,000 fans at the Forest Hills Stadium in Queens, New York City. They would do the same the next night.It was what happened in between that changed history.
Bob Dylan Introduces the Beatles
August 28, 1964
Al Aronowitz was a writer who knew Bob Dylan and arranged for him to meet the Beatles at their hotel the night after that first concert. Aronowitz later wrote: "The Beatles' magic was in their sound,...Bob's magic was in his words. After they met, the Beatles' words got grittier, and Bob invented folk-rock."Cannabis may have been the source of all that musical cross pollination at that meeting. Beatles supposed unfamiliarity with the herb apparently surprised the already familiar Mr Dylan. [The four had tried it in Germany, but it did not impress them.]Evidently, Ringo was unfamiliar with the not-Bogarting-that-joint protocol and kept things to himself. John, Paul, and George soon learned the etiquette.
March 27, Dylan releasedBringing It All Back Home on which “Maggie’s Farm” appears.
The Byrds’ covering of Dylan, particularly “Mr Tambourine Man” opened the door for folk-rock.
July 25, 1965 Dylan played Newport Folk Festival. Many in audience booed his performance for playing electric set with The Paul Butterfield Blues Band.
August 30, 1965, Dylan released Highway 61 Revisited. More electric.
August 28, 1965 Dylan played at NYC’s Forest Hills Tennis Stadium. More boos during his electric set.
December 3, 1965 the Beatles released Rubber Soul. The course of pop music changed.
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By 1967, the Beatles were used to media scrutiny and controversy. Sometimes the media thrust it upon them; sometimes the Beatles put themselves out front. John's 1965 comment comparing the Beatles' popularity to that of Christ resulted in some radio stations banning their music and some record stores refusing to sell their records.The original 1966 album cover for "Yesterday and Today" with them sitting in bloody butcher smocks holding pieces of meat and broken baby dolls was so controversial that Capital Records immediately withdrew the album, re-covered it, and only then re-released it.
In 1967, most people continued to view marijuana as a gateway drug, addictive, and deadly. While research had already suggested that none of those views was accurate, society continued to legislate against its use, sale, and production.Those familiar with the substance saw it in a different light. John "Hoppy" Hopkins was a British photographer, journalist, researcher and political activist. He used marijuana and a jury found him guilty of its possession and use. The judge sentenced Hopkins to 9 months in prison.A "Free Hoppy" movement resulted.
Stephen Irwin Abrams an American drug policy activist living in the United Kingdom. He led the "Free Hoppy" movement and wrote a full page advertisement that demanded cannabis law reform.
Beatles Say Yes To Grass
Among the dozens of researchers, academics, scientists, and other well-known people, Abrams sought out the Beatles imprimatur. They not only granted the use of their names to the petition, Paul paid for the advertisement in The Times. Paul did not want it known he had done so, but having such an illustrious person sponsoring such a controversial piece in a major paper meant the secret was poorly kept.The text's lead sentence read, "The law against marijuana is immoral in principle and unworkable in practice."It went on to speak to the view of marijuana's danger and dispute those views.64 signatures appeared. After each of the Beatles' names, the initials M.B.O. appeared: Member of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire. Queen Elizabeth had honored them with the award on October 26, 1965. Click on the following to view the entire text, from the excellent Beatles Bible site.
John Lennon, ex-M.B.E
Two years later, on Nov. 25, 1969, John Lennon returned his MBE medal stating, "Your Majesty, I am returning my MBE as a protest against Britain’s involvement in the Nigeria-Biafra thing, against our support of America in Vietnam and against ‘Cold Turkey’ slipping down the charts.With love. John Lennon of Bag"Likely, many of the same people who had criticized the Queen's honoring John with the award because they felt him unworthy, again criticized Lennon for returning it.Gosh darn it. The Beatles: damned when they do. Damned when they don't.
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November 12, 1775: General Washington, owner of more than 300 slaves, issued an order which forbade recruiting officers to enlist blacks. (see July 2, 1777)
November 12, 1976: a race revolt erupted at Reidsville State Prison, now known as Georgia State Prison, in Reidsville, Georgia. Just a few years prior, a federal judge had ordered the prison to desegregate inmate living quarters. According to newspaper reports at the time, the riot began when 50-75 white prisoners armed with shanks attacked a group of black prisoners; in the end, 47 prisoners were injured and five were killed. Prison officials blamed the incident on an argument between homosexual inmates.In 1968, the U.S. Supreme Court struck down the Georgia state law requiring racial separation of prisoners at Reidsville (where 60-65% of prisoners were black). However, after an initial attempt at integration, the prison had repeatedly reverted to segregation in supposed efforts to cool racial tensions. At the time, ACLU of Georgia Director Gene Guerrero remarked, “It's the worst sort of cop-out – to lay the problems at Reidsville on integration.”Following the November 1976 riot and several other incidents of deadly violence, U.S. District Judge Anthony Aliamo issued an order on July 3, 1978, to re-segregate dormitories at Reidsville for a period of 60 days. The common areas, such as the mess hall and recreation yard, were to remain integrated. When another deadly racial attack occurred in August 1978, the state successfully sought an extension of the re-segregation order, resulting in eight months of segregated dorms. At the time, Commissioner of the Georgia Department of Offender Rehabilitation said that he thought the prison would have a “hard time going back” to integrated dormitories. (BH, see Nov 25; RR, see May 17, 1980)
BLACK & SHOT
November 12, 2016: the judge in the Samuel DuBose case (see July 19, 2015) declared a mistrial after the jury became deadlocked. (B & S, see January 24, 2017; DuBose, see July 18, 2017)
November 12, 1954: Ellis Island closed after processing more than 20 million immigrants since opening in New York Harbor in 1892. (NYT article) (see June 17, 1958)
November 12 Music et al
November 12, 1966: deejay Jimmy O'Neill was the host of Shindig! He opened a nightclub called Pandora's Box on the Sunset Strip. This led to massive throngs of teens and traffic on the strip, and Los Angeles city enacted a series of loitering and curfew laws targeting teenagers. Young people gathered at Pandora's Box to defy the 10pm curfew. The riots kept growing, and the panicked L.A. City Council quickly moved to condemn and demolish Pandora's Box, which they ultimately did in 1967. The incident inspired a number of songs in 1967 and see Sunset Riots:
“For What It’s Worth” by Buffalo Springfield
“Plastic People” by Frank Zappa & The Mothers of Invention
“Daily Nightly” by The Monkees
“Riot on Sunset Strip” by The Standells
Poor Side of Town
November 12 – 18, 1966: “Poor Side of Town” by Johnny Rivers #1 on the Billboard Hot 100.
November 12, 1966 – February 10, 1967: The Monkees’ The Monkees the Billboard #1 album.
Religion & Public Education
November 12, 1968: in Epperson v. Arkansas, the US Supreme Court struck down an Arkansas state law that prohibited the teaching of Darwinian evolution. The Court argued that the First Amendment required government neutrality on questions of religion and overturned the Arkansas State Supreme Court, which had ruled that the state's law represented a legitimate exercise of its authority to determine school curriculum.Justice Fortas wrote, "The State's undoubted right to prescribe the curriculum for its public schools does not carry with it the right to prohibit, on pain of criminal penalty, the teaching of a scientific theory or doctrine where that prohibition is based upon reasons that violate the First Amendment." The two other members of the Court concurred in the result, writing that it violated either the Due Process clause of the 14th Amendment (because it was unconstitutionally vague) or the Free Speech clause of the First Amendment. (FS, see April 4, 1969; R & PE, see June 28, 1971)
Feminism/US Labor History
November 12, 1973: in the case of Laffey v. Northwest, decided on this day, stewardesses employed by Northwest Airlines won a sweeping ruling regarding sex discrimination over issues related to unequal pay, the lack of promotions, unequal benefits compared to male employees, and weight monitoring for stewardesses. The job of stewardess was a separate all-female job category, and women were forced to retire in their early 30s, not allowed to be married, and subject to monitoring of their weight. (Feminism, see January 21, 1974; Labor, see March 24, 1974)
Church of England
November 12, 1981: The Church of England General Synod votes to admit women to holy orders. (see Feminism June 30, 1982)
November 12 Peace Love Activism
Iran hostage crisis
November 12, 1979: in response to the hostage situation in Tehran, U.S. President Jimmy Carter orders a halt to all oil imports into the United States from Iran. (see Nov 14)
November 12, 1988: President Reagan signed legislation that granted Calvin full disability benefits, increased his back pay to $4917, and allowed $18,000 for past medical bills, contingent on receipts for the medical services. By this time, some of the doctors who treated him had died and many medical bills were lost. Calvin received only $2,100 of the possible $18,000. (Calvin Graham for full story)
César E. Chávez
November 12, 1990: Mexican President Salinas de Gortari awarded Chávez the Aguila Azteca, the highest Mexican civilian award. (see April 23, 1993)
Terrorism, World Trade Center
November 12, 1997: Ramzi Yousef was found guilty of masterminding the 1993 World Trade Center bombing. (NYT article) (see January 8, 1998)
AIDS, Ricky Ray
November 12, 1998: the U.S. Congress enacts the Ricky Ray Hemophilia Relief Fund Act, honoring the Florida teenager who was infected with HIV through contaminated blood products. The Act authorized payments to individuals with hemophilia and other blood clotting disorders who were infected with HIV by unscreened blood-clotting agents between 1982 and 1987. (Federal site info) (see April 30, 2000)
November 12, 2008, LGBT: same-sex marriages begin to be officially performed in Connecticut. (NYT article) (see Jan 1, 2009)
Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell
November 12, 2010: The US Supreme Court refused to intervene on the Don't Ask, Don't Tell policy while it was on appeal in the US Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit. (NYT article) (see Nov 30)
Banning Marriage Equality
November 12, 2014: U.S. District Judge Richard Mark Gergel ruled against South Carolina’s constitutional amendment banning marriage equality. In Condon v. Haley, Lambda Legal and private attorneys sued the state on behalf of same-sex couples who argued that South Carolina’s ban on marriage equality violated the U.S. Constitution. In his ruling, Judge Gergel cited the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals’ ruling in Bostic v. Shaeffer, in which the federal appeals court struck down Virginia’s ban on marriage for same-sex couples. The Fourth Circuit ruling in Bostic was binding precedent on South Carolina. (NYT article) (LGBTQ, see Nov 19; South Carolina, see Nov 20)
November 12, 2013: a University of Utah neurologist and two other Utah doctors announced their support for allowing a medical use of a marijuana extract for children who suffer from seizures. In a letter sent to the state Controlled Substances Advisory Committee on Tuesday, pediatric neurologist Dr. Francis Filloux said the liquid form of medical marijuana is a promising option for children with epilepsy. (see Dec 10)
Fair Housing& Consumer Protection
November 12, 2015: a proposed federal rule announced on this date would prohibit smoking in public housing homes nationwide under, a move that would affect nearly one million households and open the latest front in the long-running campaign to curb unwanted exposure to secondhand tobacco smoke.The ban, by the Department of Housing and Urban Development, would also require that common areas and administrative offices on public housing property be smoke-free. (FH, see January 20, 2017; CP, see May 5, 2016)
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