1967 Activist music

On November 12, 1966, deejay Jimmy O’Neill was host of the popular teen music show 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 that came out in 1967:

  • For What It’s Worth” by Buffalo Springfield

  • Plastic People” by Frank Zappa and The Mothers of Invention

  • Daily Nightly” by The Monkees

  • Riot on Sunset Strip” by The Standells


  • Alice’s Restaurant (1967) . Arlo Guthrie’s classic 18+ minute story about Thanksgiving, littering and the draft. Released the same month his father died.
  • Backlash Blues (1967) Nina Simone. “You raise my taxes and freeze my wages and send my son off to Vietnam.” 

Richie Haven’s Handsome Johnny (1967) Co-written with actor Lou Gossett, Havens song echoes others that point out the long hard road of American conflicts. “Hey, what’s the use of singing this song, some of you are not even listening.”
from Woodstock:


  • I-Feel-Like-I’m-Fixin’-to-Die Rag (1967) Country Joe and the Fish’s well-known sing-along chorus and stinging attack on the US military had its greatest moment when Joe McDonald performed at Woodstock. The original suggested name for the group was Country Mao and the Fish, a reference to Chairman Moe’s quote that “revolutionaries move among the people like the fish through the sea.” Joe McDonald half accepted the name, but preferred Joe Stalin to Mao.

  • I Wish I Knew how It Would Feel to Be Free (1967) Nina Simone’s cover of jazz pianist Billy Taylor’s 1963.



  • Respect (1967) Otis Redding wrote it. Aretha Franklin made it her own and gave it to women everywhere.


Saigon Bride (1967) How many men to conquer Mars? How many dead to reach the stars?

Requiem For the Masses (1967)  The Association contributed to the anti-war song catalog.


  • Waist Deep In the Big Muddy (1967) Pete’s Seeger’s obvious comment on the Vietnam War.

2009 w/ Taj Majal & Tom Morello [Rage Against the Machine


What's so funny about peace, love, art, and activism?