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Wednesday June 27, 2007

Monterey Pop Festival 40th Anniversary with Michelle Phillips and Lou Adler

Forty years later it is still a hot topic, resurgent in its relevance. Forty years later there are striking similarities in the political landscape. Forty years later the music lives on. The Monterey International Pop Festival launched careers, galvanized a generation and shone the light on an emerging culture. It was a movement with a simple philosophy, love one another. Those three words are just as powerful and just as necessary and appropriate today as they were four decades ago. Love one another. It rings with truth and simplicity. The artist line up was color blind and international in scope. The audience was too. The performances were the seeds of legend. The Who blowing up the entire stage. Jimi Hendrix setting his guitar on fire and making love to his amp. Janis Joplin redefining the parameters of what the human voice could do. Simon and Garfunkle’s delicate touch, wafting through the Monterey night and Otis Redding showing us what a soul actually looked like. And there were so many more legendary performers at the three day event June 16th through the 18th in the storied California town all those years ago. More information and a line up is at Monterey Pop Festival.com and MySpace.

Not only was Monterey the first, it was the blueprint for all that followed, and none of the others were able to replicate what happened those three days. Monterey was a gift from the artists themselves to anyone willing to accept it. Refining an idea, a pop version of the Monterey Jazz Festival, into an actionable plan were Papa John Phillips and producer and manager Lou Adler…..the Music and the Business. Adler’s vision to transform a nice gesture into a charitable event designed to help those in need in a wide ranging manner from free clinics to arts for abused children is a concept that survives to this day. It is called the Monterey International Pop Foundation and the proceeds from sales of the new two-disc CD and accompanying DVD will go to the Foundation.

One of the highlights of this fabled event was the performance of the Mamas and Papas, a befitting occurrence with John’s involvement from the very beginning. What performers. What great songs. “California Dreamin”, sung right there in Cali, is stirring and fun at the same time. Aptly, they were the last band to play at the festival. Michelle Phillips, Mama Cass and Denny Doherty brought strong, individual talents to the group and each understood the statement that was made on that late spring weekend forty years ago. Michelle was at the bow of the ship leading the vanguard, a performer at the heart of the event with a perspective few have of Monterey. She followed her musical days with a highly successful acting career, but we want to talk about the music, about those three days by Monterey Bay.
 
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