Always been amazed by how a huge social movement, like the Hippie era, could implode in such a way in just a couple of years. It’s simply amazing, how it diverted from its biggest moment (Woodstock?), to its disappearance through internal combustion, (Altamont?), in only a few months interval. It is still a mystery to us.  As a collateral effect to the disease that killed hippies, we can sadly read how after five years of Rock and three million fans, promoter Bill Graham padlocked the Fillmore West. The place where “San Francisco Sound” was born closed on July 5 1971. Of course the good bye, was sweetened with a blaring night which lasted until dawn with performances by Credence Clearwater Revival, The Grateful Dead & Santana among others. Dazed Bill Graham noted that night, how the “old joy” was gone as Rock new Superstars had become “capitalists” killing the community mindedness of the past. It was the end of ingenuity. The dollarization of music had arrived & accompanied the start of the dark and depressed 70’s which, to our content, brought us other kind of musical jewels for our ears.

Bill Graham with his crowd

Jimy boy

Van Morrison

Creedence Clearwater Revival

The Grateful Dead

Aretha & Ray

The Who

Miles Davis

10 Responses

  1. Another of America’s R&R Icons bites the dust . First Fillmore East , then Ebbets Field ( not the baseball stadium ) then the Rainbow and most recently CBGB’s . Whats happening in Austin Texas : what with many of the great independent music halls there shutting down as well is enough to drive this Guitarslinger to tears . There’s becoming less and less places where an up an coming or mid level established musician can ply his/her wares to a decnt size audience .

    I’ve been watching this now in semi retirement for going on the last decade . The Middle Class in music : much like the Middle Class in day to day life is becoming a thing of the past .

    Oh hell ! If bands like Wilco etc can’t hold on to a record contract with any the the majors I’m just kidding myself . The musical middle class is well and dead . Now you’re either starving artist .. or mega superstar . With little in between . And people wonder why so little good new music comes out these days . Even if its there you probably can’t access it ( there’s a group from Portugal : the Dead Combo I’m really digging yet cant buy their CD’s for love or money in the US )

  2. Great input as usual GS. I just hope that the cheap access to the technology needed to record, and the free online tools available nowadays for self promotion will help to create a new niche for all these artists. By the way I just managed to listen the Dead Combo in spotify and feeling well. Do you have Spotify in the US? Great tool this is for music lovers!
    Cheers and keep in touch

    1. ‘@ El – Unfortunately what all the cheap technology and DIY has managed to do is to flood the market , mostly with some pretty lame music to the point of crating a culture of skepticism when it comes to taking a chance on new music . As well as making music in general more ephemeral : shoving it into the background noise category of daily life .

      The one possible saving grace may be the resurgence of Vinyl /Turntables over the last five years * especially amongst the youth ( who many suspect are finally beginning to tire of the ephemeral … ) looking for something a bit more lasting .

      Spotify we do have but I’m ‘ Old School ‘ wanting to hold the music ( CD or record ) in my hands , flip thru the linear notes physically … as well as wanting to hear the album as the artist intended ….. to get a better idea of what the artist is all about ( or at least their producer .

      * Vinyl records are the only segment of recorded music retail currently ( last 5 years as well ) who’s sales are ascending instead of descending … including downloads iTunes etc .Other than vinyl the youngins just aint listening/buying music so much lately ….

  3. I thought like that for some time, and still agree on the identity loss derived by the consumerism of the modern platforms, like spotify, but I still have faith in talent, and believe that these means will readjust todays channel between artists & listeners.

    1. I hope you’re right mi amigo . Much as I can easily afford it …….. this Semi Retirement thing at age 55 is getting ……… how shall I say this ……….BOorrrrring !

      Still want a hard copy of Dead Combo’s newest though !

  4. During the filming of The Closing Of The Fillmore West Bill Graham was seen talking to an artist who said that his band were as big as some that were closing the Fillmore West. Indeed, he suggested his band drew bigger crowds in the bay area. Bill said it was his show and they were not on. Bill then ran him out of the building. I would love to know who that guy was and his band, Anybody help??

  5. The Bill Graham photo is from the Fillmore East, not Fillmore West. The Grateful Dead last played there on July 2nd, 1971 – before the official closing. I’d also say the SF sound was born at the Fillmore Auditorium not the Fillmore West. They are different venues.

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