Saturday, November 14, 2015

American Police Hall Of Fame and Songs About Cops

Our voyage North on Interstate 95 takes us from the Space Coast Stadium in Viera to Titusville FL.



Titusville is the home to a few Halls of Fame. Two are located near the entrance to the Kennedy Space Center Visitor Center, while a third is located in downtown Titusville, This week we are focusing on the American Police Hall Of Fame near the gate to the Space Center.

American Police Hall Of Fame & Museum
American Police Hall Of Fame & Museum
(Wikipedia/CC)


American Police Hall of Fame & Museum was built in 1960 to serve as a memorial to fallen officers as well as a tribute to the law enforcement community.The museum features a Robocop at its entry and also the squad car from the film. Here you will find a variety of police vehicles, uniforms and equipment. There are mock up dispatched centers and even a police helicopter to explore. Crowd control equipment and execution devices showcase the rule of force.

Robocop at the American Police Hall Of Fame
Robocop
(Flickr user Marcin Wichary/CC)

Robocop Squad Car
Robocop Squad Car
(Flickr user Marcin Wichary/CC)

Mock Dispatch Center
Mock Dispatch Center
(Flickr user Marcin Wichary/CC)

1945 Police Academy Reference Book
1945 Police Academy Reference Book
(Flickr user Marcin Wichary/CC)

Police Equipment On Display
Police Equipment On Display
(Flickr user Marcin Wichary/CC)

Tear Gas Canisters
Tear Gas Canisters
(Flickr user Marcin Wichary/CC)

The Electric Chair
The Electric Chair
(Flickr user Marcin Wichary/CC)

A memorial honors fallen officers who have given their all in the line of duty. In what I feel is just a but of irony, an attached gun range allows visitors to fire a few rounds. Memorial Day is celebrated here with ceremonies, special activities and a Motorcycle Police Memorial Day Run.



Songs About Cops
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Previously, in San Diego, California on Highway 101, Old Highway Notes made a visit to the Police Museum located in the city's Old Town. While thee we ran through a few songs about bank robbers, police and jail. Music is rich in tales of outlaws and lawmen, since we are at the American Police Hall Of Fame, here are some more songs about cops and the job they do.

The songs I found are mostly not be in favor of police, except perhaps respect for them as adversaries. It seems like there is just some sort of natural tension between the freedom of the music and the regulation of the law that is timeless. Career musicians have always seemed to be on the fringes of legality. When punk rock came on the scene, police oppression was a big focus of the movement. Several notable punk songs make our list that look at the subject of police oppression.

Long before punk rock came along there were the blues. Blues musicians often lived outlaw lifestyles-or at least maintained that reputation. Our opening track, Police And High Sheriff Come Ridin' Down by Alabama blues man Ollis Martin from 1927 does nothing to change that. Next, Big Dave MacLean, a blues player from Canada, shows us that the tension between music and the law is not limited by national borders with his own interpretation of the song from 2008.
  • Police And High Sheriff Come Ridin' Down The Stuff That Dreams Are Made Of: Super Rarities Ollis Martin 3:05
  • Police And High Sheriff 35 Years Of Stony Plain Big Dave McLean 1:13


No one sees a cop quite like a kid. The authority of the uniform and their role in the community can be awe inspiring to the younger set. Our next two songs look at law enforcement from a child's point of view.

Our Gang or The Little Rascals was a series of comedy shorts that were made from the 1920's to the 1940's that took a humorous look at everyday life from a kids point of view. The soundtrack from The Little Rascals film featured some great early hot jazz and soundtrack music. Unfortunately, due to primitive techniques no master reels of the recordings used exist.

The Dutch group the Beau Hunks specialize in recreating historic music. Their album The Beau Hunks Play The Original Little Rascals Music is a modern recreation of soundtrack music from those short films. Cops is a short piece that resembles the music of the Keystone Kops films of the same era. Both series of films made by Mack Sennett Productions. Musically, it lampoons the authority of the man with a badge.

Casper, The Friendly Ghost takes a warmer look at law enforcement from a mid 20th century perspective. Motorcycle Policeman from the children's album Musical Adventure In Make-Believe is a charming little record. It also the most positive look at law enforcement that makes our list this week. From here things just get darker.
  • Cops The Beau Hunks Play The Original Little Rascals Music The Beau Hunks 0:37
  • Motorcycle Policeman Musical Adventure In Make-Believe Casper The Friendly Ghost 3:21


When Buddy Hollie died in that famous plane crash in 1959, his band The Crickets decided to carry on. They recruited a guitarist named Sonny Curtis to step in and take the place of Buddy Hollie. He brought with him a song he wrote in 1958 called I Fought The Law. The Crickets recorded the song to little fanfare on their album In Style With The Crickets. The song was largely unnoticed until a 1962 cover by Paul Stefan and his Royal Lancers achieved regional success in the Milwaukee area.

In 1964 a cover version of the song by El Paso, Texas's Bobby Fuller Four became a Texan regional hit. The record helped capture the attention of the Del-Fi record label. In December 1965 Del-Fi re-released the record nationally. It rose to number 9 in the charts.

In 1978,  The Clash were in San Francisco recording their second album, Give 'Em Enough Rope at the Automatt studio. The album, would become the bands first US release rising to 128 on the US charts. Oddly, the Clash's first album was released in the US AFTER their second album.

A jukebox filled with classic records was part of the Automatt's decor and the machine held a copy of I Fought The Law by the Bobby Fuller Four. Singer Joe Strummer and Guitarist Mick Jones both enjoyed the record and by the time they returned to England they could play the song.

I Fought The Law must have been destined to be a punk rock record. At roughly the same time the Clash was learning to play the song Sid Vicious, famed bass player for the Sex Pistols, was working on his own version. Vicious would commit suicide before recording it.

Back in England, the Clash recorded their own version of I Fought The Law for release on the EP The Cost Of Living. The song was later added to their first album, The Clash as part of it's American edition release.

The song was the band's first single in the United States and helped the album gain traction in the US market.

  • I Fought The Law Highs Of The Sixties Bobby Fuller Four 2:14
  • I Fought the Law The Clash The Clash 2:39

Punk Rock emerged in part from poor economic conditions in England. In Jamaica, poor economic conditions and violent national politics was expressed in reggae music. In early 1976 violent gangland clashes occurred between the various political faction culminating in 20 homes being firebombed in Kingston, Jamaica's Trench Town Neighborhood. Trench Town was the center of the reggae world, as Wikipedia notes: 
Trench Town is known in popular culture due to numerous skarocksteady, and reggae musicians, including The AbbysiniansWailing SoulsThe ParagonsOs Paralamas do SucessoThe TechniquesToots & the MaytalsDean FraserErnest RanglinAlton EllisHortense Ellis, Winston "Flames" Jarrett, Delroy WilsonJoe Higgs, Adina Edwards, Junior BraithwaiteLord TanamoStranger Cole, Cynthia Schloss, Lascelles Perkins, Dobby DobsonNoel 'Scully' Simms, the Folkes BrothersWilfred 'Jackie' EdwardsLeroy SibblesBongo HermanRoy ShirleyMassive DreadAnthony JohnsonPeter Tosh and Bunny Wailer, but most notably Bob Marley, who spent much of his youth in a "government yard" on First Street.
In May of 1976 a fairly minor league reggae musician named Junior Murvin auditioned with the legendary reggae producer Lee "Scratch" Perry. Junior Murvin had already appeared on several recordings and had a minor local hit record. Murvin played for Perry a song he wrote called Police and Thieves. The song was about police brutality and the gang warfare that was tearing apart Trench Town.

Lee "Scratch" Perry liked the song, recorded Murvin preforming the song later that same afternoon after reworking a bit of the lyrics. In the lightning fast reggae scene of mid-70's Kingston, the next day Perry was in the studio remixing the song with various dub versions. Junior Murvin also returned to the studio the next day to record a few more vocal tracks with different lyrics.

Mixing the song with Growler Dub by the Upsetters, Lee "Scratch' Perry immediately released the record to a reggae mad Jamaica. It was a hit! By June, the dub record was released internationally. In England it was an even bigger hit than in Jamaica, packing the floors in the countries dance clubs. In the US, the song did well within the category of reggae music.

By the end of the year, Police and Thieves was well on its way to being a permanent part of the reggae canon. It was named the 'Reggae Single of the Year' by Black Echoes, a long running Caribbean music program in Dublin, Ireland. In NME magazine, the song placed sixth in the 1976 end of year singles chart.

Police and Thieves gained further notoriety in the summer of 1976. That August, the long running Notting Hill Carnival exploded into rioting. The Carnival is an annual celebration of Caribbean Culture held in Notting Hill England. The festival had operated without permits for years. Occasionally police clashes would occur as police tried to disperse revelers who were parading without an official permit. In 1976 the conflict was particularly riotous. For many of the Notting Hill rioters, the hit song Police and Thieves was an inspiring anthem,

Notting Hill Carnival Reveler
Notting Hill Carnival Reveler
(Wikipedia)
In the crowd in Nottingham that August were Joe Strummer and Paul Simonon of The Clash. They became fond of the song and it became a something they would goof around with during band practices. A particularly good playing of the song during a recording break inspired the band to record a clean performance as a last minute add on to their album, The Clash.

Police and Thieves was arguably the first record to merge punk rock and reggae, Junior Murvin was not impressed saying, "They have destroyed Jah work!" Lee "Scratch" Perry did not like The Clash version either, saying the band had "ruined" the song. The Clash got better at reggae and eventually Perry respected them, assisting with production on their Sandinista! album.
  • Police & Thieves Hip-O Mon Vibration Junior Marvin 3:55
  • Police & Thieves The Clash The Clash 6:00


Punk Rock in the United States had its own flavor. In California, The Dead Kennedys borrowed guitar riffs from surf rock and tied them to inflammatory, fast, melodic music. Their song Police Truck looks at police brutality from the point of view of "bad cops" who committed violence against the citizens they were supposed to be protecting. We feature a live version recorded at the Deaf Club on March 31, 1979.

The Dead Kennedys not only preformed as a band, they also founded the record label Alternative Tentacles. The label was started so the band could self release their own records. It also released records from other punk bands unlikely to be signed by major labels. In celebration of the Alternative Tentacles 100th release, a tribute album of Dead Kennedys songs called Virus 100 was released. From that album we take The Didgits and their version of Police Truck.
  • Police Truck Live At The Deaf Club Dead Kennedys 2:55
  • Police Truck Virus 100 (A Dead Kennedys Tribute) The Didjits 2:19


The Clash keep appearing on this week's playlist. Our next track comes from their final album Sandinista! It is the straight ahead punk rocker Police On My Back. ACalifornia hardcore punk song comes next, with Black Flag recounting their own tale of police oppression in the song Police Story.

  • Police On My Back Sandinista! The Clash 3:17
  • Police Story Damaged  Black Flag 1:33




A couple of tracks from promotion CD's are now added to the playlist to take us away from punk rock rage.
  • Cops Too Here It Is, The Music CDK Vol. 1 Keith Levene 3:11
  • Policeman Give 'Em The Boot The Skatalites 3:31
George Thorogood and the Destroyers gives us a blues rock, good old boy gone wrong, Cops and Robbers story to add to the playlist. Next, Phish describe an encounter with the Makisupa Policeman. Side note: in an interview, Trey Anastasio, the lead singer of Phish, was asked what Makisupa meant. Anastasio replied that it is a word the band made up-it has no meaning, they just thought it sounded funny. Got to love Rock and Roll! Finally, this week we close out by getting indie and listening while The Strokes sing about New York City Cops.

  • Cops And Robbers Haircut George Thorogood & The Destroyers 4:50
  • Makisupa Policeman Live Phish, Vol. 1: 12/14/95, Broome County Arena, Binghamton, New York Phish 6:46
  • New York City Cops The Strokes 3:51




Mileage Stats

Route 66: 1/4 Mile/1 State/1097 Tracks/394 Videos/43 Posts
Highway 101: 25 Miles/2 Countries/1 State/702 Tracks/418 Videos/33 Posts
Interstate 95: 219 Miles/1 State/128 Tracks/198 Videos/19 Posts

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Saturday, September 19, 2015

Crystal Pier and Eddie Vedder

Pacific Beach at the intersection of Garnet and Cass is where we left off on our last post from the remains of Highway 101 in San Diego. From here the old highway continues North on Cass. Before we continue our drive North lets takes in some Southern California tourism and local beach culture with a trip to stroll on the beach.



A few blocks further west of the intersection brings us to the water and the foot of the Crystal Pier.  From there to the right a boardwalk skirts the edge of Pacific Beach, Left, to the South of the pier the boardwalk runs along the edge of the sand and Mission Beach. If front of us Crystal Pier juts out into the rolling surf of the Pacific Ocean.  The pier itself is pretty noteworthy,

Crystal Pier
(Wikipedia)


In 1885 a railroad link was established between San Diego and the East Coast. Almost immediately, large numbers took the train West to start a new life in  Southern California. Early settlers at Pacific Beach found the beach side climate was perfect for growing lemons.It seemed that part of San Diego would be an agricultural center.

In  1889 a rail line was opened that extended from downtown San Diego to La Jolla with a station at Pacific Beach. Some farm acreage were carved into lots that became a neighborhood. The loss of farmland also meant a loss for a source of income for the community. Being San Diego, tourism was looked to as replacement revenue source,

Crystal Pier Hotel Enrtry Arch
Crystal Pier Hotel Entry Arch
(Flickr user Chris Lee/CC)
By the 1920's the are was developing enough to have its own school and over 500 residents. Earl Taylor, a local businessman, worked to develop the street grid that had been laid out and named in 1900. Alphabet streets ran North to South were named after early San Diego officials.streets. The East/West streets were named after precious minerals (hence Garnet, which we traveled down in our last post).

Earl Taylor  wanted the area to draw visitors and was interested in building some sort of amusement pier. Piers had been successfully operating in Los Angeles for years and Taylor thought it would be a good draw for  tourists to the area,

Meanwhile, up the coast at Santa Monica, near Los Angeles A successful pier called the Pickering's Pleasure Pier had burned down in 1924 leaving it's builder/operator Ernest Pickering facing rebuilding. Taylor reached out to Pickering for a partnership. In 1925 the San Diego Union ran an ad announcing the development of a pier in Pacific Beach.

Crystal Pier Entry Arch from Pier Side
On The Pier Looking At The Shore
(Flickr user Theron Trowbridge/CC)


By 1926 the pier was opened, It was a fabulous looking structure with a dance hall that sat above the water. The pavilion had a vaguely Aztec art deco theme.  Right away there were troubles.

The crowded dance pavilion was full of partiers celebrated the opening of the pier. Some of the guests noted that the building was swaying in the surf. It was assumed the structure was settling. The sawaying fixtures were wired in place to avoid seasickness in the pavilions customers.

The pier was NOT just settling. A contractor who was involved in supplying the pylons for the bridge was contracted to coat the supports with creosote.This would prevent damage to supports that could be caused by by a small sea creature called a marine borer. Marine borers love to eat wood and have traditionally been the scourge of wooden ships by literally eating away their hulls.

Is This A Pier Or A Hotel Parking Lot?
(Flickr user Herb Neufeld/CC)


The contractor reportedly used a less expensive alternative called creosol to coat the wooden pilings. It was a bad decision. Creosol does not have the same repellent effects to marine borers. The pier was being eaten by the sea. Within a year the first Crystal Pier collapsed.

The idea of a pier was proven though. By 1936 the pier had been rebuild. Instead of dance pavilion at its tip, it instead featured cottages that you could drive right up to!. The cottages were little houses with kitchens and patios. As the cottages reached their edge over the rolling surf a fishing pier extended further out over the ocean.

Today the cottages are still their and are a hard room to get and a popular tourist destination. The pier itself is open to the public and gets thousands of visitors daily to enjoy the view, take a stroll, or go fishing.

Fishing on Crystal Pier
(Flickr user Bill Morrow/CC)

Playlist Additions

The 1990's were an important time in the San Diego alternative music scene. After grunge exploded on the music world from Seattle, many other cities that had also been cultivating local alternative rock scenes in the 1980's began to get noticed. Alternative bands from those other scenes began to chart as well, with both radio and MTV success.

San Diego had a small alternative music scene centered that around a rock club called the Casbah. Within a few years bands such as Blink-182, Stone Temple Pilots, Slightly Stoopid, Rocket from the Crypt, and Drive Like Jehu all emerged from the San Diego area and began achieving some success.

What many people don't know was that one of the most famous stars in the Seattle scene had a lot to do with the development of the scene in San Diego.

Eddie Vedder was born in the suburbs of Chicago in 1965. The product of a broken home, his parents divorced in infancy. His mother quickly remarried and Eddie lived in Chicago until he was 12 years old.

In the mid-70's the family moved from Chicago to the San Diego, where Vedder was given a guitar to help occupy him in a new environment where he did not have any friends yet. The move to San Diego began what must have been a traumatic period in young Vedder's life.

Late in his high school career his parents divorced. His mother moved back to Chicago, while Vedder decided to stay in San Diego with his father to complete high school. It wasn't long after his mother left that Vedder found out the truth that he was not the biological son of the man he knew as his father.

His real father he never got to meet, having died of multiple sclerosis before Eddie knew he existed. Eddie Vedder moved into his own apartment and supported himself working the night shift at an Encinitas drug store. It was too much and he dropped out of high school and moved to Chicago to rejoin his mother.

While in Chicago, he got his GED and attended some community college. In 1984 he and moved with his girlfriend back to San Diego. He worked at several odd jobs, including hotel security guard, to suuport himself while he began working towards a career as a musician. During this time Vedder played in casually several San Diego bands including Surf and Destroy and The Butts.

One of these bands he played with was a group called Indian Style. That band also featured drummer Brad Wilk who would go on to great success with the bands Rage Against The Machine and Audioslave.

Modest success came in 1988 when he joined the San Diego progressive funk band Bad Radio, a band who styled themselves along the lines of the Red Hot Chili Peppers. The band gained a record contract, and was drawing attention.



Bad Radio achieved some success but it was a short stint for Vedder. He left he band working in the late 1980's as an attendant at a gas station. Still hanging around the local music scene, Eddie Vedder was friends and played basketball with Red Hot Chili Peppers drummer Jack Irons.

Jack Irons told Vedder about a band in Seattle band that was looking for a singer. The story was that the locally successful Seattle band Mother Love Bone, had recently lost their singer, Andrew Wood,  to overdose. Guitarist Stone Gossard and bassist Jeff Ament were in need a replacement singer.



Irons gave Vedder a demo tape to see if he was interested in contacting them. Eddie Vedder listened to the tape before a day of surfing. (Could it have been in Pacific Beach? Possibly, accounts are unclear.)

Eddie Vedder tackled the surf as inspiration struck and he conceived of the lyrics to a three song suite he called Mamma-Son. The songs tell a story with many parallels to Vedder's own. In it, a young man finds out the truth about his paternity after his birth father is dead. From there he becomes a serial killer before being caught sentenced and executed. Vedder recorded his verses onto the instrumental demo and sent them tape North to Seattle.

Impressed with Vedders unique vocals they responded by asking him to come up to Seattle for an audition. At the time a new project was being conceived by Soundgarden  singer and  rhythm Guitarist Chris Cornell. Eddie Vedder was asked to join.

The band was a Seattle supergroup composed of  Soundgarden's Chris Cornell, and drummer Matt Cameron,  and Stone Goddard and Jeff Ament from  Mother Love Bone. The would be joined by newcomers Mike McCready on guitar and vocalist Eddie Vedder from San Diego. The band was named Temple of the Dog and was intended to be a tribute to deceased mother Love Bone singer, Andrew Wood. It was also a bit of a benefit for Goddard and Ament who were suddenly without work.


The self titled album broke just before the the Seattle music scene was to explode across America. Though it was well received, Soundgarden's obligations meant it could not be more than a side project for Goddard and Cameron.

It did achieve one of Cornell's original goals for the group. That would be keeping Goddart and Ament playing music in the Seattle scene. With revived inspiration, Goddart and Ament along with recruited drummer Dave Krusen formed the band Pearl Jam. The rest is history.

Released in 1991 just before  Nirvana's explosive breakthrough Nevermind, Pearl Jams debut Ten took off slowly but by late 1992 the album had peaked on the Billboard hot 200 at number 2. The sales of the album were driven by the success of three singes, Alive, Evenflow and Jeremy, all of which had successful videos on MTV.
  • Alive   Ten  Pearl Jam 5:41
  • Evenflow  Ten  Pearl Jam 4:53
  • Jeremy  Ten  Pearl Jam 5:19


Ten's tracks Alive, Once, as well as the rarity b-side to the Jeremy single, Footstep, were the same songs Eddie Vedder wrote surfing that day in San Diego. It is where the biggest San Diego connections to Eddie Vedder end. His story would be Seattle's after this, including long time rock star fame and legendary legal  battles with Ticketmaster. But that is a story for another day
  • Once  Ten  Pearl Jam 3:51
  • Alive  Ten  Pearl Jam 5:41



Mileage Stats

Route 66: 1/4 Mile/1 State/1097 Tracks/394 Videos/43 Posts
Highway 101: 25 Miles/2 Countries/1 State/702 Tracks/418 Videos/33 Posts
Interstate 95: 200 Miles/1 State/121 Tracks/183 Videos/18 Posts

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Saturday, August 1, 2015

Chicago Loop and Songs Inspired By The 1968 Democratic National Convention

Begin Route 66 Sign
(Flickr user Tony Hisgett/CC)
For most of its life, Route 66 began at the Buckingham Fountain, as we looked at in our last post. These days, due to one way street alignments in the central city, the route West now starts at a block or so away from the fountain on Adams Street between Michigan Avenue and Wabash Streets.



Going West on Adams on the left we have the 274 foot tall Borg-Warner Building and to the right we pass the Mid-Continental Plaza on the right. It is a 583 ft tall high rise that is the 52nd highest tower in the city.



The El Train over Wabash
The Elevated Train
(Flickr user theycallmetelly/CC)
The intersection of Adams and Wabash is a station stop on the famous El Train that makes a loop around the core of the city thus gaining the downtown's nickname of The Loop. In front of the station we find a street musician jamming on his clarinet.



Chicago is known for many things, not the least of which are trains and skyscrapers. Modern steel frame skyscraper architecture was born here and for many years the Sears Tower (now the Willis Tower) reigned supreme as the tallest building in the world.

Adams Street/Routte 66 West
Looking Up Adams
(Flickr user (vincent desjardins)/CC)
Trains also figure hugely in the development of the city. Located between Lake Michigan and the Mississippi River, Chicago was destined to be a transportation hub. When the railroads were being built it was a logical choice to build to an already busy trade corridor. As more train lines converged on Chicago, it drew more lines to build to there as well.

As the city grew the rail lines built depots at the edge of the city center. In cosmopolitan late 19th century style a cable driven trolley system had a large pulley in the downtown area that was nicknamed The Loop. In 1897, when a an elevated train was build in a loop around the downtown core to connect the various terminals, the name The Loop began to be applied to the train.

The center of one of Americas largest cities, The Loop is packed with skyscrapers, public art, plazas, and government buildings. One of the plazas in the loop is as well known for its mention in the film The Blues Brothers as it is for the Picasso sculpture that graces it. That is the Richard J. Daley plaza, named after one of Chicago's most known mayors, He presided over the city for 21 years from 1955-1976 and his name will come up again in the Playlist Additions for this post a little later on.

Chicago Picasso
 Chicago Picasso at the Richard J. Daley Plaza
(Flickr user Jaysin Trevino/CC)
Here are several short videos that explore the Loop.










Playlist Additions
The 1968 Chicago Democratic National Convention Riots And The Songs That Followed
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As promised, Richard J Daley will play a role in our playlist addition this week. The year was 1968 and one of the most divisive and bitterly fought presidential primaries was underway. The Democratic National Convention where the president  would be named was due to take place in Chicago during the last week in August.

This is a complicated story and the music is the point. Please forgive any lapses in the narrative, as well as the lack of discussion of events happening inside the convention. Here is a nutshell version of the lead up and the scene on the streets that week. If you find it interesting, I urge you to explore the many other reports that have been made about the events in Chicago at the 1968 Democratic National Convention.

1968 would have been a spirited primary season in a normal election year because the incumbent president Lyndon Johnson was stepping down from the presidency, leaving a contestable candidacy.

This was no ordinary year. 1968 was the most turbulent year of the decade in many ways. In fact, it was one of the most turbulent years in the second half of the 20th century, The youth counterculture had been driving a mighty wedge between older and younger Americans. The Anti-War movement was gaining more and more strength. And there were other societal issues challenging the nation. This led to the heated convention atmosphere,

On April 4, 1968, Martin Luther King Jr was assassinated at the Lorraine Hotel in Memphis, Tennessee. The murder angered the nation but especially the black communities in cities around the country. While peaceful memorials occurred in some places, many cities black communities exploded into rioting to express the outrage against the racism in America that led to the death of such a peaceful man.

In over 100 cities rioting occurred, with damage in excess of 50 million dollars. Hardest hit were Baltimore, Maryland, Washington D.C., and Chicago, Illinois. In Chicago, the riots continued for 48 hours a 28 square block area was that looted, vandalized and burned, Between 4 and 10 pm on the night the rioting began, over 36 fires were reported in the area burning.

In the end, it took over 20,00 combined police, National Guard and Army troops to restore order. By then 11 Chicagoans were dead and 48 were wounded by police gunfire. The police received 90 injuries and 2150 people were arrested. Two miles of Madison Street were reduced to rubble. 



Other events helped to drive up tensions leading to the Chicago convention. In June of that year the Democrats front running candidate, one with tremendous youth appeal, Robert F. Kennedy was assassinated at a fund raising dinner in Los Angeles. 

After the death of Robert Kennedy, his older brother President John F Kennedy, and Martin Luther King Jr all  killed by assassins bullets, concern for the safety of the convention delegates was in the forefront of the minds of Chicago's leadership. Richard J. Daley had hoped to use the press from the convention to make a leap from city politics to the national political stage. 

Meanwhile, college students who had been mobilized by the civil rights and anti-war movements wanted to go to Chicago to make a statement to the delegates about their issues. Abbie Hoffman, on of the founders of the Yippies, the radical hippy political party, called for a "Festival of Life" to be held in Chicago in Lincoln Park near the Convention Center.
 "Join us in Chicago in August for an international festival of youth, music, and theater. Rise up and abandon the creeping meatball. Come all you rebels, youth spirits, rock minstrels, truth-seekers, peacock-freaks, poets, barricade-jumpers, dancers, lovers and artists! . . . Bring blankets, tents, draft-cards, body-paint, Mr Leary's Cow, food to share, music, eager skin, and happiness. The threats of LBJ, Mayor Daley, and J Edgar Freako will not stop us. We are coming! We are coming from all over the world!"
The youth movement had been becoming more political for a few years. During that long hot summer major rock festivals were held across the country which produced a fairly large nomadic hippy population. A lot of them headed to Chicago to speak out for peace and to just groove on the scene and the free festival.

During the first day of the convention the Yippies, including folksinger Phil Ochs, protested. Marching and chanting, they caused a scene and brought a pig into the Loop area of the city. The pig was named "Pigasus the Immortal" and he was offered as the Yippie presidential candidate.

From City Hall, Daley wanted to make sure that the crowds were kept in line. He did not want this to open up into a reprise of the rioting the city experienced earlier in the year. Daley instructed his police to act with authority and shut down any protest gathering.was worried that the protesters who were expected to arrive would turn to rioting. 

The Yippies had announced an occupation of Lincoln Park camping out for the duration of the convention. However, Mayor Daley's office denied permits stating that the police would enforce the parks closing time of 11p.

During that first day of the festival Phil Ochs performed. His song I Won't Go Marching Anymore was requested by Yippie founder Jerry Rubin. The crowd was in a militant mood, many of the having attended civil disobedience training earlier in the day hosted by the anti-war group Mobe.


The police were tasked with dispersing the crowd, by force if necessary. As protesters chanted anti-police slogans, the police swept in with billy clubs and in riot formations. Soon tear gas was fired on the protesters. All of it happened live on the network news.



The riot would continue for four days, yet the festival continued featuring most notable the MC5 later in the week. Inside the convention, things were heated and contentious as well, The American public seemed to feel shock, concern, and rage over the events inside and outside of the convention.

From the website Chicago '68:
The arrest count for Convention Week disturbances stands at 668. An undetermined number of demonstrators sustained injuries, with hospitals reporting that they treated 111 demonstrators. The on-the-street medical teams from the Medical Committee for Human Rights estimated that their medics treated over 1,000 demonstrators at the scene. The police department reported that 192 officers were injured, with 49 officers seeking hospital treatment.
Public opinions were decidedly mixed. Some felt the protesters to be Un-American communist sympathizers. Others saw the police as jack booted storm trooper thugs.

The film Conventions-The Land Around Us was created shortly after the incidents of the convention \ for The University of Chicago. It is is long but has many amazing images from the Convention and the surrounding chaos. as well as a certain late 60's hippy vibe that is undeniable.
Conventions-The Land Around Us from Jerry Swatez on Vimeo.
Yippies! against the system. The Chicago 1968 Democratic Convention demonstrations. With music.

Information documents about this video can be found at http://ge.tt/1JBWTAU?c
The excerpted Phil Ochs music from the film is in this clip:



An audio report from the Festival of Life exists as well:


After the convention was over a trial was held for Abbie Hoffman, Jerry Rubin, David Dellinger, Tom Hayden, Rennie Davis, John Froines, and Lee Weiner, known as The Chicago 7. Originally it was the Conspiracy 8 on the Chicago 8, but the 8th defendant Bobby Seales, was severed from the group charges, ultimate being charged with 4 years in prison for contempt of court.

Chicago 7 Protest Sign
Wikipedia
The Chicago 7  was charged with conspiracy, inciting a riot and an assortment of minor charges. During their trial a number of celebrities testified, including Phil Ochs, who was given a fine for his role in bringing the pig into the city without a livestock license. During his questioning it was implied that Jerry Rubin requesting his performance of I Won't Go Marching Anymore was a deliberate move to incite the crowd.

Here is Hollywood's version in a trailer from the 2011 film Chicago Eight:



To start our playlist additions this week, we have Phil Ochs in the studio performing I Won't Go Marching Anymore. It appears that he also performed Power and The Glory that day as well. We'll add it to our playlist.

A song written after the events by Ochs, describes the events in Chicago.William Butler Yeats Visits Lincoln Park And Escapes Unscathed. The song is a poetic description of the festival. A young couple fall in love only to get separated in the riots where she is killed. the song closes with a reprise that radically changes the tempo to a festive campaign tune that mocks those who claimed to be in Chicago but were not.

After plenty of searching, I could not find out who Ochs was referring to when he sings "I was in Detroit".It is obvious that this is a punch line, Perhaps he was referring to the race rioting in Detroit after the assassination of Martin Luther King Jr, which also occurred in Chicago. If you get the joke, please explain in the comments.

The reprise is strong enough  that the band Kind Of Like Spitting chose to cover it under the titel Where Were You In Chicago for an indie tribute compilation dedicated to Phil Ochs that came out in 2010 called Learn: The Songs Of Phil Ochs.

To be fair, it seems right to include the police officers opinion. WFMU on their 365 Day Project featured a minor label record Chicago Policeman by Harry Burgess The song has a mock sincerity, I think. In the song, the policeman celebrates the departments actions during the rioting and how it helped keep the city safe from hippies and communists,

We conclude our playlist additions with a song that inspired me to start writing this post, before I got caught up in the Phil Ochs story. The song is Graham Nash's Chicago. We are adding the version from the Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young live album Four Way Street. 

Chicago calls out his fellow band members, and ultimately much of the rock community, for not appearing in Chicago. The song also holds many references to the Chicago 7 trial. and the injustice that Nash felt the trial was,


  • I Ain't Marching Anymore The Early Years Phil Ochs  2:37
  • Power And The Glory There But For Fortune Phil Ochs  2:17
  • William Butler Yeats Visits Lincoln Park And Escapes Unscathed Farewells & Fantasies Phil Ochs  3:31
  • Where Were You In Chicago Learn: The Songs Of Phil Ochs Kind Of Like Spitting 0:43
  • Chicago Policeman WFMU The 365 Days Project 2003 Harry Burgess 3:33
  • Chicago Four Way Street  Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young 3:12




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