Month: June 2017

George Harrison, Hippies, the Haight and the Horrible Memories of a Dead Beatle

Beatle George Harrison playing guitar for hippies on Hippie Hill, Aug. 8, 1967.

George Harrison, grooviest of the Beatles, playing guitar for hippies in San Francisco, Aug. 8, 1967.

BY ED MURRIETA

The band member known as The Quiet Beatle had his loud-and-clear say about hippies and the Haight-Ashbury in the Summer of Love.

As rock ‘n’ roll chronicler Ben Fong-Torres detailed the story 34 years later, George Harrison arrived in San Francisco on Aug. 8, 1967, telling reporters he was curious about the hippie phenomenon.

Based on Harrison’s assessment of the scene, the Beatle wasn’t amused.

Harrison is quoted in the 1989 biography “Dark Horse” saying he thought the Haight “would be something like King’s Road (in London), only more. Somehow I expected them to all own their own little shops. I expected them all to be nice and clean and friendly and happy.”

Instead, after touring the hippie ‘hood and encountering  a “wild band of jeering hippies” during an impromptu song sesh on nearby Hippie Hill in Golden Gate Park, Harrison declared hippies to be “hideous, spotty little teenagers.”

In “The Beatles Anthology,” a mini-series produced in 2000, Harrison said, “I went there expecting it to be a brilliant place, with groovy gypsy people making works of art and paintings and carvings in little workshops. But it was full of horrible spotty drop-out kids on drugs, and it turned me right off the whole scene.”

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My High Times Scoop — My Journalism Career First

BY ED MURRIETA

I’ve been doing journalism, and smoking pot, since 1985. Today, I had my first scoop — exclusively reporting the acquisition of High Times magazine, the bible of stoner culture.

Here’s my story, as reported in The San Francisco Chronicle.

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