This was the second day of the Monterey Pop Festival, with a full day of performances including:

  • Canned Heat
  • Big Brother and the Holding Company
  • Country Joe and the Fish
  • Al Kooper
  • The Butterfield Blues Band
  • The Electric Flag
  • Quicksilver Messenger Service
  • Steve Miller Band
  • Moby Grape
  • Hugh Masekela
  • The Byrds
  • Laura Nyro
  • Jefferson Airplane
  • Booker T. & the M.G.s
  • The Mar-Keys

A lot of these are in the second tier of 60s artists, ones that we old heads know but that kids today — even those who grew up on classic rock — probably wouldn’t be able to identify. The exceptions are Big Brother (featuring, of course, Janis Joplin), the Airplane, the Byrds, Steve Miller (who became mega in the 70s), and possibly Canned Heat.

The day’s headliner was Otis Redding, who was backed for his set by Booker T & the M.G.s. And it was a damn good thing he went on last, because his performance would have been awfully hard to follow. Parts of it are on YouTube, such as:

But it’s well worth seeking out the whole thing, which was released under the title Shake! Otis at Monterey.

While we’re on the subject of Monterey Pop, one of my favorite ever Beatles stories concerns a cameraman that John Lennon had hired and dispatched to the U.S., supposedly to film the festival. But there was no film in the cameras — instead they were used to smuggle back into Britain John’s personal lifetime supply of LSD, recently purchased from the renowned chemist Stanley Owsley.

Is this story, which I got from Bob Spitz’s The Beatles, true? I can’t say for sure, and I don’t really care; I just like to picture an airplane winging its way across the Atlantic carrying a gazillion hits of acid inside an empty movie camera. Sometimes when I’m trying to fall asleep at night, I visualize that, start counting capsules, and the next thing you know…

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