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Into the Mystic

Professor Ray Gonzalez


English 3061

1. Not a book about the occult but about sixties music and it visionary art, often created
through American roots from slavery of past centuries and blues and jazz that evolved out of it.
2. Hill states he is not interested in “hippie gibberish” but how the spiritual elements in the
music were key factors in the highly political culture of the sixties.
3. How did mysterious forces add spiritual elements during a crucial era when the culture
believed rock music could change the world?
4. Sixties musicians took African traditions, added improvisational elements, and “ecstatic
consciousness” that influenced the rise of rock bands and mass audiences that reacted to the
music through their own rituals, dance movements, costumes, political awareness, and new
approaches to the blues and other kinds of American music.
5. Bottom of page 9—“transmit a new way of seeing” could also be a new way of listening
as the rock band came into prominence and the “rock star” was born.
6. Many people believed musicians were the “high priests” of an “electric church” (Jimi
Hendrix term) that gave rock its power.
7. Page 14 bottom—key points that slavery made slaves respond through survival chants,
voodoo and mystery, and “call and response” rhythms of the human need for freedom.
8. How does this survival tradition and its sacred elements create a later music that
rebellious young people of the sixties also saw as sacred?
9. Pages 36-37—The Beatles emerging as creations from the “secret history” of slave
tradition. American blues, and an evolving imagination England picked up on before America.
10. Bottom of page 45—why the spiritual connection between music and its audience rose
through California culture and its “far-out” ways of being in the world.
11. This kind of intensity in the culture of hippies, freaks, and rebels was the massive way
people lived in the sixties and used “earthly” connections between music and the earth to
counter the political reality of the Vietnam War, race riots, inequality, and political repression.
12. The beginning of folk rock with Bob Dylan and The Byrds fused older musical traditions
with the new electric rock. Page 69.
13. Beatle love (love songs, young boys emotional and wild, the first true rock band). Page
90.
14. Rock music as an art form for young people written by the musicians themselves for the
first time. 96-97.
15. Grateful Dead jam exploration (129) through cultural “frontiers of consciousness” where
the hippie dream of idealistic and high euphoria created a timeless, influential sound.
16. P.156—‘‘The core myth of most popular music is the myth of romantic love.” The
Beatles as love visionaries, recreating ways to mourn and to celebrate human relationships.
17. The dark side of this love (190) and rebellion and the dirty image of The Rolling Stones
who took the love myth in a different direction from The Beatles. “I am the rock star and you’re
not, so worship me”.
18. Van Morrison “channeling” Astral Weeks.
19. Velvet Underground (216) from primitives to sophisticates—rock as the dark visual street
art transformed into dangerous games.
20. “The call of oblivion” in Heroin goes beyond aura of drug habit.