Leonard Bernstein explains the rock revolution to squares in 1967’s ‘Inside Pop’ doc


“A lot of the kids who are walking around the street with long hair.. a lot of the kids that you see from time to time—and retch over—are going to be running your government for you.”
—Frank Zappa

For a while now, tantalizing bit and pieces of Inside Pop: The Rock Revolution, a 1967 CBS News special presented by the great Leonard Bernstein have popped up on YouTube but this is the best version I’ve seen.

This program marked the first time that pop music was presented as a legitimate art form, with sympathetic host Bernstein lending an intellectual gravitas to the proceedings that only he could bestow upon the “strange and compelling scene called pop music.” It’s fascinating to watch the famous composer/conductor look straight at the audience as he tries to make sense of what rock music was becoming, one would presume, for a “square” middle-aged audience. The second part of the show goes into the field and was mostly shot in 1966.

One of the ultimate time capsules of the moment when the world went from black and white to vivid color in the space of one year. This must have been riveting television in its time, because it still is.

With great bits from Frank Zappa, Graham Nash, Tim Buckley, Herman’s Hermits, Reger McQuinn and the legendary performance of Brian Wilson’s “Surf’s Up” that will cause your mind to explode into a million pieces if you are a Beach Boys fan. Inside Pop also includes 15-year-old Janis Ian performing “Society’s Child,” a then highly controversial song about interracial romance. It was Bernstein’s championing of the song that saw it become a hit. Before Inside Pop aired, radio programmers were still skittish about the number.

Thank you kindly, Dalton Anthony!

Posted by Richard Metzger
04:07 pm



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