Vintage flashback-inducing psychedelic ads from the 60s and 70s that will give you a contact high

Who knew that wearing Wrangler Jeans could be this much fun? Vintage ad from the 1970s.
Every product under the the sun in the 60s and 70s seemed to be coated with LSD. Even mundane items like Wrangler Jeans, acne medication and Plymouths caught the psychedelic buzz. If you weren’t taking drugs at the time, all you really had to do was pick up a magazine and check out some of the colorful (and confusing) ads and get experienced.

Vintage psychedelic ad for the Yellow Pages.
I was very lucky to have a wonderful art teacher in the sixth-grade who at the end of the year gifted me with a Peter Max poster book as we both shared a love for that type of counter culture artistic expression which I still have to this day (thanks, Mrs. B!). Max’s widespread notoriety began in the 60s and continues to this day (The 78-year-old artist was commissioned in 2012 to paint the hull of a Norwegian Cruise Line ship). It wasn’t surprising to see his recognizable artwork show up in a 1971 ad for the Chelsea National Bank which I have of course included in this post. I’ve also got a soft spot for the kaleidoscopic ads for the vintage cosmetics line sold at Woolworth’s (the land of neverending bins and shelves full of everything including from 45’s to underpants) called Baby Doll. Grab some sunglasses and enjoy!

Peter Max’s illustration for the Chelsea National Bank, 1971.

An ad for Baby Doll cosmetics sold at Woolworth’s during the 60s and early 70s.

Trippy vintage ad for the ‘New-Hope Soap’ Clearasil.
More after the jump…

Posted by Cherrybomb
09:28 am
Drop some LSD and crank up this psychedelic freak-out that had squares covering their ears in 67
09:33 am

This is one of those “drop whatever you’re doing and WATCH THIS” posts that we do sometimes here at Dangerous Minds. Not much needs to be said other than “holy shit, this is raging.”

What we have here is The Blues Magoos appearing in 1967 on NBC’s Kraft Music Hall television show, hosted by Jack Benny. This had to have been some majorly mind-blowing stuff in 1967. Hell, it’s pretty freaking mind-blowing watching it today.

By 1967 Jack Benny represented the squares of the establishment, though he plays it up a bit in this clip—first, covering his ears with his hands as the band launches into their scorching version of “Tobacco Road,” and later as he attempts to “connect” with the hip, young group.

Benny’s brief interview with the group after the performance is actually pretty funny, with Benny making a very straight declaration after the performance’s noise-freak-out climax: “That was a marvelous number, tomorrow everybody’ll be humming it!”

Benny goes on to have a bit of fun acting as the out-of-touch Normie, when he explains that he thinks he “gets it” before having a member of the group explain what their music represents:

“We’re trying to create the electrical sounds of the universe using the newly attained music of inner-space to give you the re-creation. Our re-creation music is absorbed by all the senses, constantly reshaping the environment in which it is performed. With the addition of our visual impact we attempt to meld the music and the performers and the audience into one being. This is the true expression of our endeavor.”

Benny’s pitch perfect response: “Then I was right!”

Jason Hartley at the Advanced Theory Blog hipped me to this jaw-dropping clip and rightly pointed out that this could have been a highly influential performance, as so much that came after can be heard in this jam. It’s as Hartley states: “Another reminder that things that sound like they came from nowhere have some precedent that will make you question everything you ever believed.”

Seriously crank the volume on your speakers and imagine 1967 nuclear families in front of their televisions witnessing this shit for the first time. By the end of the performance when the guitarist is making space noises with his theremin, I can imagine lots of dads getting up out of their La-Z-Boys and switching the channel to CBS.
Together we’ll all FREAK OUT:


Posted by Christopher Bickel
09:33 am
Cosmic Visions: The amazing poster art of the UFO Club, London’s psychedelic dungeon

The short-lived UFO Club was a small, pioneering psychedelic club in London that operated from December 1966 to October 1967. It was born as a result of the underground newspaper The International Times’ fabulously successful launch party at the Roundhouse on October 14, 1966, where the early Pink Floyd and Soft Machine performed. IT‘s visionary owners Joe Boyd and John “Hoppy” Hopkins opened the UFO Club in a basement at 31 Tottenham Court Road under Gala Berkeley Cinema on December 23, 1966. The club was open every week “10:30 until dawn.” A one-year membership was 15 shillings but “Overseas visitors need not be members” (according to a UFO Club ad for a Procol Harum show). Mick Farren was a doorman.

The roster of artists who played there is mind-blowing: Barrett-era Pink Floyd (the house band), The Move, The Pretty Things, Graham Bond, The Crazy World of Arthur Brown, Soft Machine, Denny Laine, Fairport Convention, and Jimi Hendrix, Eric Burdon and The New Animals, Dantalion’s Chariot (with Zoot Money and future Police guitarist Andy Summers), The Bonzo Dog Band, The Smoke, Third Ear Band, Jeff Beck, Ten Years After, and (Giant) Sun Trolley.

Movies were shown (Buñuel, Dali, W.C. Fields, Marilyn Monroe, Kenneth Anger), first-generation light shows and film projections (by Mark Boyle and Joan Hills), and vegetarian macrobiotic food was served. LSD was easy to find.

Andy Summers wrote in his autobiography One Train Later:

In the Roundhouse, the UFO, and the Middle Earth Club in London everyone seems to get it, and it’s as if we are all in on the same joke. Our music expresses the release, the dropping of old conventions, the newly found freedom – and to play old-style R&B in these places would be distinctly uncool.

UFO Club owners Joe Boyd and Hopkins were inspired by American music venues’ colorful commissioned concert posters and decided to follow suit. They chose pop artists Michael English and Nigel Waymouth, a.k.a. Hapshash & the Coloured Coat, to design promotional posters for the UFO Club. English had already worked on the first few issues of IT.

The two men met in 1966 when both were involved in creating exterior murals for trendy London clothing shops, English at Hung On You, and Waymouth at his own boutique Granny Takes A Trip, on Kings Road. Granny Takes A Trip, opened by Waymouth and artists John Pearse and Sheila Cohen, was the hippest clothing store, selling antique clothes and original psychedelic designs to hippies, young aristocrats, and rock stars and their consorts (Mick Jagger, Brian Jones, Ronnie Wood, Rod Stewart, Andy Summers, The GTO’s Miss Pamela, Marianne Faithfull, and Anita Pallenberg). In 1967 English and Waymouth formed their graphic design partnership, Hapshash and the Coloured Coat (earlier discarded names were Cosmic Colors and Jacob and the Coloured Coat).

Hapshash’s intricate, detailed, sometimes illegible posters were printed by IT offshoot Osiris Visions in the Indica Gallery (owned by Marianne Faithfull’s husband John Dunbar, Peter Asher, and IT editor Barry Miles and heavily invested in by Paul McCartney), located in the basement of the Indica Bookshop. The Creative Review said in 2011 before a Hapshash retrospective at London’s Idea Generation Gallery: “Many of the posters were designed to be largely illegible to those not prepared to stand and read them – thus the artists could get away with including explicit elements, subversive codes and messages.”

The Houston Freeburg Collection website quoted Nigel Waymouth’s description of his collaboration with Michael English:

Michael’s talent lies in his ability to balance an unrivaled attention to detail whilst creating the most fluid designs. I brought to the work a strong imagination bursting with romantic ideas and a facility for figurative drawing. We also had a very strong sense of colour, which was important , given the cost limitations and the strictures of the silk screen process. At a time when the prevailing fashion was for an indiscriminate use of rainbows and any clashing colour combination, we strived for maximum colour effect without sacrificing balance or harmony. To this end we introduced numerous innovations that have since become common practice. Expensive gold and silver inks had not been used much on street posters before we made it a regular feature of our designs. We also pioneered the technique of gradating from one colour to another on a single separation. The effects were startling, bringing an explosive vitality to the fly posters on the London streets. Nothing like it had been seen before or since. Looking at a whole block of some twenty or thirty of a single Hapshash poster was a powerful visual shock. It was not long before people began tearing some of them down in order to decorate their own walls. It was eye candy to match any psychedelic experience. In hindsight we now realize that what we had done was to bridge a gap between Pop Art and tagged graffiti. The posters often contained subversive elements, including sexually explicit graphics, mystical symbols and dissenting messages. We regarded each poster, whatever it was promoting, not only as an aesthetically pleasing design but also as a proactive concept. We got away with it because the posters were so charming to look at and the contents, including the words, required closer attention than people could give them at first glance. Our immediate audience was the younger generation, sympathetic to the spirit of the times but we also wanted to brighten the lives of people going about there everyday business on the gray streets of London.

For eighteen months Hapshash also did similar artwork for album covers (The Incredible String Band), the sleeve for The Who’s single “I Can See For Miles,” the film Luv Me, promotional posters for Tomorrow, Soft Machine, Jimi Hendrix Experience, The Who, Traffic, Granny Takes a Trip, the 1968 International Pop Festival in Rome, the Middle Earth Club, the Savile Theatre, and the the 14-Hour Technicolour Dream “free speech benefit” fundraiser at Alexandra Palace on April 29, 1967 to help IT with legal fees. The posters’ screen-prints were often given away to members of the audience at the end of a night (well, very early morning). An illicit cottage industry has grown up around bootlegging these posters and inventing unlikely stories about their origins. There is a good checklist of how to spot fakes here.

More posters + Soft Machine at the UFO Club, June 2, 1967 after the jump…

Posted by Kimberly J. Bright
01:18 pm
Chevy Chase on LSD as Chamaeleon Church (and a brief stint in Steely Dan)
04:51 pm

Before finding fame as Clark Griswald, a 24 year-old Chevy Chase was living his rock n’ roll dream as the keyboardist/drummer for Boston psychedelic band Chamaeleon Church.  Their sole album appeared on the MGM label in 1968 and was marketed as part of the Bosstown Sound that included other lysergic warriors from the area Ultimate Spinach, Orpheus, Beacon Street Union, Phulph, Eden’s Children, and Puff. 

Although the marketing plan back-fired, as the press deemed the whole scene as nothing more than record label hype, the albums made by the Bosstown groups contain many gems including this harmony-laden winner Camillia is Changing.  Produced by the ultra-prolific Alan Lorber, who also master-minded the whole Bosstown gimmick, the song has the usual 1968 flourishes and some killer harmonies, which I am sure Chase’s perfect pitch lent to extensively.

Before playing with the Church, Chase jammed with school friends Walter Becker and Donald Fagan in The Leather Canaries, who of course would find fame sans Chevy as Steely Dan.  Although his music career didn’t quite pan out, Chase simultaneously worked with an underground comedian gang called Channel One that would lead to his eventual TV and comedy career.


Posted by Elvin Estela
04:51 pm