Tag Archives: The Who

Monterey Pop – “The greatest pre-Woodstock rock music festival”

Jimi Hendrix sets fire to his guitar, The Who leaves no equipment undestroyed – Yeah man! Those were the days.

Think about history’s first legendary rock festival and you’ll probably see a picture of Woodstock 1969 in front of your mind’s eye. But, there’s a precursor. While it was similar in its outlandish atmosphere, it’s not the least bit as well-known as Woodstock.

Monterey International Pop Festival took place in 1967 and it’s an archetype of music festivals. To compare: the first festivals in Europe, like Pinkpop (Netherlands) or Ruisrock (Finland), popped up in 1970. The Danish Roskilde followed just one year later.

Monterey International Pop Festival was a stepping stone for Jimi Hendrix, The Who, Janis Joplin, Otis Redding, and many others who we now consider legends. It’s about time we take a look at one of the apogees of the summer of love.  

The art of rock ‘n’ roll

It all started with an idea of John Phillips, singer with the Mamas & the Papas, and his record label executive Lou Adler. They figured that rock ‘n’ roll should be given the status of art –  just like jazz. They also thought rock ‘n’ roll deserved a bigger stage. Together with a board of recommendation – that seated the all-star cast of Paul McCartney, Mick Jagger, Brian Wilson and Paul Simon – they worked out a lineup within a few weeks.

Simon & Garfunkel, Grateful Dead, Jefferson Airplane, Canned Heat, The Steve Miller Band, The Byrds, Otis Redding, The Who, Scott McKenzie, Jimi Hendrix, Big Brother and the Holding Company with Janis Joplin, and so many more artists, agreed to play for nothing. Lou Adler says: “ We were just there at the right time.”

The Who and Jimi Hendrix

The story goes that Jimi Hendrix and The Who decided who would play first with a coin toss. Jimi lost and The Who stole the show by completely wrecking their instruments on stage. This instigated Jimi’s competitive side and he wanted to blow the crowd’s mind even more. People say he’d set fire to his guitar once before in London, but at Monterey International Pop Festival it was recorded on film for the first time.


Monterey vs. Woodstock

Jefferson Airplane’s front woman, Grace Slick, knew the location for Monterey International Pop Festival from the jazz festivals that were held there. She looks back with a free spirit’s nostalgia: “The entire area in back of the stage was people wandering around. There were drinks and marijuana and blow and whatever else everyone was interested in. Everything worked.”

Monterey proved to be a totally different experience than Woodstock, two years later. Jefferson Airplane were scheduled to play at nine o’clock in the evening, but due to programming delays they ended up playing at seven in the morning.

International breakthrough

Acts known in the vicinity of San Francisco, like Jefferson Airplane, Simon & Garfunkel, and The Grateful Dead now amassed fame from an even larger audience. The Beach Boys couldn’t make it, which meant Otis Redding joined the ranks at prime time Saturday evening, which afforded him a whole new fan base.

Monterey forbidden

A second edition of the Monterey International Pop Festival, planned for 1968, was forestalled by authorities and local residents. They weren’t waiting for a bunch of hippies to spread a message of hedonism, free love, mood stimulators, and rock ‘n’ roll in their backyard. So, as it goes, they forbid it. Fifty years later, in June 2017, there was a follow up to the first edition.

Monterey Pop the movie    

Director D.A. Pennebaker – also known for “Dont Look Back,” a documentary about Bob Dylan and the live recording “Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars” – eternalized the legendary performances of the festival in his 1968 film “Monterey Pop.” Thanks to these images we can catch a glimpse of how fetterless the festival business once started.

“Monterey Pop” is one of the nostalgic windows on ‘60s and ‘70s counterculture. As time goes by the photogenic celluloid images of this prototypical music festival seem to become ever more special.

If you live in the Netherlands you can see the concert film at the open air film festival Zienemaan & Sterren: September 8, 2018.

Chord of the week – Could there be a cooler triad than the C major?

The chord that you’ll find in almost every evergreen is the C major. This basic triad is an absolute must for any guitar player to master. That’s why the C is our ‘chord of the week’. Check our Instagram for more Chordify frenzy.

Yes nice huh, finally a chord that’s central to the piano’s tonal spectrum, as the E is for the guitar. Where the E forms the basis for the guitar, the C plays a similar role on the black and white keys of your Steinway or Bösendorfer. An octave on a piano does not go from E to E, but from C to C. This is a great opportunity to try Chordify out on a piano if you have the chance.

Skinny Love – Bon Iver

A song that completely embraces the key of C is the track Skinny Love from indie rocker Bon Iver. To simulate his specific sound on your own guitar, you’ll need to tune the instrument to an open C tuning. That means you’ll have to tune the strings from low to high as follows: C, G, E, G, C, C. If you do not want too much hustle and you still want to include this song in your jam set, just play it in the standard E tuning.

The chord progression is not very special. You can quickly see that there are five basic chords and a somewhat unusual triad. The Gsus4 is a barre chord in which the tone G and the tone C appear double in octave form. That is how they reinforce each other. This is no coincidence, because the G is the fifth step in the C scale. The harmony between the root and the fifth is better known as a power chord. In this case it’s a double power chord.

Wind of Change – Scorpions

Scorpions – that we’ve gotten acquainted with in our historical album of the month Tokyo Tapes – wrote a song in C that would later become the anthem of the fall of the Berlin wall in 1989. Wind of Change is not very difficult when it comes to chord progression, but it is certainly not easy either.

The difficulty is the timing and although the chords themselves are not too difficult, you do have to deal with a Dm and an F that follow each other. Since this is not a standard transition, it takes some practice to reposition your fingers in quick succession. Practice makes perfect. The same applies to the whistling part, by the way.

The Middle – Zedd, Maren Morris, Grey

Enough of the old folks’ music! It’s time for a fresh breeze, again from Germany. The Middle by the German producer Zedd in collaboration with singer Maren Morris and the music duo Grey has been in the Billboard charts for months now. Although we are talking about electropop here, the chords in the song are perfect for practicing your basics.

If you want to practice the most important chords of the pop industry at the top of your guitar neck, this is your track. Just check out the progression which takes you from D to G, C, Em, A, Am all the way to the E. All this at a fairly easy pace. See it as jogging on the guitar. It improves your stamina, your strength and your reflexes.

Never be the Same – Camila Cabello

Fun fact: singer Camila Cabello also auditioned for The Middle. After the rejection, Cabello knew she would Never be the Same again. Apart from all the craziness this Billboard-high-scoring-hit, just like the one mentioned above, is an ideal opportunity to practice the basics of chord progression.

Unlike the track by Zedd, here we see a number of chords that also belong to the basics, but are used less often. The Dm and the F, for example. The bridge of the song contains an A#, a Cm and a Gm. With these barre chords it is a matter of practicing strength and suppleness of your fingers in order to play the triad clearly.

Everything Now – Arcade Fire

The idea that everything resembles each other and is not very innovative is reflected in the lyrics of Everything Now by Arcade Fire. Of course this could be seen as justified criticism, but somehow we always know how to produce new-sounding tracks with a few chords. So it’s a bit true and a bit untrue.

This final song is a great exercise for the advanced guitar player to quickly grab easy and trickier chords in a row. The song itself has a laid-back feel and is therefore a fine addition to your jam. It even has a groovy ABBA riff on the piano, so if your piano keys are within reach don’t be afraid to tryout this track. Happy jamming!