The Best Rockumentaries: #4 "Monterey Pop" (1968)
By John Roberts
Los Angeles, California
August 29, 2017 9:10am CST
Before Woodstock there was Monterey Pop, a three day mega concert held at Monterey City Fairgrounds in 1967. The movie is directed by Oscar winner D.A. Pennebaker and produced by festival promoters record exec Lou Adler and John Phillips of the Mamas and the Papas. Monterey Pop is now legendary for its astounding talent lineup and venue propelling many to stardom. The concert launched the Who in America. They blistered with “My Generation” then blew away the crowd with smoke bombs, Pete Townsend smashing his guitar and Keith Moon kicking over his drum kit. The Jimi Hendrix Experience shot to stardom when Hendrix finished “Wild Thing” by lighting his guitar on fire, breaking it and tossing the pieces into the crowd. Big Brother and the Holding Company lead singer Janis Joplin belted her way to fame with “Ball N Chain.” Otis Redding’s manager thought Monterey an ideal showcase to reach a wide audience. Backed by Booker T and the MGs, Redding sang into national prominence. Ravi Shankar made his American debut with a four hour sitar solo! An unknown musician named Steve Miller got the break of a lifetime landing a spot on the bill. Scott McKenzie opened the event with the hippy anthem “San Francisco (Be sure to wear flowers in your hair).” Then there were the established star acts: the Mamas and the Papas who closed the concert, the Byrds, Buffalo Springfield, Canned Heat, Grateful Dead, Jefferson Airplane, Lou Rawls, the Association, Johnny Rivers, Simon and Garfunkel, Eric Burden and the Animals plus 60s relics like Moby Grape and Country Joe and the Fish. What a hell of a festival making today’s Coachella look like amateur hour. Footage was shot in 16mm then blown up to 35mm. There was so much music that not every act is heard in the movie. “Monterey Pop” is historically important documentation of now legendary performers in youthful primes.
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5 people like this
• Los Angeles, California
You know Lou Adler. He's Jack Nicholson's buddy. They sit together at Laker games. Adler owns the Roxy. He produced Tapestry for Carole King, The Rocky Horror Picture Show, produced and directed Cheech & Chong in Up in Smoke, Dunhill Records, partner of Herb Albert, Mamas & Papas, Grass Roots. Nothing about The Archies. He's a big man in LA. R&R HOF.