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What was the summer of love?

The ‘Summer of Love’ refers to 1967 – not so much because that year saw a revolutionary new movement, but because that was when the media came to identify and focus on the hippy phenomenon, the underground alternative youth culture that had been brewing in America and Europe for several years.

The focus was San Francisco, where young people travelled from across America and beyond, attracted by the promise of the chance to cast off conservative social values and experiment with drugs and sex. Many came for the Monterey Pop Festival, the world’s first such major event, which Scott McKenzie’s San Francisco (‘If you’re going to San Francisco…’) was originally designed to promote. In fact the song became a Summer of Love anthem, reaching number four in the US charts but number one in Britain.

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