Monday, June 15, 2009

Hippies of the 1950s

One of things I love about Google Books is how you can search the full text of old magazines, especially the music industry trade journal Billboard. One thing I find interesting is how the use of the word "hippies" has changed over time. Since Billboard is a music trade journal, "hippies" originally seemed to be used to refer to "hip" rhythm & blues or jazz fans who had musical preferences that were too "hip" to be a reliable gauge of what would be a hit. Here are some interesting examples of the word "hippies" appearing in Billboard before the mid 1960s:

Lyric is slight, Miss Wright does what she can with it. More for "hippies" than general r. and b. market (record review from July 15, 1950)

Draper and Young also come through solidly. Strong bop for the hippies. (record review from April 13, 1959)

"There are basically three types of teenagers today, 'conservative', Ivy League type; 'hippies,' who dig the heavy rock beat, and 'jive,' who are more on the square side, espouse the Rick Nelson sound." (quote from disc jockey, September 28, 1963)

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