flashback with olivia newton-john in another place and time

Es­ti­mated reading time is 2 min­utes.

JUST OPENED ALTERNET and among the dirty dozen or so stories—including those on the White House, white na­tion­al­ists and Stormy Davis—there was this splash of color with mul­tiple im­ages of Jimi Hen­drix cir­cling the Mad Hatter! It ac­com­pa­nied an ar­ticle ti­tled “How LSD Makes Music Pro­foundly Awe­some” about re­searchers learning more about how the pow­erful psy­che­delic LSD af­fects the brain.

Thank­fully, it wasn’t penned by an­other non-ex­pe­ri­enced writer who thought that acid and psy­che­delics would be a groovy topic, using Google to ask “What is LSD like?”

Uh-uh! All the on­line re­search in the world won’t give you the tiniest glimpse of what the ex­pe­ri­ence is like.

With this topic, the only re­search is hands-on ex­pe­ri­ence being ex­pe­ri­enced.

And that means a few trips around the block.


“Are you ex­pe­ri­enced? Have you ever been ex­pe­ri­enced? Well, I have.” – Jimi Hendrix


For­tu­nately, it was in­stead written by Phillip Smith, cel­e­brated au­thor of the Drug War Chron­icleSmith’s opening para­graph is anecdotal:

“Lis­tening to Jimi Hen­drix on acid back in the day was ab­solutely mind-melting. The sounds tran­scended normal tonality—not to men­tion space-time—and the music it­self took on deep, deep meaning. It seemed like he was plugged into the primal en­er­gies of the uni­verse, and pro­found truths flick­ered like jagged light­ning.

The im­petus for the Al­terNet ar­ticle is a re­cent study that found that “LSD changed the per­cep­tion of music by al­tering the neural re­sponse in cer­tain key brain re­gions, in­cluding those that govern emo­tion, memory, sound pro­cessing, and self-directed thought.”

And I thought, “Groovy!”

Even if it misses the magic.


Olivia Newton-John: psychedelic art with Jimi Hendrix and the Mad Hatter.

Seasons in the sun

But the sen­tences that were the im­petus for me to be writing this ar­ticle you’re reading was a little more hu­morous. Smith note that:

“It wasn’t just the music of the master, either—LSD had the un­canny ability to imbue even the most sac­cha­rine dreck with cosmic con­no­ta­tions. Any old head who sud­denly ‘got’ Terry Jacks’ Sea­sons In The Sun in an acid-induced tearful epiphany knows whereof I speak.

Hoowah, but that brought a memory-jolt of my own, and I scrolled down to the com­ments sec­tions and left this anecdote:

“Love the re­mark about the super-saccharine Sea­sons In The Sun pro­ducing an ‘acid-induced tearful epiphany.’ LSD also worked its won­ders on hyper-emotional pop: I had sim­ilar epipha­nies lis­tening to things I would nor­mally con­sider dreck.

Back in 1974, while dosed, I had my (non-dosed) friend pull the car over to the side of the road while I snif­fled my way through Olivia Newton-John’s I Hon­estly Love You—a song that nor­mally made me reach for the dial to switch channels.

Thanks for the flashback!”

Yes Click To Tweet

Photo of Olivia Newton-John and John Travolta in 1978 movie GREASE.

FEATURED IMAGE: The photo at the top of this page is of Olivia Newton-John as (former) goody-two-shoes Sandy and John Tra­volta as greaser bad-boy Danny in the 1978 movie Grease. It’s a silly movie with music by writers who didn’t seem to get any­thing mean­ingful out of ’50s rock & roll. While Grease has a cer­tain charm, I was never able to get into it—but then, I haven’t tried watching it on acid . . .


Leave a comment

Notify of
Rate this article:
Please rate this article with your comment.
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments