San Francisco in the 1960s is known for some iconic music. Some famous rock and roll sounds were born here, often first performed for free in Golden Gate Park. Let’s go back to the early 1960s, before our famous bands The Grateful Dead and the Jefferson Airplane started playing free concerts, and listen to a hit by a girl group produced by the “wall of sound” creator Phil Spector:
This original recording of “He’s a Rebel” was number 1 on the “Billboard Hot 100” chart in 1962. The record says the song is by The Crystals because Phil Spector said so. But the performers in the video never recorded the song. The hit version was really recorded by Darlene Love and her group called The Blossoms. That is important because it took years for Love to get credit for singing the lead on the hit that really belonged to her.
Love’s career was highlighted in the documentary film, “20 Feet from Stardom,” about the life of back-up singers, and won the Academy Award for Best Documentary Feature on March 2, 2014. Love is performing again and coming to San Francisco this summer offering a free concert. Here is a clip about Love’s career:
Our history with free public concerts in San Francisco goes back to 1938 when Mrs. Sigmund Stern wanted a fitting memorial to her husband’s civic service. She gave the City the 63 acres we call Sigmund Stern Grove. A committee was formed to produce summer concerts that have continued for 77 years and are still free to all. This year’s selection of music ranges from performances by the San Francisco Symphony to Brazilian star Sergio Mendes to 1960s rock and roll with Darlene Love. Here is the link to the complete schedule for this year: