Helter Skelter Revisited


… There is something quite remarkable and encouraging about waking up in the morning.   If you were alive in the 1960s and you are reading this, it is becoming more remarkable with each passing day.

 This morning I woke up to learn that Della Reese, David Cassidy, and Charles Manson were no longer breathing air. I sat at the coffee table as my memory engaged in thoughts of childhood.

 I never watched ‘Touched By An Angel’, but my dear mother was a great fan of Della Reese. Ms. Reese hosted a daily TV show with music and guests that my mother watched every day. Unlike ‘The Mike Douglas Show’ which aired in the afternoon, ‘The Della Reese Show’ came on earlier and was an entertaining late morning exercise.

Della was a great singer and at one time or another, sang all of the great jazz, pop, and Christmas songs, both solo and with guests.

 In this clip Eric Burdon performs with War, and then Della joins the band for a great blues improvisation.



 Also today the world said goodbye to two of the most famous faces of the late 60s – early 70s. In a very real sense they were perfect opposites, at least in public perception. One light, one darkness, one day, one night, one pure, one polluted.

 Who could not love David Cassidy? His image of perfectly trimmed hair, bright shining eyes, filled with positive energy and good intent.

His was the face and the voice of innocence and hope. A role model for the young people who were to grow forth to become good Americans, good citizens representing their creator, their country, and their fellow humans. David Cassidy was a Partridge. He was a perfect member of a perfect family.


 At the same time, in a different California neighborhood, Charles Manson was the patriarch of a much different family.   It was a family drowning in despair.   It was a family united by confusion, self loathing, and fueled by powerful drugs. A family with no distinctions except the horrific dreams and intentions of its lost leader.

Unable to conform to, or interact with the society in which they found themselves entrapped, they were convinced that the best possible outcome would be for that society to be destroyed from the inside.

 This was an American family of a different origin.   Forged in violence disguised as peace, hate disguised as love, weakness disguised as power, and murder disguised as liberation, they single handedly made certain that the movement of protest and rebirth that was to be the beginning of a new world of brotherhood would never again be a possibility.

 I have often wondered what it might feel like to be loved by no one.  What it would be like to be cast out of heaven and into hell.  How would one react? What would one do in hours of solitude?  What would it be like to be gone, to die and have the world rejoice?  Perhaps we caught a glimpse of the answer on that hot August night in 1969.

 So, tonight we contemplate a time when our personal dreams, goals, and missions were as big and beautiful as the universe itself.

We also sit in the observer’s seat to the events that are eliminating the icons and newscasts of our childhood.

 The 1960s are dying, literally. We are the elders now. Let it be known that we are the survivors, at least for this day.   Let our voices be heard in the healing chants for the rest of the planet.  Let us cherish and lift our very real family as high as possible.

 All good, and all evil, will perish. All things are impermanent.

 All Things Must Pass …



 – Joe Kidd –

November 20 2017


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