book cover with magenta stamp
book cover with magenta stamp

In a period of seismic disturbance within the society, dissent could be seen as a means to redress imbalance, to put the world right again. Although a decade had come to an end in 1969, its turbulence would not suddenly subside. Against the larger social landscape, time-keeping was no more than a matter of numeration, as with a countdown on New Year’s Eve, its volume rising equally in an expectation for what was to come as in relief for what was jettisoned, or in a buoyant state only seemed to be, for even the distance traveled was not very far. December 31, 1969 and January 1, 1970 were only seconds apart. As with any year’s passing, the immediately noticeable change would be the calendar on the kitchen wall. But 1969, at least in hindsight, wasn’t just any year, although to some in the moment, to bored and disaffected youth, it was. Iggy Pop’s song, “1969,” which definitively dated the release of the first Stooges album, turned disaffection into a rallying cry, the band’s hip-shake groove offset by an alternately languid, razor sharp guitar, and an impassively delivered vocal, more spoken than sung, that ends in a heated snarl, a rude raspberry expelled for good measure—Iggy, a bratty punk to be sure.

Well it’s 1969 okay / All across the USA It’s another year for me and you / Another year with nuthin’ to do.