1965 Buick LeSabre 400 … and Music

July 15, 2011 § Leave a comment


Buick LeSabre 1965 print advertisement

1965 Buick LeSabre 400: "First, you just look"

This vintage print ad is from the March 1965 edition of National Geographic, and to me it really captures something about that mid-60s era. The general zeitgeist was perhaps not yet quite as cynical and disillusioned as would become the case later in the decade, and something about the layout here sort of captures that, at least to me. The minimalist vibe, the angle, the girl , the car itself – to my mind it just works.

For some reason, too, this ad made me wonder what sort of music people were listening to at the time, what would have come blasting out of the radio if one were driving a LeSabre down the road that year. The list is pretty impressive, to say the least. I’m not sure what month all of these were released, but the following songs all came out at some point during that year: “Turn Turn Turn” by The Byrds, “The Last Time” by The Rolling Stones, “The Kids are Alright” by The Who, “We Can Work it Out” by The Beatles, “Subterranean Homesick Blues” by Bob Dylan, “Eve of Destruction” by Barry McGuire, “Do You Believe in Magic” by The Lovin’ Spoonful, “California Girls” by The Beach Boys, “In the Midnight Hour” by Wilson Pickett, “King of the Road” by Roger Miller,  “The Tracks of My Tears” by The Miracles, “A Change is Gonna Come” by Sam Cooke, “Tired of Waiting for You” by The Kinks, “We Gotta Get Out of This Place” by The Animals, “Here Come the Night” by Them, “Unchained Melody” by The Righteous Brothers, “It’s Not Unusual” by Tom Jones, “Hang on Sloopy” by The McCoys, “Don’t Go Breaking My Heart” by Burt Bacharach – the list goes on, and is absolutely unbelievable, and I have only mentioned one song per artist. If you wanted to cite more by The Beatles, for example, you have “Nowhere Man,” “Day Tripper,” “Norwegian Wood,” “Yesterday,” “We Can Work it Out,” and of course more. The Who also released “My Generation,” Bob Dylan “Highway 61 Revisited,” The Stones “Get Off of My Cloud,” etc., etc.

It’s pretty humbling, actually, just contemplating that. What sort of immense talent was around at the time? I can’t imagine an equivalent amount of musical inspiration occurring now in a decade, let alone a single year. Maybe I’m out of touch, but will many of the songs that come out in 2011 still be fixtures in the way so many of those are today … in the 2050s? It’s frankly hard to think they will, but one could always be wrong. And will the cars of today match the ability of 1960s’ automobiles to find a more or less permanent place in people’s hearts 40+ years down the line? I personally have a hard time envisioning that. What has changed?

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